Ezekiel 17:22-24 Psalm 91
2 Corinthians 5: 6-10 Mark 4:26-34
CUTHBERT’S MUSTARD SEED
‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’
Right after I was ordained, I spent five years working in the Amazon in South America. The area I worked in is called the Rupununi. That’s an area of Guyana about the size of Wales: 200 miles long; 150 miles wide. And over that 30,000 square miles, there are about 30,000 people all spread out across the dry savannah grassland.
And virtually all of them are Christian – in every sense of that word. I have never lived in a community more ordered to peace and to love than theirs.
And the reason that virtually all of them are Christian is the work of one extraordinary man called Cuthbert Cary Elwes of (I am proud to say) my religious order, the Society of Jesus – British Province. To modern ears, ‘Cuthbert’ sounds like a bit of a silly name, but don’t judge him by that. In 1909, one hundred and six years ago this month, Cuthbert was sent out by his superiors from Georgetown, the capital city of Guyana, into the interior of the Rupununi rain forest. He was missioned to go and make contact with the Amerindian peoples in the interior and see if any of them wanted to know about the Good News of Jesus Christ and its power to transform their lives. It was what Sir Humphrey Appleby would undoubtedly have described as a ‘courageous’ decision. At the time he was being sent, one of his superiors wrote that probably there was less than a fifty percent chance of them ever seeing him alive again (though perhaps wisely, he didn’t actually tell Cuthbert that).
In the following twelve years, which was all his superiors allowed him before they sent him to work somewhere else, Cuthbert walked from village to village throughout the Rupununi preaching the Good News and feeding the people with the bread of life.
He walked thousands of miles through jungle, rain-forest and dry hard savannah. He survived malaria, typhoid, dysentery and all sorts of diseases. And he evangelised an area the size of Wales.
He was a man of tremendous faith, great courage and pretty strong legs! As a result of his work, there was a tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit throughout the Rupununi. All of the Church that exists today in the Rupununi, growing and developing throughout the country, is built on his original foundation and the rock of his faith.
When I arrived in the Rupununi, Cuthbert’s original mission territory had been divided up into three enormous parishes. My parish alone had 53 Catholic communities – in the two years I was there, we set up two more. The parish I was in now comprises around ten thousand people spread over twenty thousand square miles. Today the Church in the Rupununi has grown enormously from the single mustard seed of faith planted by Cuthbert Cary-Elwes almost a century ago in obedience to his Lord and ours, Jesus Christ.
He was certainly no saint: I’ve read his diaries. They talk very frankly about his good days and his bad days; his hopes and his despairs. He seems to have had rather more bad days than good days; more despairs than hopes. In fact, he comes across as a very ordinary bloke carrying out a very extra-ordinary mission under the most incredibly difficult circumstances. He constantly thought his mission was a failure. In fact, he never really saw its success. By the time the Church had really begun to grow in the Rupununi, his Jesuit Superiors had (in their wisdom and courage) sent him to spend the last twenty years of his life teaching in a school in Scotland. As Jesus said, ‘one person sows; another reaps’. But I hope that in heaven, he looks with pride and joy at the Church that has grown from the seed he planted.
When asked about it in later life, he said that, as a young man, he had asked himself who Jesus really is. And the answer that had been given to him was that of St Peter: “You the Christ, the son of the living God.” And after that, he felt, there was really no alternative to a life composed from that reality. That is the faith on which the Church in the Rupununi was founded by the Lord.
So, the next time you do something for God that doesn’t seem to work out, or your superior, spouse or ‘significant other’ makes a ‘courageous’ decision for you, remember Cuthbert and pray that God will make just one of your mustard seeds – just one of your unseen, unrecorded and apparently unsuccessful good deeds – grow into something beautiful for God.
Fr. Paul O’Reilly S.J.
LAST SUPPER PAINTING
Large prints of the beautiful painting by Andrew White “In Memoriam” which is in the St. Aloysius Gonzaga chapel are available from Reception and the Bookshop in the Hall for a recommended donation of £10, which includes a protective envelope. Postcards are also available for £1.50.
DEEPENING OUR AWARESS OF GOD WITHIN US
This very successful course, which has been running at Mount Street Jesuit Centre for the past thirteen years, offers experiences of different ways of praying, reflecting and listening, so as to foster the connection between life and prayer. It is an opportunity to discover and develop our understanding of the spirituality taught by St Ignatius of Loyola, that of ‘Finding God in all Things’ and it is experiential – you can only experience Ignatian Spirituality, you cannot be taught it. The 2018/19 course runs
– Tuesday evenings: 6.30pm – 8.30pm, from 11th September 2018 to 2nd July 2019.
– Thursday daytime: 11am – 1pm, from 13th September 2018 to 4th July 2019,
In addition, there will be three Saturday sessions 11am-4pm, one in each term.
To apply for this course it is essential to complete an application form, available from reception, the back of the church, or from the website http://www.mountstreet.info, and return it to Mount Street Jesuit Centre by 18th June.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS BOOK LAUNCH
Monday June 18th, 6.30pm
Farm Street Parish Hall
All are welcome to the launch of a new book by Fr James Hanvey S.J., current Master of Campion Hall, about the Stations of the Cross displayed in Farm Street Church. The event is free and open to all but for catering purposes please contact Scott McCombe at Farmstreetoffice@rcdow.org.uk if you wish to attend.
BUILDING A BRIDGE
The LGBT+ Catholics Westminster invites you to the next Building A Bridge evening of reflection and discussion on June 21st, 6.30 to 8.30pm with refreshments at 6.30pm. The theme is: You are wonderfully made (Ps. 139) from Fr. James Martin SJ’s book, Building A Bridge. This offers a context to consider phrases such as ‘objective moral evil’ or ‘intrinsic disorder’. Come and meet people from a variety of parishes in Westminster Diocese for these evenings! Further details – email@example.com or 020 8986 0807.
THREE WEEKS TO GO
Mary’s Meals wants your unwanted clothing and bedding (no duvets or pillows please) and will be at our church until 12 noon on Sunday 8th July to collect them all. Please put your clothing/bedding into tied sacks and bring them to Mass, on that day, where the charity Mary’s Meals will be here to pick them up. Amazingly 3 full black sacks of good quality clothing will feed a child one good nutritious meal every school day for a whole year!
Mary’s Meals is a charity that sets up school feeding programmes in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education
31 DAYS OF ST IGNATIUS
We are inviting you to join our third annual 31 days of St Ignatius, a month long celebration of all things Ignatian with a series of 31 daily messages guiding you through the different Ignatian ways to pray throughout July culminating on St Ignatius feast day on the 31st.
Each week in July, we explore a different style of Ignatian prayer into help and guide you into a deeper relationship with God.
To take part in the celebrations, simply sign up to receive the 31 Days of St Ignatius daily email at www.pathwaystogod.org/31-days-st-ignatius and each day in July, you will receive an inspiring prayer-centred message straight to your inbox. You can also view the messages and follow the celebrations on twitter using the hashtag #31DaysofStIgnatius and on Facebook at JesuitsinBritain.
WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES
The next World Meeting of Families with Pope Francis takes place in Dublin from 21st – 26th August. This gathering brings together couples, families and individuals from all over the world to celebrate, pray, and reflect on the joys and challenges of marriage and family life. To find out about joining our Westminster Diocesan Group please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and to visit the World Meeting of Families website just type in www.worldmeeting2018.ie.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO HELP SYRIAN REFUGEES
The Parish is looking for volunteers to help the integration of a Syrian family, who will be resettled in North London from June. We are looking for Arabic speakers, education professionals, HR experts, medical staff, mental health specialists. Also, if you know about any accommodation that could be rented by the Parish to welcome other Syrian families, please do let us know so that we can make contact(s) with landlords. For any queries, please contact: email@example.com
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land from October 9th to October 17th for £1,229 including all excursions.
Pilgrimage to Fatima from November 25th to December 1st including all excursions for £759.
For further information call Mrs Mozzi on 0208 472 0843 or 0785 902 7301
FRONT RECEPTION VOLUNTEER NEEDED
We urgently 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: 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: June 20, 2018)
Turn Around and See – The Art of Perception – A Taste of the Ignatian Exercises
Facilitated by Mary Chamberlin
Saturday 23rd June, 11am-4pm
Reflect and respond visually on the unique relevance of the Post Resurrection Appearances of Jesus, and what it means for us individually, in a safe and boundaried space.
We will use art materials to creatively explore the 4th week of the Spiritual Exercises.
Facilitated by Chris Goodchild
Saturday 30th June, 11am-4pm
It seems that busy-ness, more than anything else, is the ‘dis-ease’ that separates us not only from ourselves, but also from each other. Slowing down and stopping is often seen as a ‘fruitless inactivity’ but slowing down and being still is where the Alexander technique begins, and from this starting point the skills learnt enable you to live and move more mindfully through developing awareness of acquired habits in movements such as standing, sitting down and walking.
Bereavement and Loss Group
Thursday 5th July 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 Meals Jesus Shared
Facilitated by Mike Smith SJ
Saturday 7th July 11am-4pm
In the story of our faith, the occasions on which people ate and drank together have become powerful symbols of the relationships we have with others. Jesus, during his time on earth, shared meals with many people, most memorably with friends and disciples at his last supper before he died. In this workshop we will explore these occasions, and their significance for us today.
Ignatian Retreat Day
Facilitated by members of the Mount Street Jesuit Centre team
Saturday 7th July 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.