LIVE MASS STREAM – S FRANCIS OF ASSISI

St Francis of Assisi (1181 – 1226)
Mass – 9.30am
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Francis was the son of a prosperous cloth merchant in Assisi. When his father objected to having his goods sold without his consent to pay for the restoration of a church, the bishop commanded Francis to repay the money. He did. He also renounced his father and gave back everything he had ever been given, even his garments. He began a life of perfect evangelical poverty, living by begging and even then only accepting the worst food that people had to give. He preached to all the love of God and the love of the created world; because, having renounced everything, he celebrated everything he received, or saw, or heard, as a gift. A rich man sold everything and joined him in living next to a leper colony; a canon from a neighbouring church gave up his position and joined them also. They looked into the Gospel and saw the story of the rich young man whom Jesus told to sell everything; they saw Jesus telling his disciples to take nothing with them on their journey; they saw Jesus saying that his followers must also carry his cross. And on that basis they founded an order. Francis went to Rome himself and persuaded the Pope to sanction it, though it must have seemed at once impractical and subversive, to set thousands of holy men wandering penniless round the towns and villages of Europe.
  Because Francis was wearing an old brown garment begged from a peasant, tied round the middle with string, that became the Franciscan habit. Ten years later 5,000 men were wearing it; a hundred years later Dante was buried in it because it was more glorious than cloth of gold.
  There is too much to say about Francis to fit here. He tried to convert the Muslims, or at least to attain martyrdom in doing so. He started the practice of setting up a crib in church to celebrate the Nativity.
  Francis died in 1226, having started a revolution. The Franciscans endure to this day.

LIVE MASS STREAM – ALL SAINTS TWICKENHAM – REQUIEM – SISTER MARY MICHAEL SSM

THURSDAY 3RD OCTOBER 2013

MASS OF REQUIEM – SISTER MARY MICHAEL SSM

(Also Walsingham Cell)

Mass 7.00pm

http://ustre.am/UCOl

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WHY PRAY FOR THE DEAD ?

The earliest Scriptural reference to prayers for the dead comes in the second book of Maccabees. The books of Maccabees were among the latest written books found in the Old Testament. They recount the struggle of the Jewish people for freedom against the Seleucid Empire, around 100-200 years before the birth of Christ. They are written from an Orthodox Jewish point of view. The second book of Maccabees tells how Judas Maccabee, the Jewish leader, led his troops into battle in 163 B.C. When the battle ended he directed that the bodies of those Jews who had died be buried. As soldiers prepared their slain comrades for burial, they discovered that each was wearing an amulet taken as booty from a pagan Temple. This violated the law of Deuteronomy and so Judas and his soldiers prayed that God would forgive the sin these men had committed (II Maccabees 12:39-45).

This is the first indication in the Bible of a belief that prayers offered by the living can help free the dead from any sin that would separate them from God in the life to come. It is echoed in the New Testament when Paul offers a prayer for a man named Onesiphorus who had died: “May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day”(II Timothy 1:18). The cavelike tombs under the city of Rome, which we call catacombs, bear evidence that members of the Roman Christian community gathered there to pray for their fellow followers of Christ who lay buried there. By the fourth century prayers for the dead are mentioned in Christian literature as though they were already a longstanding custom.

The practice of praying for the dead is rooted first in Christian belief in the everlasting life promised in Jesus’ teachings and foreshadowed by his disciple’s experience that God had raised him from the dead. After death, even though separated from our earthly body, we yet continue a personal existence. It is as living persons that God invites us into a relationship whose life transcends death.

Praying for the dead has further origins in our belief in the communion of saints. Members of this community who are living often assist each other in faith by prayers and other forms of spiritual support. Christians who have died continue to be members of the communion of saints. We believe that we can assist them by our prayers, and they can assist us by theirs.

Our prayers for the dead begin at the moment of death. Often family members will gather in prayer around the bedside of the person who has died. The Order of Christian Funerals includes a Vigil Service for the deceased, which can be held in the home, in the church, or in a funeral home chapel, the funeral Mass and the Rite of Committal (which generally takes place at the burial site). The prayers express hope that God will free the person who has died from any burden of sin and prepare a place for him or her in heaven. Death remains a mystery for us–a great unknown. Yet Christian language evokes a hopeful imagination in the presence of death, an assurance that our love, linked to Christ’s love, can help bridge whatever barriers might keep those whom we love from fully enjoying the presence of a loving and life-giving God.

LIVE MASS STREAM – ALL SAINTS TWICKENHAM – GUARDIAN ANGELS

The Holy Guardian Angels
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Mass 10.00am
The doctrine that every individual soul has a guardian angel has never been defined by the Church and so is not an article of faith, but it is present in both the Old and New Testaments. As Jesus says, See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven always gaze on the face of my Father in heaven. Thus even little children have guardian angels, and these angels remain in the presence of God even as they fulfil their mission on earth.
  Anciently, all angels were celebrated together on the feast of St Michael. A separate feast of the Guardian Angels began in Valencia in 1411. At the reform of the Breviary in the 16th century it was included among the local feasts, and it was raised to the status of a feast in the General Calendar in 1608, placed on the first free day after the feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
  One of the benefits of this feast is that it reminds us that God cares for us each, individually. We all know this in theory, but it is easy – in times of depression or temptation – to convince ourselves that we are too small to matter, for good or ill. Let us use this feast to remind ourselves that each of us has an angel of our very own looking after us; and also to pray to God for our own Guardian Angel. What a bore and a burden to them some of us are. May we one day be a cause of rejoicing for them also.