Joe Rowen (RIP)

It is with sadness that we have to inform you of the death of Joe Rowen who died on Thursday evening 29th December 2011.

We offer our condolences to the members of Joe’s family, Anthony, Gerard and Anne and their

families.We remember Flo who only died in the Summer of this year and of course include their son Michael in our thoughts and prayers.

Requiem Mass for Joe will be celebrated at Our Lady of Grace Church, Preswich, on Tuesday 10th January 2012 at 12.00 noon. We place Joe into the hands of an all compassionate Father as we pray

“You know the way for me, you know the time, into your hands I trustingly place mine.

Your plan is perfect, born of perfect love. You know the way for me, that is enough.”


A Christmas Prayer

Mother Mary, let me receive your Divine Child. Don’t take as His manger the cold and desolate stable – take my heart! My heart is prepared and decorated just that little bit. My heart longs for your Child. Let my heart be His manger. Mother Mary, let us all receive your Child this day.And we promise, that in our hearts, He will be warm and secure. We promise you: We will love Him and welcome Him just as you loved and welcomed Him! You kneel in adoration before your Divine Son and I too kneel to adore that that same Child in my heart. You gave Him all the emotions of your heart, you gave Him your love, you give Him your willing-ness to sacrifice. I also want to give Him today all my love and these same emotions. And I will gently pour all my suffering and all the pain of my guilt into the heart of this little Child. Then in future I will never be alone any more. It is not my strength, that carries me –  It is Mary’s Child who carries me still!

[Father Joseph Kentenich, Founder of Schoenstatt]


A Season of Giving

This is the time of year when we all begin to think about what we are going to get. After all, “Tis the Season”. To balance that we are also reminded at this time of year that “it is better to give than to receive”. But we must first learn to be givers. One way to learn is by example. To learn to be givers we should look at the Giver of all things; God. Not just God the Father though, but God in all three persons of the Blessed Trinity.

First of all, Christmas is about the Father’s Gift. The most important gift God gave us the precious gift of life. To each and every one of us He gave a special and unique gift of our own life. We are the one species in all of creation who are capable of appreciating the amazing fact that we are alive. God gives us this gift freely and without reservation. We can choose to honour Him for the gift of life we have been given, or we can choose to ignore God’s part in our life. And whether or not we honour God, he still loves us completely.

Then, Christmas is about the Gift of Jesus. God gave us His only begotten Son. And that gift wasn’t the gift of a ruler or leader in the political sense, but the gift of God with us, a humble teacher and redeemer that changed the lives of everyone who came after him. This best gift, Jesus, showed us how we can all learn to love His Father, by giving to others. He gave all he had, even his life for us. In everything Jesus did, his entire earthly ministry is based upon giving to others. Nothing he did was for himself. From Jesus we learn to give without thinking about the cost, or expecting anything in return.

And finally, Christmas is about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, before he left His earthly ministry offered us the gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift is God working in our lives. The Holy Spirit offers us gifts and fruits which help us to appreciate and enjoy the gift of life given to us by our father. How many of us could live a full happy life without wisdom, or joy, or patience, or goodness, or self control? The Holy Spirit’s gifts are freely given, ongoing and never ending, we can call upon them whenever we feel the need to use them. From the Holy Spirit we can learn to give of ourselves.

We can learn that more precious to someone than that perfect sweater, might be the gift of our time, and our concern for their lives and their struggles. Remember, it is not what is under the Christmas Tree can is important, it is the people standing around it!

So what is the best way for us to commemorate the greatest giver of all during this season of giving? By giving each other the latest CD or video game? Or by giving ourselves to others? This year try to think of one thing that you can do that will truly help others. Give of your whole self.

Don’t just give your money, but give time, and resources. Give all with a joyful heart, asking nothing in return. May the coming Christ Child fill our Parish Family with all with his love, peace and blessing!


A Special Christmas Gift

It is the day before Christmas nineteen forty-nine. A young father had just discovered that his five-year-old daughter had wasted an entire roll of rather expensive gold wrapping paper. His daughter had crudely wrapped the paper around a small cardboard box that she had placed behind the family’s modest little Christmas tree. Money was very tight at the time and that made the matter seem even worse. The father called the little girl into the room and began to scold her for having wasted the paper on the box. The little girl entered the room and began slowly approaching her father who was standing there holding the small crudely wrapped box. Her father began his verbal reprimand as he watched his daughter run to him. As the father continued with his scolding the little girl quickly approached and placed her tiny hands on the box her father was holding. Then the little girl tenderly said, “This is for you, daddy!” The father’s anger was quickly defused, and the matter was dropped as the box was placed back beneath the Christmas tree. However, on Christmas Day the father’s anger flared again when he opened the box and found it was empty. He again spoke to his daughter in a harsh manner saying, “Don’t you know, young lady, when you give someone a present there’s supposed to be something inside the package?” The little girl had tears in her eyes as she looked upwards at her father. Then the little girl said, “Oh, daddy, it’s not empty! I blew kisses into it until it was full.” The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his little girl, and he begged his daughter’s forgiveness for his outburst of anger and for his thoughtlessness. The father always kept that little box beside his bed afterwards. When times were hard or difficult, he would often remember the box full of kisses and could recognize a feeling of deep comfort and love. Often he would look at that small crudely wrapped golden box and again hear the same precious words that his daughter had spoken to him on that Christmas day. “This is for you, daddy!” Indeed, this was a very special Christmas gift. Very soon, each one of us will receive a special Christmas Gift – the Saviour of the world!


Year of the Shrine – The MTA Picture

The picture has a very interesting story – can be followed through Fr. Micheal Savages Film on the picture – – You can hear in Fr. Kentenich’s text – how much deeper that picture went…
Fr. Andrew

Intro from Peter Wolf…

When he gave his first talk in the freshly renovated Chapel of St Michael, which the Provincial Superior had given to the young Sodality to be their Sodality chapel, there was no picture of Mary there. It is possible that a small statue of the Blessed Mother had been put there at the very beginning. However, the Sodalists soon began to look for a bigger picture of Mary for their chapel. The picture of Mary in the Schoenstatt shrine, which is known all over the world today, was the gift of a teacher, who had bought it in a Freiburg antique shop. Fr Kentenich talked about this to his confrères during a Tertianship for Pallottine Fathers in Milwaukee in 1963. Also in the choice of a picture of Mary he had made himself dependent on the guidance and dispensations of Providence. After the passing of almost a hundred years we can be sure that this picture was a gift from heaven, which is loved by countless people of many and varied nationalities and cultures, which would probably not have happened if the choice had fallen on one of the various alternatives that came into question at that time.

A Picture of Mary for the Shrine

Seen from this vantage point we have to ask: How did we acquire a picture? It was not chosen after much thought or special considerations. It happened this way: It was part of God’s plan discovered by the law of the open door. You can probably hardly credit what sort of situation we were in at the time. What I wanted to do with our young people at the time naturally had to be hidden with extreme care. So this was the same thing – once the shrine had been given to us, or we had begged for it as a place of grace and education, it suggested itself, even if only because our youth were so dependent on sense impressions, but also because it was the usual way people thought, that also a picture had to be put up. Of course, our great worry was: How are we to get a picture? At the time we had to keep ourselves so much in the background, almost in the cellar, that we constantly thought: We may not draw attention to ourselves; we have to do everything completely in the background so that no one can notice what we are actually aiming at. Continue reading “Year of the Shrine – The MTA Picture”


Rorate Mass at the Shrine

Recently in the sermon for the First Sunday in Advent  Fr. Duncan told the story of Bafana, a woman who on a busy day encountered the three wise men on their way toAdoring Angel Bethlehem. However she was too caught up in the tasks at hand and missed the opportunity to go with them and find the King new-born is a stable. The story goes that Bafana was destined throughout history to go from house to house and implore: “Good people, the bells begin! Put off your toiling and let love in.” That is our invitation tonight by this Rorate Mass to put off distractions and focus wholeheartedly on what is important. Mary the Mother of Hope in Advent leads the way to let love in. Continue reading “Rorate Mass at the Shrine”