Welcome to Canon Luke! - The Roman Catholic Parish of Saint

F R A N C I S ’
Welcome to Canon Luke!
The induction of Canon Luke Smith as Parish Priest of St. Francis’ Church, Maidstone took place on Friday 17th
October at 7pm, at the Vigil of the
Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist. The
principal celebrant of the Mass was
Father Paul Mason, Episcopal Vicar
for Kent, together with Fr. Peter
Kucharski, Father Bartlomiej Dudek,
Fr. Peter Soper, Fr Paul Gibbons,
Deacons Tom Coyle and Ian Black
Fr Paul gives Canon Luke his document of
appointment and entrusts him with the keys of
and other priests.
Concelebrated Mass with principal celebrant,
the church.
Father Paul Mason.
The church was packed with St. Francis’
parishioners, a contingent of Canon Luke’s
former parishioners from the Church of St. Austin
and St Gregory in Margate, Also present was the
deputy Mayor of Maidstone, Councillor Daniel
Moriarty, Rev Anthony Carr of Nettlestead Church
and Rev Andrew Royal of the United Reform
Church, Maidstone and other clergy of the town.
After the ceremony a happy reception was held
in the large hall of the United Reformed Church in Week
Street where Rev Andrew Royal gave all a warm welcome and everyone enjoyed a
delicious buffet and the joyful social occasion.
Applause for our new Parish Priest.
and old
the even
Canon Luke with members of the Phoenix Youth Club.
Canon Luke addresses the
old frien eritus John Hin
e chats
Telephone: (01622) 756217 Fax: (01622) 690549
Email: [email protected]
Web site: www.stfrancisparish.org.uk
Parish Priest: Canon Luke Smith
Assistant Priests: Fr Bartlomiej Dudek, Fr Peter Kucharski
Ordinariate Priest: Fr Paul Gibbons
Parish Deacons: Rev. Tom Coyle & Rev. Ian Black
Parishioner Editors: Denis & Ross Neale.
Telelephone: 01622 200025.
Email: [email protected]
A word from Canon Luke
Welcome to the latest edition of the
‘Parishioner’ I would like to thank our editors
Denis and Ross Neale for the many hours they
have spent eliciting, chasing and editing the
various contributions. Similarly I would like to
thank all those parishioåners who have kindly
sourced and prepared articles and photographs.
The magazine provides a window onto the life
of our parish; reflecting something of the rich
tapestry of people, gifts, activities, prayer,
shared life and witness that makes up the life of
St Francis parish. It also draws us beyond the
merely parochial, to issues, events and stories
which reflect our Catholic Faith and heritage
as well as our communion with the Catholic
Church throughout the world. Hopefully this
will inspire each member of the parish to take
an active part in our worship, and activities,
which in turn deepen the bonds of faith and
fellowship which knit us together as a parish
and of course as part of the universal Church.
To those who read this on-line I hope that it
bears witness to the warmth, vibrancy of faith,
and commitment to the Church I have
experienced in the few months since my
appointment here as parish priest. I pray that it
may be not only informative to all who read it,
but also inspire or strengthen you in your
relationship with our Lord and his body which
is the Church.
‘So in Christ we, though
many, form one body, and
each member belongs to
all the others.’ (St Paul’s
Letter to the Romans
Canon Luke
Do you enjoy singing? If the
answer is “Yes” the 10.30
Sunday Mass choir needs
you. Though we do our best
we could really do with more
voices to broaden our sound and to
increase our repertoire. Sopranos, altos
and especially tenors, baritones and
basses are required to enhance the
beauty of the Sung Mass. If you can hold
a tune pretty well and read music
(although that’s not essential), please
speak to Geraldine (the organist) after
10.30 Mass on Sunday. We practice
every other Saturday morning from 11am
to Noon. If this strikes the right note come
Keeping the roof over our heads!
Fund raising for the Church Roof Fund is
now in full swing,with the total in the kitty
already just over £13,000. St. Francis’
Church roof is in very poor condition and
needs to be replaced. This is likely to cost
in excess of £100,000 so there is a long
way to go yet. Quotations are being sought
and fuller details of costs and the work
involved will be available in due course.
Obviously, ongoing fundraising is
needed, consequently, the second
collections for ‘Maintenance’ will be
earmarked for this project. so please be
generous. A small team will be coordinating fundraising initiatives so any
ideas for raising money will be welcomed.
We all know that supermarket’s
slogan ‘every little helps’ so we can all do
our bit to keep the roof over our heads,
either as individuals or small groups, as
well as joining in with larger parish
fundraising events.
Tell it like it is, Canon!
This parish group is for 18 – 40 year olds and meets
on alternate Sundays in the dining room at Grove
House after the 6pm Mass for discussions, prayer
and social time. For further details, please speak to
Fr Bart or one of the clergy. All are welcome to
come along.
Mary, the fundraising heroine!
Stalwart Mary Adam decided to give up all
alcohol during Advent and asked other
parishioners to sponsor her. In spite of the
naysayers and tempters (only joking,
Mary) she did it and raised over £1000
for the Church Roof Fund. The picture
shows Mary enjoying her first glass of
wine on Christmas Day!
I said, “Let me work in the fields”
Christ said, “No, work in the town”
I said, “There are no flowers there”
He said, “No flowers but a crown”
I said, “But the sky is black;
There is nothing but noise and din”
Christ wept as he answered back,
“There is more,” he said, “there is sin”
I said, “But the air is thick
And fogs are veiling the sun’
Christ said, “But souls are sick,
And souls in the dark are undone’
I said, “I shall miss the light
And my friends will miss me, they say”
Christ answered, ‘Choose tonight,
If I shall miss you – or they.’
George MacDonald
Thanks to the URC we can carry on partying!
When the parish was advised it was too dangerous to use our old Parish
Hall for functions the hunt was on for an alternate venue - a place near
St Francis’ Church and large enough
to accommodate a big crowd.
Fortunately for us, the United
Reformed Church in Week Street
came to the rescue and generously
offered their excellent reception
rooms for use when we need them.
We have since said “goodbye” to
Father John Clark and
“hello” to Canon Luke
November’s winning Quiz Team.
Smith there with two
well attended receptions. We have also enjoyed a couple
of Len and Viv Watson’s notoriously tricky Quiz
Evenings, our numbers being bolstered by unsuspecting
members of URC. They were fun!
Many thanks to Rev. Andrew Royal and his
Phoenix Youth Club is for all young
people from 15 to 18 in all Maidstone
schools, the leaders are Fr Bartlomiej
Dudek and Lydia Burchell. The Youth
Club is held every Friday from 6.30 pm
to 9.00 pm in the Youth Room behind
the Parish Hall. It is a place for young
people to chill out at the end of a busy
week at school, meet friends, listen to
music, play pool, football, basketball,
rounders and table tennis etc. We
regularly have trips going ice skating,
sleepovers, theme parks and other
events like Flame 2 at Wembley Arena
and Brightlights Festival for young
people at Aylesford Priory. The young
people decide what they would like to
do and the leaders help to arrange it.
We have a number of events coming up
this year and are especially looking
forward to Flame 2 at Wembley Arena
in March where 10,000 other young
Catholics will be present and there are
over 20 young people from Phoenix
Youth Club attending. We are also
looking forward to Brightlights 2015
and World Youth Day in Krakow in 2016.
There will be millions of young people
from all over the World experiencing
World Youth Day in Krakow in the
presence of Pope Francis, it will be an
amazing event to be part of.
Clara Senior singing Do They Know Its
lesmere, Kent
Daniel El
Burchell,elf at the Heart paint is
Geo s and mys
William Rainbow Run. ations so that .
Hospice at four colour st like a rainbow d a
thrown ds up looking the Hospice an.
t-shirt en fundraiser for e Ashford 10K
Fantastic ning run for th
good trai
e, James d the
r, Daniel having comple Senior
Clara s and Lydia,
ober. Cla
William 10K race in Oct 7 minutes, Danilliams
Ashford ia ran in 1 hour s and James W
and Lyd e in 44 minute
in 46 m
Group at
Run incl the Heart of Ken
School, ing staff from St Hospice Rainbo
Candidat Francis’ Church Simon Stock
es and m
of Phoen
ix Club.
Mikaela De Souza and James Williams,
Phoenix members and head boy girl at St
Simon Stock School, selling mistletoe for St
Francis’ Church Roof Fund.
“Save the Children Wear Your Christmas Jumper Day”
on 12th December. All subs went to the fund.
The Christmas Show
Phoenix Youth Club held their Christmas Show on Friday
19 December. This year members chose to do a show
with four solo performances from Amanda Chapman,
Annabelle Keane, Bethany Darcey and Clara Senior and
rounds of Family Fortunes which included the nativity cast
of Mary - Grace Williams, Joseph - Daniel Ellesmere, the
Angel Gabriel - Ethan Wheeler, the innkeeper - Olivia
Ralph, shepherds – Rebecca Saunders and Tsholofelo
The cast patiently waiting to go on stage
Kgarabe and wise men - Rachael McCartan, Sarah
Pattinson and Carla Farry. It was fun show
written and presented by Georgina Burchell
and James Williams and rounds of Family
Fortunes included the questions ‘Name a
Christmas Show’ and ‘Name a Pudding you
would eat on Christmas Day’. Each round
was followed by a solo performance and at
the end the youth club came together to sing
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (a favourite Round 3 of Family Fortunes.
from their days at St Francis’ Primary School). The show was great fun and completely written and
performed by the youth club with technical help
from Fr Bart, supported by Sam Griffiths
controlling the sound track and Abigael Wallis on
lighting. Many thanks to Mark Coatsworth for
taking photographs of the dress rehearsal and
the show itself. We raised £120.00 towards
Brightlights 2015 and World Youth Day in
Krakow. A big thank you to all parishioners,
family and friends for your support.
We had a great show!
Flame Youth Group continues to expand and develop and has been very busy since the last issue of the Parishioner. Apart
from a trip to Poland by 17 members of the group in the summer holidays, youth members worked towards a mission
statement for themselves and developed their many skills, from learning Irish dancing, to drama presentations on the theme
of a ‘difficult situation’. Flame members made up half the number of young people who attended the Youth Festival at
Aylesford and were happy to serve and read.
On a lighter note, the ‘Wet Evening’ in the summer was enjoyed by all, especially Fr Wojtek
who was visiting from Poland. The water bomb throwing competition was particularly popular.
The Fireworks party was enjoyed by nearly 60 children and their families, despite the heavens
opening just as the display was about to begin. Fortunately,
everyone was quite happy with the great BBQ cooked mainly by
Fr Peter – Chef Extraordinaire.
Even our work has proved good fun, with members managing
At Ayiesford Priory
the ‘Feed the Hungry’ project, wrapping buckets to collect contributions from
the carol singing at the Mall shopping centre or making chocolate angels, cakes or sweets for
What hit me?!!
sale after masses. The production of plaster-of-paris cribs and ornaments was a major project
which was well received by parishioners. The weeks
leading to Christmas were very busy and included a
visit to Pilgrims Way Rest Home for a carol service
after school and of course, a Christmas party with
games. We are looking forward to more trips to the
park, and other fun evenings in the next few months.
Managing the Feed the Hungry warehouse
Making plaster Christmas ornaments
Family Day
The Family Day in September, was a bit of a
gamble, as it was a new concept and was held
just after the return to school following the
summer holidays.
The venue, Lower Grange Farm, at Sandling, was perfect, with lots
of space, both indoors and out. Even the weather was
very kind.
The children began the
day in the huge barn
with craft activities and
games, while adults
were taken to the
conference centre for
workshops on varying themes. Canon Luke was
thrown in at the deep end in his first week at the
parish by leading the first session, followed by Fr
Peter and then Fr Bart. These ice-breakers were all
much enjoyed and encouraged people to talk to new
Families then joined together for a fantastic BBQ and
organised games for
all ages.
As evening fell a camp
fire was lit and the
day was brought to a
around the campfire. A
wonderful day was enjoyed by the many families who
attended and it is hoped that another day can be
arranged in the spring. Watch this space...
Advent wreaths that they had
made. The meeting in December
was taken up with making
Christingles and preparing for the
Nativity play that was included in
the parish Carol Service – such
everyone had a part to
play. Finally, the waiting began for
are very
that ‘Special Visitor’,
embers ngs, who
New m
including singing ‘Away
e at Fle
welcom y meet on the .
in a Manger’.
e month
Fledglings, the group for our
children of primary age, has grown
and has taken up a busy
programme, assisted by a great
team of leaders and a growing
number of Flame Group members.
each month for a
day of fun centred on a relevant theme. October,
being the month of Our Lady, on the Rosary, with
the children learning how to say it and making
their own Rosaries. November’s meeting saw
the children taking home the Jesse trees and
ay of th
Visits Poland
by one of the Leaders.
It was an ungodly hour that saw 17 members of the Flame Youth the town, before visiting a fantastic ice-cream parlour – Polish iceGroup leave St Francis’ at the end of July 2014, bound for Poland creams are amazing!
Next, it was on to Lake Solina – so beautiful,
Father Peter and
it felt like heaven. Even though it was 8pm
me. Everyone was
when we left, it definitely wasn’t late
very excited.The
enough. The next day saw the long, but
flight from Stansted
surprisingly cheerful drive to Kraków where
to Rzeszów was
the first
u n e v e n t f u l
stop was
t h e
anticipation of the Inside Przemysl Cathedral.
Waiting for ice cream.
group members (a few of them flight rookies) which was just as Cave (the dragon is the symbol
well as the rest of the holiday was so busy. The first port of call of Kraków) before climbing the
was the centre of Rzeszów itself, its modern shopping centre hill to Wawel Castle and
contrasting with the old town
At Lake Solina.
square, where the first iceAfter a tour of the cathedral,
creams were consumed.
there was a general walk
Late afternoon we arrived at Fr
around the beautiful city centre
and the market. One guard
Bialobrzegi, where we met up
decided Offiong looked a bit
with the youth group that we
had already established links
with through videos etc.
Everyone was so friendly and Making friends.
The Dragon’s Cave.
while the BBQ was cooked, a
game of volleyball was set up,
suspect, but
which sadly, we lost! A brief rest
eventually let
Taking photographs at Wawel Castle
on the swings ensured that we and Cathedral.
him borrow
were ready for dancing and
his sword.
forming firm friendships.
By the afternoon, it was time to head out to
Nobody wanted to leave, but a the water park, one of the biggest in Europe,
return visit has been booked for before driving home for a BBQ and another
Dancing together.
April, when the group will come very late night.
to us.
Sadly, the next day saw our return to
It was very late at night when we arrived at our house near Zargorz, England after what everyone agreed was a
wondering if we would still be able to see a wolf or a bison.
fantastic experience of fun, laughter,
Most people were awake and up hours before savouring the friendship and learning about a new and
Offiong and the sword.
delicious Polish breakfast, provided by Fr Peter’s mum and sister, exciting country and culture.
amusing themselves by watching the animals in the back garden. We look forward to the next trip which is in February 2015, when
‘Is this for real – that’s a cow!’ and ‘Look at this, it’s a goat, right we will be ski-ing and snowboarding in Zakopane. Polska,
there’, could be heard, before boarding the bus for the drive to kochamy Cie?
Przemysl, through breathtaking scenery. We were treated to a tour
of the cathedral, the seminary where Frs Peter and Bart trained and
d a g
We ha
God’s Holy Angels
Canon Luke Smith
ngels are certainly in vogue! We need not look far to find they are messengers in the deepest sense of the word, they bear and
images of winged, white robed creatures on greeting cards, reflect something of the power and authority of the one who sends
badges, necklaces, ornaments and a whole myriad of other them. They deliver God’s word, attest to his presence, deliver, protect
trinkets. Manufacturers are cashing in on the public’s newfound and guide; they are also the agents of God’s justice (e.g. Sodom &
interest in these celestial beings, but how much of what is being Gomorrah, Genesis 19 and the book of Revelation). If you want the
technical term for all this, they are plenipotentiaries.
presented is fact?
The notion of guardian angels is a very ancient one, unfortunately
A brief foray into what the Church teaches; will help decipher
the over sentimentalising of this notion and the subsequent images
what is fact and what is fiction.
The modern fixation with angels tends to centre upon what they again tend to relegate them to the realm of fairytales. Some of the
look like, treating them like some lucky charm; there is an inherent most ancient narratives in the Old Testament bear witness to the
danger then of relegating them to the realm of fairytale, comforting belief in God’s angels watching over and guiding God’s People (e.g.
to imagine they exist, but rationally admitting they cannot really exist Genesis 24:7 ‘He will send his angel before you’ and Exodus 23:20;
32:34); throughout our lives God’s angels are there offering care and
or are simply a literary or artistic embellishment.
The Church, basing its teaching on both Scripture and Tradition, intercession. St. Basil the Great (d379AD) summed it up beautifully
explains in The Catechism of the Catholic Church (nos. 328-336) when he said: “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and
that God created the spiritual, non-corporeal (bodiless) beings we call shepherd leading him to life.”
There is so much we do not know about angels and do not need
angels; each angel has intelligence and will and is a personal and
immortal creature. In simple terms each angel is a unique being to know. Of their nature they are constantly pointing to their creator,
praising him and reflecting him, in a sense they are transparent; we
created to love and serve God, its Creator.
But angels are neither cute and cuddly nor simply good luck too in a different way bear the image of God and are called to reflect
talismans. Not all angels chose to do God’s will. “The devil and other him to others. In a world that is so obsessed with self-image the
demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became angels remind us that without God we simply would not exist and
evil by their own doing,” the Catechism says (no. 391), quoting from that our true value and fulfilment is to be found in who we were
the writings of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215). Like human created to be, not as some self-constructed facade that might win a
beings the angels were created with free will and some angels sinned; moment of worldly accolade and fame. The prince of the fallen angels,
we don’t know exactly what they did wrong, but their ‘fall’was a result ‘Lucifer’ (literally light-bearer) sought to usurp the place of God in
arrogance and pride and so ultimately lost his true identity and look
of radically and irrevocably rejecting God and His reign.
Since humanity’s creation, the devil (himself a fallen angel) and where that led!
Most angels are not even named (or at least remain unknown to
his angels, immortal and powerful, but not all-powerful like God,
have sought to lead mankind to also reject their Creator. No human us) and the names of archangels that are known tell us more of their
being has been spared this tempting, not even Jesus (see for example mission than their identity. Michael literally means ‘He who is like
God’ ‘he’ is the protector or the face of God, the one who preMatthew 4:1-11).
Angels and humans are ontologically (in their very being) eminently fights against the devil and his angels who seek to usurp
different. Angels are 100% spirit; whilst humans are both spirit (soul) God’s place and deceive mankind. Gabriel, literally means ‘God’s
and body. The human soul is immortal; at death the soul leaves the strength’, he delivers the message of salvation, God’s deliverance of
body, but it is not transformed into an angel as some believe. Rather, his people; whilst Raphael is ‘God’s healing’.
Neither do we know, or need to know, how many angels there
the purified soul that enters heaven enjoys God’s presence with the
angels and joins with the angels and the Communion of saints in are; traditionally, angels are said to be divided into various ‘choirs’
derived from biblical terms; since the fourth century, that number has
praising God.
The angels are our constant partners in prayer, the public liturgy been placed at nine: virtues, powers, principalities, dominations,
of the church is a joining of heaven and earth: ‘the multitude of angels thrones, angels, archangels, cherubim and seraphim.
The preoccupation with what angels look like or making them
extols you majesty and we are united with them in exultant adoration’
(Preface of the angels from the Roman Missal). We adopt the into super-humans is detrimental in the sense that it so often causes
Heavenly Sanctus as our prayer of adoration in every celebration of us to dismiss them from the realms of reality; a little poetic or artistic
the Mass: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts’ (Isaiah 6:3). A theme licence is fine, even wings to denote that the angels need some mode
we find in the psalms too: ‘I will thank you Lord, with all my heart; of transportation from the heavenly to the earthly realm! However
let us not be so flippant with the message they convey; the interplay
in the presence of the angels I will praise you’ (Psalm137:1)
To return to the point that angels are 100% spirit and therefore between the heavenly and the earthly is not as remote as we may
do not have a body; we might contest what about the various think. The angels attest that God is truly with us; they proclaimed on
scriptural accounts of angelic encounter. In the Scriptures the that first Christmas night, the Incarnation, the presence of God in
flesh, the presence of peace and salvation
primary focus is always upon the angel’s
(Luke 2:9-15). The angels constantly
function not their appearance; angels are
proclaim the supremacy of God, and lead us
never described, only the seraphim and
May God be with me and with His
in humility to bow before Him in adoration
cherubim (e.g. Isaiah 6) have wings. We are
messenger whom he has sent to greet
and praise; for it is only in this humble
left to assume that angels can take human
receptiveness that we become who we are
form; in several accounts of angelic
May the Lord who is great and blessed
truly meant to be and consequently end up
encounter only gradually does the one
where we are meant to be.
encountering the angel realise there is more
look upon me, have pity on me and
The angels I am sure will not be
than a human being before them (some of
grant me peace. May he give me greater
worried if the current craze for angel
the best illustrations of this are Gideon in
merchandise fizzles out; in fact they would
the book of Judges 6:11-24; the parents of
fearful and afraid.
probably prefer that we take them and their
Samson in chapter 13 of the same book
mission a little more seriously. So let us rest
and Tobias in the book of Tobit) .
For the angels of God are about me and
assured that the genuine angels are going to
‘Angel’ comes from the
God is with me wherever I may be.
be around for a long time. Whether in or
rendering of the Hebrew word for
A Jewish prayer.
out of vogue, they are, after all, immortal.
‘messenger’. This is not to reduce the
angels to a sort of celestial postal service;
St. Nicholas Owen
Written and illustrated by Charlotte Cassidy
wealthy Catholic family paid a fine on his
behalf. His jailers considered Nicholas
nothing more than an insignificant fool and
defender of Catholic priests and so he was
able to resume his secret work. Because of
his ingenious building skills, Nicholas
masterminded the famous escape of Fr.
Gerard and another prisoner from the
Tower of London in 1587.
After the ascension to the throne of
King James I in 1603 and the failed
Gunpowder Plot of November 1605, the
king firmly stated there would be no
relaxation in the rigorous anti-Catholic
persecutions. Realizing he was now
suspected of building places of refuge for
priests, Nicholas decided to hide at Hindlip
Hall in Worcestershire in a priest hole he
had constructed. Concerned, however, for
the safety of his master, Fr. Garnet, who was
hiding with three other priests in a nearby
mansion, Nicholas voluntarily gave himself
up to the priest hunters after four days, in
the hope of distracting attention away from
the location of Fr. Garnet and his
Nicholas was brought under guard to
London and was imprisoned, first in
Marshalsea Prison in Southwark, just south
of the River Thames. In the solitude of his
cell, Nicholas knelt in prayer for some time,
drawing strength from his profound love of
Jesus. He was then taken to the infamous
Tower of London.
Although it was illegal under English Law to torture a man if he had a
hernia (those suffering from any physical disability were exempt from
torture), for a week Nicholas was subjected to horrific torture on the rack
for six hours at a time, which forced his hernia and other internal organs to
protrude.To contain the protrusions his cruel tormentors strapped a circular
plate of iron around his abdomen.The sharp edge of the iron plate combined
with the stretching power of the rack caused Nicholas further agonizing pain
and injury. Despite this barbaric torture, Nicholas revealed nothing of the
priest holes. Eventually he was dragged back to his cell were he died in the
night between the 1st and 2nd of March 1606. He was only forty-four.
Fr. Gerard, the priest he had helped to escape from the Tower of London
in 1587, was extremely saddened by the news of Nicholas’s death and he
wrote of him with esteem, “I verily think no man can be said to have done
more good of all those who labored in the English vineyard. He was the
immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both
ecclesiastical and secular.”
In a letter written by Fr. Garnet, before his gruesome execution at Tyburn
in 1606, he praised Nicholas Owen’s faithfulness, generous nature and
remarkable skill as a carpenter. St. Nicholas Owen was canonized in Rome
in 1970 by Pope Paul VI. He is honoured by the Catholic Church in England
and Wales for his sanctity and martyrdom and he is regarded as one of the
greatest Englishmen of his time. Numerous beautiful examples of his skilled
craftsmanship as a carpenter and also his priest’s holes can be seen in many
mansions throughout England today.
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I
(1558 to 1603) Anglicanism was
established by law in England as the
nation’s state religion, having been a
predominantly Catholic nation under
the reign of previous monarchs.
Consequently, Catholics were now
persecuted and it was into this time of
persecution that St. Nicholas Owen
was born to impoverished, devout
Catholic parents in Oxfordshire,
England. Remaining steadfast in their
faith, the Owen family would
repeatedly pay large sums of money in
fines to the authorities rather than
attend Anglican church services.
As a young boy Nicholas Owen
had a deep devotion to Jesus. He was
slim and short in stature, only slightly
taller than a dwarf. He walked with a
limp from a badly set leg, fractured
when a horse fell on him, and he
suffered from a hernia.
At the age of fifteen Nicholas was
apprenticed to a local joiner where he
learned the skills he would later need
to build hiding places for catholic
priests, secret rooms that became
known as priest holes. He was also a
carpenter and stonemason by trade.
He later worked in the service of
Fr. Henry Garnet, Superior of the
English Jesuit Order. In 1580 Nicholas
joined the Society of Jesus and became
one of the first English Jesuit lay brothers.
As Catholic persecutions intensified Catholics were totally forbidden to
practice their religion, even possessing rosary beads was prohibited. It was
punishable by death for anyone to smuggle a priest back into England having
been ordained abroad and it was considered treason if priests were found
celebrating Mass in the room of a house. They were immediately arrested,
brought to trial and sentenced to a traitor’s death at Tyburn.This meant that
priests needed hiding holes. For the next eighteen years, with Fr. Garnet’s
approval, Nicholas worked under the name of Little John to conceal his
identity and travelled throughout England building hiding holes for priests in
the mansions of wealthy Catholic families. He would always begin with a
prayer and would receive Holy Communion before constructing the priest
The only payment he accepted was a meal from each of the families
when he had completed his work. If people insisted on giving him money,
Nicholas would distribute the money to priests and people in need. He
always worked at night and on his own. He was a strong, skilled craftsman
and could break through thick stone walls and floors. He worked as a
carpenter by day in the mansions so that the servants would not suspect
the true nature of his building at night. He made trap doors and sliding doors,
in walls, beneath floors and near roof tops.To conceal the entrances of the
priest holes he would use ‘trompe l’oeil’, a realistic technique which made
the detection of the entrances difficult to discern, even if someone viewed
the entrances close-up. Many stage magicians and illusionists use this
technique today. The locations of the secret rooms were known only to
himself and the house owners. The number of priest holes Nicholas
constructed may never be known as many are thought to be still
In 1581 Nicholas was in London helping Jesuit priest Fr. John Gerard
when he learned that Fr. Edmund Campion had been arrested while
preaching at a manor house in Berkshire. Fr. Campion had been charged
with sedition and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Nicholas immediately
openly declared Fr. Campion’s innocence of the charge and both he and Fr.
Gerard were then arrested and imprisoned separately, Fr. Gerard in the
Tower of London and Nicholas at the notorious, decaying Poultry Compter
Prison in London, where he was tortured.
Although his priest holes were unknown to the persecutors at that time,
he did not betray the whereabouts of any priests. Instead he spoke of Jesus
and the Blessed Virgin to his interrogators. He was released after a kind,
An engraving of Hindlip House (1800), built before 1575 and
demolished in 1820.
Father Bart
Interviewed by Amanda Chapman
The Phoenix Youth Club decided to interview one of their leaders, Fr Bart. We have got to know Fr Bart very
well, in a more relaxed way, so we decided to do an informal interview and ask him questions that, perhaps, you
wanted to know the answers to!
What year were you born in and when did you become a priest?
I was born in 1984 and on the 4th May 2008 I was ordained to
the Diaconate and I became a Priest on 1st May 2009.
What did your family think when you told them you wanted to train to be
a priest?
I never asked my family (Fr Bart laughs). I told my mum first and
I told her just before my final exams. I said “Mum, don’t worry
about my exams I am going to the seminary”. My dad was
working abroad at the time and my mum told my dad. I think
that my parents treat it as a sort privilege for the family. Both
of my younger brothers laughed when I told them that I was
joining the seminary.
How did you know that you wanted to be a priest?
That is a difficult question. It was a process; it started from the
pilgrimage to Czestochowa during my final year in secondary
school. My intention at the pilgrimage was to ask God to show
me the aim of my life, but there was no answer. I returned from
that pilgrimage a bit bitter. Later the same year I went for a
weekend retreat with my classmates in a female monastery and
after confession I was praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
There was a kind of strong feeling saying to me several times
“follow me” and I couldn’t believe it was happening; it was very
strange. For weeks after I couldn’t believe that it had happened.
I had a strong desire to change something in my life but I wasn’t
quite sure what. After that I had a strong calling to be a priest
though for about 4 to 5 months I didn’t want to agree to it. I
felt that God was forcing me. During one of the confessions in
Lent a priest told me that God’s plan for me is one thing but my
decision is something different. And then I felt free from being
forced to make a decision and I eventually agreed. At the
beginning I thought that I was not suitable. In hindsight, maybe,
there were a few things in my life that did match with becoming
a priest. Now I feel that everything I have learnt and am learning
is useful for being a priest.
Have you ever regretted your decision to be a priest?
Did you want to come to England?
Let’s put it in that way: it wasn’t my idea to come to
England. My Bishop in Poland suggested to me that he
wanted me to go to England and I agreed. He was
looking for someone who could replace the other priest
in England (I didn’t know Father Tadeusz then) and he
wanted me to learn English and study something
connected with media.
Is there anything about Poland that you really miss when you are in
The food, my family and friends but I do get to see
them about three times a year.
Is that enough?
When I get to see them it gives me a break
from parish work but I am really too busy
to be homesick or to miss them.
What do you like best about living in England?
Travelling. I like that it is very easy to
travel within England and to travel
abroad. Also I really like English
hymns, they are really nice and I liked
them straight away.
What do you like best about living in Poland?
I like the food best, especially my
mum’s home cooking and all of the
traditions and customs especially the
celebrations. I like celebrating name
days which is the Feast Day of the Saint you are named after,
though I have to say that I really enjoyed the celebrations for my
30th birthday last year which went on for about a week.
Do you think that there are cultural differences?
There are. The first one is that people in England are much more
open and smiley (but sometimes unfortunately it appears to be
just on the surface). In England generally people are polite and
I prefer the English style of driving rather than the Polish.
Though I find that the Polish are more straight forward.
Did you enjoy going to Thorpe Park and Chessington with the youth club
and the altar servers and did you enjoy all the rides, especially going on
I did enjoy the trips but most of all I like the company of going
out with the youth club rather than the activities. I like going
out with the people generally. I challenged myself to try most
of the rides and especially Stealth because I have never been on
rides at a Theme Park before. They were scary but I think I will
try the rides again this year.
Do you support a football team in Poland?
I don’t support any football team. I prefer to play football rather
than watch it. I do support the National team. I do try to play
for my Diocesan priests’ team in Poland.
How have you come to be so good at table tennis?
Practice. (Fr Bart laughs) I played lots of table tennis at school.
It is a ‘winter sport’ for me because I used to play table tennis
indoors at school during winter only.
What is your favourite sport and is there a sport you aren’t good at?
My favourite sport is football. I have played football with my
brothers at home since I can remember. I like basketball,
volleyball, skiing and I am learning ice skating. I would say that
those sports I’m not good at I haven’t tried!
Have you always been so competitive?
Yes. I think it is because I am one of four brothers, we are
all competitive in everything, not just sports. I used to
try to be better than others and often it was leading
me and the other person to be upset. Now, instead of
trying to be better than somebody else I am trying to
be as good as I can. In that way I can enjoy sport even
when I’m losing (sort of). Competitiveness is part of
Are you against gay marriage and why?
My view is not different to the church’s opinion
on homosexual marriages. I think that the term
‘homosexual marriage’ is misused. Marriage
from history, religion, society is a
relationship that serves the proper
aims which is love, support of both
partners and procreation of
children. A homosexual relationship
doesn’t go along with these aims,
or at least all of them, so I think
we shouldn’t even be using that
term. I respect every person
being in this kind of situation,
experiencing these sort of
feelings. But God and the
Church have always seen
homosexual acts as disordered
homosexual relationship but
any sexual acts within that
My Computer as a Place
Len Watson
It might be logically argued that my computer is an object or tool
rather than a place, but I would still maintain that it is a place in the
sense of storage space, just as valid as any other place of storage. It
is alas no longer in pristine condition, indeed, by modern
technological standards it is antiquated. It is however my most
treasured birthday gift ever. It is a place that is retentive and reliable,
but also extremely vulnerable. Not only from the danger of losing its
source of energy, but it is also in constant jeopardy by nature of misuse.
As a personalised instrument it is unique, even to the degree that its
responsiveness is dependent on my input and deliberation.
Following my Academic pursuits it is subject to an almost
unlimited variation of ideology and language, with the same
aptitude to recall the vitriolic rhetoric of tyranny, or the romantic
intonations of Blake or Wordsworth. It may be compared to a
mansion with many rooms, with each room securing a differing idea. Alas, if
only we could explore the interior of this ‘mansion’, what dark recesses would
we find? Is it so inanimate that it remains unaffected by the impulses that
promote its functional purpose? No doubt these are the imponderables that
would have motivated such visionaries as Jules Verne or H.G.Wells.
However, I must nor take this philosophical path – I have to deal with
positivethought. This in itself is not so simple, the problem with the positive
nature of my computer is in its familiarity; so much so that
I tend to take it for granted. This is a pity for as I have said,
it is vulnerable, and if it fails for whatever reason, it is
unlikely to give any warning. What utter tragedy it would
be if I lost everything that has become important to me:
ideas, language, memory and communication. Yet these
things happen – I have heard tales of other computers
emitting utter nonsense, or perhaps worse, producing nothing
at all.
If only there could be a fail-safe process – an
illuminated logo perhaps: ‘Use me well before it is too
late’ – the utilisation of ‘well’ extending to a kind word,
a forgiving phrase, or some other hint towards
humanity. The world is full of computers, all serving the human
need to function to its ultimate good (or otherwise), and my computer is no
exception. I endeavour to use it to its best advantage, for it may not last forever.
I feel I must use my logical and emotional imagination to promote its best
interests, and lubricate the way it functions, and indeed, thinks. For my
computer really does think; it lives and pulses (and I hope) listens to the
instincts of my conscience – for this particular ‘technology’ is my own mind!
Care to help your parish?
Donate8 is the way!
Alistair Black
In 2014 Canon John Clarke heard about the Donate8 scheme trialled at
St. Thomas More Parish in West Malling and thought the concept would
suit St. Francis’ Parish. The reason for this was how to respond to the fact
that Southern England could, over the next 10 to 20 years, have fewer
priests due to retirement and a shortage of young men coming forward to
study for the priesthood. This will put a severe strain on the remaining
The Donate8 concept is simple – ask the parish community to volunteer!
Invite parishioners to donate 8 hours per year to undertake the secular
duties required by the parish and thus relieve the parish priests and other
clergy to concentrate their time on their pastoral duties.
Fr Bartlomiej and a team of parishioners, Alistair Black (Chair), Pete and
Carole Batty, Cathy Kennard, Sarah Boylan and Brian Carr, who had
volunteered to set up Donate8 in St Francis’ parish went to West Malling
and saw a presentation from Adrian and Sally Attmore, the creators of the
original idea. What is so important about this scheme is that it is a
conscience based initiative - no one is chasing people who volunteered!
Following from the meeting the St Francis Donate8 team began working.
We contacted Team Leaders who identified tasks that required volunteers.
The proposed tasks were wide ranging and included cleaning the church,
flower arranging, counting the monies, cleaning altar cloths and church
linen, etc.
Then we waited patiently for Canon Luke to arrive on 1st September and
he backed the project wholeheartedly.
Presentations were made at all Masses and Mass centres over the
weekend of 27th/28th September 2014 and volunteers were
requested.The scheme was then officially launched on the feast day of St
Francis in October 2014.
Up to the 6th January all the tasks identified (22) have been filled and we
have had over 60 parishioners volunteer for the project which gives the
parish a potential of 480 extra volunteer hours to help those selfless team
leaders who undertake the current tasks and have done so for years.
Hopefully the Donate8 project will be an ongoing process with the
Donate8 group publicising new tasks as they arise. Feedback from Team
Leaders and volunteers has so far been very positive.
Change is happening and the community of St Francis is developing and
being strengthened by the generosity and involvement of you, the
parishioners, as evidenced in the logo below.
‘Great things happen when people work together’
FI contact: [email protected] or leave a note in the RED
Donate8 box an the back of church.
Donate8 Prayer.
Lord Jesus,
I give you my hands to do your work.
I give you my feet to go your way.
I give you my tongue to speak your words.
I give you my mind that you may think in me.
I give you my spirit that you may pray in me.
Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me your
Father and all mankind.
I give you my whole self that you may grow in me, so that
it is you, Lord Jesus, who live and work and pray in me.
Visit to
Bernard & Sylvia White
Bernard is ready to
steam ahead!
Deacon Ian and students
Last November 12th Year 8 students
from St Simon Stock School, with their
teachers, travelled to the Ypres Salient
where they visited the WWI Tyne Cot
Cemetery. There, they worked well
together, locating the resting places of
their individual soldiers which they had
researched prior to the outing. The
prayers and reflections written onto the
crosses they left showed a maturity
beyond their years.
One of their most memorable
experiences was the short service, held
at Menim Gate which was led by
Deacon Ian Black. Our special thanks
to him and St Francis’ parish for the
support and time he gave to the
students on the trip,
All the students agreed that they had
enjoyed the day and had learnt a great
deal from it. Each one
will be
completing an in-depth project on World
War One and the students will have the
opportunity to complete a ‘News
Report’ in conjuction with the BBC.
These reports will be uploaded onto the
BBC site and they have been assigned
a ‘producer’ who is supporting them in
this project. The deadine for the report
is March 2015.
(Taken from a report by Miss M King in the
St Simon Stock School Newsletter. Oct.
Children in Need
Today is the day
To dry a child’s tears.
Give a little, save a lot,
Pudsey Day is here.
In over twelve years of hobby time,
parishioner Bernard White constructed
this Merchant Navy 4-6-2 model steam
locomotive. The model was named
“Orient Line” No. 35008 after its real
loco on SR British rail. When Bernard
and his family came back to the UK
from Australia, they sailed on a PO
‘Orient Line’ ship, SS Orestes, hence
the name.
The model is constructed of steel,
brass, copper and cast iron. Drawings
and patterns were produced and all the
turning, milling etc. took place in
Bernard’s own workshop. When the
model was completed in 2014, it was
tested to 200lb/sq.in. to gain a safety
certificate to run on the Maidstone
Model Engineers’ Society track in Mote
Park and it has been steam tested to
prove all is working correctly. During
the summer of 2015 you will be able
see it pulling passengers in Mote Park.
Keith celebrates 90 years
The Phoenix Youth leading the singing
at Youth Club Mass on 8th February.
The eyecatching logo on their hoodies
was designed by Phoenix member,
Philip Coatsworth.
Parishioner Keith White celebrated his
90th birthday with family and friends on
Sunday, 24th August last year and all
enjoyed this amazing Mad Hatter’s Tea
Party cake. Congatulations, Keith!
Five Tips for a Good Lent
1. Pray more: Christ spent 40 days in the desert to unite himself more intensely with His Father. Lent should be a
time to re-kindle our love for Christ and this will only happen if he is on our daily calendar! What keeps you from
spending time with Jesus? What is it? Whatever it is; even if it means giving up some of your time at the gym or
tennis, do it for your relationship with the Lord. “Time spent in front of the Eucharist is always time well spent.”
(Pope John Paul II)
2. Spiritual fasting: Starve your pride, starve your vanity or starve your laziness! Choose one person in your family
or your circle of friends who is a little more difficult and try to really be kind and patient to that person. Try to put
others at the centre of attention in your conversations and talk about the topics that they enjoy. Gossip less, praise
others more. Give humble service without looking for recognition, praise or esteem
3. Material Fasting: Try to offer this one up for a particular person who is need of God’s grace: Something tangible
that is both realistic and addresses an excessive attachment or dependency: alcohol, desserts, smoking, television
etc. Limit spending on superfluous items, buy only what you need, not what you want. Give up some free time to
perform a work of mercy: visiting a lonely neighbour, helping at a homeless shelter or food bank, etc.
Please find it in your heart,on their behalf I now plead,
4. Purity of Intention: The Gospel highlights a typical feature of Christian almsgiving: it must be hidden: “Do not let
your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” Jesus asserts, “so that your alms may be done in secret” (Mt
6,3-4). Just a short while before, He said not to boast of one’s own good works so as not to risk being deprived of
the heavenly reward (cf. Mt 6,1-2). Everything must be done for God’s glory and not our own. “If, in accomplishing
a good deed, we do not have as our goal God’s glory and the real well being of our brothers and sisters, looking
rather for a return of personal interest or simply of applause, we place ourselves outside of the Gospel vision…for
this reason, the one who knows that God “sees in secret” and in secret will reward, does not seek human recognition
for works of mercy. (Pope Benedict XVI, Lenten Message, 2008)
Just give anything you can for Children In Need.
5. Help support your family members and friends in their endeavours for Lent!
So many children cry each and every night,
As illness suffocates them, they cannot see the light.
Homelessness, abuse, bullying and fights,
This must not continue, those children have rights.
By Eleanor, year 6, St.Francis’ School.
10 Questions and Answers
Continuing our series interviewing members of the parish. In this edition we feature our new
parish priest, Canon Luke Smith.
Where and when were you born and brought up?
the Mexican Civil War.
I was born in Pembury and raised in Hadlow, so quite locally.
Have you travelled much and what are your favourite countries?
You became a Catholic at the age of 18 and ordained priest in 1995.
What influenced your decision to become a priest?
I have travelled through most of Western Europe, I have been
privileged to have the opportunity to visit the Holy Land, Greece,
and Africa (Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique) and Canada. The
trip to Canada had been on my wish-list for a long time; for my
fortieth birthday I was enabled to run far away and travel with
friends by car throughout the Rockies and Vancouver Island!
The experience of the natural grandeur and space will always
stay with me. Another dream would be to travel the length of the
Trans-Siberian Railway. As you will have guessed I do not seek
the cities and busy resorts, hence my favourite places would be
the Scottish Highlands, the Canadian Rockies, Ein-Gedi and
Galilee in the Holy Land, and Umbria.
Although baptised in the Church of England as an infant, my
first introduction to formal religion was through music, I was
persuaded to join the local parish church choir. There were many
influences that led to my reception into the Catholic Church and
subsequent call to priesthood. Some of the more prominent
influences was the example (and many long chats with)of a local
retired Anglican vicar who introduced me to the great spiritual
writers; the papal visit of Pope John Paul II in 1982 enthralled
me; my reading of history and clandestine visits to Catholic
churches led to gradual awareness that for me the Catholic
Church is where I belonged. After instruction I was received into
the Church in December 1986. Then the next question began to
raise its head; initially I dismissed it and myself as a suitable
candidate! The best description I have heard of a vocation is that
it is like a dripping tap, at first you can ignore it then it drives
you crazy so you have to something about it. The main catalyst
for doing something about it was a sermon of Cardinal Hume
on the feast of the Epiphany (1989), although attending Mass in
a full Westminster Cathedral I felt his words were aimed directly
at me; I was sent to the Seminary to begin formation in
September of the same year.
What is your favourite secular music?
I love most classical music, including opera; I also enjoy some
jazz and modern music. My favourite composers would include:
Rachmaninov, Vaughan-Williams, Finzi, Sibelius, Shostakovitch,
Puccini, Barber, Lauridsen and Mahler. My ‘Hall of Fame’ would
include: Sibelius’ Violin Concerto; Finzi, Dies Natalis, VaughanWilliams’ The Lark Ascending; Puccini, Madama Butterfly;
Rachmaninov, Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini; Beethoven,
Eroica Symphony (no3) etc, etc, etc.
Is there a person you would really like meet and why?
How did you feel on being appointed parish priest of St Francis’
Church, Maidstone? How do you feel now?
At first daunted by the necessary adjustments after having been
on my own for 12 years in Margate, and the prospect of having
the overall care of a much bigger parish and clergy team. Most
of the trepidation has been dissipated by the warmth of the
welcome I have received and the dedication and practical help
the parish clergy and so many people in the parish. I am very
conscious of the how much work needs to be done with necessary
maintenance and development projects (such as hall, roof etc)
and I hope that this will not eat too much into the available time
and so detract from the principal spiritual and pastoral focus of
being parish priest. Red tape is a pet hate!!
There are so many of the saints (John of the Cross, Charles de
Foucauld, Edith Stein and Damien of Molokai to name a few) I
would love to meet and by God’s grace one day will have the
chance to do so. Strangely among those alive there is no one I
have a burning desire to meet, perhaps because of my love for
history, all the figures I have an interest in have already left this
earth! The figures who attract me are so often those men of
women of courage and faith, who have stood up for truth and
justice (such as Oscar Romero, Savanarola, Walter Ciszek,
Dietrich Boenhoeffer) or those who offer such inspiration
through literature, art or music (such as Dante, Tolkien,
If you were allowed a last meal what would it be?
Cheese on toast with Marmite!
Apart from Latin, have you celebrated Mass in another language?
If you were marooned on a desert island, apart from the Bible, which
book and luxury item would you take?
French and concelebrated in Italian
Do you have a favourite film and what is it?
If I could get away with it I would say my kindle, which is stuffed
with my favourite books! If forced to make a choice (which I
would find hard) it would either be the complete works of St John
of the Cross or the Homilies of Blessed Guerric of Igny (I’m sure
you will meet these figures in homilies etc. over the coming
months). The luxury item would have to be a coffee maker (with
supplies of course!)
I am a great fan of Tolkien, having been brought up on ‘The
Hobbit’ and the ‘Lord of the Rings’, so it would have to be the
extended versions of the Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films of the
Lord of the Rings. A less well known film which has made a
profound impact on me is ‘For Greater Glory’ which is about the
Christeros movement who resisted the religious persecution of
Here are two frequent questions your non-Catholic
friends may ask you and how to answer them.
Mr Leonard
Why do Catholics Worship Watson proudly presents, for the 10th
Year in succession, another extremely
Film Evening
This kinematic extravaganza will take place on the evening
of Saturday, April 18th at 7.30 in the Dining Room of Grove
House by kind permission of the Very Reverend Canon Luke
Smith. A modest price of £4 per person will be charged and
it is respectfully requested that seats be booked and paid
for before the event as space is limited. To avoid
disappointment it would be prudent to ring 01622 201481
on your telephonic apparatus as soon as possible. . All
proceeds of the evening will be donated to the St Francis’
Church Roof Fund. For your delectation, non-alcoholic
drinks will be served during the interval.
Catholics DO NOT worship Mary, the Mother of Christ as though she were a deity.
Catholics are just as aware as Protestants that Mary was a human creature and
therefore not entitled to the honours which are reserved to God alone. What many
non-Catholics mistake for adoration is a very profound love and veneration, nothing
more. Mary is not adored, first because God forbids it (Exodus 20:3-5) and secondly
because the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, which is based on Divine Law,
forbids it. Canon Law 1255 of the 1918 Codex strictly forbids adoration of anyone
other than the Holy Trinity. However, Catholics do feel that Mary is entitled to a great
measure of exaltation because, in choosing her as the Mother of His Son, Jesus, God
Himself exalted her more than any other human person before or since. Catholics
venerate Mary because they earnestly desire to “imitate God, as children of His that
He loves” (Ephesians 5:1). Mary herself prophesied: “For behold from henceforth
all generations shall call me blessed. Because He that is mighty hath done great things
to me; and holy is His name” (Luke 1:48-49). Catholics know that every bit of the
glory they give to Mary reflects to the glory of her divine Son, just as Mary magnified
God, not herself, when Elizabeth blessed her (Luke 1:41-55). They know that the
closer they draw to her, the closer they draw to Him who was born of her. In the year
434 St. Vincent of Lerins defended Christian devotion to Mary this way: “Therefore,
may God forbid that anyone should attempt to defraud Holy Mary of her privilege
of divine grace and her special glory. For by a unique favour of our Lord and God
she is confessed to be the most true and most blessed Mother of God.
It is not fitting, when one is in God’s service, to
have a gloomy face or a chilling look.
Why do Catholics Pray to Mary
and the Saints?
When Catholics pray to Mary and the other saints in Heaven they are not
bypassing Christ, whom they acknowledge as the sole Mediator between God and
man. They are asking Mary and other saints (that is, our brothers and sisters in
Heaven, who are perfect in holiness) to intercede for them before the throne of Christ
in Heaven. “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another,
that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.”
(James 5:16) How much more effective is the unceasing prayer of the sinless Mother
of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Christ must particularly approve of our going to Him
through Mary, His Blessed Mother, because He chose to come to us through her.
And at Cana, He performed His first miracle after a word from His Mother. (John
It is clear in Sacred Scripture that the saints in Heaven will intercede for us
before the throne of Christ if they are petitioned in prayer (Revelations 8:3-4), and it
is clear in the records of primitive Christianity that the first Christians eagerly sought
their intercession. St. John Chrysostom wrote in the fourth century: “When you
perceive that God is chastening you, fly not to His enemies, but to His friends, the
martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to Him, and who have great power.”
If the saints have such power with God, how much more his own Mother?
St. Francis of Assisi.
A woman received a call that her daughter was ill. She
stopped by the chemist to get medication, got back to her
car and found that she had locked her keys inside. She
then found an old rusty coat hanger left on the
ground. She looked at it and said "I don't know how to use
this." She bowed her head and asked God to send her
help. Within five minutes a beaten up old motorcycle
pulled up. A bearded man, wearing old biker gear, got off
of the cycle and asked if he could help. She said: "Yes,
my daughter is sick, I’ve locked my keys in my car and I
must get home quickly. Please, can you use this hanger
to unlock my car?" Taking the hanger, he walked over to
the car and in less than a minute the car was open. She
hugged the man and through tears said "Thank you so
much! You are a very nice man." The man replied "Lady,
I am not a nice man. I just got out of prison yesterday. I
was in for stealing cars.” The woman hugged the man
again, sobbing, "Oh, thank you, God! You even sent me a
God our Father, may we always profit by the prayers
of the Virgin Mother Mary, for You bring us life and
salvation through Jesus Christ her Son, who lives and
reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for
ever and ever. Amen
Christine Mace
Romans 8:29-30 RVS
first to enter Heaven (From ‘The End Times’ August 16th 1943).
For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be
conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be
the first-born among many brethren. And those whom He
predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also
justified; and those whom He justified He also glorified.
And those whom He predestined He also called.
Oh, to be called! Only the repentant sinner can understand the
transformation of full conversion. To be given the greatest gift while on this
earth, the gift of intimacy with our Creator, our Abba. Intimacy to be able to
converse freely with the most loving of Fathers and know, to feel, to experience
that He hears every whisper and responds.
For those whom He foreknew.
God is all seeing and all knowing; beyond all the boundaries of time and space.
He abides everywhere and pervades everything and is in the ever present now.
How can God abide in everything? Because He is everything. It is confirmed in
scripture. Why even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (Luke: 127). In our human reckoning this is completely outside of all rational thinking.
There are approximately seven and a half billion human beings on this Earth
and all the hairs of their head are numbered and known to our Lord? One stares
into our nothingness at the mere mathematics of this fact. Scripture does not
lie, however, therefore we are left with the realisation that our Lord’s
mathematics surpasses any of our comprehension.
Theologians can scan the old texts. They can spend endless hours searching for
the knowledge of God. They can even think they have discovered Him along
with their published works on the ‘history’ of Him. All is futile. For in reality,
unless one is called by Grace to an intimate relationship with the living God,
we are in the dark.
The Lord can open hidden doors far beyond any understanding of man and if
we try to access by our own efforts alone, we only find winding ways leading
to illusion. The illusion will not be noticed of course. It is the intimacy, the love
that illuminates by Grace.
We are all foreknown to our Creator. When St. Paul says, for those whom
He foreknew, he does not mean a selective foreknowledge, a foreknowledge
of just the predestined, he means an absolute foreknowledge of every one of
the Lord’s children. When God creates a soul, the complete life of that soul
from conception to death and beyond is known. Again in our human reckoning
it is beyond our understanding but remember the hairs of your head are all
numbered! Keep this fact within your sights, it’s a sort of base to keep God in
proportion, so to speak!
...and those whom He called He also justified
I am the Good Shepherd, I know my own and my own know me
(John 10:14). Everything is by the Grace of the Lord and faith in its fullness
is the treasure of treasures.
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom
of God like a child shall not enter it (Mark 10:15).
We can rationalise anything in life if we choose, and we do! It is the
modern way to question the validity of almost anything. The problem however
is this. Modernism leads to rationalism that leads to atheism. This is why the
world has apostatised. The definition of apostasy is the baptised deserting their
God, which we have by the millions! Faith is not a thing we can define. This is
because it is a Grace from our Lord and He can give it in its fullness if we will
only ask!
...He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son
To be in conformity with Christ is solely the work of the Holy Spirit. When
one has decided with our free will to strive to be Christ like, the Holy Spirit
grasps us and moulds us into the image of our Saviour. For man this is
impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). As
long as we co-operate with the Spirit and do not rebel against Him He will be
like a baker moulding and shaping and cutting and crafting until He has, not a
perfect ginger bread man, but a perfect man in the image of his Creator. Holy
and perfect! You therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly
Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48).
A child does not question when a parent teaches, he just believes, this is
childlike faith. This is what Jesus desires from us. Does the clay ask the potter
what are you making? No. We are just the clay you know!
Jesus has justified all who believe by the blood of His Passion.... and all
are justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that
came by Christ Jesus... (Romans 3:24). By diminishing our God by our
incredulity we deny His omnipotence, we attempt to reduce Him to a size that
our feebleness can cope with. What foolishness this is, especially for mere dust!
Our Saviour is the good shepherd who suffered an atrocious death to justify
us all. The very least we can do is to have faith that Scripture is all justified by
the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Scripture does not lie and every
word must and will be fulfilled in the fullness of time.
The Holy Spirit delights in this work and would wish to draw all souls into
His divine transforming hands. Sadly because of man’s slavery to sin many
are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14).
The Lord God does not predestine, we do that with our free will. The Lord
simply foresees everything, knows everything, and the few are cherished
because of their unbridled love.
For if any one comes to me and does not hate his own
father and mother and wife and children and brothers and
sisters, yes and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke
14: 26.) Does this seem in our reckoning quite harsh? Is it, or does it just
encompass the First Commandment? For to love creatures before the Creator
is not Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me. (Deuteronomy
5:7.) Christ’s commitment to saving us was total even to His atrocious death
on the Cross. Our commitment to Him must be total if we are to be considered
residents of Heaven. Love one another as I have loved you (John
13:34) but love God before anything or anybody, as Jesus loved and obeyed
our Father before anything else.
...and those whom He justified He also glorified.
This final section, as in all the sections, can be taken in the present or past
context. I have always believed that scripture is the living Word of God, there
is no past, present or future to our Lord. The eye of God sees all moments as
now. Therefore future times are no mystery to Him.
The glorified departed abide with Him in our real home, Heaven. The
glorified also abide here at present on Earth. They are glorified in the fact that
they are called, predestined and conformed to the image of His son Jesus the
Christ. The glorified are glorified by their free will. They chose to follow their
Father, Master, Brother, Friend, and Beloved and by doing so they made and
make their own destiny.
...in order that He might be the first-born among many brethren
Christ is the first born from the dead, according to both the human and
divine orders.The first born according to human order because on Mary’s side
He is a son of Adam. He is the first to be born as all the children created by the
Father should have been born. Christ is the first born according to the divine
order because He is the Father’s Son, begotten, not created by Him. To
beget means to produce a life. To create means to form. Only a father and a
mother can beget a life. He is therefore the First Born because, born of God,
He is at the head of all those born (according to grace) of God.
Lastly He is the First Born from the dead because His Flesh was the
Consider that miracles occurred from the mere brush of the garment of
Christ (Mark 5:28) when He was on Earth, and yet He could not save Judas of
Kerioth (The Iscariot). The Lord does not do violence to our free will. Oh! the
wisdom of our God, Oh! the respect of our Lord for His creatures!
Oh! that we could only begin to understand the greatness of the love of
our Father for us Group)
(Christine is a member of the Maidstone Ordinariate Group)
Jane Chittleborough
2 January 1950 - 11January 2015
By her husband, Phill.
I met Jane 47 years ago. She showed me love and modestly had
difficulty believing that anyone could fall in love with her so
quickly. We married 46 years ago and have had 46 years of
happy and supportive marriage.
She has always been a devoted member of the Catholic
Church and I was always happy to support her in this, vowing
to bring up our children in the Catholic faith. We all used to
enjoy Christmas Masses, particularly singing the carols. Jane
always felt a great desire to attend as many of the special
Easter masses as possible, not always easy with young children
and a husband working away from home.
Our life was filled with love, love for each other, love for
our children –Nicola & Tracey but, with more time, more
absorbingly over the last eighteen years, love for our eight lovely
t was Jane’s birthday last Wednesday and some of her grandchildren
made her the special birthday cards that only children can do. Ollie aged
9 wrote in her card: “I am very sad that you died, but happy you’re safe with
God in Heaven.
I will always love you and never forget you even though you’re not
with us on Earth. We will always hug Grandpa to make him happy. Thank
you for all you have done for me. Happy birthday.”
Jane always liked singing from when she attended church and was a
member of her school choir. She was recently a founder member of the
Hazlitt Theatre choir, where she made many friends. She didn’t demand
attention but she would notice new members and people sitting alone and
talk to them, trying to make them feel comfortable and then introducing
them to other singers. She never thought of herself as being special, just
loving her friends and trying to help in her own quiet way. She
then joined the church choir with her old friend and choir leader
Geraldine and learned more about singing. Again most of the
choir members considered her a good friend both with and
without the choir. Here she learned to love singing the
psalms. She also joined the Heart of Kent Hospice choir
where she got a great deal of satisfaction and even surprised
herself by singing Handel’s Messiah.
Jane also helped Geraldine set up and supervise the St.
Francis’ Flame youth group. We thought it was a good and
worthwhile organisation to support. Again she would normally
sit quietly and make new and lonely members feel more
comfortable. I know that many of these children feel a lot of love
for their quiet helper. Thank you coming to show your love today.
Several years ago she joined a keep fit group at the Maidstone Leisure
Centre where displaying her usual concern for other people, Jane made
many new friends.
She gained great solace from her Christian faith and I know would
like me to thank all the priests at St. Francis’, who have given us so much
support and prepared her to be received into Heaven. I feel a massive hole
in my heart and in my life that is a constant reminder of the love we felt
for each other. My consolations are the memories of the happy times we
had together and the love and affection of our children and grandchildren.
Many of you have sent cards and messages of sympathy describing her
as a special lady, but she never saw herself as being special. But she was.
She just showed love to all those she knew.
Some words from a Nat King Cole song seem to epitomise her life –
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
Irena Burgess.
27 July 1922 - 23 December 2014
By her daughter, Marya Burgess
Irena Luiza Fiszerowna was born in Zapole, near Warsaw. But
she spent 22 years of her life working in St Francis Primary
School, then next door to the Priest’s house. She actually took
the post as temporary cover for the school secretary’s maternity
leave but she stayed until she retired in 1987.
Pat Donovan, the first of the three headmasters Irena
worked with, wrote me a letter, in which he said that Irena was
“a truly remarkable lady. I never knew her say anything
uncharitable about anyone – a really unique achievement. Her
contribution to the life of the school was far greater than her
excellent work as School Secretary.”
Through her work Irena was known to many in the Parish
– she loved the fact that she saw generations come through,
registering the children of children she used to collect dinner money from.
Together with Ted, her husband, Irena was a familiar figure at St Francis;
they were solidly rooted in the community here, but they were never
limited by it. Both of them actively embraced the ecumenical movement
of the 1960s and 70s, reaching out to other branches of the Christian
Irena’s journey from Zapole to Maidstone was a long and – at times –
arduous one. She’d been born into a life of privilege - her clothes - even
her shoes and gloves - were handmade. In contrast, more recently, she
used to take delight in a bargain from Matalan. But she was never less
than stylish.
Like most Poles of her generation, Irena’s life changed forever on 1
September 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. Irena was 17 then; she
was staying with friends in the country but was desperate to get back to
her father - by then he was living in Lodz. She got on a bus, but it was
strafed by German stukas and all the passengers had to take cover in the
roadside ditch. Irena only realised she’d lost her shoes somewhere when
she finally made it home.
Irena’s father had many Jewish business associates and friends. As
they and their families began to disappear into the ghettos of Lodz and
Warsaw he did his best to support them. On more than one occasion Irena
– still a teenager - made her way through the underground route, via the
cellars of surrounding buildings, into the Warsaw ghetto, to take in food
and medicine. If the Germans had caught her she would have been shot.
In 1942 her father managed to get Irena out of Poland, on the pretext
that she was needed to care for his brother’s sick wife in Austria, and it
was in Wolfsberg after the war that Fräulein Fischer met a dashing young
British Warrant Officer, Ted Burgess, although legend has it that she only
had eyes for his horse! But he very definitely had eyes for her. They
married in 1947 and she became an army wife and continued her journey
ever further from Zapole.
From Klagenfurt, where the twins, Max and Robin were
born, the Burgesses were posted to Northern Ireland and then
to Singapore, where I was born – then on to Berlin. In all these
places Mum made friends. Irena’s skill as a crack shot made her
a popular member of the rifle club; she also threw herself into
charity work with the Women’s International Association. But
wherever she was she found friendship and solace in the
Catholic community.
Irena had lost her mother when she was just 9 years old;
from that point she always looked to Our Lady to guide her.
Although Mum was born a Pole, she wasn’t actually born a
Catholic. Her family was in fact Lutheran. But from the
moment she lost her mother, Irena knew that, with her
devotion to Mary, her home lay in the Catholic Church. She converted
in her teens and her faith was at the core of her strength and her
It was the foundation from which she faced down the problems of
life. She refused to give in to the arthritis which crippled her; she battled
with depression, but never let it win. Because Mum never did give up,
when her sister, Alis, disappeared in the chaos of Europe in the aftermath
of war, Mum kept on looking for her. After 10 years she found, not her
sister, but her sister’s son – her beloved nephew, Stas, who has been such
a support to Mum since Ted died. And Stas never gave up, either – it must
be genetic – he kept looking for his mother’s grave, but instead he found
his mother, still alive, nearly 25 years after the war. Alis had been so
damaged by her experiences that she had become lost in the mental health
system and almost disappeared. I was a teenager at the time, but I can
remember when Mum got the news that her sister was alive. I think what
happened to her sister played an enormous role in making Mum who she
was. I think she had to live for them both – to seize every opportunity that
her sister never had, to live life to the full and give back all she could in
gratitude for the life she had been given but her sister had not.
Like watching her children grow up. Mum treasured family life. So
many of you have told Max, Robin and me how proud she was of us and
of our families. Well we, her children, her daughters-in-law and her
grandchildren, are enormously proud of her.
Mum’s was an extraordinary journey. She started out riding in horsedrawn vehicles, and ended up using an iPad. One of my favourite images
of Mum from the past year is that of her showing photos to one of her
oldest friends – my 94 year old godmother, Hilde – on her iPad. Right up
to the end, Mum seized every opportunity that came her way to learn and
to enjoy. She set us an example of how to celebrate everything that life
has to offer, while giving everything that she had to offer – always.
Confirmations 2014
July 2014
Ana Hughes, Linda Karklevalka, Daniel Ogórek
Emanuela Ogórek, Angelo Valantine Lazarus
August 2014
Jack Ian Ray Harvey, Lilly Sophie Lecka,
Angelo Demyter, Rhys Marc Smith,
Munachimso Annemarie Uzochukwu,
Aldona Zagojska, Aleksandra Galecka
Scarlett Mia Zofia Macey, Lily Sofia Emmott
Jacob David Edwin Sharp, Oscar Brian Borkett.
September 2014
Richard Ikemefuna Obiano, Lily Rose
McCormick, Natalia Melody Freyer,
Eryk Ludwiczak, Nina Klara Pietrowska,
Ellis Gary Cambulat.
October 2014
Archie Stan Felstead, Alex Jan Krzyzanski,
Sebastian Chambers, Mikolaj Banka,
Jake William Bates, Mallie Maria Bates,
Thomas Anthony Nicholson,
Florence Elizabeth Andrew, Natalia Ogórek,
Tabitha Aoife Farren Edmans, Wiktor Stopa,
Marcel Smolinski.
November 2014
Ankiambom Manny Williams,
Noel Michael Mwesigwa, Jemima Alice Waight,
Zuzanna Wolanin, Oliver George Dady,
Lily Anna Reid, Jessika Charley Emerick,
Rebekka Rose Emerick, Onoriode Samuel Steel,
Luca Emilia Tezer, Adrijan Teador Tumasevics,
Mae Emma McGuinness,
Madaleine Jane Landman,
Francesca Bish, Sinéad Cullen, Ryan Ellesmere,
Silke Heyse, Katie Hilden, Yasmin Huseyin,
Emily Jones, James Joseph, Joice Joseph,
Siobhan La Roche-Seeley, Tsholofelo Masego
Kgarebe, Lukasz Madej, Oskar Maslanka, Allen
Shaji, Bartosz Szpak, Ben Tugwell, Luis
Felgueiras .
The above candidates from St. Francis’
Church, pictured at St Vincent’s Youth Centre
at Whitstable with Fr Bart and Lydia Burchell,
were confirmed on Sunday, October 12th at
St Thomas More Church, West Malling, along
with others from Holy Family, Maidstone,
St.Peter’s, Bearsted and, of course, St.Thomas
More, West Malling .
Forgive, O Fire, Forgive, O Light, the patent,
fraught impurity of we who thus presume
to open unclean lips, availing now
a portal for Your purity. Forgive
the chatter of our blithely fearless crowd
awaiting Your pure body pretty much
the way we stand in any fast-food queue,
considering our neighbours' faults, puzzling
at those odd few who seem to shiver some
as they approach Your wound. Holy One allow
January 2015
Marcin Stanislaw Walczak and Irina Orekhova.
February 2015
Adan Cazas Garcia & Joanna Duda.
Kamil Krawczyk & Patrycja Kosobucka.
that as we near the cup, before the coal
is set upon our trembling tongues, before
we blithely turn and walk again
into our many other failures, allow that we
might glimpse, might apprehend something of the fear
with which we should attend this sacrifice,
December 2014
Joseph Ekani Belinga,
Jeremiah Olugbemiga Ajiyo, Gabriela Mironik,
Maja Laura Dereszkiewicz, Anna Julia Szpak,
July 2014
Maurice Barabasz.
for which we shall not ever be found worthy,
August 2014
Thomas Callaghan, Herman Mokone.
Scott Cairns
January 2015
Philip Leszek Siodlowski, Iris Mary Sullivan,
Genevieve Louise Boutton, Kacper Filip Hoppa,
Aedan Seamus Kelly, Maya Barbara Bednarczyk,
Shay Liam Town, Tyler Jay Town.
September 2014
Maria Carpenter, Pauline Gilman, Lycia King,
Stephen Michael Fuller
February 2015
Maja Joanna Glowa
for which-I gather-we shall never be prepared.
October 2014
Joycelyn Agnes Quinlivan, Joan Namey,
Mildred Ann McDermott.
August 2014
Marcus Anthony Jones & Louise Rachel Down,
Daniel Gary Peter Stevens & Emma Louise
Frances Clowsley.
November 2014
Pamela Holdsworth, Alice Pannett,
Joseph Letchford
December 2014
Briony Roisin Morling, Betty Knott,
Maria Lepetzidou, Francina Luen,
Irena Burgess.
September 2014
Matthew William Michael Creed & Laura Jane
Jamie Spencer Shilling & Sarina Luciana Cheek.
January 2015
Robert Harold Jackson, Jane Chittleborough
Mehranoush McNeilly, Paola King,
Sammy Murphy, Marjorie Peters.