The mention of vines and vineyards in this Sunday’s reading may bring a smile to the face of any wine connoisseurs who are listening. However, a close inspection reveals that we are not being taught about the benefits of drinking good wine.
Instead, there is a warning – a choice vine may well yield sour grapes.
Despite the blessings of human life and the beauty of creation, it is possible to spoil what has been so wonderfully and fearfully made:
‘What could I have done for my vineyard which I have not done?’ asks the owner of the vineyard.
Here we have an encouragement to honest self-examination, and also to assess our more general behaviour as a family, a parish, as the Holy Church, and as humanity in general.
The gifts of God are for the people of God – for our good. Come harvest time, and even beforehand, it is our response to the greatest gift of God – his only Son, the True Vine – which will determine the ripeness and sweetness of the fruits we yield, or otherwise.
Thank you to all who made our open day and concert such a wonderful day.
To our singers and musicians and those who prepared our refreshments special word of gratitude is due.
Deacon Antonio has left us to return to Rome to complete his studies and we wish him well. He has left his mark on the parish, most especially on the website. Deacon Antonio has a gift for working with IT. We will miss him and his gifts. Please do look at the website and see for yourselves. Below Tony writes ..
"After just over three weeks, the time has come for me to leave the parish of Our Lady of Victories and return to Rome for the final year of my studies. Thank you for the warm welcome and support and the happy memories that I take with me. I have certainly developed and grown as a deacon during my time here, thanks to the patience and guidance of Fathers Jim, Freddie and Daniel! I feel that I am leaving behind a new family and friends but I thank you for your prayers, and please be assured of mine. I look forward to coming back to our diocese for good and pray for the privilege of celebrating mass at OLOV when, God willing, I am ordained a priest. Thank you, Antonio"
In 2014 we began the refurbishment of our Church and parish centre. In addition to Stephen Foster’s Reredos we have a new Purbeck stone floor, remodelled sanctuary and steps. We have also commissioned new Altar furniture
The new pieces are bold and contemporary. The aim is to create a unity of design between all the elements of the sanctuary. The brief given to our designers was to keep it simple. You will see a new chair for the priest who presides at Mass, new benches and kneelers for the servers. We also have two new credence tables and altar candle sticks.
I am so grateful to all who have worked on the project. Colin Smart associates our architects and Mr Chris Fanning, Senior parish building surveyor of the diocese. I thank the parish finance and maintenance committee for their advice and insight. In the last year we have been working with Chris Eckersley and Gareth Neal designers of international standing on the new Ancaster stone Ambo, tabernacle stand and oak furniture. They have been a pleasure to work with. You can follow the story of the designs on a mini website devoted to the OLOV project. Particular thanks goes to Peter McKenna who has been a true driving force and friend of this last phase of the project.
On 19th September the designers will be in the Church from 4pm to answer any questions you may have. I thank everyone involved for giving us a renewed Church fit for the true worship of God and a place of shelter for all God’s people. Please do come to one of the two free concerts that will be performed here on Tuesday 19th September, one at lunchtime 1pm to 1.50pm and the other in the evening at 7pm.
Cardinal Cormac served as the tenth Archbishop of Westminster, in succession to Cardinal George Basil Hume O.S.B., from March 2000 until he retired in May 2009. He was created a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in February 2001. Born in Reading, Berkshire on 24 August 1932 he went on to study for the Priesthood, in Rome and was Ordained as a Priest of the Diocese of Portsmouth in October 1956. After a few years in parish ministry he returned to Rome as Rector of the Venerable English College where he had studied for the Priesthood. He returned to England to be Ordained as the third Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, in December 1977. He was appointed Archbishop of Westminster in 2000. Following his retirement, at the age of 75, he continued to serve the Church locally, nationally and internationally in a variety of ways, including membership of various Vatican departments.
Many tributes have been written about Cardinal Cormac, a remarkable man, Priest and Bishop who knew, loved and served the Lord. He died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends on Friday 1 September. He will be sorely missed, and fondly remembered, by his large family and many friends. May he rest in peace and may he see the face of God forever.
Cardinal Cormac's Funeral Mass will be on Wednesday 13 September at Westminster Cathedral at 12noon. Entrance by ticket only, but parishioners can attend the Reception of his mortal remains at the Cathedral on Tuesday at 10am and his remains will be there throughout the day. Solemn Evening Prayer will be at 5pm. All are welcome. There will be a Memorial Mass at the Cathedral on Wednesday 4 October at 5.30pm when all will be welcome.
In Cardinal Cormac's own words, written shortly before his death: 'At this time, the words I pray every night are never far from my thoughts - Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit...I am at peace and have no fear of what is to come. I have received many blessings in my life, especially from my family and friends...Above all, as I now commend myself to the loving mercy of God, I ask them all to pray for me as I remember and pray for them.'
May he rest in peace.
The holidays are coming to an end so its back to work, school, college or new adventures for most of us.
I hope that the summer gave you the opportunity for rest and relaxation. I also hope that you are not experiencing too much of the holiday blues.
You may have noticed some new features in the sanctuary of the Church. A new Ambo - where the word of God is honoured and proclaimed - a new plinth to support the tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved for the sick and personal adoration and you will notice new cladding on the Altar itself, where the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist is offered. We expect new furniture for the sanctuary in the next two weeks and by then we will have completed the works we began in 2012.
All this work was made possible by your generosity. Thank you.
By way of celebrating the end of all these works we will be joining the London Design Week. The Church will be open so that the new works can be seen by visitors who would not usually enter the church. On September 19th we will have an open day with a talk, Q&A and music performed by our professional choir.
All parishioners are cordially invited to the concert which begins at 7pm on September 19th.
There will be more details next week. If you are new to our parish please let us know and pick up a welcome pack from the parish office or the back of the Church.
How Great is the Goodness of the Lord.