THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – Year C – 3rd November 2019

SCRIPTUREREADINGS

Wisdom 11:22-12:2    Psalm 144

II Thessalonians 1:11-2:2     Luke 19:1-10

AT THE SERVICE OF THOSE WHO HAVE LEAST

As you entered the church today, you may have seen posters advertising a service to take place in two weeks’ time, on 17th November, marking the third “World Day of the Poor”.

A few days ago, I joined the team at the Jesuit Refugees Service in Wapping to reflect on the message which Pope Francis has written for this year’s Day of the Poor with the title, “The Hope of the Poor shall not Perish Forever”.  I was very struck by what I read. His is a powerful reflection on the daily experience of so many of our brothers and sisters, in this country and around the world, an experience which he understands not from the vantage point of the privileged, from the “top down”, but from the “bottom up”, from the standpoint of those who have least. I thought I might share with you here some of what I took to be the Pope’s key themes.

The Pope begins by reminding us of those who are poor today: families forced to leave their homeland; victims of many forms of violence, prostitution and the narcotics trade amongst them; the homeless who roam the streets of our cities and unemployed young people victims of short-sighted economic policies. He also mentions orphans, sometimes violently separated from their families for exploitation. As I read this, I found myself asking, “Can it really be that children are treated in this way in our world today?”

Pope Francis then goes on to describe some features of the experience of the poor. They may need to rummage through garbage bins for food and they too may be treated as refuse “without the slightest sense of guilt on the part of those who are complicit in the scandal”. They can be “seen as a threat or simply useless, simply because they are poor”. Governments can devise what he calls a hostile architecture aimed at ridding the streets of their presence. He includes one phrase I found especially telling, it can be that “the poor are not even forgiven their poverty”.

An option for the poor, for “those who are least, those whom society discards” is “a priority that Christ’s followers are called to pursue”. He says that this is crucial for the credibility of the Church today while the service of the poor an authentic form of evangelisation. I was struck by this phrase: “Loving attentiveness is the beginning of true concern” and by the Pope’s belief that the sustained commitment of those who help them can be a real sign of hope for those who have least. The Pope speaks of the “saints next door”, among whom are the many volunteers whom he encourages to persevere in their dedicated service. What can I do to become one such “saint next door”?

Hope is one of the many needs of the poor. The Pope writes of the “suffering and disappointment” they endure and encourages us to go beyond meeting obvious material needs, important though this surely is, and to discover their “inner goodness”. “Certainly, the poor come to us also because we give them food, but what they really need is more than our offer of a warm meal or a sandwich. The poor need our hands, to be lifted up; our hearts, to feel anew the warmth of affection; our presence, to overcome loneliness. In a word, they need love.”

This, of course, is my personal summary. If you can, please do read the Pope’s message in full. It can be found online by putting “Pope Francis Message Day of the Poor” into a search engine on the internet.

We are now in the early stages of the general election campaign. Let us do all we can to ensure that those seeking public office place the needs of the poorest in society, here in the UK and around the world, at the top of their agendas. This brief prayer, adapted from CAFOD’s website, might be one to use in the coming weeks: “Lord God, inspire the leaders among us to uphold the rights of the downtrodden and to serve with fairness, justice and integrity. Amen”

 Fr Michael Holman S.J.

MONTH OF THE HOLY SOULS
November is the month in which the Church asks us to particularly remember and pray for the souls of the departed. A Book of Remembrance will be found at the back of the church during November for people to write the names of those they wish to be remembered. During Masses in November, this book will be placed on the altar and collectively prayed for.

SECOND COLLECTION

A second collection will be taken at Masses today for the work of Aid to the Church in Need. Aid to the Church in need is a Pontifical charity which works in 140 countries, helping persecuted and oppressed Christians around the world through prayer, information and action.  During the past century, Christianity has been all but driven out of the Middle East, the place of its birth. Christian communities in Syria and Iraq who were forced out of their towns and villages by the extremist group Daesh (ISIS) now have a chance to return home to rebuild their livelihoods. They need our help as the cost of rebuilding is a huge undertaking. These families have had to give up everything for their faithfulness to Christ. Aid to the Church in Need is asking us to support these families in Syria and Iraq until it is safe for them to rebuild their lives and communities. Please give generously.

PRAYING FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE

You are invited to a special Mass at 11.30am on Wednesday November 6th here at Farm Street, to pray for Britain’s young people. This is organised by Catholic Women Praying Together, a group bringing together the main Catholic women’s groups in Britain.  For those who wish, a buffet lunch follows at £25 each: contact aemblem@btinternet.com

 CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION: PROBLEMS AND PROGRESS

Bishop Philip Mounstephen of Truro and Rehman Chishti MP discuss the persecution of Christians at this Catholic Union event on Thursday 7th November at 7pm at St Mary Moorfields Church, 4-5 Eldon Street, London EC2M 7LS. A drinks reception will follow.

Please register at info@catholicunion.org.uk or 020 8749 1321

FARM STREET FILM CLUB REVIVAL

It’s back! Your free-of-charge Film Club will rise – like a Phoenix from the ashes – in the parish hall at 6.30pm on Tuesday 19 November with a powerful and moving opener … watch this space for more details.)

SVP APPEAL

The Farm Street SVP (Society of St Vincent de Paul) is very active and does wonderful work to assist the homeless in our parish area.  Their annual appeal takes place on November 24th and we ask you to be generous in your response. For any enquiries about SVP activities, please ask Yasko.  Email: y.kurahachi@gmail.com

UNITED SERVICE FOR THE THIRD WORLD DAY OF THE POOR

On Sunday November 17th 2019 at 3pm all are invited to a special ecumenical service at Farm Street Church to pray for and raise awareness of the plight of the homeless in our city of London. On this day we will join other communities around the world hosting Tim Schmalz’ Homeless Jesus sculpture to pray for the most disadvantaged in our society.   The preacher will be the Reverend Richard Carter of St Martin-in-the-Fields. A reception will follow. All are welcome.

FAITH MATTERS QUESTION TIME

On Wednesday 20th November at 6.45pm in the parish hall, there will be a panel discussion on ‘Responsible Business: How should the Financial Sector Respond’? To book a place, please contact the parish office.

TANGO SHELTER 2019

Volunteers are sought for an evening of Argentine Tango dancing at Tango Shelter 2019 in the hall, Saturday 14th December, 16:15 – 22:15, to set-up chairs, take down, manage tickets/reception, manage the kitchen, and facilitate refreshments. This is not an official Farm Street event, but all funds raised with nil deductions for fees or expenses, will be donated to the work Farm Street Church undertakes with the homeless. If you are able to help, please contact Warren Edwardes at tango@edwardes.org.

WORRIED ABOUT SOMEONE’S DRINKING?

AL-ANON can help and is held every Monday (except Bank Holidays) 12-1pm in the Meeting Room at 114 Mount Street. Contact Jane 07962 967443 or Angela 07971 953744. www.al-anonuk.org.uk

 

BEREAVEMENT AND LOSS GROUP

The Bereavement and Loss Group meets on the first Thursday of the month at 11.30am at 114 Mount Street. This support group is for those who wish who are experiencing the effects of such grief. You are welcome to just come along or contact Maria Shapero Mariashapero@hotmail.com or 0755 324 2322 for more details.

 

 

FOODBANK DONATIONS

We are currently collecting supplies for the foodbank at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Kings Cross. If you are able to donate anything, please leave it beside the statue of Homeless Jesus. Items will be collected from the statue throughout each day. Items that are of particular use are: cereals; tinned soups; pasta; rice; tinned tomatoes/pasta sauce; lentils, beans and pulses; tinned meat; tinned vegetables; tea/coffee; tinned fruit; biscuits; UHT milk; fruit juice; toiletries; household items; feminine products; and baby supplies.

MOUNT STREET JESUIT CENTRE

114 Mount Street, London W1K 3AH

http://www.mountstreet.info

Book online for any of these events

Information: 020 7529 4844 or

apaolino@jesuit.org.uk

 

PICK UP OUR 2019-20 PROGRAMME AVAILABLE AT THE CHURCH DOORS

AND VISIT http://www.mountstreet.info

‘FROM SCRATCH’ SERIES

SCRIPTURE FROM SCRATCH – THE NEW TESTAMENT

Facilitated by Brian Purfield

4 Tuesdays, 5th – 26th November, 11am-1pm

Or 4 Wednesdays, 6th – 27th November, 7-8.30pm

Or 2 Saturdays, 23rd & 30th November, 11am-4pm

This course is an accessible way in to the riches of the New Testament. We will explore how the New Testament as we have it today took shape in the first centuries of the Church’s life.

 

IGNATIAN RETREAT DAY

Facilitated by members of the Mount Street Jesuit Centre team

Saturday 9h November 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.

 

GOOD BOOKS AT THE LONDON JESUIT CENTRE:

RUPERT SHORTT “DOES RELIGION DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD?”

Wednesday 13th November, 7pm

If you enjoy a good book, you will enjoy hearing recently published authors speaking about their work in discussion with experts in the field and the audience. Booking required on EventBrite

 

CONTEMPLATIVES IN ACTION

Facilitated by members of the Mount Street Jesuit Centre team

Thursday 21st November 7-8.30pm

These sessions provide an opportunity for those engaged with social justice to reflect on their experience, and deepen their understanding of Catholic social teaching. Each session has some short input, with time for group discussion, followed by personal reflection and prayer and sharing.

Thursday 21st November: Everything is connected: what does solidarity mean for us?

 

There is no need to book for these days, just come along.

 

INTRODUCTION TO IGNATIAN PRAYER

Facilitated by Audrey Hamilton & Melanie Carpenter

Saturday 16th November, 11am-4pm

In this one-day workshop we will look at both the man, Ignatius of Loyola, and his methods to see how Ignatian prayer continues to foster a way of being in the world that seeks to find God in all things.

 

SCHOOL OF IGNATIAN PRAYER

Facilitated by Audrey Hamilton

& Team Members

4 Mondays, November 25th – December 16th, 6.30-8pm

St Ignatius of Loyola’s spirituality is rooted in everyday life, offering guidance and ways of praying that are accessible yet profoundly life changing. This four-week course will introduce you to the man, St Ignatius, and his ways of praying. The sessions will consist of input followed by a time of silent prayer, with opportunities to listen to each other and share together.

 

Come to our Regular Events

• Mindfulness and the Alexander Technique

2nd and last Wednesday of each month 12-2pm

• Book Club *

2nd Thursday of each month 7-8.30pm

 

• Contemplatives in Action *

2nd Thursday of each month 7-8.30pm

 

(*): No need to book