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, December 31, 2007

Evelyn Leonard RIP

A very much loved parishioner, Evelyn finally yielded her soul to the Lord on 26th December, feast of St Stephen. She was 59.

Evelyn was received into the full Communion of the Catholic Church on 16th December 2005. She was known for her great faith in the Blessed Sacrament - finding the Real Presence of our Lord truly present in our church when she first came to announce that she wanted to become a Catholic. She had a deep love of the Blessed Virgin and, overall, a great trust in God.

This trust was exercised most fully when she was once again diagnosed with cancer in March this year. In spite of increasing disability, she hardly ever failed to make it to Sunday Mass together with her daughter Elizabeth who was received into the Church at Easter 2006.

In her final days in hospital, she was able to receive Holy Communion daily, and for the last time on Christmas Day.

Her body will be received into the church this Thursday at 4.30pm and the funeral Mass will be on Friday at 1.30pm.

Evelyn is survived by her husband Peter, and her children Peter, James, John and Elizabeth.

May she rest in peace.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Papal Awards for two parishioners

On Sunday last (Gaudete, 16th December) Bishop John Hine, auxiliary bishop in Southwark with responsibility for the pastoral area of Kent, came to celebrate the 10.00am Mass and confer Bene merenti awards on two of our parishioners who have given outstanding service to the parish and Church.

Bishop John proclaims the Gospel

In my letter of recommendation concerning Mary Addision to Archbishop McDonald, I wrote the following:

Mary Addison has been actively serving this community since before the erection of this parish twenty years (last January). Although the parish was once part of the larger parish of Ashford, what is now the parish hall was opened as a Mass centre for the Catholics of South Ashford forty years ago and the parish school has been in existence for more than 30 years.

Mary has served this parish by giving pre-marriage instruction to many couples over many years together with her husband John. She has also organised and continues to organise the recruitment and rota of Readers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and has been writing the weekly Bidding Prayers for over thirty years. The fact that she has her finger on the pulse in regard to the needs of so many members of our parish community enables her to ensure that they are included, where appropriate, in the Prayers of the Faithful. She is particularly diligent in recording the dates of death of parishioners and their relatives so that their anniversaries can be recalled in the Bidding Prayers.

Mary has been and continues to be extremely generous in giving of her time to take Holy Communion to a number of our sick and elderly parishioners. Without her availability, many of our parishioners would not be able to receive Holy Communion weekly.

Together with her husband John, she has a great love for the poor and disadvantaged at home and abroad. She and her husband used to organise a ‘family and social action group’ which, in its time, was extremely active. They always contribute extremely generously to appeals for aid to the poor or dispossessed, and as a consequence live a very modest style of life themselves. They have few luxuries, but they have a very close family, being parents of six children.

In view of the foregoing, I would like to recommend that Mary be considered for a Papal Award as a fitting recognition of her outstanding and dedicated service to this parish and to the Church.

Concerning Guy Beresford, I wrote:

Mr Beresford was received into the Catholic Church in the parish of Tenterden in 1974 and soon became very active in the Church as a reader and member of the parish choir. On weekdays he served and helped in the sacristy. He became of member of the Parish Council and served as Chairman of the Tenterden Council of Churches.

In 1980 he was appointed MC as well as continuing with the above-mentioned activities. His assistance was particularly valued at funerals.

After Canon Currie’s stroke, Guy transferred his loyalties to the new parish priest Father Reid who came to the parish in January 1982.

In March 1987, Guy moved to Cranbrook and became MC for Father Chapman and then Canon Morris. He helped in the sacristy and at parish meetings, and even took the part of Father Christmas at the Christmas fayres. A keen gardener, he would assist in the maintenance of the parish grounds and made himself helpful in countless other ways.

In October 1995 he moved to South Ashford and served at the 6pm Mass for Father Fennessy and then, five years later, for me and I officially appointed him as parish MC. He now serves at both the 10am and 6pm Masses, works in the sacristy, serves at funerals and makes himself generally useful. He is also assisted in his service to the Church by his wife Catarina to whom the parish owes a great debt of gratitude.

Guy’s love, devotion and energy for the Church are as strong as ever, wanting only to serve God by giving of his best, serving “to a high standard” in a dignified way, supporting the priest, training servers and helping parishioners.

Guy also has a great love the ‘Old Mass’. When you gave permission for the regular celebration of these Masses in this part of Kent, Guy put his carpentry skills to work to construct a temporary platform that is positioned in front of the rather shallow sanctuary to facilitate the Eastward orientation of the liturgy during the monthly
celebrations of the Old Mass at St Simon’s. It largely falls to Guy to ensure that everything is prepared for these Masses.

From the above, it might appear that Guy has no other occupation. This is far from the case. He is a distinguished archaeologist, having carried out many important digs for English Heritage and consulted on the proper restoration of medieval churches. The results of his research have been published. Although well above retirement age, he continues to be active in his speciality.
In the light of the above, I wish to recommend the granting of a Papal Award to Guy as a fitting recognition of his outstanding and dedicated service to this parish and to the Church.

During Holy Communion, Maggie Addison sang an extract from Handel's Messiah.

Bishop John poses with the servers after Mass

After Mass Bishop John met parishioners, including Evelyn Leonard, one of our parishioners (pictured below) who is suffering with cancer. In the sacristy before Mass he met Anne Bulpin who was to undergo major surgery on Tuesday to remove a cancerous growth from her mouth. Bishop John assured them both of his prayers.

Blessing Ronnie and his family

With John and Mary Addison

With Guy and Catarina Bersford

Sharing a joke with Eileen and Peter Runciman (a past recipient of a Bene Merenti) together with Audrey Hook

Blessing a religious article for Sandrine (with baby Matheu)

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Our Parish Advent & Christmas Appeal - Father Constantine's HIV/AIDS Orphans in Maseru, Lesotho

Father Constantine Mosuoe, priest of the Archdiocese of Maseru in Lesotho, supplied in this parish while I was on holiday a couple of years ago. He moved me with his account of the plight of HIV/AIDS orphans in his parish. For a male to live beyond the age of 35 is an exception. Here's why.
Many of the men folk work in the mines in South Africa which surrounds land-locked Lesotho. Regrettably, during their long absences from home, they engage in sexual activity with prostitutes and others and become infected with the AIDS virus. They come home and infect their wives, resulting in children who are also infected.
Without any prompting from me, both he and a colleague of his, Father Paul Moshe, who also supplied here, said that the abundant supply of condoms is at the heart of the problem. Whereas the Church is trying to instil faithfulness, the easy availability of condoms provides little incentive to truly live a safe and moral sexual lifestyle. On the contrary, it contributes to a promiscuous lifestyle with the consequent lack of self control, risk taking and inevitable infections.
So, the children's fathers and mothers die young and the children end up staying with their grandparents who, of course, are not able to afford to look after them.
Every week, those people in the parishes who can afford it contribute money to enable members of the parish council to buy food, medication and clothing so that the day to day needs of these orphans are met. At an official level, Church and State are investing in educational programmes to increase awareness of the HIV/AIDS problem, but no funding is received for the supply of these day to day needs which are only met through parish initiatives like Father Constantine's.
Every Sunday during Christmas and Advent, starting next Sunday, there will be a second collection and the money raised will be sent to Father Constantine, care of the diocesan bank account. I am absolutely confident that the money raised will go to the intended beneficiaries.
If you would like to contribute, you can send a cheque payable to St Simon Stock (South Ashford) to me. You can also donate by paypal by clicking the button below.

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