St Simon Stock Catholic Church

Brookfield Road, South Ashford, Kent TN23 4EU Tel: 01233 622399

27th DECEMBER 2009 THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH YEAR C

Parish Priest: Fr John Boyle
Saint Simon of England RC Primary School, Noakes Meadow, Ashford, TN23 2RB. Tel: 01233 623199 Head teacher: Mrs Elizabeth Willis

MASS TIMES AND INTENTIONS th Sunday 27 The Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph (C) 10.00am Mass (Thanksgiving) 12.00noon Mass (Latin, 1962 Missal) (Sunday with the Octave of the Nativity) (Elizabeth Honywood RIP) 6.00pm Mass (For the people of the parish) th Monday 28 The Holy Innocents, martyrs, feast 10.00am Mass (Deceased relatives and friends of Msoka family RIP) th Tuesday 29 St Thomas of Canterbury, bishop and martyr, feast 10.00am Mass (Holy Souls in Purgatory RIP) followed by Divine Mercy Chaplet & Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until 11.00 th Wednesday 30 Sixth day of the Octave of the Nativity 6.45pm Mass (Latin, 1962 Missal) (The Holy Father, bishops and priests) st Thursday 31 Seventh day of the Octave of the Nativity 10.00am Mass (Healing of SOLT brothers seriously injured in car accident) 4.30pm – 5.30pm Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Act of Thanksgiving for the 2009 with sung Te Deum, First Vespers of the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, Consecration of the new year to Mary. Benediction st Friday 1 January 2010 The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Solemnity 10.00am Low Mass (Latin, 1962 Missal) (Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord) 12.00noon Mass (deceased members of Kelleher family and friends RIP) nd Saturday 2 SS Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors of the Church 9.00am Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 10.00am Mass (Private Intentions) rd Sunday 3 The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Solemnity 10.00am Mass (Fr. Ben Kiely – Anniversary of Ordination) 6.00pm Mass (For the people of the parish) CONFESSION TIMES Weekdays: before or after Mass upon request. Saturday: 10.30am; Sundays: ½ hour before Mass CHURCH CLEANING st th th nd th th 1 Sue; 8 Tara; 15 Kilda; 22 Agnes, 29 Bridie; Feb 5 Sue; COLLECTIONS LAST SUNDAY Offertory: £268.59, (Gift Aid: £113.45, loose plate: £155.14) + £96 approx by standing order. Second collection: Parish Maintenance and Development Fund £88.34. Thank you. Second collection today and next Sunday: Parish Maintenance and Development Fund. CHRISTMAS CARD REMINDER Please remember to check the Christmas card rack in case someone has put a card there for you. If you have put a card for someone, do ensure it has been taken. The rack will be removed next Sunday and any remaining cards discarded.

TODAY’S MASS TEXTS Entrance Antiphon: Luke 2:16 The shepherds hastened to Bethlehem, where they found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. First Reading: 1 Samuel 1:20-22.24-28 Samuel is made over to the Lord for the whole of his life. Responsorial Psalm: Ps 83 R: They are happy who dwell in your house, O Lord. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts. My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my soul ring out their joy to God, the living God. (R) They are happy, who dwell in your house, for ever singing your praise. They are happy, whose strength is in you, they walk with ever growing strength. (R) O Lord, God of hosts, hear my prayer, give ear, O God of Jacob. Turn your eyes, O God our shield, look on the face of your anointed. (R) Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-2.21-24 We are called God’s children; and that is what we are. Gospel Acclamation: Acts 16:14b Alleluia, alleluia! Open our heart, O Lord, to accept the words of your Son. Alleluia! Gospel: Luke 2:41-52 Jesus is found by his parents sitting among the doctors. Preface of Christmas I, Eucharistic Prayer 1 Communion Antiphon: Baruch3:38 Our God has appeared on earth, and lived among men. PRAYERS FOR THE SICK Please pray for all our sick parishioners especially Rita Redman and Joe Dean. Names of those who need our prayers can be placed in the box in the church foyer. SANCTUARY LAMP OFFERINGS If you would like the sanctuary lamp by the tabernacle to burn in memory of any particular person or for any particular intention, please hand a note of the intention with an offering (suggested £5) in an envelope to the parish office or place it in the offertory basket. The intention will be mentioned in the weekly newsletter. THIS WEEK’S SANCTUARY LAMP INTENTION Private Intention CHURCH CLEANING Many thanks to those who answered the call for additional cleaners; please keep an eye on the rota (printed left) for your week to clean. Grateful thanks to Sheila who has decided to stand down from the rota after many years service to the parish. CRIB OFFERING The crib will remain on display throughout the Christmas season nd and up to 2 February, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas). Your kind donations to the crib will go to the Good Counsel Network to support their work in reaching more abortion-minded women to change their hearts.

Parish email: parish@stsimon.org.uk; Parish website: www.stsimon.org.uk; Diocesan website: www.rcsouthwark.co.uk Fr John’s blog: http://caritasveritas.blogspot.com/ Parish blog: http://st-simon-parish.blogspot.com/

FR. JOHN’S DESKTOP In the last couple of weeks there have been many lovely items in the media (at least those that I listen to or read) about Christmas. The air waves still carry the central message: that God became Man, in fact a baby, in a stable in Bethlehem. This is not just a lovely story but is historically true. St Luke goes to great lengths to tell us who were the rulers, governors, tetrarchs and high priest at the time of Jesus’ birth and John the Baptist’s preaching by the Jordan. We should not doubt that God came among us at a particular moment in history according to His eternal Wisdom. The many carols and readings that have been played on the radio over recent days remind us of this fact. One thing that has slightly annoyed me, however, is the description of Mary as a single mother. I do not wish to reproach in any way the good single mothers that we have among us as faithful members of our parish. The reasons for their single state are many and it is not for us to judge them. The Church offers her support and welcome to all who wish to follow the ways of God. But Mary was most decidedly not a single mother. Marriage is at the heart of God’s plan. ‘It is not good for a man to be alone.’ And neither was it good for the young woman Mary to be alone. God chose a just and wonderful man named Joseph to be Mary’s husband, to care for her and for the Child that she was bearing by the power of the Holy Spirit. In being born into a family, God wished to show that the family, consisting of husband, wife and child(ren) is essential to His plan for mankind. There is no doubt that not all families perfectly reflect this Divine plan, just as we as individuals so frequently fail to live according to our divine calling. This is because we live in a world affected by sin, especially our own personal sins, and the sins of others are not without their effects upon us. The great promise of Christmas is that the sin-broken world we live in is not fatally flawed but can be redeemed. And every family, including those that have been broken in one way or another, is capable of redemption and healing by God’s grace. On the other hand, Mary would have been a teenager when she conceived. Had she been a young girl in Britain at the present time, she would very likely have been considered a failure in the Government’s efforts to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancies, and we know the options that would have been offered her. And the pharmacist/doctor/school nurse would have assured her that her parents and her husband would be kept in the dark. Far from the political correctness that pervades the modern world, we need to get back in touch with God’s wisdom and rediscover the true nature of things, particularly of all that concerns marriage, family and the sanctity of life. On this feast of the Holy Family, I hope you have all had the opportunity to be with or at least be in touch with your families over this Christmas time, and that you will continue to keep the mystery of Christmas before your hearts and minds throughout this Christmas season. Fr. John
REGULAR EVENTS – COME ALONG! DIVINE MERCY PRAYER GROUP after the 9.30am Mass on Tuesdays. Prayers of intercession for various needs and silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament till 10.30am. CHOIR PRACTICE THURSDAYS 7.30PM Newcomers always welcome BIBLE STUDY WEDNESDAYS 7.30PM th Next meeting – 6 January. YEAR OF PRAYER FOR PRIESTS Come and pray the Rosary for our priests 20 minutes before the weekday morning Masses. This week you are th th asked to pray for: Sun 27 Dec Fr. Bernard Heaphy, Mon 28 Fr. th th Richard Hearn; Tues 29 Fr. John Hearty, Weds 30 Fr. William st st Hebborn; Thurs 31 Fr. Thomas Heneghan; Fri 1 Jan Fr. John nd rd Henry, Sat 2 Fr. Seamus Hetherton, Sun 3 Mgr. Edward Hill. devotion @ BALHAM th A prayer festival for young people (late teens/twenties) 29 Dec. st – 1 Jan at Holy Ghost Church, Balham, London, run by Youth 2000. A dynamic programme including Mass, Adoration, talks. Donation only. Under-18’s need parental consent form; under16’s need to be accompanied by an adult. Anyone interested see Fr John, or see notice board. in your own special ways to keeping the presence of Christ alive in our parish community, in your families, homes, etc. Visitors at the Christmas Masses commented on the happy sense of community they experienced. May we all seek to be messengers of peace, joy, hope to the people of our time. Happy Christmas! A SERMON OF POPE ST LEO THE GREAT FOR CHRISTMAS CHRISTIAN, REMEMBER YOUR DIGNITY Today our Saviour is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness. No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life. In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God’s wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind. And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to men of good will as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvellous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men? Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh. Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom. Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ.

THANK YOU… For your kind Christmas offerings, for all your other tokens of appreciation and your assurances of prayer. I should like to thank all who help throughout the year in matters concerning the liturgy: Guy and Catarina Beresford for generous and selfless dedication to sacristy and altar, our servers and readers, our choir who give so generously of their time to practise music, and our organists. Thanks to our extraordinary ministers who take Communion to the housebound; to those who decorate our church with flowers throughout the year and particularly for the festive floral decorations at this season; to those who clean the church and help in other ways to ensure that all is prepared so that we are able to worship in a House befitting the presence of God; to my secretary Thereza for her generosity in responding beyond the call of duty to the needs of the parish; to any whom I may I have omitted from this list and to all of you who contribute To catch up on previous newsletters visit http://www.stsimon.org.uk/Newsletters/