Weekly Newsletter(click to download PDF)
The Rector writes ...
This weekend sees the First Holy Communions of this year’s cohort of seven year olds. It is always a happy and moving experience to see young people begin their Eucharistic life and our prayers are with the children and their families. Our thanks go to the dedicated band of catechists who, under Sister Catherine’s’ leadership, have given up so much of their time to the weekly preparation sessions. These rites of passage are of fundamental importance as “the child is father of the man” and where the building blocks are firmly in place there is a better chance that the life of faith will develop healthily and mature into adulthood. In this context, the externals of Catholic practice are key in the formation of a culture of faith.
Taking holy water on entering the church, genuflecting towards the place where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved, the sign of the cross to begin devotion, kneeling in personal prayer before any liturgical action, lighting a candle at one of the shrines – none of these are ends in themselves, but they are pointers to deeper truths. Catholicism's genius is to root faith in experience – the sacramental principle is that God uses matter, the fabric of his creation, through which to make his self-revelation. For us, “God is not some intangible mist” (Pope Francis) but a real, concrete Person who meets us in the covenanted signs we call the sacraments (most especially the Eucharist) and also through the whole language of signs and symbols which we term “sacramentals”. Recognising God in a few specific things, we find him absent from nothing.
All catechesis is about helping us to open our eyes and to see life as it really is. When Jesus restored sight to blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10: 46-52) this healing sign was also a parable of what he wants to do for the rest of us. It is so easy to live life on the surface without taking time for reflection, without recognising the potential presence of God in everything. In the sacristy of the Missionaries of Charity house in Southwark there is a notice pinned up for the celebrant to see: “Priest of God, celebrate this Mass as if it were your first and as if it were your last”. That notice is a salutary reminder that we can so easily take God, and the things of God, for granted – we develop spiritual cataracts which limit our vision: our focus becomes narrowed, and we lose the understanding that: “the Spirit of the Lord fills the whole world” and that the encounter with the Divine can be anywhere and through anyone.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta makes the connection between spiritual and social myopia: “we must be faithful to the smallness of the Eucharist, that small piece of bread, which even a child can take, that giving of a bath, that smile …we have so much that we no longer care about the small things. If we do not care we will lose our grip on the Eucharist on our lives. The Eucharist is so small”. Partof the joy of the First Communions is the simplicity with which the children receive Jesus: they take him at his word – they know that he is coming to feed them with himself, to fill them with his love. They do not have the words to describe or the intellects to conceptualise the Eucharistic presence, but they encapsulate everything Jesus was trying to teach his disciples when he said “unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew18:3). May the example of our young people refresh our faith and keep us sensitive in ourapproach toGod and to one another.
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 predecessor 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.