“That odd combination of inquisitiveness & expectation, interest & shyness, & sometimes, maybe, even a feeling of guilt & “inadequacy,” kept them hidden in their fig trees. By addressing Zacchaeus by name, Jesus emboldened him to come down from his hiding place. He surprised him by wanting to stay in his house even though He risked immediate slander & criticism: “He’s accepted the hospitality of a sinner!” There is no written account of Zacchaeus’s ever having joined Jesus’s disciples, nor of his having followed Jesus on His travels like the chosen twelve or the throng of other men & women. What we do know, however, is that he decided to change his life, & salvation came to his house. In our times, the church has been incapable of addressing its Zacchaeuses in like manner. I warned the politicians against something similar happening at the civic & political levels. While it was true that many people were still observing the new beginning of democracy in our country- maybe after a certain period of initial general euphoria- with curiosity & some eagerness, for various reasons they also had misgivings & a certain diffidence. But maybe many of them were subconsciously waiting for the moment when they would be addressed or invited directly by someone or something?” (Patience & God; Tomas Halik) This weekend, fittingly on the Feast of Corpus Christi (the Body & Blood of Christ), we welcome, together with their immediate & wider families, our 6 young disciples for their First Holy Communion. We began our preparations 14 weeks ago, & we have met each Saturday morning at 9am for an hour’s instruction. It has been a joy, blessing & privilege for me to share time & story with these young people, the Church of today, & the hope of tomorrow. It is a tribute to their parents, teachers & grandparents that they have been so well prepared, not just for this special occasion, but for their ongoing & deepening belonging within our Parish family. I know they are appreciative of your prayerful support for them thus far, & I hope you will warmly encourage them & their parents to continue to join us here each weekend.
My gratitude to those of you who have responded so promptly to the need to comply with the Data Protection Regulations which came into effect last Friday week. To date we have received 19 Consent Forms, which now enable us to be in contact again. Some of you may well have been away last weekend so we repeat the essence of the information shared. The GDPR (Data Protection) Regulations came into effect on 25th May 2018. We each have specific rights (to be informed, of access, of rectification, of erasure, of restriction on processing, on data portability...the right to object & rights related to automated decision making & profiling.) On advice from the Abbey & College & the Diocese we are implementing a process to ensure that we give sure protection to your personal data. You will find on our website, & at the back of Church, the Parish Privacy Notice which outlines our best practise. Please do read this important document. Please take home this weekend a Data Consent Form which needs to be completed in full to allow the Parish to use your personal data for Parish/Diocese needs. You will see from the form that there are various options to allow you to decide which areas of information you wish us to hold & keep safe. We need a Consent Form for each family member over the age of thirteen. It would be helpful if you would name children under thirteen on your own individual Consent Form. Please ensure that the Form is returned to the Parish Office in a secure envelope as soon as possible. Until we receive your Form we are not permitted to make contact with you, as you have yet to give your express permission. I am sure related issues will emerge in the coming days, & we will ensure you are kept well informed. Could I encourage you to ask members of your family who do not attend our Parish, or who attend elsewhere, to consider being registered with us here? We hold pastoral responsibility for all baptised Catholics who live within our parish boundaries, & it is helpful for the spiritual, administrative & practical well-being of the Parish that we are fully aware of those to whom we owe the love & duty of care.
Could I encourage you to come to our Parish Forum next Sunday at 11.15am in the Parish Hall. Following our previous Forums in recent weeks, a newly formed Vision Group met for its first meeting last Tuesday, & they will feedback to us. There will also be an opportunity to hear about various ministries within the Parish, after which you may feel inspired & encouraged to join one or more of them. We will keep you well informed of proposals & will continue to invite your comments & wise counsel. With love & prayers, Fr Bede.