“Laudato Si” going deeper

“Laudato Si” an opportunity to go deeper 

Following the very successful presentation by Mary Colwell on Laudato Si, the facilitation of a series of deanery discussions on Laudato Si has been agreed. The group discussions of this vital document from Pope Francis will begin as follows:

(a) Friday Morning Group
Co-ordinator: Ozzie Ffield
A group discussion of this vital document from Pope Francis will continue on Fridays at 10.45 AM after 10.00 AM Holy Mass & Coffee at 10.30. For approximately 90 Minutes.

(b) Wednesday evening group
Co-ordinator: David Packham
Wednesday 18th November at 7 p.m. in St. John's hall.
This group meets weekday evenings at 7 p.m. weekly or fortnightly as agreed from meeting to meeting. More details from the co-ordinator. All welcome!

(c) Lent group(s)
Co-ordinator: to be decided, but in the mean time contact David Packham.
Details are not fixed. If this might interest you, it would help to have an indication of time of day, days of the week and frequency (weekly, fortnightly ...) and preferred location(s) for meeting e.g. central Bath / Combe Down / St Mary's / Peasedown ........ which would suit you.

Do just come along or for further details and to share ideas please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Ozzie Ffield on 01225 314 345.

St Stephen's Guild enrolment

At St John’s on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November 2015, 13 alter servers joined the guild of St Stephen, who was the first Christian martyr.

The event was sponsored by the Catenians whose president Liam O’Gorman helped Canon David present the medals to each altar server, who also received a certificate and altar servers handbook.

St Stephen's Guild for altar servers promotes and encourages high standards of serving, provides a better understanding of what serving means, and unites servers for their mutual support and encouragement.


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Parish Archive soon to go live

The core of the parish archive has now been brought together and securely shelved upstairs at the presbytery. It mainly consists of sacramental registers going back to the late 18th Century, six boxes of catalogued documents and photos, and Mass notices for every week in the first hundred years of St. John’s.

The shelving (which was donated) gives scope for adding to the archive. It’s something that should be happening all the time, to give our successors a clear view of the life of the parish. A start has been made on plugging gaps in the record on important subjects such as liturgical music and parish schools.

The intention is to make the archive a valuable information source for non-commercial research. That’s easier said than done as making the archive easy to consult has to be squared with protecting its contents against damage and mis-use. We need some test cases to help work out how it should happen, so if you think the archive as just described could be useful to you in, say, family research please contact the parish archivist, Chris Morrissey on 01225-466799.

Young People Group Adoration

St John's Young People Group will attend Adoration on Friday 27th of November from 8 to 9 pm to say the rosary together and share moments of silent prayer for friends, families and the world especially in this moment of tragic events around the globe.

Anybody is welcome to join anytime from 8 until 9 pm

Service of Remembrance sermon

The text from Father David's sermon at the Bath Abbey Service of Remembrance.

Remembrance Sunday 8th November 2015

Remembrance Sunday allows us to reflect on the events that has led to our freedom and to honour the lives of our fellow men and women who have sacrificed themselves on our behalf. Each of us will have our own personal memories and our own heroes whose stories we tell today and who lives inspire us anew. For me it is a very moving moment as I recall to you my memories in the hope that you too will be as moved as myself and inspired for a new season of hope for our world.

I am what is called a war baby as I was born in 1945, the year of the closing of the Great War. But rather than be called a War Baby I would prefer to be known as a Peace Baby for the war ceased on the day I was born. Yet I am well aware I was conceived as a consequence of the Normandy invasion of 1944 in which my dad was a casualty. From those waters where one hero survived my dad, a thousand others died. Many a mother wept that day for the son that did not come home but my mum comforted my dad and nine months later I was born. In those waters of Normandy a sailors hand pulled my dad from the raging sea and he told me with great faith,"David, that was God's hand that rescued me and you never forget it"; and I never have.

For today we not only remember the many boys who came to manhood in the face of war but the many who have found faith in God in the midst of their battles. Today as I thank God for the faith in God given to me my my dad so we commend all who have died to protect our freedom into the loving hands of God and commend them to his Peace.

This year is the Centenary of the First World War, the 70th Anniversary of the Great War and the end of the conflict in Afghanistan. Recent figures reveal 435 losses of British Personnel, alongside some returning with severe injuries needing much support from the sterling work of the British Legion. This service we pray for the souls of the deceased that they rest in peace and encouragement for those returning from war facing disability.

Our Scripture reading from St Paul to the Philippians reminds us "have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God".

This word from God is so important for us today as so many of us are anxious for our world, which seems so troubled with the threat of fundamentalism through ISIS, and the heartbreaking wave of refugees and asylum seekers. Solutions for peace seem so difficult to find and life can seem more and more turbulent. Yet this word written by St Paul was also written in troubled times; Paul in prison in Philippi, a stopover spot for refugees making there way from Asia Minor to Europe via Greece. Philippi the first church founded by Paul on European soil was also a difficult mission for him. Yet the Apostle Paul tells them not to be anxious, not to worry and follow some clear instructions that will bring them God's peace in their country and their lives. He also says, "let your request be known to God and the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus".

Did you know that anxiety is one of the most common of our problems. We often worry about everything, our health, our finances, our family, the state of our world, what to do about ISIS, should we remain in The European Union and even the state of Bath Rugby! Did you also know that most people's anxiety is focussed with 40% of things that will never happen. 30% of things related to the past can't be changed, 12% of things relating to other people's criticism, which is generally untrue, and 10% of things relating to health, which often gets worse with stress. Only about 8% of the time do they worry about real concerns that will need to be faced. So this word of the apostle Paul has tremendous value for our lives for the real concerns, the 8% we can give to God, hand them over to him to deal with. Today, in thinking of our loved ones, do not worry about them, they are in the hands of God. In prayer we can commend them to God's mercy, let them rest in peace and cease our concerns are their behalf. This is a necessary part of the healing process of Remembrance, letting them go so that we can be free of all anxiety. And St Paul adds something important too for today, hand them into God's hands with thanksgiving. Today's remembering is a source of thanksgiving for their lives, a celebration of their personality, their gifts, their bravery and their love of Queen, Country and their regimental family. Being grateful for their lives is part of the transforming of grief and loss into peace and joy.

The Apostle Paul has more to offer us in this inspiring passage in Philippians. Today has many symbols to express our love for the deceased; the flags of their regiment, the bugler's last post, the moment of silence. Each symbol conveying an important message. Today I would like to link the words of Paul in this scripture with the Poppy, the symbol of hope, the symbol of resurrection, the sign of life beyond death. In the fields of Flanders, Angus Macgrae spent time pondering the bloodied war zones where so many had died. In his grief he watched one day the beginning of new life in the fields as the spring time poppies immersed from that devastated earth. He saw the significance of both God's victory in nature over death and the ultimate victory of Jesus over sin and death in his resurrection. His poem writes of the hope of us all for peace to conquer evil and love to conquer hate.

Our reading from St Paul to the Philippians gives us a path to healing and reconciliation. In the face of the loss of a loved one we are tempted to think hatred, revenge, anger, violence, bitterness and a range of negative thinking but the Apostle Paul invites us to think in a different direction. He says think about these things, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things. For St Paul the battle to defeat the evil around him was a mental battle. It was the battle to win hearts and minds through teaching the truths of faith. This is still the battle of today, to win the hearts and minds of today's youth with the Christian values that Paul outlines. Yes, dear friends in our remembrance there are all these noble things, each life lost give us the opportunity to rise above the negative mindset of our age. Each life bids us think beyond this life and soar to the bright horizons of a new world. The old mindset is bound by the ethics of a war-torn world but today our loved ones call us like St Paul to think on the new world to come where peace reigns on earth, where every child has a right to life with abundance. For this to happen we must feed on the mindset of the great values of our nation, the principles of all faiths and the reality that good will triumph over evil. I cannot think of better words to express these sentiments than in the hymn of Jerusalem by William Blake, " I will not cease from mental fight nor shall my sword sleep in my hand till we have built Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land."

So may this a Service of Remembrance renew our lives through giving over our worries to the Lord and asking God to give us a strong and positive mindset.

May God bless all our endeavours and the faithful departed rest from their labours.

Philippians 4: 6-9 6

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Ugandan famine appeal

Ugandan famine update from SPICMA

Fr.Sylvester MHM went to Lookorok to distribute food. He found that the number of families in trouble is really high and many people are sick, weak or without any energy because of lack of food and biting hunger. He found many old women with high numbers of small children in the homes without any food.

Please continue to help our people.

For further details go to http://www.spicma.org/

Care for the World

Care for the World: The Challenge of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Sí

Mary Colwell, B.B.C. Natural History Unit Producer, feature writer for The Tablet and voted in the top 50 most influential environmentalists in the UK.

7.30 p.m. on Wednesday November 4th in St. John's Parish Hall*, South Parade, Bath.

The Pope likens our common home to a sister with whom we share our life but this sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.

The Encyclical focuses on the relationship between ourselves as individuals and natural world; it has shifted the debate out of realm of industry and regulation to ourselves: it is about US and what WE do.

The heavy scientific debate has been brought down to level of the human person, it goes straight to heart: relationships are at heart of this encyclical, not necessarily law and regulation.

The relationship needs to be strong, even austere: it is not an easy future. There may be times when there is a need to draw back from "what we want and when we want it". It points to a more humble, holy future based on fundamentals of any faith – sacrifice, humility, simplicity, love. These are new colours brought to the debate.

It is hoped to establish small groups for those interested in further study of Laudato Sí.


* Enter top car park, left down four steps and into door on right.

Downside review

The parish now receives one complimentary copy per issue of The Downside Review, an excellent quarterly devoted to scholarly articles and book reviews. Articles in the latest issue deal with female victims of the Protestant persecutions under Mary I, Benedictine representation at the papal court, and new views about the outcome of Vatican II. The parish copy will be passed around - please tell Chris Morrissey (phone 01225 466799) if you would to be on the circulation list.

Proclaim 15 Conference

You can now view the video of Cardinal Vincent Nichols’ inspiring keynote speech at the 11th July Conference at https://vimeo.com/133733209


Benedictine Vespers at St John's

Benedictine Bath celebrations It was with joy and excitement that St John’s joined in the programme of services, lectures, displays and walking tours that celebrated a thousand years of Benedictine heritage in Bath. The number is symbolic rather than historically accurate - as the Abbot of Downside pointed out, the Rule of St Benedict has been pivotal to Christian worship in England for far longer than that.

Downside and Bath Abbey took the lead in organising the celebrations, which lasted from 6th July to 10th July. Throughout that period there was a fascinating display of photos and historic documents from Downside at the Abbey, the most precious being the Papal Bull (charter) of 1633 that revived the English Benedictine Congregation and gave it juridical continuity with its pre-medieval roots.

The history display that has been on the walls of St John’s since the 2013 Jubilee also received many extra viewers during the five days. Benedictines dominated a long part of the parish’s history as they originally had St John’s built as part of their mission to Bath, and monks from Downside remained in charge of the parish till 1932.

Two well-attended services were held at St John’s. On the second morning there was a special Mass followed by prayers at the Lady Chapel inspired by Bath’s connections with Blessed John Henry Newman. The next evening a large congregation heard monks from Downside combine with the Choir of St John’s (directed by Rupert Bevan) to sing Solemn Vespers and Benediction.

On the final day there was a Conference at Bath’s Guildhall to hear and discuss four excellent presentations on the week’s overarching theme. Dr Simon Johnson, Keeper of Downside’s archives and library, described the Benedictine presence in Bath over the century that culminated in the rebuilding of the Catholic chapel destroyed by rioters in 1780. He conjectured that the rioters had been inflamed as much by the apparent affluence of the local Catholic community as by their objection to Catholics being treated more fairly.

The second speaker, Dr Brian Griffin from Bath Spa University, maintained that during the nineteenth century there had been a strong undercurrent of Anti-Catholicism in Bath. It was fomented by certain local clergymen with Irish Protestant backgrounds who made Catholics out to be an odd and rather nasty breed.

Canon Harding followed with a characteristically erudite talk full of interesting points. He stressed the importance of the papacy’s temporal power - being heads of state made Popes more influential than they could have been simply as religious leaders. He ended his wide-ranging talk by pointing to calm contemplation, the example of the late Cardinal Basil Hume, and the treasuring of Latin as key aspects of the Benedictine legacy.

The closing speaker, Abbot Aidan Bellenger, reviewed the long connections between Bath and the Benedictines. A great regeneration of Christianity in England in the Tenth Century put Benedictines at the centre of the community. They had made a true and lasting contribution to Bath by preaching and illustrating the life of prayer and the centrality of Christ.


Testimony from Fr Ghilain’s visit

When we came to the Healing Mass, we were not expecting anything – although we hoped.

Carmel’s heart condition was terminal and had a life expectancy of around six months. When Fr Ghislain prayed over him, Carmel said to me that his breathing has becoming better. When we went to Mass and when Fr G raised the Host for consecration, Carmel, said to me “Now I am being completely healed!”

The following day we went for his usual monthly examination with his cardiac consultant, and after a lot of tests and machines etc consultant told him, “Your heart has improved by 50% – go home and look forward to a long life” You can imagine, I screamed “This is a miracle”. The consultants (By now there were two) both told us that they believe in miracles and this was one of them!!!!! I must also add that Carmel has been a changed man ever since – he is cheerful and thankful always.

Reserved city centre car parking available at St John's to rent

Reserved, Bath city centre car parking is available to rent at St John's

Now is your chance to have a reserved city centre car parking space. Reserved parking spaces are available at St John's Church, South Parade, Bath, from Monday to Friday; 7.00 am – 6.30pm.

Located off Manvers Street, only a few minutes walk from the city centre.
Cost:- £125 per space, per calendar month
For more information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone:- 01225 464471 (weekday mornings only)

Contemporary Music Group

We are pleased to announce the successful first meeting of the Contemporary Music Group.

Around twenty people of varying ages and from many nations attended last week's event. They listened to a presentation by Jason Whiley on the vision for how music may be explored together to facilitate worship. Jason is a very talented music leader in the Vineyard Music tradition. He was very encouraged by the range of musical talent that attended the occasion. The aim is to assemble a group that has a variety of musical talent that can grow in confidence in using their skills for the worship of God.

At the next session on Monday May 11th, 7.30 pm in St. John's Church, the musicians were invited to bring their instruments and use their voices in mastering six contemporary songs. It was a very optimistic and joyous occasion.

Congratulations to our new musical lambs!

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Jubilee year CD of music from St John's now on sale

Jubilee year CD of music from St John's

To celebrate the great variety of music which is heard at St John's, a special CD was produced for the unique Jubilee year, "A Jubilee in Song". There really is something to suit all tastes and now is your chance to have a permanent reminder of this Jubilee year.

You can listen to samples from the CD by clicking on the following:

In dulce jubilo (St. John's Festival Choir)
Gloria: Mass in Eb (St. John's Sunday Choir)
They'll know we are Christians (St. Gregory's Catholic College Choir)
Salve Regina (Gregorian Chant Choir)
Ego sum panis vivus (St. John's Sunday Choir)

Margaret from Devon wrote, after being given a CD as a gift:

"I would like to say how much I am enjoying it. There is certainly a lot of talent in your parish. It was a wonderful idea to include all the various groups, the children and the parish congregation, too."

The cost is £12 and includes post and packing. Please make your cheque payable to St John's RC Church and send to:

Parish Office (CD Purchase)
St John's Church
South Parade
Bath BA2 4AF

All money raised from sales will go into the church funds.