Newsletter - 3rd December, 2017







63:16-17, 64:1, 3-8



I Corinthians






Do you believe in love at first sight?

Not a lot of people do, but I have seen it.

When I was at college I had a friend called Mark. And, one evening, we went out to dinner with a group of other students. At the dinner he met a young lady called Laura and they seemed to get on very well together. And, as we walked home, he told me that he had fallen in love with her. This was the woman for him, there would be no other. They would get married, live together, have children together and live happily ever after.


At that stage I wasn’t too worried. There was something about the way he was swaying down the street apologizing to lampposts, that gave me reason to believe that he had probably had a little more wine than was strictly good for him and he’d be all-right, if not exactly by tomorrow morning, then certainly by tomorrow afternoon. So I took no notice.


Next morning I tried to ring him up, but he wasn’t answering the phone. I thought I could probably imagine why. But that evening, he came round to see me. He was elated. He was overjoyed! He had spent the day with her, pouring out his heart, telling her how much he loved her, how she was the only woman for him and she had agreed to go out with him.


Initially, things went smoothly; he was absolutely besotted with her and she was happy enough for him to be absolutely besotted with her. But, after about three months, she was tired of him. She decided that she couldn’t love him and wanted no more to do with him and sent him on his way.


He, of course, was shattered. For the rest of the three years in college, he besieged her – chocolates, flowers, gifts, perfume – you name it. And most of it, she gave straight back. We, as his friends, of course thought he was mad and spent ages trying to talk him out of it and trying to get him to meet other girls and find someone else who would return his affections. But he was adamant – this was the girl for him; there would be no other.


Eventually, towards the end of our final year in college, she relented and agreed to give him another chance. It lasted just three weeks before she sent him on his way again.


When we left college, I graduated as a doctor and went to work in a hospital in Cornwall. And he graduated as an engineer and went to work in the oil industry on an oil rig in the North Sea, nearly a thousand miles away off the coast of Scotland. And, I’m sorry to say we lost touch.


Five years later, we met up again at the wedding of a college friend. And I found out that he was still chasing her. He had to work very hard, but he had every second weekend free. So, that weekend, he would get a helicopter from his oil-rig to Inverness,

then another helicopter to Aberdeen; then he would fly 800 miles south to Heathrow; and then he would get into the car he kept at the airport and drive another hundred miles so that he could stay in the house he had bought so as to be near her. In all that time he had never gone out with anyone else and had never for a moment given up on the hope that she would one day return his love. So far, she had given not the slightest indication of this, but he still wasn’t quitting.


Presuming on an old friendship, I wrapped an arm around his shoulders and asked him if he didn’t think it was time that he sought some proper professional help with an obsession that was clearly getting out of hand. I mean, these days psychiatrists can do incredible things.


In reply, he said this:

“Look, Paul – I really love her. I’m a one woman man and she is that woman. There will be no-one else for me. So, I have no alternative but to hope that she will one day love me in return. There’s nothing else in my life that’s worth waiting for. So, if necessary I’ll spend it waiting for her.”


That, I think, is the authentic spirit of Advent – a time of waiting – for the only thing in the life of a Christian that is genuinely worth waiting for – that time every year when we celebrate the presence of Emanuel – God’s Presence among us – the incarnation of God in our lives and in our hearts. That waiting can be difficult, slow and frankly boring. And even if we can wait, it is hard to wait faithfully – to keep constant in the early hours of the morning when it’s hard to stay awake and it’s easy to give up on the hope that what we are waiting for is ever going to happen. And the temptation is to take what we can now - settle for what we can get. That, I think is why some people have already begun the celebration – especially the shops which already have their Christmas decorations up. But for us and for Mark, there are some things in life that are genuinely worth waiting for and we refuse to take second best.


Oh! I should tell you the end of the story, shouldn’t I? Well, about twelve years after they first met, Mark and Laura finally got married. I heard from them recently – they’re very happy together; they have three beautiful children. Every Christmas they send me a photograph of their growing family. And they are a lasting reminder to me that some things in life are genuinely worth waiting for. Let’s not take second best.


Fr. Paul O’Reilly, S.J.



                                             ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS PROGRAMME FOR CHILDREN- 2017


With a great joy we are inviting the children to take part of our Christmas’ activities. Please do encourage and help your children to get involved as much as you can in the following:


Children’s Christmas Play (6pm Mass on Christmas Eve):  please register asap by filling the form (available at the back of the church and at the reception)  and submit it to either Leninha or Fr. Chris Pedley by December 1st. Rehearsal dates for the play are: December 23rdfrom 10.30-11.30am and December 24that 5pm leading into the 6pm Mass.


Christmas Cards: As part of our Christmas fair on December 17th, we would like to invite all the children of our Parish to design and produce a Christmas card on the half size of A4 Paper. Authorship may be indicated with a discreet first name signature on the front. The drawings will be printed out and will be on sale in the book shop to raise funds for charities. Please, submit the card as soon as possible, to Leninha Assis by December 3rd.


Christmas Gifts: As the offering of new gifts for children at Christmas last year was a great success, we would like to repeat this again this year. If you would like to join us in a gesture of generosity to make the Christmas of poor children a bit better, please donate a new, unwrapped gift, which will be collected during the offertory at the 9:30 Mass, on December 17th.



A Memorial Service for former parish priest Fr Peter Knott, SJ, who died earlier this year, will be held in the Church on Saturday December 2nd at 2:30pm followed by a Reception in the Hall.  For catering purposes it would help if you could please e-mail to say you are coming. 



Fr Peter was an outstanding artist and it is possible that parishioners may have purchased his watercolours.

We are intending to display his works on the 2nd December and if you or someone you know, have examples of his work and would be prepared to loan them for the exhibition please contact Fr Geoff Wheaton SJ via Reception.

Our wonderful Farm Street Church Singers will be offering selections from Handel’s Messiah on Sunday 3rd December, the First Sunday of Advent, from 4pm to about 5pm.  This is a wonderful way to enter into the spirit of Advent and Christmas.  There is no admission charge and a collection will be taken up.



Fr. David Stewart SJ will celebrate a Mass following World AIDS Day at Farm Street on December 4th, 6pm. There will be reception after the Mass including showing clips from the recently launched video, Positive Faith - HIV & Christianity in the UK, funded by Public Health England.

Retiring Collection in aid of the Mildmay Hospital.



The Farm Street SVP (Society of St Vincent de Paul) is very active and does wonderful work to assist the homeless in our parish's area.  Their annual appeal takes place next week and we ask you to be generous in your response.  For any enquiries about SVP activities, please contact Yasko. Email:



This Saturday 9th December at 2pm, Farm Street Parish, and MSJC Young Adult Ministries will join to sing carols in the church.  All are invited to join us afterwards for some festive cheer at The Barley Mow pub on Duke Street. Free entry (suggested donation £5).




Our programme for Christmas tide is posted on our website.  Visit



- Saturday December 9th, 2pm (Young Adults choir)

- Wednesday December 13th, 7pm, Aid to the Church in Need

- Tuesday December 19th, 7pm, JRS





A musical portrait of Farm Street Church celebrating fifty years as a Parish. The album includes favourite selections from the choir’s repertoire, along with special commissions composed for the choir by Gabriel Jackson, for which the choir gave the premiere performances. Compact Discs available in the BOOKSHOP and at RECEPTION



"REDEMPTION”, a bilingual English/French music album by our parish secretary and sacristan, is now available here at Farm Street in the bookshops, Sacristy and at Reception. In Côte d'Ivoire, it is already played on national television and radios. Please visit Armel Paul Marie on Facebook or YouTube to watch his stunning video and rediscover familiar places in London. Thank you for supporting his evangelisation project.


CD of the newly released album is sold here in the sacristy, the bookshop and at Reception.

Click here to watch a video Clip of Armel Paul Marie's song "L'ennemi"



Would you be interested in learning more about AWN Pugin, the eminent Victorian architect who designed  the High altar for this church and the interiors of the Houses of Parliament? The Pugin Society, founded in 1995, offers a lively range of events, study tours, talks and publications.  Details:



A Tango Milonga (social dance) will be held at Farm Street church hall to celebrate Pope Francis' birthday and provide shelter to the homeless on 9th December, 6pm – 10pm. Helpers are sought for reception, sales, lottery, setting up etc. Setting up 4.30pm – 6pm; Taking Down 10pm – 10.15pm. This might suit an able bodied group of friends who like Strictly Come Dancing or perhaps interested in watching Argentine Tango. Contact .




We appeal for volunteers to serve at the altar for the  9.30am Family Mass. You don't need to have prior experience serving, and there is supervision provided. Simply turn up in the sacristy by at least 9.15am on Sunday if you would like to serve. All are welcome!


As many of you will have noticed, we now have two modern religious paintings in the church. The artist, Andrew White, has kindly allowed us to exhibit them. Andrew is our ‘Artist in Residence’ and one of the foremost painters of this age.


Andrew painted a twelve foot long canvas of the Last Supper, which is now in Walsingham, and then he then re-painted the central panel of Christ Breaking the Bread which we can presently view in the Sacred Heart Chapel. The painting could easily be misunderstood for the Supper at Emmaus, but the bowl in front of the Disciples with the bread and inverted hands may refer to Matthew 26:23.


Andrew’s other painting of the Pieta has resonated deeply with many of our parish community. The faces of Jesus and Mary are in shadow and we are drawn to the intimacy of Mary laying her hand on her dead Son’s hand. One suggestion for further reflection: look very closely at Mary’s hand in the painting.


Fr Geoff Wheaton SJ



This major project continues until the end of November to replace the church lighting with up-to-date low-power equipment, with new wiring throughout the church. Scaffolding will be erected on Mondays and removed at the end of Fridays so that we are clear for the weekends.  The St Ignatius Chapel is not accessible during these months.  The icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been moved to the Calvary Chapel.  Access to the statue of Our Lady of Montserrat can be provided on request.



If you would like become a “Friend of Farm Street Church” to support our ministry and the care of this beautiful building please pick up a leaflet or see the application information online at



We now have access for wheelchair users to gain access into the house and so will be able to participate in courses, meetings, etc.


The Bridge Club meets here every Tuesday evening, starting at 6.30pm, all levels are welcome.  Funds raised go to the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).


You can now use your mobile phone to make donations to our Weekly Offering:

just text FARM02 £[enter your donation amount] to 70070

You will receive a reply text immediately, with an invitation to register the donations from your phone for Gift Aid.


114 Mount Street , London W1K3AH
Bookings:You can book for any of these events online
Information: 020 7495 1673 or



Our Regular Events

Midday Meditation: Every Tuesday 1.30-2pm


• Turn Aside – A Gentle & Reflective Space: Every 1st Tuesday of each month 2-4pm (Next meeting: December 5, 2017)


• Wednesdays at the Well – Come to Rest & Be Refreshed: 3rd Wednesday of each month 11am-4pm (Next meeting: December 20, 2017)


• Faith Sharing Group to reflect on and learn more about your faith - For Young Adults aged 18-35: Fridays, every fortnight 6-7pm (Next meeting: January 5, 2018)



Bereavement and Loss Group

Thursday 7th December 11.30am–1pm

Grief is a particularly isolating experience that can affect all aspects of your life physically, emotionally and socially. There are many kinds of grieving… Sr. Catherine Quane RSM facilitates this welcoming and understanding group that meets on the first Thursday of the month from 11.30am to 1pm. You are welcome to just come along or contact Sr. Catherine or 0208 989 3142 for more details. Please note that there will be no meeting on January 4th, 2018.



Paintings for Prayer and Meditation in Advent

Facilitated by Geoff Wheaton SJ

Monday 4th December 7-8.30pm

A reflective presentation of several visual images, enabling us to gain a deeper appreciation of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus among us, enabling us to enter into a deeper encounter with the wonder of this season. 



Ignatian Retreat Day

Facilitated by members of the Mount Street Jesuit Centre team

Saturday 9th December 11am-4pm

These are retreat days of prayer run in an Ignatian way, in which there is talk, time for personal prayer and the opportunity to listen to each other. There is no need to book for these days, just come along.



“O Come, O Come Emmanuel”: Biblical Reflections on the “O” Antiphons

Facilitated by Brian Purfield

Saturday 16th December 11am-4pm

The "O" Antiphons are ancient chants sung or recited at the beginning and end of the Magnificat during Evening Prayer on the last seven days of Advent. Participants will be offered a series of reflections on the Antiphons and the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus’ birth.



New Beginnings

Facilitated by Audrey Hamilton

Saturday 6th January 11am-4pm

Take time to pause for prayerful reflection on the road you travelled in 2017 and to place your year ahead into the hands of God prayerfully considering what God might be inviting you to at this time of a new beginning.



Jesus the Healer: Reflections on the Miracles of Jesus

Facilitated by Brian Purfield

Tuesdays, January 9 – February 13, 11am-1pm

repeated Wednesdays, January 10 – February 14, 7-8.30pm

What exactly is a miracle?

By means of input, reflection questions and additional notes, it is hoped that participants will come to a deeper understanding of Jesus the healer and to the realisation that only one question is truly important: “Who do you say that I am?"





More upcoming events.


Contact information

114 Mount Street

Tel. 020 7493 7811
Fax: 020 7495 6685


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