St Simon's Parish Blog

Welcome to the Blog of St Simon Stock Catholic Church, South Ashford, Kent, UK. Our address is: Brookfield Road Ashford Kent TN23 4EU

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For nine years up till July 2010, I was parish priest at St Simon Stock Catholic Church, South Ashford, Kent, England. From July 2010 until June 2011 I was Associate Pastor at St Peter's Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan USA and then Pastor at St Anthony Parish, Gwinn, MI until October 2013. I then transferred to the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon to serve as Director of the Tribunal. And that's what I am currently doing. Since February 2015 I have also been serving as Pastor at St Stephen Parish, South East Portland. I miss "da UP" (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) but love being here in the Pacific North West.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pentecost Sunday International Mass

On the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and they proclaimed the Gospel in foreign languages, we celebrated by having readings and prayers in some of the languages of the many nations represented amongst our parishioners: Polish, French, Spanish, Maltese, Ibo, Swahili, Shona, Arabic (parishioner from Iraq), Tagalog. Of course, there was English too.
As last year, most of the Mass was sung in Latin to reflect the unity of the Catholic Church. I know that a number of our parishioners find the issue of Latin difficult, but it is our heritage and tradition. I received a sufficient number of encouraging remarks after last year's Mass, and before and again after this year's Mass, to be convinced that it is worth doing. In my homily, I began what I hope will be a series of homilies on the Liturgy taking themes from Pope Benedict's Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis. As well as talking about the Holy Spirit's continuing action in teaching the Church throughout time, I quoted the following sections of the Pope's letter:

Actuosa participatio
n. 52: The Second Vatican Council rightly emphasized the active, full and fruitful participation of the entire People of God in the eucharistic celebration... The word "participation" does not refer to mere external activity during the celebration. In fact, the active participation called for by the Council must be understood in more substantial terms, on the basis of a greater awareness of the mystery being celebrated and its relationship to daily life...
n. 55: Active participation in the eucharistic liturgy can hardly be expected if one approaches it superficially, without an examination of his or her life. This inner disposition can be fostered, for example, by recollection and silence for at least a few moments before the beginning of the liturgy, by fasting and, when necessary, by sacramental confession. A heart reconciled to God makes genuine participation possible. The faithful need to be reminded that there can be no actuosa participatio in the sacred mysteries without an accompanying effort to participate actively in the life of the Church as a whole, including a missionary commitment to bring Christ's love into the life of society.
Migrants and participation in the Eucharist (we have a significant number of parishioners who belong to the Syro-Malabar Church, an Eastern Catholic Church particularly predominant in Kerala, India. In fact, we have a monthly Syro-Malabar Mass in the parish at 5.30pm on the last Saturday of each month.)
n.60: Specific attention needs to be paid to migrants belonging to the Eastern Catholic Churches; in addition to being far from home, they also encounter the difficulty of not being able to participate in the eucharistic liturgy in their own rite. For this reason, wherever possible, they should be served by priests of their rite... Contacts between the faithful of different rites can prove a source of mutual enrichment. In particular, I am thinking of the benefit that can come, especially for the clergy, from a knowledge of the different traditions.
The Latin language
n. 62: In order to express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I wish to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, it is fitting that such liturgies be celebrated in Latin. Similarly, the better-known prayers of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung. Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant.

Although we don't have any photos of the Mass at present, here are some taken during the reception that was organised by parishioners in the hall after Mass. There was food from the various continents of the globe.

Andrea with two of her children: Francesca and Joseph (who will be making his First Holy Communion in two weeks' time).

Like most parishioners, Michelle looks up to her parish priest!

Gladys, Lola and Rufina.

Alex, Antonia and Hannah (who will also be making her First Holy Communion in two weeks' time)

With Carmen and her parents who come from Peru.

Inytha (who will be making her First Holy Communion in two weeks' time) and her mother are from Sri Lanka.

One of our young Philippina parishioners.

Balloons of various colours were chosen to represent the many nations of the world - the youngsters had other ideas for them!

Thereza - who is also my parish secretary - together with her sister Rebecca and her mum explain the Maltese food she had brought along.

Merrick & Mary, Jim, Muriel, Audrey, Margaret and (hidden) Rita enjoying the food and company.

Beena and Jestine (whose house I visited last year when I was in Kerala), Syro Malabar Rite Catholics serving their food.
Maysam (from Iraq), Mary & John, Alice and Maysam's son Alex.

With Tomasz and Malgorzata, Polish parishioners.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great day, the vision of Heaven on earth as people from many nations, languages and races under one roof well done St. Simon’s.

8:37 pm  

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