What is precious in my Life

Fr John spoke to the parents on Wednesday 1st February  2017 at St Clares Church.

This was part of the parents preparation for First Holy Communion 2017


This is always an enjoyable experience for you never quite know what is going to come up.


Don't we all like a surprise!


The session started with what happened in our day today. Everyone was very quiet.


Fr John shared on an experience he had that day, meeting a person who had made an impression on him.


Fr John told them the story of Miles Davis' the jazz musican's drug addiction


Miles realising he had to deal  with this problem asked his father for advice.


He had great confidence in his father because his father looked life in the eye and never took short cuts.


His father took him to a house and told him to stay there until he had overcome his demons.


Three days later he emerged after taking cold turkey!


His life improved and also his music.


Once he said of drugs; "the best drug in the world is the creation of music and then seeing people enjoy it".

No chemical drug can compare with that.

"That is the most precious experience I have had in my life" he said.


He then told them the story about the Tibetan Buddhist monk who had spent 30 years in a Chinese prison,

set among criminals. Upon getting his freedom he shared this story with his fellow monks


One prison officer was particularly cruel to him precisely because he was a religious monk.

The monk found himself  beginning to hate him with all his spleen!

Instinctively he realised that to hate someone destroys your own freedom and removes your tranquility.

His freedom and tranquility was the most precious aspect of his life.

That was the greatest challenge in his prison life and he managed to come through by the skin of his teeth

by seeing through hatred and where it leaves one.

For the monk freedom and tranquility was the most precious aspect of his life. It had to be protected.


Fr John then asked all the parents to break into small groups and share on what is really precious in my life

For about five minutes the parents shared with each other and then reported back.


The common theme running through all their comments was their children, friends and relationships with others.


Fr John then told them the story of the late Johan Cruyff, the Dutch footballer whose mother cleaned the Ajax stadium and

got an interview with the manager for her son, resulting in him being taken on as a youth apprentice.

This was the start of his legendary  football career with Ajax, something he would continually acknowledge

at the very pinacle of his career to his mother.

His mothers care for him was precious all through his amazing career.

The meeting closed with prayer.


Confirmation 2017


12 candidates enrolled on the course for Confirmation 2017 on Thursday 2nd February 2017


In the Sunday mass at 11:30h on Sunday 5th February  they enrolled liturgically.


The Candidates promised to give their best on the programme.


The parents promised to support them.


The congregation also promised to support with prayer and good example


On Thursday 9th each candidate will receive £5 from the parish in order to double it for a Charity.







November News Blog



Friday 18th November 2016 17:30h.


Ministry in our Prison here in Aylesbury.


It is now just 17:30h and I am just back from one of my favourite duties as a priest which is ministry at the prison.


I always leave the prison with that feeling that one has done something worthwhile, one has shared with people who really listened.


Three years ago, when I commenced duties there, I always felt a sense of unease as I wondered before going in - what I would encounter!


Now three years on, I can honestly say that I look forward to Friday afternoons and would not want to miss it as I feel that the young men and I would both feel deprived.


That is exactly it - both sides enjoying the communication!


What has enabled this communication take place?


Firstly before we started any type of event, we commenced in a standing position, all practicing the following;


Stillness of body


Stillness of mind


Stillness of spirit


Allowing our feelings to subside and rest


Each week we practiced (and still do) this with perseverance and consistency drawing attention to the benefits accruing from the above posture.


Gradually they began to see that this approach empowered them. We were all equal in the practice.


Innately they came to value it. They began to relax and feel all we had in common, doing things together.


Finally, it dawned that this is not only humanly speaking good for the person but also is an invitation to the Spirit of Holiness in our lives.


We always begin Mass from this stance: all silent, standing and relaxed.


The sermon is the high point of the Mass for it is a real time of exchange which they deeply enjoy.


Everyone gets a chance to speak if they wish. One young man once said “this makes me really think”


There is a real engagement between priest and congregation with a story each week that is commented upon and examined carefully.


There is a challenge thrown out to puzzle things out and arrive at home grown solutions.


It is remarkable how the male psyche loves a challenge and the wrestle with the solution.


This type of approach invites each person to engage and use their abilities which in turn enhances a sense of dignity. This takes time and patience but real growth takes time in all our lives.



18th November 2016


“Reconciling with each other and Our Father in Heaven” October and November 2016.


Like prison work, I really enjoy meeting the parents of children preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation which is in December 2016.


This year our catechetical team and I agreed that each month we would share the session on the first Wednesday of each month.


The first half of the session would be devoted to practical matters, the second half deal with ourselves in relationship with each other and with God our Father.


I have now done two sessions, one in October and one in November both so worthwhile.


Again, the approach is one of story, seeing ourselves in the story and engaging, entering the mysterious. Reconciling is always mysterious and is always happening in families and groups.


One story told of two children, Jim and Janice, brother and sister, out playing “hide and seek”


Janice in tears rushes in and tells Mum and Dad “I can’t find Jim! I can’t find him!


Dad immediately rushes to an old dried out well and sees Jim at the bottom struggling to get out.


Jim is got out safely and brought home where he hugs Dad and says “Dad I knew you would come and get me!


This is such a beautiful moment. How wonderful for Jim and Dad, this wonderful trust. Trust is the very essence of true relationship…. Just like Jim had in his Dad.


The other story dealt with a player from the premier division called Stephen who reflected on an incident as a youngster.


He was playing in a seven aside knock out competition as a twelve-year-old.


In the game, he missed a crucial pass, made infinitely worse by the fact that a fellow player showed his annoyance openly.

His game went from bad to worse as he lost his concentration, glad when the final whistle went.


All week he was annoyed with himself made worse by the fact that Mum was her usual good humoured self. Finally, in desperation, he asked her why she hadn’t noticed - only to be told “I knew you would tell me when you were ready”


He poured out his story to her while she listened totally silent.


She then inquired had he apologised to the manager? He answered no.


Then Stephen heard something he would never forget; not only must he apologise to the manager of the team but also tell him why this had happened.


Stephen plucked up the courage, poured out his story. The manager was quietly understanding - thanking him for the explanation. He felt so good grateful to the manager, grateful to mum.


He would never forget the words of his mother which would guide his all during his life, when he had little and everything.


The first step is to recognise a mistake and acknowledge it, the second one, equally important is to find out why the mistake was made. Only then have you dealt with the situation and are reconciled.



19th November 2016


Children’s Liturgy


This is a very precious part of our outreach to children in the Sunday mass.


It is so precious because it brings the Gospel to the level of the children in a very special way.


The children get a chance to give their reaction to it and hear the reaction of others.


A chance is given to the group to speak to the wider congregation before the offertory.


This again is a very special moment in the mass for it reconnects children and wider congregation.


The congregation love to see and hear the children always giving them an applause.


The colourful collage that appears weekly is warmly welcomed and remains in the church all week in a prominent position.


The prayers of the children are indeed very thoughtful and coming from them have real impact.


Their insights into the Gospel enrich the congregation.


We always love to have more parents come along and volunteer to help with these Sunday morning sessions. If you can manage this, even from time to time, it will be gratefully received. You will also be given some training and work with an experienced catechist.


If you can help just e mail Fr John and let him know. He will then pass on your details to the team who will contact you.



St Joseph’s Children’s Liturgy.


Here we have something that has grown so much over the recent years.


The children are visibly excited about what they are doing and enjoy the setting.


The catechists are dedicated and eager to enable the children give of their best.


This is evidenced by the care given and the quality of the prayers and the colourful collage.


The congregation love the presence and input of the group - always applauding.


Fr John deeply appreciated the efforts of all concerned.



St Clare’s Children’s Liturgy


It was with real sadness that in September 2016 Fr John and the team closed children’s liturgy.


Really, the team had become a victim of their own success.


As the congregation grew with younger families, more and more children were coming each week, finally growing to over thirty.


Our facilities could only accommodate fifteen at the very most.


On safety grounds the group decided to close it advising the congregation via the newsletter.


Options are being explored on different fronts to see a way forward for this group.

News from Father John

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