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See bulletin below for Church opening times
See bulletin below for Church opening times
Fr Hugh’s Homily for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the 1690s Mary Wharton, a very young great heiress, was pulled out of her coach, abducted by a Scottish soldier and forcibly married. His defence was that as this was allowed in Scotland so he thought it was all right in England. Strangely that bit of his defence worked. But then aristocratic fathers got a bit fed up with daughters being carried off, so Lord Hardwick passed a law forbidding it in 1753, but it did not apply to Scotland hence Gretna Green and getting married over the anvil, which survived in a way until 1940. Of course for the aristocracy marriage did not have a lot to do with love, it was mainly about money and land, about possessions and possession. In his recent letter on St. Joseph, who is often called ‘chaste,’ Pope Francis redefines chastity. He calls it ‘freedom from possessiveness’ in every sphere of one’s life. Only when love is chaste, free of possessiveness, is it really love. Then he goes on to say that this is how God loves us. He loves us but lets us be free even to go astray, and even to set ourselves against him. The Pope calls Joseph’s love just this, a loved of extraordinary freedom that never makes himself the centre of things….
Fr Hugh’s Homily for Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
We were on pilgrimage to the Holy Land and strolling through Nativity Square in Bethlehem and we came across a large group of people who were holding a demonstration in a very pleasant and well-ordered way. It was Pax Christi (the UK Christian Peace Association) and Pat Gaffney, the last chair, was in the centre of the group. They were there praying for peace in the Holy Land. Of all the things you might associate Bethlehem with throughout its history, peace is really not one of them, except for the angels declaration at Jesus’ birth. Every group has fought over it and to be honest though not as bad as the battles within the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the various Christian religious groups are not known for their peaceful living together. But looking around Bethlehem that day, sitting outside the cafes, Muslim and Christian women and men, some of the women veiled some not, were sitting together enjoying a drink of some sort and more importantly a chat. So in Bethlehem you have a town, surrounded by walls to keep people in, erected by people who might hate you, walls that are born of violence, but within the town you find certain little oases of peace. People of different religious faiths living together. Not without problems, but able to talk….
Fr Hugh’s Homily for The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Walking through the National Gallery in London, as you turn into one room you are hit by the sight on the far wall of Piero della Francesca’s painting of Jesus’ baptism. It hangs alone, and though no one is looking out of the picture, directly at you, it seems to draw you to it. Remember that these artists were working for churches and Catholic leaders of society, and the painting had to hold a message, a gospel message. Just like a gospel, the painting was trying to teach the viewer about Jesus, if only because so many of the public could not read. Jesus stands in the middle of the painting, John the Baptist to one side. Three angels are on the left, introducing us to the fact that God is directly involved here. Behind the two human figures is another young man, taking off his clothes, getting ready to be baptised. Showing us that Jesus was one among many…..
Fr Hugh’s Homily for Second Sunday after Christmas
A great friend of mine used to love the King James Version of the Bible, and today’s Gospel especially, the Prologue. It was more than the theology or the meaning, there was something about the language that he just loved listening to. He felt that God was speaking to him though the beauty of the language. This is the legacy to us of the translators at the beginning of the 17th century when King James asked for a new translation that would be fit for a new Britain, a new English-speaking people, and for what he saw as a new start for Christianity in Britain too. Some people would say that the result was more than just translation, but in its own way inspired, along with Shakespeare’s writing at about the same time, to create a new English. But most of all for the translators to renew people’s relationship with God. To build a personal relationship with God through the Bible they could read and enjoy….
Reposing, infant-like, as though… Young couples have to consider redefining their lifestyles when a baby comes. They want the baby to be brought up with the best they can offer, by being the best people they can be. The birth of a child can bring out the best in any parent. This is precisely what God has done for us through the birth of His Son. With Jesus’ birth, our humanity is made sacred. He has called us from living self-centred lives to living lives of compassion, peace and joy. Jesus has transformed humanity, making humanity as He is: sacred. Jesus’ birth ‘turns the world upside down’ it brings out the best in each of us when we accept and celebrate it in faith and love. The presence of a baby can re-form the self-centred into the self-less. A baby calls his or her parents into a new holiness. On the feast of the Holy Family we pray that we all may hear the cries of the Infant Jesus, calling us to reverence His presence in our own and in others’ humanity. And hear too His call to the holiness that is the heart of the Catholic family. Thus making the family the very building block of society. …On Joseph’s arms, on Mary’s knee!
Fr Hugh’s Homily for Fourth Sunday of Advent
One of the worst scenes in a film ever, is in the film ‘David’ where Richard Gere (of Pretty Woman fame), in a loin cloth, is dancing as King David in front of the ark of the Lord as it enters Jerusalem. If Richard felt humbled by the critics’ response then he got it right as that was exactly what King David was going for in real life. King David succeeded so well that his wife Michal scolded him for embarrassing her in front of everyone by his dancing, (not the first husband nor the last to be told this), for which he promptly told her he would no longer need her as a wife, (not the usual response today fortunately). As the Bible says, she had no children from then on. King David was not good at humility, (known for pinching his general’s wife, Bathsheba, and then getting the general conveniently bumped off). But when it came to God, and when God reminded him, he invariably did get it right. Perhaps this makes David one of the most human of the Old Testament characters. Today he is nicely ensconced in his new home, and, perhaps not even meaning to be condescending, he says to God, ‘Let me build you a nice home too, like mine.’ God, through the Prophet Nathan, promptly reminds David that he used to be just a small town shepherd boy and it was God who got him to where he is today. Even so, God loves David and has plans for his future. A future which involves God’s own Son, Jesus….
CHRISTMAS MASSES 2020…. If you have emailed the parish office or left a message on the answerphone and HAVE NOT HAD A RESPONSE please can you get in touch again to confirm we have you on a Christmas Mass list. If you have had a confirmation email or response from either Fr Hugh or Kathryn then all will be well. There are a few seats left for Midnight Mass and 11.30am Christmas Day. Fr Hugh
Fr Hugh’s Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
Ten days ago I was up on Scout Scar on a beautiful day. It was cool but there was a bright sun in a blue sky, the snow was on Coniston Old Man in one direction and the Howgills in another. I walked past a couple and as usual said, ‘Morning’ expecting the usual terse ‘How do’ or ‘Cheers’ in response, only for the man to stop and say, ‘It really is a beautiful morning isn’t it. When you see a view like this it is just good to be alive,’ and more in that vein. Even though I felt that already, his enthusiasm was infectious, and made you stop again and look more carefully. Somehow sharing it with someone made a difference, made it appear even more beautiful. I have no idea whether he was religious or not, but there is something in all of us that responds to the beauty of Creation, and which becomes praise of God whether we intend it or not. Someone gave me one of the Pope’s recent homilies for Advent, which was a bit of a challenge to my very rusty Italian. His Italian is full of fun and clever word play, and one of his phrases was, ‘Per vivere, ma non vivachiare,’ which has a good ring to it. Lots of ‘v’s. What it means is that we need to really live life, not settle for just ‘getting along’. Every day, the Pope said, we are faced with choices, both about our daily lives and about life more long term, but the question that we should be asking, and that the Holy Spirit inspires us to ask, is not, ‘What should I do?’ but ‘What good should I do?’ That is the path of Christ and that is where we find our joy…..
CHRISTMAS MASSES 2020 – UPDATE: 6pm Christmas Eve and 10am Christmas Day are both full now. If you wish to attend Midnight Mass or 11.30am Christmas Day, then please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01539 720063. (For Sedbergh there will be an 8pm Vigil Mass Christmas Eve but that will be for those in Sedbergh and people staying in the area.)
MASS SERVICES AND PRIVATE PRAYER – UPDATE!
Weekday Masses will commence on Thursday 3rd December at 12 noon. Weekend Masses from Saturday 5th December: Saturday 6pm, Sunday 10am & 6pm, and at Sedbergh, 12 noon. Church is still open for private prayer: 10am–12.30pm Monday to Saturday, 2–4pm Sundays.
Fr Hugh’s Homily for the First Sunday of Advent
Do you remember the first lockdown back in March. We were just getting used to the Covid 19 experience then, and just realising the many downsides; especially not being able to go and see elderly relatives, problems with employment and shopping and schooling, eating out and going to the pub, getting to the doctors. But at the same time, after a while, we began to see some of the benefits. Cleaner air, better views, quieter roads, but also much greater attention to each other, to the needs of neighbours who perhaps we had not really met. People doing shopping for each other. People really appreciating the work done by some of the caring services, some of whom were rarely thought of, even criticised, in the past. The clapping for the NHS for example. And at the time we said, we really have to hang on to some of these things. If only we could be a bit like this when we get back to ordinary life. The ‘old’ normal, you might say. But I am not sure that we have. I think we have forgotten that commitment. I think two things have changed. One is that we are tired of it. The pressure is getting to us, the worry about work and the like. But at the same time we see an end in sight. Or we hope so. And once we see that, then we tend to think, “Soon I can get back to life as it was, to booking my summer holidays, to going out as I used to. And if we are not careful the old ‘I’ overtakes all those things that can make us ‘we’. In a way, the gospel today is about this. It is about how we live our daily lives. How we live in the present….
Fr Hugh’s Homily for Christ the King
If you were asked what today’s gospel is about you would have to say, ‘Judgement’. Not a comfortable topic really. It is no fun being judged nor it is easy to judge (done properly). Early days of being judged stick in my mind. Stood on the playground or football pitch knowing that you have no skills, are not fast, a bit podgy, cannot see too well, and not at all without your glasses, and the popular sporty lads are choosing the teams. You adjust to being one of the last one’s standing waiting, but of course you get over it, or don’t. Or on the rugby pitch are chosen to be cannonfodder for the 4th Fifteen team to boot about (there being no 5th Fifteen for us) though we took a sort of pride in being the cannonfodder team. But then judging comes with its difficulties too. One or two stints at the Primary School judging the talent contest, ‘Deanie’s Got Talent,’ and you soon realise it is not just about talent, but there are a lot of other factors to consider if you are to escape the night unscathed (which is actually impossible). So a fair judgement on our lives, the sporty and unsporty, all of us equally, takes more than a human judge. It takes one who loves us, has the authority to do so (hence the name Christ the King as that was always a position of supreme authority in the old days), and it takes someone who can see us all as a whole, hence the title Universal too. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King….