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.

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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