Friday, 31 January 2014


CHILDRENThere is now a proposal to make the school day run from 9.a.m. until 6.00 p.m. for 45 hours a week for 45 weeks a year. When I first read this I thought it was windup but it appears that it is a serious proposal. School Holidays would be just 7 weeks a year. The plans, now being considered by the Tories as part of their Election Manifesto, were originated by David Cameron's former policy chief Paul Kirby. These plans would apply to all children in England between the ages of five and 18, and would be in time for the party's 2015 general election manifesto.

I thought it was important for children to have some leisure time, some time with their families, some time for organisations like Scouting, Guiding etc. in fact sometime to be children. And what about homework – would that be in addition? This plan, apart from increasing teacher’s hours which I’m positive they would quickly reject, provides no opportunity for children to actually be children.

Is this the brave new world that we are to be invited to support in 2015? What a terrible prospect for future generations.

Sunday, 26 January 2014


fishermen 2

Today the Gospel reminds us of the call to Peter and Andrew, James and John who, on receiving it, responded immediately to Jesus. These fishermen were working at their trade on The Sea of Galilee and they left it behind.

In our pilgrimage in October last year we spent a wonderful time at Tiberius with a very moving Mass right by the Sea of Galilee. In the tranquillity of that beautiful place you could easily believe it was two thousand years ago. No doubt the area has changed down the centuries but you still get a glimpse of what it must have been like when Jesus walked there and when the future Apostles first heard the call to “follow me”.

Ann and I have visited the Holy Land several times and have enjoyed visiting the various places which form the basis of our faith but nothing has been more moving or more beautiful than the Sea of Galilee.

Sunday, 19 January 2014



Today I concelebrated the Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green, read the Gospel and preached on the text from today’s Gospel “Behold, the Lamb of God”. I reminded those present that the words spoken by St. John the Baptist are the words spoken at every Mass and we would be hearing them later in today’s service.  Do we take them seriously, do we really appreciate that in the wafer placed into our hands we would receive the same Jesus that John the Baptist had been speaking about. Were the words we spoke in response just something  perfunctory,or did we really mean them: “Lord I am not worthy……………..only say the word and I shall be healed” Do we realise or understand that the wafer is not just a symbol. or a token as a representation but the actual and real Body of Jesus. I mentioned the spiritual experience of a priest I knew who, on celebrating his First Mass, held the chalice in his hands and realised that he was holding the real blood of Christ and how that experience had had a profound spiritual effect on him. John the Baptist uttered those profound words Behold the Lamb of God.  At every Mass we repeat them for on the Altar is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world……………happy are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


George Osborne announced yesterday that he is contemplating more benefit cuts. Having reduced many to near starvation with the assistance of Ian Duncan Smith’s reforms he now proposes cutting housing benefits to under 25 year old which seems to me to be totally wrong and counter productive. Is it any surprise that many young people feel unwanted and useless?.... some apparently considering suicide because they are unable to find employment;unable to get jobs they will be unable to afford accommodation, if Osborne's stupid plan goes through. I know of one young man with a first class honours degree in Maths still unemployed several years out of university. We have people who would starve in modern Britain if it wasn't for the work of Food Banks. Just what sort of country are we becoming?

Sunday, 5 January 2014



Today I presided at the Solemn Mass of The Epiphany at St. Paul’s, Goodmayes. After the Gospel, with suitable prayers, the Magi, bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, were placed in the Crib.

In my sermon I pointed out that in our modern society we don’t expect to see portents in the sky predicting future events. In the days of Jesus the reverse was the case, and the Magi who travelled to Jerusalem were scientists of their day. Herod, a despotic king, try’s to get them to reveal to him where the new born King is when they have found him in Bethlehem. Warned in a dream, they return home using a different route. Herod was nothing less than totally ruthless when he thought his reign was in danger; he had already murdered his wife and some sons. I drew the analogy of the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, who had just arranged for his uncle to be executed. The gifts of the Magi demonstrate the nature of Jesus: King, God and Saviour.