Weekly Newsletter(click to download PDF)
The Rector writes ...
The Rector writes...
This weekend It would have been good to have written about the lovely mystery of Mary’s Immaculate Conception in the context of the Father’s plan for this world’s redemption or again to have used the opportunity to begin to reflect on the themes which Pope Francis has set before us in his first, exciting, apostolic exhortation, but that is not to be. This is the final weekend of the “GROWING in FAITH” initiative in which the Archbishop has asked us to participate, and it is to that theme which I must return!
Over the past three months many of you have been approached to ask for your support in three significant areas of the Archdiocese's life – the training of new priests, the care of our sick and retired clergy and the funding of Caritas, the Church’s social arm in the metropolis. I would like to express sincere gratitude to those who have responded generously (in some cases sacrificially): some have chosen to make one-off donations while others have preferred to make a pledge extending over anything up to a five year period. Thus far, the amount of individual pledges has averaged £5,000 (i.e. £1,000 per year) and the total overall as I write stands at £210,000 - within that figure gifts range from £100 to £30,000.
During all the Masses this weekend, “Growing in Faith” will be brought to its conclusion with everyone being invited to sign a pledge card. These pledge cards have places to mark if you have already given, or have decided that your personal circumstances do not allow a contribution at his stage. It is hoped that the majority of the congregation who have not as yet had the opportunity to donate will feel able to do so – those who would like more information or more time to consider a pledge are also invited to fill in the appropriate place on the cards. I realise that these are not easy times and that many who come to Spanish Place have to live to very tight budgets but I have the responsibility to lay before you the needs of the Diocese and to invite you to contribute what you can. The spin-off for the parish is that 20% of what is raised comes back to Saint James’s for our own projects - which we have decided will be better catechetical provision (for children, teenagers and adults) and, hopefully, the beginning of a music foundation to secure and enhance that area which is central to the liturgical life of Spanish Place.
I have made no secret in speaking to many of you on an individual basis of my own discomfort at having to appeal for money but the whole principle of the Incarnation is that God in Christ enters the fabric of this world and that, from within, he understands that life involves practicalities. Jesus was brought up in a working home – Joseph supported the Holy Family by his skills as a carpenter – Mary presumably had to struggle with the limitations of a budget. Our religion does speak to us about future realities, but it is also deeply concerned with present reality too. At the basis of the Christian understanding of almsgiving is the simple acceptance that all is gift – that nothing, starting from life itself, is ours by right. The paradox is that the more we give back to God the more generous he is in returning it to us: “Give and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap, because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back” (Luke 6:38).There we are: this is the last throw of the dice! After what I have written here, and what I will try to say at Masses this weekend, the whole “Growing in Faith” process will come to an end. How you respond to it, is entirely a matter between you and God. I hope that we shall be able to reach the £300,000 asked of us as a first target, and perhaps even stretch towards the £400,000 suggested as our goal. I trust that we shall be seen to be playing our full part within the wider Catholic family of the Diocese. Next week normal service resumes!
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.