“Perisseuo” [overflow] is what Jesus promises [Lk6;38] will be poured into our laps when we forgive; the noun in John 10;10 to describe the life that Jesus came to bring, the adjective Paul uses 2Cor1;5 to describe God’s generosity. It is the very heart of God that overflows in the father rushing out to hug his prodigal son, the wedding host who gathers guests from roads & fields, the net-breaking catch of fish at dawn after a night of fruitless trawling, or Jesus washing the feet of his disciples the night before he died. Such overflows of love happen, above all, at the crossroads of life, at moments of openness, fragility, & humility, when the ocean of His love bursts the dams of our self-sufficiency, & so allows for a new imagination of the possible. My concern as Pope has been to encourage such overflows within the Church by reinvigorating the ancient practice of synodality, not just for the sake of the Church but as a service to humanity that is so often locked in paralyzed disagreements. The term comes from the Greek syn-odos “walking together” & this is its goal; not so much to forge agreement as to recognise, honour & reconcile differences on a higher plane, where the best of each can be retained. In the dynamic of a synod, differences are expressed & polished until you reach, if not a consensus, a harmony that holds on to the sharp notes of its differences. This is what happens in music; with seven different musical notes with their sharps & flats, a harmony is created for the better articulation of the singularities of each note. Therein lies its beauty; the harmony that results can be complex, rich & unexpected. In the Church the one who brings about that harmony is the Holy Spirit. I like to see the beginning of ecclesial synodality in the early Church when the apostles gathered to wrestle with the question that divided them; should non-Jewish people be bound by Jewish laws & customs such as circumcision when they become Christian? After discussion prayer & sometimes bitter disagreement, they pondered the way that God had worked signs & wonders among them through the Gentiles, for God is recognised in the experience of real life. They declared that “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit & to us ”not to impose on non-Jewish Christians the regulations of Jewish law”. [Acts 15;28] It was a new opening that changed the course of history. God had made a covenant of salvation with a single people, the Jewish people, which Christ recovered & offered to all humanity, irrespective of race nation or language. This is why Christianity has never been confined to a particular culture but has been enriched by the cultures of the peoples where it has taken root. Each of these peoples experiences the gift of God according to its own culture, & in each of them the Church expresses its genuine Catholicity, the beauty of its many different faces. The synod experience allows us to walk together not just in spite of our differences, but seeking the truth & taking on the richness of the polar tensions at stake. This synodal approach is something our world needs badly. Rather than seeking confrontation, declaring war, with each side hoping to defeat the other, we need processes that allow differences to be expressed, heard, & left to mature in such a way that we can walk together without needing to destroy anyone. This is hard work; it needs patience & commitment, above all to each other. Lasting peace is about creating & maintaining processes of mutual listening. We build a people not with the weapons of war but in the productive tension of walking together.” [Let us Dream; Pope Francis]
By the time you read this Outreach I will have left for my weeks holiday with my sister & three friends/pilgrims for our annual pilgrimage to Iona. We return on Wed evg 1 Sept. We leave Iona the previous day, Tue 31 Aug the feast of St Aidan, monk of Iona, who was sent by St Columba to Lindisfarne [Holy Island] from where he began the work of evangelisation of North East England, with Celtic monasticism spreading as far south as Lastingham & Whitby. Sadly, the following Sunday 5 Sept there will a final Mass in St Aidans Oswaldkirk & at Our Lady & the Holy Angels in Gilling, as both Chapels of Ease close. For the final Mass in Gilling 4pm on Sun 5 Sept we have invited back all who had family links with the Chapel since its opening in 1950, so please could I ask that this Mass be kept specially for those with links with OL&HA, & those of you who might occasionally go to OL&HA for Mass, come to one of our Masses at OL&SB that weekend please.
This weekend, in my absence, Fr Henry will celebrate all three Masses, & I know he will enjoy being among you.
On Friday 3 Sept at 230pm there will be a Memorial Service in Holy Cross Church in Gilling to remember Les Passman, gardener then Head Gardener at Gilling Castle for 51yrs. He died peacefully in a Care Home in Pickering during the covid lockdown. Fiona Casson, Les & Bridie’s daughter, invites those of us who knew Les to be there.
Jane Parsons, John Davies daughter, has been in touch with me to let us know that there will be a Memorial Service for John, who taught at the College for many years on Sat 9 October at 11am in St Margaret’s Church in Oxford. The Service will be live-streamed & I will send on details once we have received them.
Please keep Les & John , & their families, in your prayers, in thanksgiving for all they gave to the College & Gilling Castle over many years as beloved disciples.
After recent H&S inspections by our consultants, & the compilation by them of a RiskMAP for each Church, two 11 page documents for both OL&SB and OL&HA have awarded both Church’s a 100% rating for our health & safety best practice. A moment to offer our gratitude to Tracey Swiers, our PA, & Teresa Briggs, our Parish Secretary, for their hard work & diligence in keeping up to the standards & monitoring which gives all of us the assurance we are being safely well looked after.
Attendance at our Masses last weekend were significantly higher due to families returning from holidays, & one or two more of you taking the courage to make a return to Mass after the 18 months of covid restrictions.. welcome home! Please encourage others to join us, particularly those with young families, whose babies bring a real buzz to Mass with their own conversations with their Jesus.. Sat 6pm Vigil;14 Sun 10am; 41 Sun 4pm OL&HA; 14
Parish BBQ Sunday 12 Sept at 11am to welcome Fr Kentigern; in the garden of OL&SB. As usual please do come, & please bring with you something for the BBQ or a salad. Ice cream will be on hand. To give an idea of numbers please sign up on list at back of Church or email Tracey at firstname.lastname@example.org