Weekly Newsletter(click to download PDF)
Introduction (click to download PDF)
Week 1 Temptations (click to download PDF)
Week 2 Transfiguration (click to download PDF)
Week 3 Woman at Well (click to download PDF)
Week 4 Man born blind (click to download PDF)
Week 5 Lazarus (click to download PDF)
The Rector writes ...
Just over nine years ago (on 2nd April, 2005) Pope John Paul 11 died. Over one million people made a slow pilgrimage to pray at his open coffin and during the Funeral Mass there were banners all around St Peter’s Square with the request “santo subito” – sainthood now. Next Sunday those prayers will come to fruition when John Paul (along with his predecessor Pope John XX111) is canonised. In the funeral address, the then Cardinal Ratzinger said: “None of us can forget how on that last Easter Sunday of his life the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing ‘urbi et orbi’”. In a powerful way, the eloquence at the end of the Polish Pope’s life lay not in the spoken word but in his laboured gestures: for someone whose life, from its earliest days, had been shadowed by suffering, it was somehow fitting that all be could do was raise his arms to heaven in a language more profound than any words. “The Holy Father was a priest to the last, for he offered his life to God for his flock and for the entire human family in a daily self-oblation for the service of the Church - especially amid the sufferings of his last months - in this way he became one with Christ the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep”.
The life – and perhaps more particularly – the death of the great Pope John Paul underline the significance of the Paschal Mystery not just as an historical event, but as ever-present reality. Christ the “first fruits” opens up a way through the pain and negativity associated with the human condition, and frees us from the fear of death. “Now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God but when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Pope John Paul was very strong on models of sanctity (that is why he gave the Church so many new saints during his pontificate) arguing that ordinary believers needed to see that grace could transform the mundane into something very far from the ordinary. As he struggled with increasing burdens of age and ill health, his earlier energy was replaced by a different kind of interior flame – something that, paradoxically, glowed more brightly the greater his incapacity.
For John Paul 11, the confirmation of all that he had lived by came in his own sharing in the Cross and the evident conviction which shone out at the end, recapitulating everything he had said and done. Some of his words – appropriately from a book entitled “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” - reiterate the message of Easter: “Christianity is a religion of salvation. The salvation in question is that of the Cross and Resurrection. God, who desires that we may live, draws near to us through the death of his Son in order to reveal that life to which we are called in God himself. Everyone who looks for salvation, not only the Christian, must stop before the Cross of Christ. Will we be willing to accept the truth of the Paschal Mystery or not? Will we have faith? The mystery of salvation is an event which has already taken place … God constantly embraces all of us with the life which was revealed in the Cross and Resurrection and which is constantly being born anew for them”.
Because Blessed John Paul was Bishop of Rome for nearly a quarter of a century and lived so close to our own times he remains the strongest model of the Papacy within most people’s experience. An older generation, though, looks back to the pontificate of John XX111 and finds there so much of the simple warmth and directness of approach which is now exemplified in the ministry of Pope Francis. Next weekend will see these two great Popes raised to the altar and their joint canonization should give great joy to every Catholic, and indeed anyone of good will, as we recognise the end to which we are al called – to have our own share in the Resurrection and to see God face to face. Your priests wish you a truly joyful Easter in which your Christian faith is affirmed and the conviction of God’s unconditional love for you is deepened.
Our Church is right in the heart of London. It is a spiritual oasis to many people who come in for silent prayers and personal devotion. It serves the deep needs of those who desire to get away from the hurly burly of city life. On the other hand, the various parish liturgical services reflect the richness of catholic traditions and its pastoral orientation caters for all categories of people especially the young and those searching for truth.
The location of the church is not actually in Spanish Place as its preJanessor used to be, but in George Street, almost at the corner of George Street and Marylebone High Street. Nearest Subway or Underground stations are Baker Street and Bond Street. For directions click here.