The National Eucharistic Congress was a three-day event which took place in Liverpool in September. Because places had to be limited, very few of us in our parishes were able to attend. Many of those who went from Southwark parishes came together for the first of the follow-up meetings at the Christian Education Centre, Tooting Bec, on Saturday 6 October. It was immediately evident that they had brought back with them an excitement for what they had experienced and an enthusiasm to share it. Representatives from the furthest reaches of Southwark Diocese crammed into the room with some having to listen through the open door!
Adoremus – Latin for “Let us adore” – may have been a slightly misleading title for the event as it was not simply about Eucharistic Adoration. Rather, it was about our relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist of the Mass, and in Eucharistic Adoration, and in the strength we draw from those encounters to go out and share that joy and peace with the world around us.
Fortunately, modern technology comes to our aid in hearing the message from Liverpool as video recordings of the keynote speakers are accessible on www.catholicnews.org.uk/Home/Videos. Here you can watch and listen to :
1. Bishop Robert Barron – The Mystery of the Mass, & Sainthood, Sanctity and what makes us Holy
2. Sister Margaret Atkins – Teaching the Eucharist
3. Canon David Oakley – The Eucharist in the life of the Church
4. Canon Mervyn Power – The Scriptural Context
All are worth viewing.
Southwark delegates to the Congress were asked to complete a report summarising their thoughts and ideas. These reports have now been studied by the diocesan “Listening Group” and themes summarised as follows:
- We are the Body of Christ. Jesus present in Word and Sacrament
- Centrality of the Eucharist.
- Welcome that is open. Being able to read the signs of the times with wisdom.
- Passionate and Compassionate. Using real language.
- Witness that is personal. Recognition of the “Gifts of the Laity”/Lay Leadership
- Catechesis very important. Building links: Parish/ Deanery/School/Dioceses/Wider Church/ Ecumenical/Wider World.
- More awareness of what is going on in the diocese. So much wonderful work is going on especially with the various sodalities.
- Must be mindful of outcomes. How do we go forward?
- Devotional formation: Silence/meditation/Adoration/Importance of Sung Prayer/plus………..
- Coming together of the Diocese/ Long term planning/Synod/Parish Missions/Parish Renewal.
- Diocesan/Parish audit.
The challenge for all of us now is to absorb the messages from the Liverpool Congress and find imaginative ways of putting the ideas into practice in our parish liturgies, catechesis, pastoral care and outreach. A further follow-up meeting is being held at the Sacred Heart Church, Wimbledon on Saturday 10th November, 10.00 – 13.00hrs, where Fr Timothy Radcliffe will speak on “Discerning Mission and Legacy”
This year’s Christmas Fair proceeds will be going to a very poor school in a small village in Nigeria – Queen of Apostles Nursery, Primary and Secondary Technical School. Fr Uche had the opportunity to visit the school when he was in Nigeria last January, and he was horrified to see the state of the building and the dire conditions the poor students have to endure.
The building works necessary to turn this into a viable place of study has been estimated at around £2,500, which we hope to achieve during Advent with everybody’s help.
Apart from the proceeds of the Christmas Fair, we are also having 2nd collections during the four weekends of Advent to help raise this sum.
Please also consider sponsoring a child during their studies: £25 a year for a Nursery/Primary pupil; £50 to see a student through Secondary School.
Please be generous!
Present: Father Uche (President), Maureen Sampson, Agnes Vella, Sr. Margaret, Philip Cook, Lorraine Butler, Wendy Wentworth, Carmel Micallef, Deacon JohnSimon, Pat Heery
Apologies: Declan Dixon, Felicity Surridge, Chinwe Azuh, Jan Downes
Opening Prayer: Father Uche opened the meeting with a prayer at 8.00 pm.
1. Maureen welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced Gemma Duncan and Raphael Maurin as new members of the committee. Apologies for absence were given.
2. (i) Identity of Charity to benefit from fund raising in Advent. Father Uche suggested that this year’s proceeds are donated to the “Queen of Apostles” Nursery and Primary school in a small village in Nigeria. Money raised could sponsor a child through secondary school or help with the infrastructure of the school building. There are 100+ children in the school. (ii) Date of the Advent Fair: This will take place at the end of November/beginning of December. (iii) Volunteer to be a representative for Churches Together Deacon John-Simon explained that as Carmel was stepping down from “Churches Together” after 5 years, a new lay representative was urgently needed. The new representative would attend meetings,contribute and report back to St. Joseph’s. There are 6 meetings a year. It was felt that the position should be open to all parishioners. Maureen suggested that John-Simon prepare a note for the Bulletin.
3. Parish Activity:
(i) Parish Outreach: Report from the Evangelisation Committee Philip informed the committee that on 10th November there will be a “Reframe Day” organised by Catholic Voices. At the heart of the Catholic Voices method is a technique called ‘re-framing’. It is an approach that seeks to turn controversy into an opportunity to share the story of the Church. “Reframe” is their parish programme for introducing the Catholic Voices method of reframing. This will be a Taster Day to be followed by five evening sessions. Since the Mission, the Mission prayer group has continued to meet and they are forming a new Cell group. Philip told the committee that all main presentations from “Adoremus” can be found on the Internet – www.catholicnews.org. He thought that details could be included in the Bulletin or on the website. There has not been an Evangelisation Committee meeting since their postMission meeting.
(ii) Marriage & Family Life: There are no marriages arranged for the immediate future. There may be a course held in January/February.
(iii) Deanery Matters: Father Uche informed the committee that at the moment, the deanery is without a dean. There are new priests at St. Agatha’s and Our Lady Immaculate. We look forward to welcoming Father Christian Onyigbuo who will be our new “Priest in Residence”
(iv) Provision for youth: Maureen invited the 2 new members to contribute to this section. Raphael said that a youth worker is to be employed and hopefully should start in January. The youth club has recently restarted and is held on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month. The 4th Sunday is a Youth Mass and it is hoped to encourage Confirmandi to attend the Club. The Youth Club is for young people in Years 7+ and it is hoped that the Youth worker will organise activities for all age groups. Wendy agreed that a new Table Tennis table may be purchased. There are games and spare apparatus in the Loft. Gemma informed the committee that the “Flame Congress” will take place in Wembley Arena on Saturday 2nd March. It is open to young people between the ages of 14-21.
(i) Finance Committee Wendy submitted her report to the committee. The Finance Committee last met on 5th June and is due to meet again on 25th September. The church finance accounts are updated on a weekly basis. The procedures run smoothly with a team working together. The queries over the council tax have been clarified and rectified and all the monies owed to us finally returned. Agnes organised the signs for the car park. Church and house maintenance is up to date. We are financially secure but still have to be responsible with all church expenditure. Gift Aid: Envelope re-numbering is now sorted. A new update which is installed but as yet won’t run, is to be further investigated. The next Diocesan Finance meeting is on 2nd November.
(ii) Safeguarding: A group of Eucharistic Ministers is to be trained soon and is undergoing GDPR checks. A vote of thanks was given to Andrew Stables for his hard work in this area.
(iii) Fund Raising: This was covered earlier with regards to the Advent Fair.
5. Parish Infrastructure – repairs and projects: Father Uche said that there had been a repair to the Church roof. Wires in the parish and treasurer’s offices had been sorted
6. Parish Website report:
Pat reported that work had not been straightforward. There had been two outages as he swapped from a limited account to a different provider. The latter is easier to update. The domain name had expired but it has been renewed and the website is now up and running. Pat would welcome any feedback about the website.
(i) Feedback on recent events; The International event, held in July, was a great success.
(ii) Forthcoming events: On 14th October, after the 11.30 Mass, there will be a presentation made to Fr. Michael Gwinnell. It will also be an opportunity to meet our new “Priest in Residence”, Fr. Christian.
8. AOB : John-Simon reported that Churches Together plan to hold a Passion Play in 2020 in New Malden. The date is still to be confirmed. Volunteers are needed to help and to contribute ideas. John-Simon also reported that two GDPR information sessions had been arranged for 7th and 16th October. All group leaders/co-ordinators must attend one of the sessions. Other parishioners may also attend including those who have already attended a session.
9. The date of the next meeting is Wednesday 12th December. Deacon John-Simon led the committee in the closing prayer.