Saffron Walden

Our Lady of Compassion

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Meetings and Dates for your diary

...are to be found on the parish calendar.

 

SVP - Cream Tea

  • SVP Cream Tea
  • SVP Cream Tea

Members of the SVP organised the event and some provided the transport to get everyone to the picturesque setting of the lakes at Clavering.

The annual cream tea is always a popular outing for our older parishioners and this year was no exception. The tradition was started around 20 years ago and when the weather is fine it's possible to take a stroll around parts of the lakes. This year, however, the weather was unpredictable and, as showers were forecast, everyone decided to enjoy their tea indoors.

1. It all went down a treat : elderly and housebound parishioners and members of our St Vincent de Paul Society posing for a group photograph after their cream tea at Clavering Lakes on September 14.

2. A view of the Lakes.

 

Stewards of the Gospel - Diocese asks parishes to comment on restructuring and renewal proposals

The Diocese of Brentwood has published a Draft Working Plan proposing ideas for its future renewal and restructuring. In his foreword to the document, Bishop Alan Williams sm (right with Steven Webb) reiterates the challenges facing the church in a changing world and his desire to collaborate and consult with the lay faithful on the difficult decisions to be made. “With your help and prayers and with confidence in Christ and Mary I am sure that we can find a way to build on the strong foundations of the last 100 years,” he says.

Steven Webb, Diocesan Director of Development, has written to the Stewards of all parishes to launch the proposed strategy, which aims to maximise the opportunities for evangelisation and sacramental provision across the diocese, given the resources available during the decades to come.

He says: “This document explains how we recommend that we move forward together in order to evangelise our diocese, care for one another, exercise the ministry of charity and celebrate the sacraments. It sets out principles for how we could work together to achieve our vision through our objectives and a strategy that combines both renewal and restructuring.”

He asks that all parishioners read and discuss the Draft Working Plan, which will be available on the website and in hard copy form. “Try to consider what is best for our diocese as a whole rather than just what is best for your parish alone. Please bear in mind that renewal and restructuring are equally important and try to look beyond the obvious possibilities that first spring to mind. There is always more than one way in which we can do things in every location across our wonderful diocese.”

He invites people to be creative with ideas and feed them back to the diocese. “The framework we are proposing does not necessarily lead to one outcome rather than another. We want people to think how their church might look in their locality. Be bold, be creative and let us know your ideas before we begin to make proposals for individual locations.”

He adds: “Later in the year we will set out the First Formal Proposals for the Renewal and Restructuring of the Diocese but first we want feedback from you on the strategy and framework we propose in this document.”

Download the document: Diocese-of-Brentwood_Working-Together.

More information on Stewards of the Gospel page.

 

Trish Cobby - Pastoral Assistant

  • Trish Cobby

Trish Cobby's voluntary work in our parish was all brought under one umbrella when she was commissioned as a Pastoral Assistant by our new bishop on 15th July 2014.

This was a 3-year commission and ended on 15th July 2017 but she was asked to continue her commission by Fr David. He re-commissioned her on 30th July 2017.

The list of duties carried out by Trish is considerable –– she is a pastoral councillor and is responsible for instructing our first communicants, confirmation candidates and those wishing to convert to Catholicism. She is also a member of the North Essex Deanery Council, Social Committee and one of our church's team of fire wardens. And as if that wasn't enough she has a full-time job at University of Cambridge.

Although many demands are made on her time she said her husband, Chris, was very supportive.

 

First Communion 2017

  • First Holy Communion 2017
  • First Holy Communion 2017
  • First Holy Communion 2017
  • First Holy Communion 2017
  • First Holy Communion 2017
  • First Holy Communion 2017

Twenty-Five of our younger parishioners received a very special gift when they made their first Holy Communion in St Mary's Parish Church on June 17th. The Mass, celebrated by our parish priest, Father David, could not be held in our church as it would not have been large enough to accommodate so many families and friends. So we "borrowed" the town's Anglican church as we have done in previous years.

Over the previous months the children had been instructed by Trish Cobby and her assistants to ensure they appreciated the importance of receiving Our Lord's body and blood in communion. Father David told the children that this, their first Holy Communion, should be followed by many more throughout their lives.

1. The First Communicants arriving in St Mary's Parish Church.

2. Parents and friends watch as the children line up in the aisle.

3 & 4. The First Communicants (left and right), approaching Father David to receive their Certificates.

5. Some of the First Communicants took it in turn to read the Bidding prayers.

6. After the Mass the children gather on the steps of the parish church for a group photograph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parish Retreat

THIS YEAR’S PARISH RETEAT will take place at St. Mark’s on Saturday 7th October 10:00-15:00. It will be led by Fr Adrian Graffy on the theme: Why was St Paul so angry with the Galatians? The day will include Mass and an opportunity for confession - itinerary

Please confirm your attendance with either Fr. David or Lynn Ingamells by Sunday 1st October. All welcome.

 

Wedding of Neddra Lee-Franklin and Obatare Stephen Sodje

  • Wedding Lee-Franklin Sodje
  • Wedding Lee-Franklin Sodje
  • Wedding Lee-Franklin Sodje
  • Wedding Lee-Franklin Sodje

The wedding ceremony for Neddra Lee-Franklin and Obatare Stephen Sodje on June 27 was certainly a bit different from the usual. The bride used her traditional perogative by arriving late at our church by about 50 minutes but no one seemed to care as the delay gave guests the chance to chat among themselves and catch up with news from family and friends who came from various countries and parts of the UK.

It was a very happy and colourful wedding with many of the women wearing their traditional costumes while the bride, the daughter of an African Chief, looked beautiful in her white dress which had a long train stretching nearly half the length of the aisle. She was attended by four bridesmaids and also five little flower girls who looked very pretty in their white dresses.

There was never a dull moment during the marriage ceremony which, apart from exuberant hymn singing from the congregation, also included an outbreak of thunder claps and torrential rain. As the newly-weds were leaving the church brollies were at the ready to protect the bride's dress from the rain. The reception was held at Quendon Hall.

For Father David it was the first time he had conducted an African style wedding and he did so at the request of the young couple who, although not parishioners, wanted to be married according to their faith in a Catholic church. Our Lady of Compassion Church was the nearest to Quendon where the wedding party was staying at Quendon Hall.

1. Family and guests awaiting the arrival of the bride.

2. The marriage ceremony gets underway.

3. The young couple exchange vows and wedding rings.

4. Friends and family cheer the newly weds as they are leaving the church.

 

Father David's Jubilee

  • Jubilee
  • Jubilee
  • Jubilee
  • Jubilee
  • Jubilee
  • Jubilee
  • Jubilee
  • Jubilee

Over 200 people joined Father David at St Mark's College to celebrate his Silver Jubilee as a priest. They brought with them a salad or pudding to contribute to what amounted a feast, and there was also a hog roast with the pork being superbly cooked.

The celebrations were organised by our Social Committee chaired by Rebecca Richards whose team consisted of Louise Barnes, Patrick Draper, Cassian Bull, Jo Tindall and Trish Cobby. Jo also donated flowers for the tables

The committee donated a Jubilee cake and during the celebrations presented Father David with a silver chalice and paten.

"I was overwhelmed by it all," he admitted. Only weeks before the event he had protested that he did not want to celebrate his Silver Jubilee. He had a change of heart when he realised that he had, since arriving in Saffron Walden, won the respect and affection of his parishioners.

Father David, who came to Saffron Walden in 2011, knew from childhood that he wanted to become a priest and began his religious studies in Rome, first at the Gregorian University and then at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas. His father's death interrupted his studies but he later returned ti Rome where he was ordained as a deacon.

He retuned to England to be ordained as a priest in 1992 and his first parish as a curate was St Peter's and St Paul's Church in Ilford. He was later parish priest for four years at Stanford Le Hope.

1. Father David and three of his parishioners, Lynn Ingamells (left) with Enda Murphy and Jill Gunsell (right) take a closer look at the new chalice given to him during his silver jubilee celebrations on June 25.

2. Ready to use the silver chalice at a Mass in the new future.

3. Father David and parish assistant Trish Cobby who was one of the main organisers of the celebrations.

4. Sticking the knife in –– Father David cuts the cake to share among those at the jubilee celebrations.

5. The Silver Jubilee cake decorated with an image of Rome where Father David trained to become a priest.

6. Tucking in to a wide choice of tempting dishes.

7. Just checking to see what it's called.

8. Reckon I'll have some of this salad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confirmation 2017

  • Confirmation-2017
  • Confirmation-2017
  • Confirmation-2017
  • Confirmation-2017
  • Confirmation-2017
  • Confirmation-2017
  • Confirmation-2017
  • Confirmation-2017
  • Confirmation-2017
  • Confirmation-2017

Our church was packed on June 4 when 10 teenagers took the important step of being confirmed in their faith. This came after they had completed an eight month course headed by Trish Cobby and Jill Gunsell.

Their monthly sessions lasted an hour and a half and they also went on a weekend retreat in February held at Walsingham House on Canvey Island and in May, owing to the fact that Bishop Alan was unable to come to Saffron Walden on June 4, they made a trip to Brentwood Cathedral for the Rite of Election.

The Confirmandi were Ciara Bailey, Clementine Catmur, Zoe de Bruijin, Archie Lowe, Reuben Todd, Maeve Barve, Farah Corrigan, Marie Claire Gomez, Henry Nell and Lucas Warren. They were accompanied at the celebration Mass by their sponsors, family and friends who were welcomed by Trish who said the day was intended to be both happy and memorable –– and also a key point for all on the continuing journey of faith.

The young people played an active part in the Mass which included taking it in turn to lead the bidding prayers and by bringing the Offertory gifts to the altar. At the conclusion of the Mass but before the final hymn Father David presented the young people with their confirmation certificates and also a Bible. The congregation was then invited to the church hall for refreshments.

Said with flowers: the 10 newly confirmed youngsters show their appreciation to tutors, Trish Cobby and Jill Gunsell, by presenting them with magnificent bouquets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obituary – Timothy Joseph Chase: 11-Oct-1944 - 12-Jun-2017

  • Timothy Joseph Chase
  • Timothy Joseph Chase

Tim Chase, who was known as a kind and very generous parishioner of our church, had a final gift to donate to others after his death from an incurable disease in June of this year.

He had been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 2014 and also had a heart attack. The fact that his disease was incurable made him decide to donate his body to medical science in the hope that further research at the University of East Anglia would help in finding a cure for those who suffer from the same disease. "The university was very grateful to him," said his wife, Colette.

Our church was packed with family and friends at a memorial service for Tim on 23 June. It included, at Tim's request, several upbeat hymns and the eulogy was given in turn by his three sons, Stephen and twins, Kevin and David, who recalled important and happy memories of their father. These included Tim's kindness, open smile and generosity of time and spirit in helping others.

A very special moment for the family was when Tim, along with a close family friend, Dave Powell, were presented with the Papal Medal of the Order of Benemerenti which recognises long and exceptional service to the church. The medal was on display at the memorial service.

1. Father David pins the medal on Tim's lapel at the presentation ceremony in 2015.

2. Tim proudly wears his medal.

Tim and Colette supported their boys in all their pursuits including music which was one of Tim's interests. The boys were driven here and there to gigs and concerts and, at the end of a show, Tim would be waiting to ensure they returned home safely. Right up to his late sixties Tim would play badminton with his sons but eventually his illness made that impossible and he switched to playing Sudoku to train his mind. He also retained his interest in people around him and helping those who needed it.

"He should have been resting up and taking it easy but that was never our dad. He always went the extra mile to help others," wrote Kevin in his part of the eulogy which was read out for him by David.

Colette guided him around in his wheelchair on their trips to the town centre where on one occasion they stopped for a coffee and met up with friends outside the Tea Amo cafe. It was a lovely day but that was to be his last trip to the town centre owing to his illness becoming worse. The family was warned that he was approaching death and help to cope with this came from wonderful nurses at St Clare Hospice. The family has asked for support for a fund set up in his name for the Hospice.

One of his visitors on the day of his death was Father David who, as he was leaving, was given the thumbs up sign by Tim to indicate that all was well.

Tim was born in Dublin and it was in the Irish capital that, while in his twenties, he met Colette at a Christmas party. They both worked for the same company, Colette as a secretary and Tim as a trainee accountant. They were married in London where Colette was working for a firm of solicitors and Tim for Acrow of London. Acrow moved to Saffron Walden and Tim and his family also moved to the town in 1979.

He very soon became involved with our church which made good use of his accountancy skills by appointing him treasurer of the church. Tim was also a Eucharistic Minister and for nine years was a member of the Parents Association of St Thomas More School where his three sons were educated. He ran a youth club for 12 years and was a driver for members of the local St Vincent de Paul Society. In addition to all that he was a member of the Pastoral Parish Council.

Tim had two brothers and three sisters but is only outlived by one of his sisters, Mary, who made the journey from Ireland to attend the memorial service for her late brother.

 

Obituary – Rosamond Ann Richardson: 18-Dec-1945 - 8-May-2017

  • Rosamond Ann Richardson
  • Rosamond Ann Richardson

The Requiem Mass for Rosamond, who lost her courageous battle against an aggressive form of cancer, was held in our church on 24 May.

Rosa, as she was generally known, was diagnosed with the disease in 2016 and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment and later was given the all-clear. But earlier this year the cancer returned. Although she was given more chemotherapy she was also given the devastating news that nothing more could be done as the cancer was terminal. She remained in her home in Arkesden where she received palliative treatment and was cared for by her close-knit family and helpers.

Rosa was an extraordinary individual. A prolific creative writer, she had 48 books published, the last entitled Waiting for the Albino Dunnock which she somehow managed to complete while undergoing cancer treatment last year and the book hit the book shops earlier this year. She had been due to give a talk about her love of birds at a book launch in May at Hart's shop in Saffron Walden but, owing to her rapidly failing health, the launch had to be cancelled.

In an interview with Daily Express writer, Elizabeth Archer, she said how bird watching helped her to deal with the break-up of a seven year relationship in 2007. It all came about from a chance meeting with a bird watcher while she was on holiday in Greece. He volunteered to take her for a walk and pointed out a woodchat shrike, a small black, white and brown bird in a bush.

"The world changed for me in that moment," she told Elizabeth, "I felt radiant with happiness, as if I'd fallen in love again. Nature introduces us to a wider perspective than our own and I was completely in awe of it."

Her new hobby would result in Waiting for the Albino Dunnock which is dedicated to James Parry who introduced Rosa to watching birds and was her mentor for the book. He gave the eulogy at her Requiem Mass while a 10 year old grandson, Augustine, wrote a poem, Skellig, which was read by his father, Sam. Another poem, about a nightingale, a reading from the metaphysical poet, clergyman and spiritual writer, Thomas Traherne, were both read by Will Stone, an old friend of Rosa's, who is a poet and translator of poetry.

Born in Oxford, Rosa came from an academic background. Her late father, Sir Denys Page, was Regius Professor of Greek at Trinity College in Cambridge and later Master of Jesus College. Rosa attended the Perse School in Cambridge and it was thought she would go to university. But she didn't want to do that and instead went to the College of Art in London for four years to study fabric design. This resulted in a job with Liberty's main designer and also a television programme series on patchwork. She wrote a book for the series which she followed up with a completely different series, Discovering Hedgerows, which also entailed writing an accompanying book.

What made Rosa stand out as a creative writer as well as a TV programme presenter was her extraordinary range of subjects. These included cookery, design, plants, wildlife, vegetarianism, yoga and also history. She told me that she had become bored with cookery and enrolled as a student at Madingley College where she embarked on the great love of her life, the 13th century Italian poet, Dante. The more she read about him made her decide that she wanted to become a Catholic and she was received into the faith by our former parish priest, Father John, who is now parish priest at Stansted. Her studies of Dante and trips to Italy led to her excellent book, Meeting Dante, and also to a follow-up entitled Dante's Journey to the Stars.

She also wrote under her nom-de-plume of Ingrid Soren a book about a natural history of the violin, the Zen of Horseriding which described overcoming her fear of horses and learning to ride.

In addition to her many books which won her international fame, Rosa also contributed articles to several magazines, and gave lectures and presentations.

Rosa, who married twice, is survived by her three sisters, Corinna, Stephanie and her twin Juliet. She had two children, Emily, and a son who sadly died soon after he was born. She adopted two brothers, Nicholas and William, after she married Emily's stepfather, Clive. In all she had six grandchildren.

The well attended Requiem Mass, led by our parish priest, Father David Clemens, included among the mourners many of Rosa's friends and colleagues from the world of publishing and television. A reception to celebrate Rosa's life was held at her twin sister's home in Horseheath, Cambridgeshire.

 

  • Holy Week
  • Holy Week
  • Holy Week
  • Holy Week
  • Holy Week
  • Holy Week

Holy Week 2017

Holy Week is a very busy time for any priest and it was no exception for Father David who on Thursday celebrated in the evening the Mass of the Lord's Supper while on Good Friday afternoon there was the Remembrance of the Lord's Passion.

This was also the day when local churches came together for the Good Friday Walk of Witness which was well supported by our parishioners.

1. The Vicar of St Mary's Church, the Rev. David Tomlinson, leads the walk carrying the cross and is accompanied (far right) by the Baptist Church Minister, the Rev. John Goddard.

2. The walkers reach the town square and then make their way to St Mary's Parish Church.

3. Taking part in the walk was Saffron Walden's Mayor, Coun. Sarfraz Anjum (far left).

4. Parishioner Jean Perkins (in red jacket) with a friend and accompanied by Dave Powell and his wife, Jan.

Parishioners flocked to our church on Holy Saturday for the two hour Easter Vigil Mass which involves plunging the church in darkness and initially congregating outside for the service of light. A new fire was lit and blessed and the Pascal candle prepared with five grains of incense representing the wounds of Christ inflicted during His crucifixion.

Fr David then lit the candle from the new fire and carried it into the church followed by parishioners also carrying small candles which also symbolised Christ as the light of the world. Then came the Easter Hymn, the Exsultet which was sung by Fr David.

This Mass also includes the Liturgy of the Word and that of Baptism as well as the Litany of the Saints and that is followed by the faithful being blessed with water and all renewing their baptismal promises.

5. Father David lights the new Pascal Candle in the presbytery garden.

6. The Pascal Candle is lowered into newly blessed holy water.

 

  • Des-Kelly
  • Des-Kelly

North Essex Deanery Day of Recollection

While still a schoolboy Des Kelly prayed fervently that God would let him become a professional footballer when he grew up. In return he would be happy to do God's work when his footballing career came to an end.

His prayer was answered and he signed at the age of 18 for Norwich City Football Club for two years and then played for Colchester United and also Lowestoft Town. The time to keep his promise to God was drawing near when injuries playing goalie in football forced him to rethink his career. And it was that decision which years later would bring him to St Theresa's Parish Church to lead the Day of Recollection on March 4th.

Des's next career after football was that as a teacher of PE eventually rising to become headmaster of his last school. He threw himself into parish work and made a notable contribution when he retired at the age of 60 and was awarded the Pro ecclesia et pontifice medal by the Pope.

His talk entitled "Begin with the heart" was an appropriate description of his work over the years which has been motivated by his love of God and has included being a champion of education, a Rainbows Bereavement support director and evangelisation. The day also included a chance for confessions, quiet times for reflection, prayers and Benediction.

1. Des Kelly who led the North Essex Deanery Day of Recollection.

2. A group from parishes in the Deanery who attended the annual Day of Recollection in Stansted.

 

Parish Questionnaire

The Catholic Church faces a number of challenges in responding to changing world. As a result of this, some change is inevitable. This is your chance to help shape that change by making your voice heard. This is a once in a generation opportunity to help to guide the diocese into the future. Do not miss this opportunity. The questionnaire can found below.

Please email completed questionnaires to Ken Lowe (Steward of The Gospel) by Sunday 19th February

 

  • Wednesday Group
  • Wednesday Group
  • Wednesday Group
  • Wednesday Group

Wednesday Group

Over 20 members of our Wednesday Group enjoyed tucking into their annual pre–Christmas buffet lunch party on December 7. There was a wide variety of goodies to choose from and at the end of the meal a slice of cake made by one of our church's top bakers, Maureen Hanson. It was cut into slices by Pat Antell whose birthday coincided with the date of the lunch.

1. Self–service at our Wednesday Group's pre–Christmas lunch.

2. Time for a chat with friends during lunch.

3. Father David deciding what he would like for his lunch.

4. Pat Antell cuts into the cake specially made for the Wednesday Group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Cake stall

Cake Stall

A cake stall in aid of Saffron Walden Mencap Society raised £473 last month. "It was a fantastic amount and will help to maintain our weekly 'Side by Side' club which meets every Wednesday evening in the Salvation Army Hall in Abbey Lane," said the Society's chairman, Patrick Draper.

The club provides an opportunity for adults with learning difficulties, aged 19 and upwards, to socialise and take part in a variety of activities. It has 25 regular members who are helped by two paid staff members, Margaret and Steve, and a number of enthusiastic volunteers. More volunteers would be made very welcome. Two club members attend Mass at our church.

The cake stall was set up outside Boots in the Market Square and within five hours all the cakes, biscuits and goodies had been sold. They were provided by Mencap supporters and also by several members of our church, namely Father David, Elizabeth Tindley, Jan Powell, Isabel Page, Maureen 0'Keefe, Di Pohlmann and Louise Roberts.

This year's Day of Prayer, also on the first Friday in March, was held in Saffron Walden's Baptist Church and prepared by women in Cuba with the theme being 'Receive Children, Receive Me.' The service, which raised £283, was led by the Rev. John Goddard of the Baptist Church who showed a video giving what life is like in Cuba. Keith Kent played the piano and directed the newly formed Mother's Union Choir which helped with the singing of the hymns, some of which were unfamiliar to those at the service. Keith, a very talented musician, sadly died earlier this year.

1. One of many tempting goodies being sold by Patrick who was helped by Jane Bailey and Charis Wither.

 

  • Fr David's Supper
  • Fr David's Supper
  • Fr David's Supper
  • Fr David's Supper
  • Fr David's Supper
  • Fr David's Supper

Fr David's Supper 2016

Once again the remarkable culinary skills of Father David and his team of helpers were much in evidence at the third 'Father David's Supper' on November 4th held in our church hall.

It is no exaggeration to say that it was a rip-roaring success thanks to a superb meal and a warm, happy atmosphere. Over 30 tickets were sold and the diners were welcomed on arrival with canapes and chilled Prosecco. This was followed, once everyone was seated, with pasta with Italian bacon and peas in a rich tomato sauce served with Focaccia bread. The main course was chicken fillets in Madeira and mushroom sauce served with garlic and rosemary roast potatoes and topped with dressed rocket.

The goodies didn't end there for then came the dessert of raspberry meringue roulade and fruit baked in port, balsamic vinegar and honey served with vanilla marscapone cream. Throughout the supper the white and red wines flowed freely and finally coffee was served with chocolates and a choice of limoncello and port.

All the above involved a great deal of work and pre-planning on the part of Father David and his team and, as far as the diners were concerned, it was worth all the effort and they had nothing but praise for the team. There was an added bonus for those who lived nearby as they could walk to the church hall and so leave the car in the garage. No need for them to worry about being stopped while en route for home.

Roll on to the next 'Father David's Supper!

1. Chefs Father David and Noberto Fusi with waitress Trish Cobby serving the meal at Father David's annual supper in the church hall on November 4.

2. Two more waitresses ready to take the supper to 30 diners.

3. A welcome break for Patrick Draper who multi-tasked during the evening by welcoming the diners with a drink and then helped to serve them and refill their glasses.

4. Time for a chat –– some of the diners at the supper.

5. The dessert went down well judging by the empty plates.

6. A job well done ––Father David and his team celebrate a successful event. From left to right, Noberto Fusi, Rebecca Richards, Trish Cobby, Patrick Draper, 11 year old Florence, and Hazel Phipps.

 

  • Retreat 2016

Parish Retreat 2016

Mercy and forgiveness – a tall order, commanded by God

Notes by Charlie Murphy

Delivered by Fr David, complete with asides, diversion, a small rant on mobile Doors of Mercy and some quotable mystics. The Parish annual retreat tackled ‘Mercy and Forgiveness’ in the Church’s year of Mercy. The year is designed to focus our awareness of mercy and to shake us (and the Curia) out of any spiritual amnesia we may have acquired.

To travel through the door of Mercy, in Brentwood, Westminster etc., is a signal, a symbol, a carrier of meaning that words alone cannot express. “I [Jesus] am the gate [door] of the sheepfold.

Core to the day was the message that God asks us to be merciful as part of our very of being (as part of our soul); always ready and willing to forgive. Unfortunately, mercy isn’t an act of hope, it’s a lifelong spiritual exercise that comes with all the trials of learning (flailing around, stumbling, moments of ‘ah I get it’ etc.). It is also a task we probably won’t complete but can’t give up.

Probably the toughest message of the day (in this ‘me’ world) was that it isn’t about you. Being merciful, forgiving, isn’t meant to make you feel good (it might or might not) it isn’t about feeling at all. It’s about opening ones heart to the joy of God’s love. In the most personal sense it can be painful. Cancelling a debt/resentment is difficult and requires practice.

This act of will has much in common with the command to Love Thy Neighbour, you don’t have to like them but we are commanded to love. Forgiveness is an act of will, it doesn’t have to be a two way process nor is it always instantaneous. It is about truly accepting that while one still may harbour resentment, you choose not to act against the transgressor.

How you feel is irrelevant, it doesn’t affect the outcome.

Forgiveness like mercy, kindness, compassion and understanding are all aspects of love. They are not instruments to be offered or withdrawn as the mood takes you; with practice we get better at it. Forgiveness is an instrument of mercy, our understanding of what this means may change (hopefully for the better) but its absolute nature doesn’t.

Confession is a sacramental instrument of mercy; it’s not designed to make you feel better, though over time it may. Confession isn’t a legal obligation. It is, like every sacrament, a personal encounter with Christ and something that the Church encourages. A sacrament both signifies and cause the grace of Christ’s presence for the particular purpose of the sacrament; the grace of commitment and fidelity in Matrimony, the grace strength and heading in the sacrament of the sick etc.

Responding to questions about a sense of a lack of progress (i.e. you repeat the same sins, time after time), Fr David reminded us that the commitment not to sin again needs to honestly made and is valid even if you know the flesh is weak. He also reminded us that just because you aren’t observing progress it doesn’t mean that God’s love isn’t doing its stuff.

Tying God’s command into the human, psychological world, Fr David highlighted that holding on to anger (i.e. not forgiving) is exhausting and toxic for physical and mental health. Releasing, letting go of pain, anger, disappointment etc., and working at it is good for the body as well the soul.

 

  • Harvest 2016
  • Harvest 2016

School Harvest Service 2016

Staff and pupils of St Thomas More School excelled themselves for the annual Harvest Festival Service at Our Lady of Compassion Catholic School on October 17. With a lot of help from their parents the children filled scores of boxes with goodies to distribute among elderly parishioners, who attended the service, and to the local branch of the St Vincent de Paul Society. Volunteers from the SVP then shared out the boxes among the housebound and worthy local causes.

The children were from Year Two, who have an average age of seven years, and the older pupils represented the school's Chaplaincy Team. Each box had been decorated before being filled with gifts of mainly food items. Before the start of the service the boxes were all brought into the church and piled high in front of the altar. The importance of sharing was explained to the children by Father David in his homily. The hymns chosen for the service were relevant to the harvest theme and after the service everyone went into the church hall for refreshments.

1. School head teacher, Mrs Mary-Jo Hall, (left) leading the hymn singing.

2. Father David hands a parcel to one the pupils to be given to a parishioner at the service.

 

  • Siobhan & Christopher
  • Siobhan & Christopher
  • Siobhan & Christopher

Wedding of Siobhan Brunwin and Christopher Tarrant

Our church's first girl altar server, Siobhan Brunwin, came back to Our Lady of Compassion church for her marriage on July 30 to Christopher Tarrant. The young couple met in 2005 at Brunel University where Siobhan, whose parents, David and Una, live in Great Chesterford, was reading modern drama while Chris was studying Finance and Accounting. They now live in Wanstead, East London, where Chris works as a senior finance business partner for a bank while Siobhan is an HR business partner for a media agency.

1. Exchange of vows and rings at the wedding of Chris and Siobhan conducted by our parish priest, Father David. When Siobhan became the first girl altar server the parish priest was Father Edmund Dobson, a Cistercian, who came in 1990 and whose time in Saffron Walden ended in 1996 when he suffered a fatal heart attack while driving on the M11 motorway.

2. Siobhan wanted lots of colour at her wedding and this was certainly achieved with the wonderful floral arrangements.

3. Thirteen turned out to be a lucky number for our sacristan, Enda Murphy, who after searching for ages for a suitable dress for her granddaughter's wedding, it was the thirteenth dress she tried on that proved to be ideal for the purpose.

 

 

 

 

  • Women's World Day of Prayer

Preparations for Women's World Day of Prayer

Preparations are now underway for next year's Women's World Day of Prayer and in Saffron Walden a start was made in June at the home of parishioner, Elizabeth Tindley, with a coffee morning which raised about £135.

Elizabeth is pictured top left with other members of the group who organise the annual Day of Prayer in the town which will be held on March 3rd. The programme for the day has been prepared by women in the Philippines and it takes as its theme "Am I Being Unfair to You." This is based on St Matthew's Gospel and Our Lord's comparison of the Kingdom of Heaven to labourers hired at various times of the day to work in a vineyard for the same wage. Those who laboured most of the day were disgruntled when those who had worked for only an hour received the same wage. It was pointed out that all had agreed to the same level of pay when they were employed. Our Lord pointed out "This is how it will be in the Kingdom of Heaven when the last will be first and the first last."

The aim of the Day of Prayer, which involves scores of countries, is that a wave of prayer will spread around the world and raise funds for women in poorer countries. In the Philippines many women and girls are the victims of abuse and there is serious economic inequality.

This year's Day of Prayer, also on the first Friday in March, was held in Saffron Walden's Baptist Church and prepared by women in Cuba with the theme being 'Receive Children, Receive Me.' The service, which raised £283, was led by the Rev. John Goddard of the Baptist Church who showed a video giving what life is like in Cuba. Keith Kent played the piano and directed the newly formed Mother's Union Choir which helped with the singing of the hymns, some of which were unfamiliar to those at the service. Keith, a very talented musician, sadly died earlier this year.

 

  • Siobhan & Christopher
  • Siobhan & Christopher
  • Siobhan & Christopher

Wedding of Siobhan Brunwin and Christopher Tarrant

Our church's first girl altar server, Siobhan Brunwin, came back to Our Lady of Compassion church for her marriage on July 30 to Christopher Tarrant. The young couple met in 2005 at Brunel University where Siobhan, whose parents, David and Una, live in Great Chesterford, was reading modern drama while Chris was studying Finance and Accounting. They now live in Wanstead, East London, where Chris works as a senior finance business partner for a bank while Siobhan is an HR business partner for a media agency.

1. Exchange of vows and rings at the wedding of Chris and Siobhan conducted by our parish priest, Father David. When Siobhan became the first girl altar server the parish priest was Father Edmund Dobson, a Cistercian, who came in 1990 and whose time in Saffron Walden ended in 1996 when he suffered a fatal heart attack while driving on the M11 motorway.

2. Siobhan wanted lots of colour at her wedding and this was certainly achieved with the wonderful floral arrangements.

3. Thirteen turned out to be a lucky number for our sacristan, Enda Murphy, who after searching for ages for a suitable dress for her granddaughter's wedding, it was the thirteenth dress she tried on that proved to be ideal for the purpose.

 

 

 

 

  • School celebration
  • School celebration
  • School celebration
  • School celebration

School Celebration

Over 200 pupils from St Thomas More Academy returned to St Mary's Parish Church on June 20 for a Mass to celebrate making their First Communion on May 28. The First Holy Communion Mass had also been celebrated at St Mary's Church as Our Lady of Compassion Catholic Church is too small for so many people. The children were joined by teachers, parents and friends.

The Mass was celebrated by Father David who presented all the First Communicants with a medal commemorating the event. There was a treat in store for them after the Mass when they all trooped into the nearby parish rooms for refreshments which included a two-tiered cake baked and decorated by one of the parents, Mrs Jo Denton, whose daughter had been among those making their First Communion. The cake decorations included a cross and also butterflies representing new life.

1. Head teacher, Mrs Mary Jo Hall, leads the hymn singing at the celebration Mass.

2. Children, school staff and parents joined in the hymn singing.

3. Father David celebrating Mass assisted by two young servers.

4. Pupils in line to receive their First Communion medal from Father David.

 

  • A birthday
  • A birthday

A Birthday

Father David was given a break from baking a cake for the regulars on June 2nd who attended the Thursday Mass which is always followed by a social gathering in the parish hall. For that was the day he celebrated his 65th birthday. Roles were reversed as regulars staged a party for him and provided a special cake decorated with an edible sheet of one of his favourite pieces of music, plus a chef's hat and paintbrushes reflecting his skills in both cooking and painting.

He is pictured above slicing into the cake, pictured right. Not a lot was left of the cake which was very much enjoyed by everyone at the party which enabled the regulars to express their appreciation for all the superb cakes Father David has baked for them.

 

  • First Communion
  • First Communion
  • First Communion
  • First Communion
  • First Communion
  • First Communion
  • First Communion
  • First Communion

First Holy Communion 2016

Two dozen of our younger parishioners received a very special gift when they made their first Holy Communion in St Mary's Parish Church on May 28. The Mass, celebrated by our parish priest, Father David, could not be held in our church as it would not have been large enough to accommodate so many families and friends. So we "borrowed" the town's Anglican church as we have done in previous years.

Over the previous months the children had been instructed by Trish Cobby and her assistants to ensure they appreciated the importance of receiving Our Lord's body and blood in communion. Father David told the children that this, their first Holy Communion, should be followed by many more throughout their lives.

He told them about the English writer, J R R Tolkien, a renowned Roman Catholic, who was also a poet and university professor. During World War 2 one of his sons served in the RAF and was given sound advice by Tolkien who urged his son to love one thing above all –– namely the Eucharist.

1. The First Communicants arriving in St Mary's Parish Church.

2. Parents and friends watch as the children line up in the aisle.

3. Some of the First Communicants took it in turn to read the Bidding prayers.

4. Senior server, Steve Halewood, releases incense towards the chalice.

5 & 6. The First Communicants (left and right), approaching Father David to receive the Eucharist.

 

7. One youngster obviously very happy to be presented with her First Communion Certificate.

8. After the Mass the children gather on the steps of the parish church for a group photograph.

 

  • Confirmation
  • Confirmation
  • Confirmation
  • Confirmation
  • Confirmation
  • Confirmation
  • Confirmation
  • Confirmation

Confirmation 2016

An important milestone was reached by seven teenaged parishioners on Pentecost Sunday when they were confirmed in their faith. "This is a special day, a rite of passage." Father David told them. "The reception of the Holy Spirit is an ongoing thing for the rest of your lives."

He and their instructor, Trish Cobby, are pictured (bottom left) with the confirmandi, each holding the gift of a Bible and their confirmation certificate, outside our church after the 10.30 am Mass. During the Mass the seven confirmandi, accompanied by their sponsors, renewed their baptismal promises and were anointed with Chrism. They took it in turn to lead the bidding prayers and then went to the back of the church to collect the offertory gifts and present them to Father David.

After the Mass they, their sponsors, family and friends, assembled in the parish hall for refreshments.