FR DAVID WRITES
I would like to repeat the words of welcome written here last weekend - welcome back to school, college and the new term, and welcome back to the parish if you have been away on your summer holidays. We all hope you had a brilliant summer.
Today is known as Education Sunday. This is a special day on which we are invited to reflect on the deeper truths about education and its profound spiritual and theological meaning. We know that education is a God-given right, which is one reason why the Church has always made it part of its primary mission to bring education to children all around the world. Education helps us to make sense of our own identity as children of God, created in his image and likeness, each with a unique calling. It helps equip us for our important mission in life, that of contributing to the building of a true civilisation of love, a civilisation in which each one of us, and together, strive to live the way that Christ shows us. Today we salute the many wonderful teachers, staff, governors, parents and children in our schools. We keep them and their work in our prayers. Perhaps we can also give thanks to God for the education we received ourselves, often given in love from our parents and families, and from all those whose care it was to teach us to pray and to live. God bless you all.

FR DAVID WRITES
I hope that everyone enjoyed a good summer, whether you were 'home' or 'away'. As you know, I attended two ordinations at the end of July, and then I had holidays. Sadly, my grandmother died in August so I was pleased to be at home with my family and we celebrated her funeral in Northumberland last week. Please pray for the repose of her soul. 

Many thanks to Fr Andrew, Fr Johnson and Fr Michael Quaicoe for their ministry in the parish during August. Fr Michael will be saying some Masses this weekend, followed by some time at the cathedral before he returns to his studies. We wish him well. David Knight will resume his appointment with us at the weekends in two week's time. 

A special mention to all those who are starting or returning to school, college or university shortly. Please pray for all the pupils, students, parents, staff and governors as they return to their places of work or study. I would like to especially mention Mrs. Gillian Hood who joins our parish as the new head of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School next door, and all young people who are starting at a new school or college. As we begin the new academic year, let us pray for and encourage each other. 

http://www.wallpaperscristaos.com.br/a-porta-estreita

FR ANDREW WRITES
In our Gospel this weekend, Our Lord is asked, “will there only be few saved?” Jesus doesn’t get into the numbers game but instead says simply, “Try your best to enter by the narrow door.”  The point about the door to heaven being narrow is not that it reduces the number who may enter but rather that it changes the way in which we may enter. To get through a narrow door we have to slow down, there’s no charging the gates of heaven, we must slow down and proceed with care, there’s a certain humility needed to enter through a narrow door.  And we may have to shed some baggage, shed attachments to the things of this life.  And to get through a narrow door we need to be slim, not physically slim, but spiritually slim.  In other words we need those disciplines of prayer and penance and charity that keep us in spiritual shape.   And then we may enter humbly through the narrow door and take our places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

By Manvarca - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/

‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!’

FR ANDREW WRITES
Sometimes Jesus can surprise us, even shock us in what he says.  In the Gospel this Sunday he does just that.  He says that he has come to bring fire to the earth, division and not peace.  So what happened to gentle Jesus, meek and mild?   Here’s the point, the fire that Jesus comes to bring to the earth, to our lives, is the fire of love for us which burns in his Sacred Heart.  Jesus is on fire with love for us and he wants us to burn with love for him.  To really love involves making a choice.  To really love Jesus means rejecting anything that gets in the way of that love and choosing him above everything.  This is the division that Jesus brings.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus on fire with love for us invites us to make a radical choice of love.

FR ANDREW WRITES
This Thursday we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  
The Assumption of Mary teaches us something very important about our lives as Christians.  Throughout her life, Mary united herself with the mission of Jesus her Son, including and especially in his suffering and death in which she shared with all the compassion of a mother. Because of this, at the end of her life, God ensured that she remained closely joined with her Son in heaven.  From heaven she continues to cooperate with her Son’s saving mission by praying for us.
We must imitate Mary, we must unite ourselves to Jesus, including and especially in pain and suffering.  We can make an offering of any suffering we experience, joining it with that of Jesus for the salvation of souls.  And because it is union with Christ in his saving death that brings about union with him in his resurrection, this is how we will follow where Mary has gone before us, to the eternal bliss of heaven.

FR ANDREW WRITES
The holiday season is very much upon us!  I have just returned from my summer break and now Fr David is off on his.  During August we welcome Fr Michael Quaicoe who is helping us out during his holidays from his studies in Rome.   Whether you are jetting off to somewhere exotic or just having a rest at home, it’s important to have a break.  Holidays are a great opportunity not just to rest our mind and body but also to refresh our souls.  When life is a little quieter we can rediscover simply how to take to delight in the Lord, to enjoy His presence, in the mass, in the tabernacle, in our prayer and in those we meet.  After all, when this life is over and all our plans and frantic activity are finally ended, there will be only one thing to delight in, only one thing to love and that is God.  Learning to delight in Him now helps to ensure that we will be able to enjoy His presence for ever.  Happy holidays!

FR DAVID WRITES
Today we welcome back Fr Mark who will help celebrate some of the Masses. Fr Mark has just returned from the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes where he served as chaplain to the young people.  Deacon David has gone on his break and will return at weekends in September.  I will begin my summer holidays this week.  Fr Andrew will be in charge of the parish and he will be helped for the month by Fr Michael Quaicoe.  Fr Michael was until recently an assistant priest at Westminster Cathedral and is now mostly based in Rome where he is completing his doctorate in Canon Law. I am grateful to him for his help and I know we will all make him feel most welcome. Finally, many thanks for your generosity last weekend in giving so generously towards Mary's Meals.  I pray that you may all have a blessed and safe summer.

FR DAVID WRITES
We send our thanks and best wishes to all staff and children in our parish and locality who finished the school term on Friday. Special thanks to everyone who helped to prepare and celebrate our own Leavers' Mass here on Tuesday afternoon. I will be at an ordination in Leeds Diocese this weekend but I will be around in the parish until the end of July. Together with Fr. Andrew, Deacons David and Ian, and the whole team, I send best wishes and blessings to all parishioners who are beginning their summer holidays this weekend or in the coming weeks - travel safely and have a great time!
Welcome to Fr. Samuel and Fr. John Moffatt SJ who are visiting this weekend and celebrating some of our Masses.

FR DAVID WRITES
As the academic year draws to a close, we find ourselves in the season of graduations, ordinations and farewells!  Well done to those who have done exams or are preparing to move on in education. On Thursday, Mr Meehan and I attended the 'Celebration of Service Mass' at Westminster Cathedral as we said thank you to Bishop Wilson for his work in the Education Service.  He is becoming the new Archbishop of Southwark. Last week, I celebrated Mass at the cathedral for all the diocesan teachers who have completed the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies.  Speaking of the diocese, please also keep in your prayers Alex Balzanella who is ordained deacon today in Rome, and Ben Woodley and Julian Davies who will be ordained priests soon.

WELCOME
Welcome (back) to Monsignor Tom Egan and Fr Mark Walker who are helping Fr David this weekend. We also welcome Deacon David Knight and Deacon Ian Coleman.

FR DAVID WRITES
Today is the feast of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, patron saints of the city and church of Rome.  Known as the 'columns of the Church', they have been venerated since the earliest times as the greatest of the Lord's apostles.  An apostle is someone who is sent out.  Both these individuals, Simon and Saul, overcame their own pasts and experienced the grace of conversion in their lives - symbolised by their new names - and allowed themselves to be sent by the Holy Spirit to announce the Gospel to the  ends of the earth.  Today we wear red vestments as a reminder that they stained the ground of Rome with the witness of their own blood.  Peter died by crucifixion and Paul was beheaded.