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Roman Catholic Church

1st of December 2011

Speaking to us from the altar on Harvest Sunday, Father Terry said:
“People often ask me what I find strange coming back here after spending most of my life in rural Africa. It isn’t the weather, which is much the same as it was 50 years ago, cold and wet. It’s not the abundance of food, or the easy communications. What has struck me most is the general lack of hope and its partners, patience and perseverance. Everybody seems to be in a hurry and life is geared to the short term; immediate results and instant gratification. You must have it now! There is no looking forward to things. Although today we will have a retiring collection for the hungry, this Harvest Sunday most people here don’t have a harvest time to wait for. Just go down to Sainsbury’s and pick up whatever food you want, whenever you want it. Strawberries for Christmas! Fresh peas in January! There is no looking forward to season or its harvest.It seems that this attitude has altered people in all aspects of their lives. Children aren’t given time to grow up in expectation of the freedoms and possibilities to come. No, they must be given them now.

“Even in religion I was reading that the fastest growing Christian sects are the ones that promise prosperity for the here and now.

“Many have lost the sense of expectation and hope in their lives. But central to Jesus’s life and teaching was the expectation and hope of eternal life and happiness with God. There is more to life than what we see and experience here on earth. God has prepared his banquet and each of us has received an invitation. It only remains for us to respond and, when the call comes, to appear wearing our ‘wedding garment’. This is not something you can order on the ‘net’. The ‘wedding garment’ is made up of the good actions we do out of love for God and for our neighbours and, if we don’t want to be left out, that is what we should be busying ourselves with at the present time. Although it may be hard and take time, there is joy in looking forward.

“This coming week, let us review our expectations in life; what we hope for, and then let us tailor our actions to suit.”
In all Christian Churches Advent is the time of preparation for the coming of the Saviour. At Our Lady’s we shall be holding Bible Study and Faith sharing evenings weekly during Advent.

Fr Terry sees a very different take on celebrating Christmas here compared with his previous parish in Tanzania. Instead of our extended season of shopping and indulgence, there the celebrations begin on Christmas Eve and last over Christmas Day.
In Tanzania Christmas comes at a time when food is getting short; the crops are only just planted but there is always food found for a feast. Just like here, as long as the children are happy, everyone’s happy.

A collection was held for Cafod on Family Fast Day when people were asked to eat very simply for a day and give money to feed the hungry. This Catholic Find for Overseas Development is a good conduit for our giving to reach those in need, as so many schools, clinics and projects are served or run by Priests and Nuns with close links with family and churches here at home. At the back of our church are photographs of work being done for the water supply in Chingalungulu. It is much easier to be generous when the results can be seen.

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