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    St George and the English Martyrs

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Our NEW LOGO Explained!

I’m delighted to present our new parish logo which reflects both our saintly patronage and our calling as a parish community.

Ostensibly, the symbolism is centred on the shield where you can see a cross and a dragon’s tail at the bottom of it. This is an obvious reference to the legendary tale of St George and his defeat of the dragon. This symbolic story reminds us how good triumphs over evil. Not only is this a reference to God’s action in Christ but also a reference to the calling of each Christian, whereby the goodness of Christ flows through us to dispel the darkness of evil and replace it with the light of Christ. This of course is our purpose as a parish community and a sign of God’s kingdom in our world. St George is of course the patron of England hence the colours of red against white.

The shield is a symbol of defence, which reminds us of the English Martyrs, those great ‘defenders of the faith’ who, even when threatened with their own lives, stood by their principles and beliefs.

The shield is also reminiscent of numerous references to God in the psalms.

“But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.” (Ps.3:3)
“God is my shield, who saves the upright in heart.” (Ps.7:10)
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Ps.18:2)
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” (Ps. 28:7)

A very big ‘thank you’ to Mick McGurk for lending his skill and time to create this excellent logo.

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16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

My dear friends in Christ,

Our parish weekend Masses are an important and special time together as it is the most obvious expression of what it means to be a parish family. In and through the friendship and connection of so many of you I can see that you make this a reality. I have lost count of the number of visitors who have said what a welcoming community we are - thank you for that! I must also say that we are very blessed to have a broad age range of people in our community, from young families, to teenagers, to the more mature.

As well as a ‘social space’, the church is also a ‘prayer space’. The ‘prayer space’ dimension of our coming together is very important as it is where we focus on how God shares His life with us and what He might be saying to us; this is one of our main reasons for coming together as church. The action of the Mass is when all this comes to the fore. The Mass was reformed in the 1970’s in order that we might exercise our baptismal priesthood by greater participation in the Mass. Responding to prayers, invitations, saying/singing the Gloria and Creed, is a way in which we participate and pray.

Listening is as equally important! Listening to the scripture readings, prayers, homily and what’s going on inside our hearts and minds. To listen and focus effectively we need an environment/ space that is conducive to that. We can all help create that space in a variety of ways:

 Ensuring our mobile phones are switched off or on silent.

 Avoiding the temptation for a chat with our ‘pew neighbours’ during the Mass, it can be a distraction for others around you.

As I just mentioned, we are blessed to have so many young families coming to Mass. It’s great to see the children here and involved. I appreciate that for some of you, bringing and managing younger children might be quite a challenge; Mass is long for them – especially the way I go on! If you’re trying to keep them entertained, it might be helpful if you could bring ‘soft’ toys rather than hard ones, as hard ones can be noisy, especially if they get thrown down! There’s a children’s book box in the porch of the church so feel free to borrow something from there if you wish. As your children get older you might want to think about (if you don’t already) sitting near the front so they can see what’s going on. You could also guide them through the Mass with the help of a children’s missal so they begin to understand the things we do and why we do them. If you have a very young child who becomes agitated during the Mass, please feel free to leave your seat so that you can walk them up and down a little if that will help to soothe them.

Some parts of the Mass can be lively and loud (with singing hopefully) and others parts are more still and reflective. Creating a prayerful and reflective space for the latter is really important. Please join in with the various prayers, responses and hymns, as they all form part of our worship which is the reason why we are here.

God Bless and have a good week,

Fr Brett

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