Acts 9: 26-31 Psalm 21
1 John 3:18-24 John 15:1-8
“I am the Vine, you are the branches.”
A long time ago when I was a hospital doctor – long before I became a priest and if I’m honest, when I was not necessarily at my most Christian – I once met an old man called Harry who taught me, if not the meaning of life, then the meaning of his life.
I happened to be the doctor on call when Harry came into our hospital very ill with what is called a femoral embolus. That means that the main artery in his leg had been blocked by a blood clot, so that his leg had lost its blood supply and was dying and would have to be amputated. He was very sick, very frightened and in a lot of pain. He asked to see a priest. I wasn’t then a priest, but a rather bored and very junior hospital doctor, but we got talking. I found out he was a Catholic – and a convert. And, like most doctors, I tend to ask more questions than is really polite, so I asked him why he had become a Catholic.
Initially he didn’t really want to tell me: he gave me a lot of “Oh, you young people these days, you weren’t in the war, you wouldn’t understand”.
But gradually I persuaded him. And he told me that he had been a soldier in the Second World War – his unit had fought its way north through the entire length of Italy against stiff determined Axis resistance. The shared experience of facing suffering and danger together had bonded his unit into a body of men who had absolute trust, absolute confidence in one another – if you will, a band of brothers. It had given them an unbreakable relationship of absolute trust. And Harry had come to think of them almost as the family he had never had when he was growing up in an orphanage.
But, during the course of the campaign, most of them had been killed. And Harry never understood why Fate had taken them and left him alone. In particular, he felt heavily the responsibility of two men who, on separate occasions, had risked their own lives to save him – and had both died in doing so. It was a feeling that never left him – that if men had died so that he might live, then he must use his life well. The question was ‘how?’ How could he use his life well and fulfil his debt of honour?
You see, at the time, he was a man who spent much of his life in depression. This was a time before depression was recognised as a medical disease that can be treated. Twice he had tried to kill himself. And many times during the campaign he would have been glad to die and to be out of the living Hell of the almost daily battles against the enemy. So many other men died, yet the Lord appeared to preserve him – he hoped – for a purpose. As he said, “when men have died for you, you think you must have something to live for”.
And so, at the end of the war, he became a Catholic. And every time he received the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion, he thought of the men who had died for him and he felt once again united with them in a bond, a brotherhood, a family, a Holy Communion of unbreakable trust. And that made him think of the man who died that all of us might live. Because he had seen lived out in his own time Jesus’ words of consecration: “This is my Body, which will be given up for you.”
This is what it means to be part of the True Vine. All of us, whatever form our vocation takes, hope and pray to be a branch of the great tree, the grapevine that stretches from Christ himself through all those Christians that have gone before us marked with the sign of Faith, down to our own day and onward to all those Christians who shall come after us.
And that is what I think it is to be a branch of God’s Love; to be an oak branch, to be an olive branch; to be a branch of the Vine. He is the Vine; we hope to be worthy branches of His love.
Let us pray that we may be God’s Presence in the world. That all who hear our words may hear the Word of God. That all who feel our touch may feel the Touch of Christ. That all who know us may know within us the Presence of your Holy Spirit.
And so, let us stand and profess our Faith in God – the Father of the Vine.
Fr. Paul O’Reilly, S.J.
The March for Life UK is an annual rally for all pro-lifers in the United Kingdom. This national day-out is really a celebration of the pro-life message, with music and inspiring talks from famous pro-life speakers. Join them in London this Saturday May 5th for the March for Life! More details on marchforlife.co.uk
LONDON EVENINGS OF FAITH- SUMMER 2018
All are welcome to a series of talks on ‘Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, talks on his teaching’ which will take place at 7:00pm on alternate Tuesdays from May 8th (subsequent talks are May 22nd, June 5th, and June 19th). Talks are held in the Challoner Room, 24 Golden Square, London, W1F 9JR. Full dates and details are available at www.faith.org.uk/events/evenings-of-faith.
The bishops of England and Wales are holding a National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and Congress in Liverpool from September7 th-9th. The Echo Arena in Liverpool – which can accommodate 10,000 pilgrims – will be the home to a six-hour stage programme on the 8th September and will include a Congress Mass, keynote speakers Bishop Robert Barron and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and a drama highlighting the beauty of reverence and devotion. The day will conclude with Adoration. For more information and to enquire about tickets to events, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07738183829. Friday Conference places are very limited. There are available places for Saturday. There is a £40.00 fee for Saturday. Sunday participation is free. They need to receive the completed form for each individual as soon as possible. Cheques payable to WRCDT. These should be sent to the Agency for Evangelisation, 46 Francis Street, London, SW1P 1QN.
VOCATIONS WEEKEND FOR YOUNG WOMEN (20S AND 30S)
There will be a weekend organised by the sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) on 25-27 May in Liverpool. The Theme is: “Discerning God’s Call in my life”. The FCJ sisters will share on different aspects of vowed life, and time for prayer, and there will be reflection and discussion with other young women who are also considering a vocation to religious life. It’s an opportunity to live community life for a weekend and meet some sisters! For more information contact Sr Lynne fcJ at email@example.com or visit our website www.fcjsisters.org
JESUITS SAINTS PILGRIMAGEBookings are open for the 2018 Landings UK & Farm Street Jesuits Saints of England Pilgrimage, visiting Lindisfarne, Hexham, Durham and York. June 8th – 13th. For more information please speak to Fr Dominic or, to request a brochure and to book, contact Pax Travel direct on (020)-7485-3003; firstname.lastname@example.org For full details visit http://www.paxtravel.co.uk/landings-uk
FARM STREET CAMINO
Bookings are open for the Farm Street Camino in the Steps of St Ignatius, walking 200 km in the steps of the founder of the Jesuits through Catalonia, visiting the Shrine of St Peter Claver in Verdú, Igualada, the Abbey of Montserrat and Manresa, followed by a 3-day retreat and visiting the Ignatian sites in Barcelona. September 23rd – October 6th. For more information please speak to Fr Dominic or, to request a brochure and to book, contact Pax Travel direct on (020)-7485-3003; email@example.com For full details visit http://www.paxtravel.co.uk/robinson-fr-dominic
FRONT RECEPTION VOLUNTEER NEEDED
We need help at the front reception in the evenings between 5pm and 8:30pm on a once a month commitment. Supper provided. Please call Leslie Giltz on 0207 408 1234.
PAINTING IN THE CHURCH
Fr Geoff Wheaton SJ has recorded a short reflection on Andrew White’s Pieta along with an image of the painting that can be accessed on the Jesuit’s Website and also on YouTube by searching “Geoff Wheaton SJ”.
FRIENDS OF FARM STREET CHURCH
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 www.farmstreet.org.uk/friends.php
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).
EASY WAY TO DONATE
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.
REDEMPTION: MUSIC ALBUM
“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.
CD: BOTH GOD’S & MARY’S SON
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
114 Mount Street, London W1K 3AH
Book online for any of these events
Information: 020 7495 1673 or
Our Regular Events
• Midday Meditation: Every Tuesday 1.40-2pm
• Wednesdays at the Well – Come to Rest & Be Refreshed: 3rd Wednesday of each month 11.30am-3.30pm (Next meeting: May 16, 2018)
Bereavement and Loss Group
Thursday 3rd May 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 0190 323 3904 for more details.
The Gospel of Creation: Reflections from St Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis
Facilitated by Brian Purfield
Saturday 5th May 11am-4pm
The title of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment Laudato si is taken from the first line of St Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures, which is one of the best insights into the saint’s vision for life. It is crucial to grasping how St. Francis understood the message of the gospel – and may offer a glimpse into Pope Francis’ own vision for the world.
Ignatian Retreat Day
Facilitated by members of the Mount Street Jesuit Centre team
Saturday 12th May 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.
You Heard How It Was Said… Reflecting on the Bible in Context
Facilitated by Brian Purfield and Sr Anouska Robinson-Biggin fcJ
Wednesdays, 16th-30th May 7-8.30pm
The Bible is not always easy reading! Sometimes we find “difficult” passages that seem to present an unloving, frightening or narrow image of God.
Is there a way of reading these passages in a life-giving way?
This short course aims to offer young adults keys to unlocking the Bible that can open the way to a closer relationship to God, oneself, others and the world around us.
Preparing to Respond to the Holy Spirit
Facilitated by Mike Smith SJ
Saturday 19th May, 11am-4pm
This is a day of preparation to respond to the presence of that Holy Spirit whose coming we celebrate especially the next day at Pentecost. As well as learning about the Spirit, and what the Spirit brings to our lives, there will be times for reflection, for prayer, and for opening our hearts to the joyous coming of the Spirit.
Lord, Teach Us To Pray
Facilitated by team members
Wednesdays, May 23rd-June 13th, 11am-12.30pm
‘Lord Teach us to Pray’ was a request put to Jesus by his first disciples. Jesus responded by sharing with them something of his intimate relationship with his Father expressed in words that we now call the ‘Our Father’. He was inviting them to experience something of the same intimacy that he had with God, and Jesus continually invites us to experience the same.
Spreading the Good News: The Gospel Writers
Facilitated by John Huntriss
Thursdays, May 24th-June 14th, 7-8.30pm
This short course asks: Who were the Gospel writers? Who were they writing for and why? How did they gather their material? What did they include and what did they leave out?
Please bring your Bible to each session.
More upcoming events on www.pathwaystoGod.org