Visit of the Statute of Our Lady of Walsingham to Northampton Cathedral
On Saturday 9th February 2019, after a prayer and blessing from Fr Wayne, pilgrims from Holy Cross and Saints Philip & James Church travelled by mini bus to Northampton Cathedral to attend the final day of the three-day triduum of prayer as part of the preparation for the re-dedication of England as the Dowry of Mary in 2020. They were able to see the statue of Our Lady from the Slipper Chapel at the Catholic National Shrine in Walsingham, listen to the talk by Mgr John Armitage and attend the closing Solemn Mass in Honour of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Christmas Masses: 3 Golden Roses and Olive Candles
At two of our Christmas Masses our young people presented gold roses and olive-scented candles in prayer before the Altar and Christmas Crib. The symbolism behind this is:
- The rose has long been associated with the Christmas Crib. Here the purity of the flower represents Our Lady (Mary) and the thorns foreshadow the crown which will be laid upon Jesus’ head during His most blessed Passion (suffering and death). Our roses are also reminiscent of how the Pope offers dignitaries a golden rose; there is no greater ‘dignitary’ than Jesus, the Son of God! Our golden roses represented:
1) Thanksgiving for the year that is coming to an end.
2) Prayer for God’s blessing on the coming year of Our Lord 2019.
3) Blessings upon our young people and our Catholic Youth Minister (to be employed in 2019).
- The olive tree is rich in symbolism within the Sacred Scriptures and features heavily in the account of human salvation. Since 1681 the Franciscans have cared for eight of the oldest olive trees in the Holy Land. Tradition and genetic testing tell us that these trees were grafted from a single tree that was a witness to Jesus’ Passion (suffering and death). We also see the symbolism how the olive fruits, in being pressed to release the precious oil, remind us of how Jesus was crushed for us on the Holy Cross to release His Precious Blood that we receive at Holy Mass. The six olive candles represented:
1) St John Rigby Catholic School
2) St Thomas More Catholic School
3) Our First Holy Communion candidates
4) Our Confirmation candidates
5) Adult candidates for the Sacraments of Initiation
6) Parents and Guardians who undertook Alpha
Carols by Candlelight – Sunday 16th December 2018
The theme for this year’s service was ‘Gifts’. It was based around the carol “The 12 Days of Christmas” and we heard about the alternative Christian meaning of each gift:
1 – Jesus
2 – Old & New Testaments
3 – Faith, Hope & Charity
4 – The Gospels or Evangelists
5 – The Pentateuch (First 5 books of the Old Testament)
6 – Days of Creation
7 – Gifts of the Holy Spirit
8 – Beatitudes
9 – Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 – Commandments
11 – Faithful Apostles
12 – Points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
Everyone was invited to bring forward gifts to the altar as donations for the SVP Giving Tree or Bedford Foodbank. Thanks to Judy, Pat and Marion for providing the music throughout the service.
Carol Singing with St Mary’s and Priory
Thank you to everyone who helped with our carol singing near Tesco on 13th December 2018. It was nice to have the help of a couple of young people from Holy Cross – Karolina Lucas and her brother Robert; his violin playing was much appreciated. We collected four car loads of donations and several people gave generous cash contributions which were taken to Smart Prebend Centre which helps Bedford’s homeless. We received the following thank you note:
Dear all involved in the Carol singing from Priory Methodist, St Mary’s Goldington and Holy Cross,
On behalf of the team, our volunteers, and service users of the SMART Prebend Centre, I would like to thank everyone who sang in the ‘Tesco Carol Singing’ recently, collecting donations in the collection buckets, and donations of food & other items. We are hugely grateful for such a wonderful amount; a total of £119.59 was raised in cash.
We are open 365 days a year supporting some of Bedford’s most vulnerable people, not only providing food & clothing, but also companionship and support to those using the centre to help them move towards to a more positive future.
This year alongside continuing to provide hot meals, shower facilities, clothing, emergency food packs and advice, we have been working very hard to increase our support packages to help prevent rough sleeping and relieve further homelessness.
Again, thank you very much for your donation. It’s only with the generosity and kindness of the local community that we can continue to deliver the service within the SMART Prebend Centre.
On behalf of SMART Prebend Day Centre
Jennifer Robus, Deputy Manager
Team Transition’s Donation to Foodbank
On the cold, dark, starry evening of Tuesday, 11th December 2018, Larissa Clarke of Transition Coaching led her team on their Christmas 3-5k run past Holy Cross Church, stopping off to unload their heavily-laden rucksacks of donated food items into the Foodbank container in the narthex.
After a brief rest they were on their way again, only much lighter after their generous donations. Thank you and Happy Christmas, Team Transitions!
Remembrance Service 2018
A Remembrance Sunday service was held at the Goldington Green war memorial on Sunday 11th November 2018.
This was a particularly poignant occasion because it was exactly one hundred years to the day that the armistice was signed to end the First World War, or Great War, as it was called at the time.
It was a very significant occasion for us as a Catholic community at Holy Cross also, because it was the first time a Catholic community had led the service.
Those in attendance were the Royal British Legion, two councillors and representative from the Royal Green Jackets.
Other uniformed representatives were the Brownies, organised by Holy Cross.
The bugler who played the Last Post, was an Altar server at Holy Cross, who in turn was supported by altar servers also from Holy Cross, as well as parishioners.
A history teacher covering a project on the theme of the Armistice from St Thomas More School was also present.
It was estimated that in the region of approximately two hundred people attended the service.
Afterwards, all those who had attended the service were invited to Holy Cross pastoral centre for refreshments and approximately seventy-five people enjoyed a welcome hot drink with cakes and biscuits.
All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints Day 2018
Thank you to everyone who attended the Vigil Mass for All Saints Day and helped us to reclaim Halloween (All Hallows’ Eve) and Hallow Mass (All Saints Day) as Catholic celebrations. All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints Day are celebrations of the Light of Christ seen in the great heroes of the Faith: the Saints of God. What a contrast that is to the trivialisation of evil that we see in the secular and pagan observance of All Hallows’ Eve.
We also thank Orla (dressed as St Therese) for leading us in the Angelus and to all the young people who brought forward coloured candles at the Intercessions (each candle representing the children of a different continent and those young people who have died).
Thank you to everyone who assisted with the All Hallows’ Eve party! A truly wonderful and hallowed time was had by all and what fantastic saintly costumes our young people were wearing! The twenty carved pumpkins with Christian symbols at the foot of the altar were a joy to behold. More than sixty young people attended this celebration and each went home with arms full of saint-themed goodies, glow-sticks and chocolates. The fireworks and sparklers were a real crowd-pleaser especially for the adults!
Thank you to everyone who fulfilled the All Saints Day Mass of Obligation at one of our three Masses! Thank you to everyone who attended one of the All Souls Day Masses in our community! Please do continue to pray for all the faithful departed of our parish family.
Happy Holy Cross Day!
The Cross is a symbol of love, sacrifice, forgiveness and suffering. All of these are qualities which Jesus showed us, and which we aspire to show in our own lives.
We look upon the Cross as a reminder to show love to others in whatever way we can.
We look upon the Cross and remember Christ’s sacrifice for us; what can we sacrifice for him? This is a reminder to think of others before ourselves.
We look upon the Cross and remember Jesus forgiving his tormentors – do we forgive ours?
We look upon the Cross and see Christ’s suffering for us. This reminds us that we too will experience suffering: physical, emotional, mental. Through our suffering, may our faith grow.
Parishioners at Holy Cross Church celebrated the Exaltation of the Cross together. Following morning Mass, we all gathered to share memories and experiences of life in the parish over the years. Old photographs were discussed, gallons of tea and coffee were drunk, bottles of sparkling fizz were popped open and shared, but most popular were the 100 servings of hot, tasty sausage or bacon rolls which were eagerly consumed! Children of all ages played games and spent time with friends. Happy people left clutching their gifts of a gingerbread cross biscuit as a reminder of the day (except those who couldn’t resist and ate them straight away!)
Day Trip to Windsor
In August 2018, Holy Cross Social Committee arranged a visit to Windsor. A group of 15 people arrived at the pick-up point armed with sun lotion, packed lunches and plenty of water! With temperatures predicted at 30°C and above, they were ready for the weather!
On arrival at Maidenhead the group quickly made their way to the boat which would take them on a two-hour trip along the River Thames to Windsor. The gentle pace of the water, along with the breeze and beautifully picturesque views, made a relaxing change to the hustle of daily life.
As the boat neared Windsor, the delightful view of the Castle greeted everybody. The afternoon was spent exploring the many shops in Windsor, the parks, the river and, of course, the Castle too. It was a pleasant opportunity for people to come together, enjoy each other’s company and have a great day out.
May Devotions to Our Lady
On Saturday, 19th May 2018, guest speaker Brenden Thompson, who is pioneering a new initiative in the Church ‘Signs of Life’, gave a talk at both St Philip & St James’ Church and Holy Cross Church, Bedford as part of the May Devotions to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The day began with Morning Prayer and a Votive Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St Philip & St James’ Church. This was followed by a spiritual talk by Brenden who went on to lead the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Holy Rosary.
The morning was well attended and it was lovely to see old friends from St Thomas Aquinas Church in Bletchley who had come especially for the occasion. While we enjoyed refreshments afterwards, Brenden explained that a few days earlier he had also visited St Thomas More Catholic Secondary School in Bedford and had spoken to over 100 students. Brenden has been visiting numerous Catholic schools throughout Our Lady’s month of May.
Brenden spent the afternoon at Holy Cross Church, where he gave a spiritual address for Confirmandee and spoke again at the 6.00pm Pentecost Vigil Mass.
It was a wonderful, spiritually uplifting day; Brenden’s devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, who always points us to Jesus, shone through. We also learnt even more amazing scientific facts about the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on St Juan Diego’s tilma.
The Easter Story Trail
The Easter Story Trail was brought to Bedford about seven years ago by Goldington Churches Together. Children from local schools are taken around by a story teller. This year it was held at Priory Church and over 300 children visited.
Missio Lent Workshops
Students of St Thomas More Catholic School (Brickhill) shared a Lent morning with Sheila Isaac from Missio and our own Sue Barter who is assisting with this papal charity through its school’s work. An informative and prayerful assembly was followed by interactive workshops for Year 8 which considered how to look at life through a different lens! Sheila and Sue also met with representatives of our other Catholic schools, St John Rigby (Goldington) & St Joseph’s and St Gregory’s (Biddenham).
Burying the Alleluia Banner – Lent 2018
After Mass on the 11th February (the Sunday before Ash Wednesday), we buried the ALLELUIA BANNER created by our First Holy Communion candidates!
We give thanks for everyone who helped to create the banner, to those who dug the hole in the Church grounds, to those who took photographs, to our young people for their enthusiastic singing of various Alleluia chants and to all who came and participated in the solemn burial. It was great fun!
People are encouraged to watch where the banner was planted (it is marked) for a miracle will take place there! Where the banner is planted often daffodils emerge; these beautiful flowers are closely associated with death and rebirth and thus with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Why bury the Alleluia banner? “Alleluia” comes to us from Hebrew and it means “praise God”. Traditionally, it has been seen as the chief form of praise of the great choirs of angels; of they who worship before the throne of God in Heaven. “Alleluia” is most closely associated with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and therefore we omit this word from the liturgy during Lent.