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.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Parish Newsletter Sunday 26th April 2009

Parish Newsletter Sunday 26th April 2009 Parish Newsletter Sunday 26th April 2009 jboyle4027

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Parish Newsletter Sunday 19th April 2009

Parish Newsletter 19th April 2009 Parish Newsletter 19th April 2009 jboyle4027

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Raymond de Souza visiting St Simon's - 12th May


Raymond de Souza poster

At the Conclave that elected him Pope, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger affirmed that “Catholics cannot remain immature in the faith”, and highlighted the need for “a Faith that gives us the measure to discern between what is true and what is false, between deceit and truth”.

The most important belief that Catholics may find difficult to explain to non-Catholics (as well as to lapsed Catholics) is the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

The simple evidence of the senses tells us that it is only bread and wine: texture, colour, taste, everything appears to suggest to many that when Jesus said, "This is my Body; This is My Blood" He was speaking figuratively, not literally.

And yet hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics the world over for nearly two millennia affirm that it is Jesus Christ who is present under the species of bread and wine.

How many lay Catholics are able to explain that it is reasonable to believe in this singular Mystery of the Faith in a satisfactory manner to non-Catholics and lapsed Catholics?

Come to St Simon Stock Catholic Church, Brookfield Road, Ashford, Kent at 7:30 pm Tuesday, 12th May 2009 and find out how it makes perfect sense to believe that Jesus wanted His Apostles to take it literally, not figuratively, when He consecrated bread and wine at the Last Supper. That's Logic at the Service of Faith.

Speaker: Raymond de Souza - EWTN host, international lay apologist, founder and director of Saint Gabriel Communications (Australia), Program Director for Portuguese-Speaking countries for Human Life International (HLI) and Chairman of the Sacred Heart Legion (USA). www.RaymonddeSouza.com

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Agnes McNicol RIP

Today we had the funeral Mass for Agnes McNicol who died on 28th March, the day before Laetare Sunday. Agnes is survived by Harry, her husband of 55 years, her children David, Stephen, Suzanna and Maria, her brothers and sisters John, Tommy, Molly and Teresa, and of course grandchildren.

Agnes was a devout Catholic, always attending Mass until she was no longer able to, and then she received Holy Communion regularly at home. She is much missed by her family.

During the Easter Octave we are full of the hope and joy of the Resurrection. Whilst not omitting to recall that we are all in need of God's mercy and that it is our duty to pray for the eternal repose of those who have died, we renew our faith and trust in the Baptism Agnes received that proceeds 'from the well of life' given 'free to anybody who is thirsty... the rightful inheritance of the one who proves victorious' and through which God becomes our God and we his children. (Rev. 21:7)

The resurrection of Lazarus is also a witness to Our Lord's humanity who wept, and also to his divinity. As Jesus said to Martha, 'if you believe you will see the glory of God.' (Jn 11:40)

For Agnes, God was very much her God, and she had firm faith. May she now be among the vicotrious who see the glory of God.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Our Church at Easter

A few photos of the sanctuary taken this morning before Mass.


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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Homily for this year's Easter Vigil

Here's the homily I have at the Easter Vigil. At the other Masses, it was adapted but with the same basic message.
Fr John's Easter Vigil Homily Fr John's Easter Vigil Homily jboyle4027

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Easter Vigil Baptism


At our Easter Vigil little Titus Msoka Jnr was baptised. Congratulations to his parents Soter and Lola Titus. Soter Titus is one of our organist, and in fact was playing the organ during the Easter Vigil. Rufina and Emeka Ebenebe stood in as proxies for the Godparents Colman Titus Msoka and Aida Blanka Msoka who live in Tanzania.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Parish Newsletter Sunday 12th April 2009

Parish Newsletter Sunday 12th April 2009

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Blessing of Easter Food


Our church was packed to capacity this morning for the annual ceremony of the blessing of Easter food. The custom is to bless lamb (or other meat), eggs and bread.

As well as signifying the end of the Lenten fast with the blessing of the food which is to be eaten at Easter, there is a rich symbolism to this tradition: the lambs sacrificed at the Passover and the blood placed on the lintels of the houses of the Israelites in Egypt brought about their liberation through the Exodus, and Christ is the true lamb whose sacrifice freed us from our sins; the eggs are a sign of new life through the Resurrection; the bread reminds us of the Bread of Angels, the manna with which God sustained His people through their sojourn in the desert and Christ is the Bread of Life in the Eucharist.

It is not, of course, an exclusively Polish affair although all the families who came this morning were Polish. To emphasise the fact that it is a tradition of the Church, I used the Latin blessings given in the 1925 Rituale Romanum.

Our altar rails came in very handy! And the food baskets formed a very lovely decoration of same.


I daresay the use of holy water on Holy Saturday morning is contrary to current liturgical law although the 1925 ritual specifies sprinkling after each blessing and the Polish people would certainly have felt short changed if I hadn't used it. So pastoral considerations prevailed.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Parish Newsletter Sunday 5th April 2009

Parish Newsletter Sunday 5th April 2009

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Archbishop Nichols New Archbishop of Westminster

Today the Holy Father appointed Archbishop Nichols as the successor of Cardinal Murphy O'Connor.

Here are videos of his first press conference and the Q&A session that followed. Let's pray for him, for the diocese of Westminster and for the Church in England & Wales.




Vincent Nichols Q&As 1st Press Conference from Catholic Westminster on Vimeo.