“What is the use of prophetic vision when the living poor go hungry? As the world waits for the legislative insight it will take to restructure Social Services or raise wage levels, a family can starve.” (BBC News this week, 80% of the population of Zimbabwe is food-poor, due to recession & drought) “Intellectual concern is no substitute for the food a family cannot afford despite the fact that they work two jobs. The truth is that charity is laudable & seldom considered dangerous. It is the sign of the nice person, the one who unloads the trucks or sets up the temporary shelters. Prophecy, on the other hand has ragged edges. It sets out to deconstruct the present situation. It critiques social structures to which many have given their lives or in which they have status. They are invested in its continuance. They have something to lose if the world listens to the cries of the prophet for change. Where the hall mark of charity is its uncommon generosity, the ring of real prophecy lies in its uncommon courage. Both go far & beyond the normal measure of either. Both of them lead the way for others to follow. Both of them give witness to the world of another way of life, a better way of life for us all.”“The Time is Now” Sr Joan Chittister OSB
More good progress on the process of amalgamating our three Churches. We hope to announce the name of our new Parish Administrator early this week. A member of the Coordinating Group reported back in each Church last weekend giving updates on a number of live issues, notably our forthcoming Parish Lunch on 5th Jan 2020, the Feast of the Epiphany. There will be a list at the back of each Church from this weekend inviting you to sign up for this important moment as we continue to weave together our parishioners in all three Churches. It will begin at 12 noon with a two course lunch provided for us. Please do try to join us. We would like to invite those of you in Gilling & Oswaldkirk to join in the Advent Reflection evenings this Tues & on Tues 17th Dec at 7pm in St Benedict’s Hall. Please keep one another & the process in your prayers, as we face the changes with faith, trust, risk, & confidence, as the Holy Spirit leads us forward together, & into Advent. Last Sunday we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King with a School Mass here in Church, where a number of our pupils took on various ministries including welcoming, introducing, reading, bringing the gifts, & supplementing our music group. We had a full Church, & at the end of Mass, in thanking all who participated, I called it “an awesome moment”. Many of you asked for similar joyful occasions where we weave together the Church & School families, & we hope to have a similar Mass each term.
Today begins our new Church Year (Year A) which has been designated “the God who Speaks: the Year of the Word” we hope & pray it will be a time to start a creative & deeper engagement with the Holy Scriptures across our country & our Diocese. There will be a number of Diocesan events, including a significant number of day events centred on Ampleforth Abbey with a whole range of scripture based opportunities led by monks, nuns & laypeople. Details on the Abbey website. An outstanding brochure has been compiled in a partnership between the Bible Society & the Catholic Bishops Conference. Such is its quality, we have gained a copy for each family within the Parish, & I would warmly encourage you to take one to read & to pray within your family. 2020 is the year of St Matthews Gospel, & there is a fine collage in the booklet which tracks Our Lord’s life with references from St Matthew’s Gospel. We will pray the special prayer each Sunday at Mass. http://www.cbcew.org.uk/home/events/the-god-who-speaks/focus/With my love & prayers Fr Bede.