Letter from Father Richard

Retirement Party – Last Sunday

I cannot thank God enough for the wonderful afternoon that was my retirement party. I will begin by thanking Carolyn Blake and Ian Bond who co-organised the event. A lot of work went into the invitations, and who to send them to, and the general management of the event.

Ian and his wife Marilyn gave the venue for free. Marilyn was that lady at the party dressed in blue, who seemed to be organising things.

I did say that I would be paying for the catering, but in the event Ian and Marilyn bore the main cost as a gift. Thank you Marilyn and Ian.

Carolyn, thank you for sticking with it, getting the invitations printed etc. What an afternoon! The stars were all of you who came. How wonderful you are.

You have no idea how grateful my family were. My sisters, brothers-in-law – my nephews and nieces and great nephews and nieces thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was lovely to see so many people from previous parishes there, including 4 people from Kettering whom I hadn’t seen for 30 years. Quel surprise!

Thank you again.

Fr. Richard

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Letter from Father Richard

Dear Parishioners,

For eight years I was the subject or victim of a stalker. She was a very plausible woman of professional status. She was not a parishioner. It is very difficult to imagine how persistent night time late ‘phone calls, personal daytime visits to my presbytery and all the madness that goes with stalking had an effect on my wellbeing.
If she was of sound mind, you could say she was sinning against me. She certainly damaged me emotionally and psychologically.

We have legitimate rights to defend ourselves against any person who sins against us, to remove ourselves from harm’s way if possible, to confront them with their wrong doing. What Jesus says to us is that, in spite of it all, we should not harbour a spirit of resentment or vengeance against our oppressors. This can be so difficult. I know at the time I didn’t hold resentment or a spirit of vengeance against the woman, but it did not stop her harming me.

Many people have been in similar situations within their families or places of work. An attitude of forgiveness does not mean that we have to be doormats. So often forgiveness is seen as acquiescence in someone wrongdoing against us. It is not. Further, forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. Well, there’s food for thought.

Have a good week.

Fr. Richard

Comments

Letter from Father Richard

Dear Parishioners,

For eight years I was the subject or victim of a stalker. She was a very plausible woman of professional status. She was not a parishioner. It is very difficult to imagine how persistent night time late ‘phone calls, personal daytime visits to my presbytery and all the madness that goes with stalking had an effect on my wellbeing.
If she was of sound mind, you could say she was sinning against me. She certainly damaged me emotionally and psychologically.

We have legitimate rights to defend ourselves against any person who sins against us, to remove ourselves from harm’s way if possible, to confront them with their wrong doing. What Jesus says to us is that, in spite of it all, we should not harbour a spirit of resentment or vengeance against our oppressors. This can be so difficult. I know at the time I didn’t hold resentment or a spirit of vengeance against the woman, but it did not stop her harming me.

Many people have been in similar situations within their families or places of work. An attitude of forgiveness does not mean that we have to be doormats. So often forgiveness is seen as acquiescence in someone wrongdoing against us. It is not. Further, forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. Well, there’s food for thought.

Have a good week.

Fr. Richard

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Letter from Father Richard

Dear Parishioners,

At the time of writing, I am trying to find a supply priest for this coming weekend. For a number of weeks now, I have been unwell with infections in my teeth or now, an infection in my sinuses. I am on a course of antibiotics again, but feel really drained and unwell. I think too I have an underlying anxiety about my future. Although I stated to the Bishop that I intended to retire about October time (in February), as yet I have no certainty about future accommodation. I do have a meeting about this on this coming Monday. Please pray for a successful outcome.

Just as the future is uncertain for me, so it is uncertain for you. All I want to do is hand over St. Peter’s in good working order to you parishioners and your new Parish Priest Canon Noonan.

To this end could you please be aware of tidiness. Crayons and clipboards are given out to parents for use by their children. Could parents please make sure all the crayons their children use are gathered up and not left on the floor. There are always some to be cleared up after Sunday Masses but last Sunday was particularly bad. The best assumption to make is that this is a household without servants. This also applies to those who use the kitchen. Just lately, people are leaving used cups on the side of the draining board. There are loads of tea towels.

Cupboards

I am in the process of tidying up the cupboards in the Meeting Room. Please bear with me during this process. I have also been attacking kitchen cupboards and drawers.

I hope to see you next week on the 17th September at Shortmead House.

At the moment, I am uncertain about weekday Masses.

OREMUS PRO INVICEM
Fr. Richard

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Letter from Father Richard

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

What a sobering gospel we have set before us this week. The following of Jesus does not necessarily lead to worldly success. However, it is not as bleak as it sounds in the first place.

You often hear parents wishing they could have suffered in the place of their children. Jesus’s suffering and death is for us; He is taking our place, He is suffering for us, so that we may not suffer the consequence of sin. He does this for us as parents do for their children, out of love.

Love certainly changes things.

Have a good week.
Fr. Richard
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Letter from Father Richard

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is wonderful to observe people as they develop as human beings. It is no less wonderful to observe the development of Jesus in the gospels.

Today marks a landmark in His relationships with Peter and the other disciples. Who do you say I am? Sooner or later each of us will be faced with that question. Many will evade answering it, and for as long as they do, any kind of commitment to Christ is not possible. It is not until we answer it that Jesus can entrust us with mission.

In Peter’s case his mission was to be head of the church . . . ours will develop as we ask, seek and knock. Do not be afraid, I am with you always, ‘til the end of time.

Have a good week.
Fr. Richard
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Letter from Father Richard

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“Oremus pro invicem” Let us pray for one another. So often in life, people ask us to pray for them. So often, unknown to us, those who love us are praying for us to God. Praying for our good.

In the Gospels, often people plead with Jesus on behalf of others. Today it is the Canaanite woman who pleads with Him on behalf of her daughter. Gender, religion, status are no bargaining chips with God. Prayer from a loving heart has to be heard by the God of Love.

Prayer must be the first in our quiver of arrows with which we are armed to fight on the cause of right. Prayer is always the first resort in the life of the Christian, never the last.

Have a good week.
Fr. Richard
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Parish Census

We will have to work out how best to run the Parish after Father Richard has left; we need to know who is in the Parish and what they can do to help with that organisation.

Please would one member of each family complete the
survey at this link. We promise to keep your information safe and private.

Chris
webmaster and IT bod . . .
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Letter from Father Richard

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I remember being at a Mass when today’s gospel was proclaimed. The time came for the priest to say a few words by way of commentary. I have never forgotten what he said. “The miracle” he said, “was not so much Jesus walking on the water, it was the fact that Jesus gets into the boat of our lives with us.”

That really is the miracle that needs to be stated and restated day in, day out.

Those wonderful words addressed to Peter are also addressed to us “Come ye; I am; do not be afraid. I am; the name for God. God is with us. EMMANUEL.

Have a good week.

Fr. Richard
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CHANGE by Father Richard

CHANGE

Changes are coming. From the end of October Canon Noonan will become Parish Priest of Shefford and Biggleswade. Father John Danford will become Parish Priest of Leighton of Buzzard and Flitwick. There will be ‘ordinarily’ one Mass on Sunday in Shefford and Flitwick and two Sunday Masses here in Biggleswade. The two Sunday Masses for Biggleswade will be 6:30 pm Saturday and 11.00 am Sunday. To continue to maintain and enhance the fabric of the Parish is vital if the Parish Community is to survive, and survive as a living witness of God’s presence among the people of Biggleswade. Programs of Baptism Preparation, R.C.I.A. and Holy Communion and Confirmation will be worked on between the Parish Priest and the Deacons.

So far maintenance and improvements to the property has been a shared responsibility between me, the Parish Priest, Alban Macdonald, Chris Barker (The Finance Committee), various voluntary gardeners, Michael Brett, Alison and Harry Grundy, Alban Macdonald etc . . .

Lots of people have helped along the way. Carolyn Blake, Rosario DiMarco, the people of the cleaning rota, Flower Ladies, Pat Smyth, John Lang etc.

Sue Lang has been a vital help in setting up the Office.

Maria Leer and Jackie Hardy are kingpins in the catechetical programme.

Maria Bullock, who has been cleaning here for 20 years, both in the house and the church deserves a special thank you for her tremendous help and constancy throughout the years. Maria is our only paid employee; her service to the priest and people have gone far beyond what could be paid for.

Thought has to be given as to how to continue both improving and maintaining the material ’plant’.

Suggestions will be invited at a later date. Please think about providing a present and a future for our community of faith.

Father Richard
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