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Fr Martin’s Homily from 3rd September 23

Some twenty two years ago, an assistant priest, packed his boxes to leave from here to become the chaplain at the University of Essex. He had only been an assistant at Our Lady of Lourdes for a year but it had left a deep impression on him. He had learnt so much from his parish priest, Fr Pat Sammon, and from the people of the parish. As the curate was leaving, Fr Pat gave him a spare bed to take with him saying “you’ll need this to lay your head on.”

That assistant was me and never did I think that I would return to Our Lady of Lourdes as its parish priest. But God’s plans for us are often surprising and very different to those we might manufacture for ourselves. But what is clear, it is Christ who has brought me here, not a removal van. His plan, not mine.

And it is an honour to re-join your wonderful community of faith. Some of you may be able to retrieve a vague memory of me from my brief time here, others of you will have no idea who I am. But just as I am not the same person I was twenty odd years ago (these grey hairs are evidence of that), so you will have changed, matured, developed, collected a few battle scars along the way as individuals and, indeed, as a community.

I said that I remember this as a wonderful community of faith. This recollection is not to flatter you but just to acknowledge a truth: across the Diocese and beyond Our Lady of Lourdes has long been considered a flagship parish not simply because of the numbers of people who have gathered here to worship God but also because of the quality of their faith, if one  might dare to speak in such crude terms. Men and women, a pilgrim people, who have a real love for Jesus and His Church, a boldness about proclaiming God’s kingdom; heralds of God’s truth; disciples of Christ.

These were the hallmarks of this parish. I sense already that those hallmarks are still in evidence.

More than ever, we need communities of faith and hope, communities that declare aloud that God is steadfast: that He is our rock and our shield. He is love. We need men and women who by their lives proclaim that love’s victory has been won for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A community that says life is worthwhile; that justice is worth striving for; that beauty, truth and goodness are what make us truly alive.

That community is not some religious fantasy. With the Holy Spirit, the Lord the giver of life, that idea of what we are able to become takes flesh. That community sits in front of me.

But I am also aware of the many challenges that your community has faced in recent years and done so with great dignity and resilience. Like all parishes, you experienced Covid and so many of our communities are still suffering from a spiritual long Covid, a loss of many of our brothers and sisters combined with a certain loss of confidence about their purpose and future. At the same time, Fr Pat Sammon became ill and just over a year ago died. Fr Adrian, a newly ordained priest, was left to care for and steer a course for the community during those uncertain and sad times. He did so with great spiritual and pastoral care.

In the 1970’s there were four priests resident here, then three, two and now one and if you are not depressed enough, it gets even worse, you have ended up with me.

But God’s plan, not ours and maybe this is an opportune moment for us to pause and discern God’s will for us, to become more sensitive to the movements of the Holy Spirit, to find our spiritual bearings and to face the future together with great hope and a renewed sense of mission.

I ask for your prayer, your understanding and your help. If I am to be a teacher, I need to be a learner; to learn from your experiences and how God has touched your lives. If I am to be a man of prayer, I need to be surrounded by your prayer. If I am to take up my Cross and follow the Lord, I invite you to help me to shoulder any trials and challenges we will face together. If I am to be a witness to hope, I need your witness to sustain and strengthen me.

I put before you today a single appeal. Listen to the call of the Holy Spirit. We must grow in trust of God and not fall into the trap of thinking that it all depends on “me”. It doesn’t. It cannot. But together, Our Lady of Lourdes will flourish again as a refuge of prayer and hope for those who are lost, bruised and hurting; a sanctuary of praise for those who wish to give thanks to God.

By the way, I still have and use the bed. I do have somewhere to lay my head. I feel very blessed and humbled to be back.

Fr Martin Boland, 3rd September 2023

Message from Fr Adrian 27.08.23

Dear Friends,

We welcome Father Martin Boland as our new Parish Priest next weekend and I know that you will receive him with the same warmth as you received me three years ago.

I move on to Saint Edmund of Canterbury in Loughton during the week but will always have a special place in my heart for the parish where I was first a priest and that taught me such a lot.

 

You are caring and vibrant group of parishioners that does much for the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Say a prayer for me from time to time if I come into your mind. Thank you to all who continue to help out in so many ways and have supported and encouraged me during my time at Our Lady of Lourdes.

I will return the parish in the 17th September to celebrate the 6.30pm Mass (with refreshments afterwards) and look forward to seeing you then.

With my prayers

Fr Adrian

Clergy Appointments from 2/3 September

Dear Friends,

Bishop Alan has announced the parish appointments in our diocese for this coming September. Father Martin Boland comes to us in Wanstead as our new Parish Priest.

Father Martin brings many years of priestly experience and was once an Assistant Priest here in the parish. He will be ministering as the only priest in the parish. Bishop Alan has asked me to take up the appointment as Parish Priest of St. Edmund of Canterbury, Loughton.

Please keep all the clergy who are moving this September in your prayers

God bless

Fr. Adrian

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The other moves are as follows;

PARISH PRIESTS

Fr John Harvey: from Loughton to Cathedral

Fr Mark Reilly: from Wickford to Hornchurch, St Mary

Fr Martin Fletcher: from Hornchurch, St Mary to Epping

Fr Britto Belevendran: from Hornchurch, English Martyrs to Wickford

Fr Linu Thankachan: from Ilford, St John the Baptist to Hornchurch, English Martyrs

Fr Clement Orango: from Nottingham Diocese to Stansted as Priest-in-Charge

Fr Henry Mobela: Zambian Chaplaincy in London to Chadwell Heath as Priest-in-Charge

Fr Tarciziu Erdes:Assistant Priest to Parish Priest ofThe Assumption, Hainault

ASSISTANT PRIESTS

Fr Paschal Uche: from Colchester to Chelmsford, Our Lady Immaculate, Holy Name & Springfield

Fr Jerold Terrence: Kerala to Manor Park

Fr Philip Okoli: Resident at Community of St John, Forest Gate to Colchester

Holy Week 2023

 

 

LENT RETREAT QUIET DAY

Thursday 9th March 10.30am to 3pm and repeated Saturday 11th March, 10.30am to 3pm.

“Journey in Faith towards Easter”
A time to prepare for this great Feast of the Resurrection in a prayerful environment at The Convent of the Assumption, 13 the Avenue

All are welcome and a light lunch will be provided.

CAKE SALE AFTER 9.30 MASS 5th MARCH

To celebrate the occasion, please come and join us for delicious cakes and enjoy a Fairtrade tea/coffee

LECTIO DIVINA

Starting on Saturday 25th February, and during this season of Lent, all are
very welcome to attend Lectio Divina in the Pastoral Centre on Wednesday
mornings at 10am (after the Wednesday teas and coffees) and on
Saturdays between 5:15pm and 6:15pm (before the 6:30pm Mass). Please
do come and develop a new prayer habit during Lent.

CAFOD Lent Appeal

Ash Wednesday- 22nd February

Wednesday 22nd February is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Mass will be at 9am and 8pm. Ashes will be distributed at both masses.

CAFOD Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal  

CAFOD Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal

CAFOD is responding with support of provision of food, water, shelter, medical assistance and winter kits for survivors. Your donations in recent months have made that quick response possible. Let us join CAFOD in praying for our sisters and brothers affected by the earthquakes and the winter weather. Your support for CAFOD throughout the year allows our Catholic agency to act quickly when disasters strike. For more details visit CAFOD’s Turkey Syria Earthquake Appeal online at https://cafod.org.uk/give