Saffron Walden

Our Lady of Compassion

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Latest News


Meetings and Dates for your diary

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

 

  • 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 preĖChristmas 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. SelfĖservice at our Wednesday Group's preĖChristmas 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 ĖĖ some of the diners at the supper.

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

6. A job well done ĖĖFather 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 Ė 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 ĎMercy and Forgivenessí in the Churchís 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. ďI [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 isnít an act of hope, itís a lifelong spiritual exercise that comes with all the trials of learning (flailing around, stumbling, moments of Ďah I get ití etc.). It is also a task we probably wonít complete but canít give up.

Probably the toughest message of the day (in this Ďmeí world) was that it isnít about you. Being merciful, forgiving, isnít meant to make you feel good (it might or might not) it isnít about feeling at all. Itís about opening ones heart to the joy of Godís 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 donít have to like them but we are commanded to love. Forgiveness is an act of will, it doesnít 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 doesnít 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 doesnít.

Confession is a sacramental instrument of mercy; itís not designed to make you feel better, though over time it may. Confession isnít 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 Christís 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 arenít observing progress it doesnít mean that Godís love isnít doing its stuff.

Tying Godís 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 ĖĖ 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.