Welcome to St. Anthony's
Welcome to St. Anthony's 

News around the Deanery & Diocese

Year of Prayer and Vocation

 

Bishop Peter has launched a Year of Prayer and Vocation. The video message played in churches on 2nd/3rd December is available to view here, as is the text of the message and the Bishop's Homily on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. There are also resources for personal, parish and school prayer, and a rich collection of web links. 

PASTORAL LETTER FOR THE DIOCESAN EDUCATION SUNDAY 2017

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters

 

Last Friday I celebrated the Diocesan Schools’ Mass in Dunstable with about 800 children, young people and staff representing all the schools of the Diocese as part of our Diocesan Schools Week. It was a particularly joyful occasion bringing so many of the young together in prayer. It is one reason why I want to speak to you today about the education of our young people.

 

I want to begin by thanking you who are parents. You are the first and principal educators of your children.  As the local Church, we want to support you in your responsibility for this. Where we can, we do this through providing Catholic schools. I want also to thank most sincerely all those people in the parishes who are committed to the work of catechesis for our young people, especially where you do not have a Catholic school within reach.

 

In our schools, we hope that all our young people who study there, will come to know Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life. We believe he is the fullness of life and should be at the centre of our lives. This is why the Church is so committed to maintaining and strengthening our schools as a vital part of the mission of the Gospel today. Our schools are privileged places where young and old alike meet Christ, hear his Word, and are helped to understand the teaching of our Church and her traditions. 

 

Secondly, as you all know, our society, and education in particular, is experiencing significant change. For our schools to be faithful to their mission, the work of those who lead, direct and govern our schools is more important than ever. I want to take this opportunity to record our deep gratitude to those of you who are teachers, other staff, leaders, directors or governors in our Catholic Schools. You all have demanding roles, and I am very grateful for the time you give to serving the children in our schools and supporting the many parents who have entrusted their children to your care.  

 

The leaders, governors and directors of our Catholic schools are central to ensuring that the spiritual and academic life is the best it can be. Helping them and supporting more people to take on these roles is crucial for the future of Catholic education in our Diocese. 

So my third point is to ask you all to pray and do whatever you can to help us to recruit more practising Catholics to work as teachers, leaders, governors, and directors in our schools. We need people who, in the midst of all changes to education policy, will keep Christ at the centre of everything they do. I would like you to consider whether you are someone who could serve our children as they grow in faith by teaching or working in another capacity in our Catholic schools. Could you serve as a governor or director?  If you feel that you are called to this particular service then please speak with your priest or contact NORES, the diocesan education service for more information. The details can be found in your newsletter. 

 

With all the Bishops of England and Wales, I recognise the great value of our Catholic schools as vital to the life of the Church and our society. We are committed to continue to provide and invest in Catholic education in England and Wales.  This depends on your commitment, too, and on your support at this crucial time. Please remember our schools, our young people and their families, all the staff, governors and directors in your daily prayers. 

Finally I want to thank all who do so much for our schools in every way. They are places where we trust and pray that our young people, like the young Jesus “will increase in wisdom and stature, and grow in favour with God and all people.” (Luke 2:52)

 

With every blessing,
 
+ Peter, Bishop of Northampton

 

Northampton Catherdral Development Campaign 

 

Our Cathedral in Northampton is the Mother Church of our Diocese. If you have ever visited it you will be aware of its beauty but also its limitations in not being able to offer hospitality or in accommodating special events and groups.
Exciting plans have been developed for the future of the Cathedral and the fundraising campaign is underway.

 

For further information about the project and how you can lend your support, please visit the Cathedral website at http://northamptoncathedral.org/the-cathedral/cathedral-centre where you can watch a video presentation about the proposed Cathedral Centre.


The Campaign Office is based in Bishop’s House and Angela Madge, the Campaign Administrator, will be happy to hear from you. Angela can be contacted on 01604 712065 or via email: cathedralcampaign@northamptondiocese.com

Good Shepherd Sunday - Pastoral Letter

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

At the beginning of Lent, when ashes were imposed on our foreheads, we were invited to “repent and believe in the Gospel.” Through our Lenten penance however stuttering, and, I hope, through the Sacrament of Confession, we responded to that call to repent. Now, in this Easter season, the focus is on believing in the Gospel, the focus is on our faith in Jesus, who died for us, who is risen and who is our good shepherd. 

 

During these weeks of Easter, I am writing to encourage you, in our parishes and schools, to model yourselves on the first Christian community in Jerusalem. They were faithful to the teaching of the Apostles. They were faithful to one another as the community of faith. They were faithful to prayer, and they were faithful to “the breaking of bread”, to the Mass.

 

I think that there is a great need for us to encourage one another and to accompany and support one another in all these areas, not just when we are being received into the Church or preparing for the sacraments, but in our day-to-day lives as Catholic Christians. I have to confess that I was brought up short the other day. It was pointed out to me that a good friend had been ill for some time, and that I had not visited him! How much we can take each other for granted and be too preoccupied with ourselves!

 

The Good Shepherd wants us close to him. That is why that first Christian community in Jerusalem were so faithful to the teaching of the Apostles, to the community of faith, to their prayers and to the Mass. Yes, in our prayer, in the community, in the Word and in the Mass, there is Christ the Good Shepherd. There we can listen to his voice and hear what he wants of us.

 

It is in that context that today we pray especially for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life. With that prayer comes the responsibility for us all to identify and accompany those who may have a vocation.

 

The vocation to the priesthood begins with someone based in a parish living first as a committed layman. Gradually, someone discerning a call to the priesthood can develop the dynamic of self-giving which is all-important in the life of a priest.

 

Do sow the seed in someone you know. Support them and help them to make contact with the Diocesan Vocations Director. He will assist them in that process of discernment to the point where a decision is made whether or not to apply formally to be accepted as a student for the Priesthood.

 

What happens then? Once the candidate is accepted, increasingly there is an introductory year to help a candidate transition from work or university or school into seminary formation. The focus throughout the time of formation will be on the spiritual, human, pastoral and academic development of the individual.

 

What I am emphasising is that the response to God’s call is not just the responsibility of a man on his own, it is a responsibility for us all including, of course, the need to finance the training of a student which costs £25,000 each year So, please be very generous at the retiring collection!

We are very blessed to have ten students training for the priesthood. One of them will be ordained priest in July and another will be ordained deacon. Please pray for them all, and please look out for and pray that others will join them in responding to the call of the Good Shepherd.

 

May all of us who form the flock of Christ be granted a lively and active faith in this Easter season.

 

With every blessing,

+ Peter, Bishop of Northampton

Bishop Peter's Visit

 

Thank you to everyone that made the Bishop's visit a wonderful success! He was delighted to see so many of you and spend some much needed quality time with you. There are some wonderful pictures of his weekend with us so please continue to visit the website and take a look at our gallery. 

 

Bishop Peter's New Year Message 2017

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

With New Year’s Day falling on a Sunday, it is a wonderful opportunity for me to wish my dear brother priests and deacons, and you, my dear brothers and sisters, in our parishes, schools and religious communities, a very happy New Year!

 

It is the solemn feast of Mary, Mother of God, a title given to Our Blessed Lady at the Council of Ephesus in the year 431. This was to affirm that “the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, and who truly became her Son according to the flesh, is none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity” (Catechism 495). Jesus is true God and true man.

 

One week after the birthday of Jesus, what does his mother, Mary, highlight for us at the beginning of a new year? In the Gospel, after the visit of the shepherds, Mary treasured all they told her about her new-born Son, and pondered it in her heart.

 

Accepting the will of God in her life and focussing on the mystery of her Son in prayer are two lessons we can take into the New Year. Like Mary, we can be people of prayer, and our lives can be directed in response to the will of God. We can pray for the grace to be faithful to the commandments, the commandments of love.

 

Openness to God in prayer and faithfulness to his will brought huge changes in Mary’s life. It might have been easier and safer to say “no”. But Mary’s “yes” has brought hope into a fallen world. She has given us the promise of eternal life through her Son. The change in Mary’s life has been infinitely positive.

 

Of course, change in our lives is challenging. We like things to stay the same. There is a kind of security in not changing anything. But our real security is in God, and God is calling us constantly to change, to become more like his Son. So, we can ask the prayers of Mary for the grace to accept change positively.

 

I say that with some feeling. Before Christmas, I went to look at some flats for my retirement. While retirement, please God, is a few years away, I thought that I ought to start thinking about where I should go and what I should do. I came away from the flats really depressed. I am very happy as I am, and I do not want anything to change! Now I realise with prayer and the support of friends that, when the time comes, I must put my trust in God and look forward positively to new opportunities. Perhaps even more importantly, there will be new opportunities for our Diocese!

 

Thinking of the Diocese, I just want to thank you for all your prayer and good work. As I visited a Dementia Café in one of our parishes, I was conscious of how you are meeting the needs of so many around the Diocese.  I am also keen that we rally round to bring about the building of a Cathedral Centre, a project very close to my heart.

 

Next Sunday is another Christmas feast, the Solemnity of the Epiphany. What changes we shall see in the wise men from the east. They will kneel in homage before the new-born Jesus. They will give to him all their wealth, the gold, the frankincense, and the myrrh. And they will return home a different way. Following the star and coming in contact with the Christ child will have a deep impact on their lives

As with the wise men, Mary, the mother of Jesus and our mother, invites us to treasure our faith in Jesus and to ponder with her on what Jesus is asking of us in 2017. Certainly, Jesus is asking us to be people of peace, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with our God.

 

As we heard in the first reading of the Mass, may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace in 2017.

 

With New Year blessing,

+ Peter
Bishop of Northampton

 

Please see below Bishop Peter's Advent Letter 2016 that and the Diocesean articles on Advent. 

 

Bishop Peter's Advent Letter 2016

 

The Season of Advent - what does it mean for you?

 

The Advent Wreath at Home

 

BISHOP PETER'S PASTORAL LETTER 2016
(25th September 2016)

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 


This weekend every parish in England and Wales is asked to have a retiring collection for the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. 

 

In our Diocese, while some of us are well off, many struggle financially. Yet all of you are very generous. So, I thought that I would take the opportunity to write to you about our finances and fundraising initiatives from a diocesan perspective. 

 

First of all, I want to thank you for the great success of the “Together in Faith” campaign launched nearly six years ago. Over £8.7 million in donations, of the £9 million pledged, have been received to date. I am deeply grateful to those who have given and continue to give, and to the Parish Priests who were so instrumental in bringing the campaign to fruition. The majority of the remaining pledges are due to be completed in the coming year. 

 

Those contributing to the campaign have received regular updates. For the sake of those of you new to the Diocese or who were unable to support the campaign, I would like to give a brief outline of the campaign. 

 

As you will remember, there were four objectives in the appeal – provision of care for our sick and retired clergy – lay formation – clergy formation – and parish projects. 

I am delighted that the targets for both our sick and retired clergy and lay formation were achieved, although we will need increasing funds to support our sick and retired clergy. There were no specific targets for parish projects as each parish received a percentage of funds raised. However, many parishes have benefitted from a wide range of projects, large and small. So, that, too, has been a great success.

 

The target for priestly formation was based on having two students in training at any one time. Thanks be to God, we have ten students in training but, with the cost of £25,000 per annum per student, the funds raised fall considerably short of what is now needed.


It is so helpful that a number of people approaching the end of their pledge have asked whether they can continue their donations. This people can do, directing further donations to the original causes or to clergy formation, or to their parish, or to a combination of their choice. If you are new to the Diocese or are now in a position to contribute, do contact the Campaign Office in Bishop’s House. 

 

On another matter, many of our parishes are concerned that their costs are rising more than the offertory collections, and some have asked for help. Deacon Brin Dunsire who used to make appeals in parishes about Planned Giving and Gift Aid, is now able to provide help to parishes in a number of different ways. 

 

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to a project dear to my heart, the provision of a Diocesan Cathedral Centre. As many of you will know from coming to the Cathedral, there is no facility where people can gather after a Diocesan celebration in the Cathedral or when a group visits the Cathedral. So, we are launching an appeal to build a Cathedral Centre. We have already raised 25% of our target prior to starting the appeal which is very encouraging. Unlike the Together in Faith Campaign, we hope that this project will receive significant support from Funds and Charitable Trusts. But, as this will be a facility for the Diocese, we shall be asking parishes to participate. 

 

I hope that I have been able to give a clear picture of our situation, that you can celebrate with me the success of the Together in Faith campaign, and that you can continue to be as generous as possible with your financial support for the parish and for the Diocese. 

 

With every blessing, 

+Peter
Bishop of Northampton

Be Involved

 

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." - Mother Theresa 

 

The Parish warmly welcomes all volunteers! If you can assist with any of the following, please let Fr Nicholas know: Sacristy work, cleaning, children’s liturgy, repair works, painting, gardening, lifts for parishioners to and from Mass.
If there is something else you can do, please do let him know.

Welcome

 

If you have recently joined the Parish, you are most welcome. We hope that you are settling in well. Please do make yourself known to Fr Nicholas or the Parish Office. Parish Welcome Packs are available from the Church Narthex. 

 

Tea/Coffee Morning Donations - Sunday

 

If you would like to donate any cakes, biscuits, tea, coffee, fruit etc. They will be gratefully received. Alternatively, if you are able to increase your financial donation, that would be wonderful!

 

A big thank to everyone that helped and supported our tea and coffee mornings. For the month of March We have taken a grand total of £60.54. If you are new to our Parish, please pop into the Crypt after Mass on a Sunday - we would love to see you. Our tea and coffee mornings are run solely on donations of various homemade cakes, breads, biscuits etc. so do pop in and support us and give generously. All donations recieved go towards the upkeep of the Crypt. 

 

Sick and Housebound

 

If you know of any parishioners that are sick or housebound that would like to receive Holy Communion, please let Fr Nicholas know or contact the Parish Office. 

 

Eucharistic Minister Readers and Counters Rotas

 

These are now available on the website under Mass Intentions and Rotas.

 

After Mass Tidy Up

 

We are looking for a small team of volunteers to help tidy up after Mass. This includes putting away the hymn books, Mass cards, kneelers and making sure the Church is neat and tidy for its next service.  If you would like to assist in anyway or join a rota, please see Fr Nicholas. 

Prayers for the Sick

 

Please continue to pray for the sick of our Parish and those that have asked for your prayers. If you know of anyone that would like a mention in our bidding prayers, please let Father, the Deacons or the Parish Office know.

Weekly Mass Readings

 

Can now be found here! Weekly Readings

 

Prayer to St Anthony

 

Saint Anthony, perfect imitator of Jesus, who received from God the special power of restoring lost things, grant that I may find {mention your petition} which has been lost. As least restore to me peace and tranquillity of mind, the loss of which has afflicted me even more than my material loss. To this favour I ask another of you: that I may always remain in possession of the true good that is God. Let me rather lose all things than lose God, my supreme good. Let me never suffer the loss of my greatest treasure, eternal life with God. Amen.

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