In the Bible we find texts and stories of all kinds and genres. This Sunday is the turn of the horror stories (almost). A group of twelve men, set out to cross the Sea of Galilee one evening in a little boat. As they struggle to make progress against the wind, the night overtakes them enwrapping them in complete darkness. Even the expertise of fishermen seems to be of no use. As time passes the wind becomes fiercer and the waves toss the boat up and down. Then in the middle of the night, out of the dark, the figure of a man appears in the distance and makes its way towards them. Who knows what kind of strange creatures live in the depths of those waters? Who knows if the stories of ghosts and paranormal phenomena are in fact true? They can do nothing other than panic and scream in terror.
When the ghost finally reaches the boat, he speaks to them over the roar or the sea and the wind: “Courage! It's me! Don't be afraid.” It is Jesus! What a relieve! But before anyone can ask him for help, Peter asks to be able to walk on the water as well, leaving everyone else bewildered. Peter doesn’t want the storm to finish, he wants to control it. He is convinced he has the faith, the knowledge, the expertise, the emotional strength to do it… But he doesn’t, and he sinks. So, Jesus takes him by the hand and helps him into the boat, at which moment the wind drops.
Story over? Not quite, because the real storm has just started, but his time deep in the hearts of those men, shaking everything they knew until then. What did just happen? What does this all mean? Why did we fail so badly? Why didn’t we trust in God better? Who is this Jesus of Nazareth who can multiply food, walk on the water and has power over the elements? That is, in fact, the real storm that the Gospel will calm as it unfolds and they learn more about themselves, God and His plan.
This story might not be remembered as the scariest story of all times, after all, but it will certainly be remembered as the story that helps us make sense and expel all the bouts, the shame and the failures that agitate our heart. As we come to acknowledge Jesus as God and saviour and accept that we are mere fragile humans, things start falling into place.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
Our condolences to Martin Lucas and family on the death of his mother Terri. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.
Breaking News: When visiting the Church you will now be able to make a donation at our contactless giving point.
The gestures and words are familiar to any Catholic. They are used at every Mass. They were used at the last supper. He took the bread…blessed it…broke it … and gave it to them. The celebration of the Mass, the Eucharist would be nothing but a romantic or aesthetic sensation if we forget that at the heart of it is the self-giving of Jesus. The sacrifice of yourself for others is the single foundation of every Community, Family or Household. Unite yourself with the Lord, then in a fruitful and acceptable offering for the life of the world. Each day at Mass we are nourished at the Lords table and filled with His riches. So be ready to break the bread of your life. The first reading toady contains an invitation, addressed to the exiles in Babylon, to come to the banquet. the banquet stands for the life of love and friendship God wishes to share with his people.
As we enter into August many of you are or hoping to travel. To find rest, refreshment, and healing. The people in the gospel passage today (Matthew 14:13-21), followed Jesus to a lonely place in order to listen to his words to seek healing. I hope you find some solace, rest and refreshment in these strange Covid August days. The invitation of the Lord to come aside and rest, to be refreshed by him in the Eucharist, the Holy Mass is always offered to us.
We would like to thank all those who have sent their condolences, Mass cards and letters of sympathy following the death and funeral of Fr Freddie Jackson. We and Fr Freddie's family have been incredibly touched by your kindness and remembrance of Fr Freddie.
We take this opportunity to extend our condolences to David Ko and his family for the loss his father Michael Ko.
If you told your teenage child to ask for anything, the single thing they want the most, how likely is it that they will ask for wisdom? And if now I asked you, how likely is it that you will ask for wisdom? It is not a secret that life with all its experiences shapes who we are, orders our priorities and makes us value certain things more than others. In the first reading this Sunday we have the example of Solomon. According to some sources, he was only 12 when, quite in a hurry, he was anointed king. You can almost visualize the horror in Solomon’s face when he found out he would have to lead a whole nation at such a young age. But then God spoke to him in a dream and told him: “ask what you would like me to give you”, and Solomon, who had no time to beat around the bush, answered right away: “give me wisdom”. As a teenager, wisdom was probably not his number one priority, but, hey! things had changed quite rapidly and there was nothing else he needed more. However, his choice was not just forced by the circumstances, it is also the result of an enormous spiritual effort and courage, that took young Solomon deep within his heart in search for the one thing he desired and needed most. And he must have got it right because God was “pleased” – which does not happen many times in the Old Testament.
Like him, there is a whole horde of men and women in the Bible who left what they loved and made them feel secure to go in search for something that was much better, more valuable and that deep down they desired more. An act of courage and faith that Jesus also demands of his disciples in the Gospel today. And, it is not that riches and material things are incompatible with the Kingdom of God. The issue here is that once you realise the incalculable value of the Kingdom of God, riches and possessions will appear as mere trinket and knick-knack. As St Paul himself wrote to his community in Philippi from Rome while he was in prison: “But what were once my assets I now through Christ Jesus count as losses. Yes, I will go further: because of the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, I count everything else as loss. For him I have accepted the loss of all other things, and look on them all as filth if only I can gain Christ” (Phi 3:7-8). So, this isn’t really about choosing between wisdom and riches or between the Kingdom of God and possessions because there isn’t a real choice. To choose something other than the Kingdom is to choose nothing. So, this is about discovering the real value of things, or rather the lack of value they have once you have encountered the Kingdom of God.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
For details of Fr Freddie Jackson's funeral rites follow this link.
Dear parishioners, dear friends
The word of God this Sunday suggests that if our lives are barren it can only mean that we have not allowed God’s word to take root in our hearts. Yet God never gives up on us. When we are gathered up into God’s loving arms we shall see and understand ourselves fully for All in the end is harvest.
On the afternoon of Friday 17 July Fr Freddie died peacefully in The Kensington Care Home, Ladbroke Road where he had been living these last weeks. At the beginning of the lock down Fr Freddie went for respite care to Nazareth House East Finchley. He had been living for many years with Parkinson’s. This year he received a diagnosis of cancer. He was so happy to be back in Kensington. He had served the parish for 20 years.
On Thursday 16 July Fr Freddie’s health took a sudden turn for the worse. I went to see him. I prayed with him and for him. He also received the Last Rites of the Church for his final journey home. Close family members were able to spend time with him. He died with Peter his brother by his bedside.
We have so much to be grateful for in Fr Freddie. I think of his preaching, kindness, learning, empathy and joie de vivre. A little sparkle has gone from our lives and the parish. He was in so many ways the hidden glue that helped to hold so much together.
It was while Fr Perry Sykes was Parish Priest of OLV that Fr Freddie learnt of his Parkinson’s. With Fr Perry’s support and God’s grace Fr Freddie found the courage to continue his priestly ministry. He was a man of great courage.
Fr Fred was born in Liverpool on 27 September 1943 and ordained to the priesthood in Westminster Cathedral on 28 June 1997 by Cardinal Basil Hume. He had served as an Anglican priest for many years before his reception into the Catholic Church. Sr Maureen, Fr Daniel and I wish to thank parishioners who gave so much of their love, support and company to Fr Fred. It meant so much to him. We will announce the funeral arrangements shortly. Our condolences and prayers are with his brother Peter, sister in law Joan, nephew Andrew and nieces Gemma and Joanne.
I want to leave the last word to Fr Freddie with words preached at a parishioner’s funeral:
“So farewell, but never goodbye. For God will gather us together again in the joy of His Kingdom.…God who understands and cherishes in a special way those who are fractured and broken by life. So thanks for this noble friend who so loved the Lord under the forms of bread and wine, and to whom in the stillness of His healing voice that same Lord must now be saying well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter the joy of thy Lord.”
May Frederick George Jackson, Christian, pilgrim and priest of the Most High God, rest in peace and rise in glory
This pandemic has revived many theories about the end of human life on this planet and has certainly given a lot of credibility to those who claim a virus will end up destroying humanity. In my opinion, it could well be the case, but I am quite sure this won’t happen the way most scientists believe. The risk humanity faces every time we suffer a crisis or a catastrophe, is not only the massive loss of human lives but the loss of the whole human society. And when will that happen? Well… we won’t have to wait for all humans to be exterminated, as many apocalyptic predictions of the future show. It could happen a lot earlier, because, in fact, you only need society to become inhuman, and that can happen as early as the day we all start CALCULATING. It is common – and to certain extend understandable – that in the face of suffering and loss our most basic instincts kick in, we switch to “survival mode”, we deploy all our self-defence mechanisms and all we care about is our own benefit. What do I gain? How much do I need to give? How much can I afford? When that day arrives though, we will stop giving freely. We won’t smile. We won’t greet each other. We won’t go an extra mile. That day the weak, the elderly and whoever is in need will matter no more. That day, human society will have disappeared, and that will be the beginning of the end.
The readings of this Sunday, however, shed a ray of light. Despite human’s cold heart, God remains faithful and generous. Because he never holds on to debts nor calculates loss, he continues to give freely and abundantly. Like the rain on the earth, he does not calculate where it falls, he does not ask permission, he does not measure. Or like the sower who throws the seed to right and left, convinced that if only a few, a little “rest”, falls on good soil they will compensate for all the others.
So, when you look out into the world and see the society decomposing, don’t worry, it might not be the end just yet. For there might be a little “rest”, a little remnant of people who hear the word of God, and like him they do not count the loss nor hold on to debts and so they can still give themselves freely and generously. A little “rest” who will compensate for the others. They will be the few whose love will overpower the darkness and chaos of the hatred of others. They, in fact will be the oasis, for the others. In them, human society will survive, love will still survive somewhere, in some place on this earth, and within it, humans will flourish and thrive.
Now stop for a moment, be quiet, listen. Can you hear it? God might be calling you to be part of that little “rest”.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
See the Home page for this week's Mass times. Given the restrictions in numbers, if you intend to come to Mass, please book in advance so that we can accommodate you. https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/kensington1/events/
Dear Parishioner, dear friends,
From Monday 6th July we will open the Church for Mass’s with a congregation. In line with Public Health requirements and diocesan guidance there will be a limit to how many can attend.
We are not yet in the new normal. The Covid-19 virus is still among us. We are living though a time of transition. It is important that we remember this and continue to care for each other.
We need to know if you intend to come to Mass. This will enable us to ensure everyone’s safety.
To facilitate this, you can let us know by pre booking (Letting us know) on the https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/kensington1/events/
Or email the parish office or Telephone
Our Bishops have removed the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday during this emergency. We are encouraged to attend Mass on any day we can. It does not have to be Sunday for the moment.
These are the Mass times for the week of 6th to 10th July
Monday to Thursday 10.00 am
Friday 6.30 pm
Sunday 9.30 am
11.am Live streamed only Mass (no public congregation) Join via our Parish website.
Sunday open for individual prayer only 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm
Please note all the celebration of Mass will be lived streamed
These times will be reviewed and changed as we monitor the response and need. At Mass celebrated with a congregation the following will be observed:
Finally could you volunteer to clean the Church after Mass and/ or act as steward?
We will be in touch with further updates Thank you to those who have helped open the Church for individual prayer
Yours sincerely in Christ
Monsignor Jim Curry
Who am I?
We have all been there, we have all done it and possibly also suffered it. No sooner did we learn how to speak than we bombarded our poor parents with questions. As an average, a child makes up to 40.000 questions between the ages of 2 to 5. This means that if you have a child in your care, depending on their age, you may be lucky enough to be subjected to up to 300 questions in one day! If you are a parent or a schoolteacher and you are reading this, know that you have all my respect.
However, as we grow up, every individual must leave behind the simplicity of the question “why?” to start formulating more complex questions. And I don’t mean questions that use many more words, but questions that are extremely urgent and yet extremely difficult to answer. Questions such as: “Who am I?” “What is my place in this world?” “What have I been created for?” Knowing the world around us is good and necessary but it is also totally unsatisfactory if we don’t know who we are and what our role in this world is.
But no matter how well you think you know yourself that sooner or later suddenly something will open your eyes to the humbling realization that you don’t know yourself at all. And more often than not, it does not come as a result of an exercise of introspection, but surprisingly, as the result of an encounter with the other.
This was surely the experience of Peter and Paul, whose feast we celebrate this Sunday. Peter had his own family, a well-established fishing company and he owned at least two properties. But when he thought that there wasn't more to his existence than being a father a husband and a fisherman, he had an encounter with Jesus that changed that completely. Surely, his new life was not exempt from problems and difficulties, but all in all was an amazing adventure he would have never imagined. So it happened with Paul. He was a very well-educated Pharisee, he also enjoyed Roman citizenship, and earned his living making tents. He thought his vocation was to destroy Christianity, but then he too had an encounter with Jesus who put his life upside down, or rather, the right way up.
This feast of Peter and Paul encourages us all not to be afraid of Jesus Christ, or even to seek him out, who will show us who we truly are, where to find fulfilment, how to reach our potentials and help us occupy the place in this world that God had planned for each one of us.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
From 5th July, our Church opens for public worship, Mass will be celebrated Monday - Saturday at 10am. We will announce the Sunday schedule next week. With social distancing measures in place we will be able to accommodate 100 persons at any Mass. We are working to see how best we can facilitate our safe return to the building. We will need volunteer stewards and cleaners to be present at these Masses. Please consider being a volunteer.
PWe are prone to fear and worry. Many feel today that there is much to fear. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing. We are right to fear violence, cruelty and indifference. Fear can act as a protective function, warning us of the presence of danger. But fear can be a handicap. It can paralyse, it can sap our confidence and our courage.
The apostles were afraid (Matthew 10: 26-33). In telling them not to be Jesus doesn’t underestimate the challenge fear poses. Christ wants to allay their fear to give them the courage they will need to fulfil their mission.
How does he do this. He calls them to trust. Trust in God who values all his creatures even the smallest like the sparrow. Courage is the most important of the virtues. Without courage we can’t practise any other virtue. To be free from fear is a great gift.
How do we learn to trust? We learn to trust in our relationships. Relationships of nurturing, faithful and stable love. How can we become less fearful, more transparent, present to our situation, the now, free? Strong real prayer life. It’s in our prayer we meet God. It is Jesus who teaches us to pray and The Holy spirit who gives us the courage to persevere in the midst of our doubts. There are so many ways we can pray. There is the prayer of the Mass, quiet contemplation or the payer of service. Truly a life of prayer will allow us to live more fully until the time comes to die. It is vital that each one of us discovers a pattern of prayer. A rhythm suited to our state of life. Don’t delay. In prayer we can learn to live with our worries and face our fears.
P.S. Please find here the link to the interview with Revd Dr Paul Haidostian mentioned in the homily on Sunday.
It is full of hope and insight and only 10 minutes long. https://youtu.be/b6FrInlFAoY
P.P.S. Remember that we are open this Sunday for individual prayer from 2pm to 6pm. Thank you to all who volunteered to act as stewards and cleaners this Sunday and on Wednesday.
Happy Father’s day to all our dads.
If you need any spiritual books and items please contact the Pauline Books & Media at:
telephone: 0207 937 9591
Pray with the Pope:
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Also known as “Corpus Christi”. A feast that allows us to look back to wonder and thank God for the great gifts with which He has blest humanity throughout history. But most of all, for the gift of His Son Jesus Christ, offered to us every time we celebrate the Eucharist.
Starting from the first reading the Church looks back at the wonders that took place during the Exodus. Without bouts, the single greatest experience the people of Israel had in all their history. It was indeed a time of trial, but it was also the moment when God gave His people two of the greatest gifts they ever received. Firstly, the Manna, that strange flaky stuff “like white coriander seeds” which appeared every morning in the Israelite camp. So strange and alien it was to them that they named it Manna, which means “What is it?” But regardless, it was providential, it kept them from dying of starvation, and the taste was pleasant, “it was like wafers made with honey”. It was a real gift from heaven. So much so that they kept a jar of it to put it in the Ark of the Covenant as a reminder to future generations, together with Aron’s staff. Incidentally, that Ark had been built to contain the second gift they received from God in the desert: the Torah (The Law). That way, both their physical and their spiritual food were kept together, as an everlasting memorial of God’s love and providence.
But God had yet another gift in mind for us, one that would surpass all the gifts of the past: His own Son. He descended to us assuming a human body and a human soul, to offer His whole self – His divinity and His humanity, His soul and His divinised, resurrected and transfigured body – as the ultimate gift and food for us. And, although, this gift of His whole self happened once and for all, He left us the Eucharist, as the sacrament of His death and resurrection so that what happened in past history may become present and real for us once again. That way, all who receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist experience with him His death and resurrection. There is no greater gift, no better food, no stronger encouragement, until we can be with Him for ever, in body and spirit, in heaven.
Traditionally, we have marked this Solemnity with processions, exposition of the blessed sacrament and many other devotions. This year however none of those things will take place. But it should not escape our attention the fact that God, in his providential design, has arranged this Solemnity to mark the reopening of our churches. We won’t be able to celebrate public Mass just yet, but we will be allowed nonetheless, to come and visit the Blessed Sacrament once again*.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
* For more information about the opening of the Church visit the News section of the website.
Black lives matter. No one can be left untroubled by the awful events we have all witnessed in the USA in these last days. As Christians we believe every human being is made in the image a likeness of God. As Pope Francis has forcibly reminded us, there can be no place for racialism in our hearts or communities. In our own nation our Black and Asian citizens have suffer dis-proportionately during the Covid 19 pandemic. This is a cause of concern for us all. We need to understand why this is the case. For when one brother or sister suffers we all suffer in some way.
As we reflect on the mystery of the Most Blessed and undivided Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit we are invited to ponder on the gift of the divine life of grace that lives in us all. Made in the image of the Triune God every life matters. From the unborn child in the womb to the person preparing to die.
When we talk of God we are dealing with the greatest mystery. Yet any child can grasp it in such a way as to be able to pray it and live it. St Augustine wrote If you want to see God you have the means to do so, Look at your neighbour. Your sister or brother.
We can talk of God as our Father. A Father who loves us without reserve. We think of Jesus as our brother who gave his life for us. And we can describe the Holy Spirit as a friend who helps us to live like Jesus, and who binds us together as sisters and brothers in a community of faith and love. As Christians this is the atmosphere in which we live and move and have our being. This is who God is, the ground of our being. We are not souls trapped in matter, but dust breathed in to shape. We are Physical beings with a spiritual purpose and meaning. That purpose is Union with God. That is why we can say every life Matters because God made it matter.