Newsletter for Sunday 4 December 2016

2 Dec


The Advent theme of “preparing a way for the Lord” is again being repeated in our readings – in the imperative!: ‘A voice cries in the wilderness: “Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight” ’! 

Whilst Isaiah points to The One to be born of the family of Jesse (- Jesse was the father of King David, the ancestor of Jesus (see Mt 1:1-16), and with pointed urgency John the Baptist preaches a baptism of repentance, both speak of the eschatological judgement that will take place: Isaiah says, ‘He will judge the wretched with integrity, give a verdict for the poor, strike the ruthless and bring death to the wicked’ (vv 3&4);  John the Baptist says ‘His winnowing-fan is in his hand; he will clear his threshing-floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning the chaff’ (v 12. see also Lk 3:7-8).  That He will do this with fine-honed accuracy (c.f. the Hebrew word for ‘delight’ in Is 11:3) – as our Creed professes – the mercy of God is such that all who turn to him with a contrite heart (Ps 50:17;  Mk 1:14-15) making straight their paths (Mt 3:3 //)  will be granted salvation.

Let all of us prepare a way for the Lord to come into our personal lives, our family situations and our society, by coming into the presence of Christ in prayer and through the sacraments.

Fr Philip Sainter

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Pilgrimage to Mount St Bernard’s Abbey

2 Jun

mount st bernard abbeyA pilgrimage from St Mary’s to Mount St Bernard’s Abbey (approximately 6 miles) will take place on Saturday 25th June 2016 to celebrate the Year of Mercy and visit one of the four Holy Doors in the Nottingham Diocese. Here is a brief guide to the day’s events:

  • Leaving St Mary’s at 09.30 arriving at Mount Saint Bernard’s at 12.30 in time for Mass at 1.00pm celebrated by our Priests
  • Picnic (bring your own) after Mass (weather dependent) in the abbey grounds
  • Transport back to St Mary’s for Pilgrimage walkers
  • Unable to walk? Come by car for 12.30, welcome the walkers, come to Mass and enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of Mount Saint Bernard’s

Storer Rd, Hospital Way, Alan Moss Rd, Kenilworth Avenue, Coe Avenue, through Garendon Park Estate over M1 to Shepshed St Botolph’s, Charnwood Road, Iveshead Lane, Blackbrook Reservoir, Mount Saint Bernard’s

For those interested in joining the pilgrimage along the route, approximate time of arrival at Coe Avenue is 10.15am, St. Botolph’s Shepshed 11.15am, and onwards to Mount St. Bernard’s Abbey. Please note that these are approximate times.

Further details from Bernard Monaghan: 077 131 601 99 or

Sunday 20 March 2016

18 Mar


The kaleidoscope of life, with its ups and downs, its moments of love, elation and joy countered by rejection, failure and disappointment, of friends and foes, of affirmation and then back-stabbing, are all present in today’s Palm Sunday liturgy or, more accurately, in today’s “Account of Jesus Fulfilling God’s Plan of Salvation” which culminated in his Passion and Death. The only Hosannas that really count are those that come after Jesus’ death.  The green palm leaves and brightly coloured cloaks will soon become the wood of the cross and the funeral shroud.  And the leitmotif?  Obedience!  Constant, challenging, obedience! Obedience to the will of God: to love, to love, to love!  To love in good times as in bad.  Unconditional loving.  Are you up to that?

Jesus said, ‘If anyone wishes to be my disciple, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.’  (Matt. 16:24)  Let us be genuine, authentic disciples of Jesus, taking up our crosses and following him, loving … But loving to a rare and exquisite degree * … loving unconditionally.

(* c.f. A. Rosmini, Common Rules, Chp 3, On the Love of God, para. 9: ‘The soul’s perfection consists in the love of God raised to a rare and exquisite degree’)

Fr Philip Sainter

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Newsletter for Sunday 21 February 2016

19 Feb


If the Mount Tabor experience was a glorious and life-changing one for Peter, James and John, how much more for all of us who have embarked upon our own special Lenten journey towards a personal transfiguration!  This very morning we have come together as a community – not of three men but of many more:  men and women, young and old – and all of us have entered into God’s holy presence as did Peter, James and John.  God enlightens our lives as we turn away from sin, in favour of beholding his glory!

Let the words of the hymn ‘Love divine, all loves excelling’ speak to you as you read them:

Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heav’n, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling, all thy faithful mercies crown.

Changed from glory into glory till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Charles Wesley (1707-88)

Fr. Philip Sainter

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Newsletter for Sunday 24 January 2016

22 Jan


One hardly hears indulgences mentioned these days partly due to abuses of them at the time of the Reformation, but the doctrine is part of our faith. (See “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” nos. 1471-1479). Due to space, this is a very brief explanation!

In the Church’s Handbook of Indulgences, an indulgence is defined as “the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned.” We should note that forgiveness of sin is separate to the punishment for sin. Our sins are truly forgiven in confession but we still have to make up for or atone for them by good works or suffering patiently the trials of life. Otherwise we make atonement in the next life in purgatory.

Indulgences can be obtained by carrying out certain pious or charitable acts specified by the Pope. Indulgences can be plenary or partial. A partial indulgence removes part of the punishment due to sin, whereas a plenary indulgence removes all of it. We believe that the Pope has the power to grant indulgences by the “power of the keys” (Matt 16:19). This is possible due to the “treasury of merits,” which are the superabundant merits of Jesus Christ and those of Our Lady and the saints, many of whom through their heroic lives have done more than enough to gain entry to heaven for themselves, so there is a surplus of goodness referred to as the “treasury of the Church,” and it is possible for one person’s excess merit to be applied to another still in need.

Pope Francis has designated the four Holy Doors in Rome and those in the Cathedral of each diocese as well as in other churches designated by the bishop as places of pilgrimage for us to visit as part of obtaining the plenary indulgence during the Holy Year of Mercy. In addition to this, one must be in a state of grace, have a detachment from all sin, even venial sin, make a sacramental confession, receive Holy Communion, make a short meditation on God’s mercy and pray for the Pope’s intentions (an Our Father and Hail Mary suffice). If one doesn’t fulfil all these conditions, the indulgence is partial. Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth. Indulgences are a wonderful way to help ourselves grow in virtue and holiness and of helping our departed loved ones.

Fr. Paul Gillham

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