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.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Towards a Vision...


I have been spending a little time today preparing for this consultation process. I hope that as many parishioners as possible will participate in the consultation evenings which will take place in our church hall on 15th, 22nd and 29th March at 7.30pm. Since anyone checking this blog will be computer-literate, there is little point in me repeating here the contents of the Archbishop's paper. Full details can be found here.

Of course, a key factor for the future of the diocese is the number of priests. On the face of it, these are projected to fall as older clergy retire or die. So we might have a lean period. But God can provide in many ways. The diocese has a very pro-active Vocations promotion programme directed by Father Stephen Langridge. Click here to visit his blog. In addition, with the increasing cultural diversity of the diocese, priests from the ethnic communities represented here could provide a valuable contribution to the life of the diocese. As the Archbishop says in his paper, they manifest the catholicity of the Church and could provide models for young men from those communities who may consider responding to a call to serve God as a priest.

We all have a duty to pray for vocations and promote them in whatever way we can. I would ask all parents to consider the following:
  • promote a positive attitude amongst your children, particular your sons, towards the mission and vocation of the priest
  • encourage your sons to consider if God might be calling them
  • pray that God might bless your family with such a wonderful calling
  • consider having more children!!! (if you are able). Then there is more of a chance that some will be able to respond, and it will be less of a sacrifice for you when a son responds to a calling. One of the principal purposes of matrimony is the increase of the human family and the increase of the family of God, i.e. to co-operate with God in increasing the numbers of Christ's faithful in the Church. Naturally this involves a sacrifice, but God rewards sacrifices with great blessings.

And I'd ask all parishioners to support the monthly hours of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament which are dedicated to prayer for vocations. These are posted on the parish noticeboard, but for your convenience I list them here. They commence at 9am on the following Saturdays: 17th March, 21st April, 19th May, 9th June.

And to all who read this I commend the parish, the process and vocations to your prayers.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Altar Servers Reunion

This afternoon the parish was host to servers and other young people from the parishes of Orpington, New Addington and Gravesend, as well as our own. Some 40 youngsters attended. My brother Fr Stephen came with his group from New Addingon. Stephen is also the Diocesean Director to the Guild of St Stephen. Fr James Clark came with his group from Gravesend. As well as being assistant priest there he is also on the diocesan Vocations Promotion team. I gave an input on Salvation History using the excellent Evangelium catechetical resource, together with a sheet of questions and points for discussion. There was plenty of time for games. The day ended with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during which confessions were heard, and Mass at 6pm.

Sorry: no pics. Just too busy.

Thanks to all parishioners who helped and to all who turned up. See you at the next one!

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bsptism today


Congratulations to Sutha and Prem (from Sri Lanka) on the baptism of their son Euan. In the photo, from left to right: godfather Kunasuthakaran, mother Sutha, godmother Denisclemeti, father Visuvatham (Prem). Child with candle: Olivia, Euan's sister, plus two other young relatives.


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Sexagesima Sunday

Yes, that's what today is in the Old Rite. It means that there are six Sundays to go till Passion Sunday. Since the close of the period after Epiphany, the Old Rite takes us into the season of Septuagesima (which started last Sunday) and the Sunday Mass is celebrated with purple vestments and there is no 'Gloria' until Maundy Thursday.
As I announced in the parish newsletter last week, in response to requests from a good number of people, I have undertaken the celebration of Mass in the Old Rite in the parish on the days authorised by the Archbishop, namely the second and, when there is one, the fifth Sunday of the month. Today was my first! More information here and here. As parish priest, I felt it was important that the people who attend this Mass know that they are as legitimate Catholics as anyone else and deserving of normal pastoral care. In any case, a number of them are actually parishioners. Somehow, getting priests from outside (one from as far away as Brussels) to celebrate the Mass seems unnecessary when, with a little application, it's not that difficult to learn the Rite (mistakes notwithstanding).

Cardinal's Mass

Yesterday I accompanied three of our servers to Westminster Cathedral for the annual Guild of St Stephen Cardinal's Mass. It was due to be celebrated by Cardinal Murphy O'Connor but Bishop Bernard Longley had to step in as the Cardinal had to attend a funeral. The cathedral was three-quarters filled with servers from all over the country. It was a very impressive gathering. Here are our three - Somtoo, his brother Kaosi, and James - outside the cathedral after Mass.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Parish Anniversary Celebrations - As the Kentish Express reported it

We got a spread in today's Kentish Express. Unfortunately, a big photo of me from the KE's library dominates the page. I had given the reporter a CD with lots of photos, including the ones in the posting below but for some reason they didn't publish them. We're also on the online version. You can check it out here.