Farewell to Sr Margaret and Sr Mae
The Vigil Mass on Saturday, 25th January was celebrated as a Mass of Thanksgiving for Sr Margaret and Sr Mae to mark their move to Olney. Their contribution to the community, particularly to Holy Cross Church, over many years has been remarkable.
The Sisters opened their house in Bradgate Road in April 1971, when five of them moved there from the convent in Bromham Road (St Bede’s). It was the first move by the Congregation to open small communities where they would be part of the local scene, meeting its needs in social work, education and hospital working or parish work; living in an ordinary house (or two joined together) rather than a large traditional convent building (Peter Doyle. Photos by Charles Moubarak).
Festive Afternoon Tea
Following on from the tremendous success of the summer tea party, Val and her team once again rose to the challenge and organised a wonderful Advent celebration. Guests relaxed at the festively decorated tables and enjoyed delicious food and refreshments while they were entertained by the Gospel Choir with carols and merry songs. Thank you, too, to Fr Michael Bates who joined us and won one of the many raffle prizes! Proceeds from the event go to Holy Cross. Thank you everyone! (Watch out for the next afternoon tea event in Spring 2020!)
Children’s Advent Service
Thank you to all who came and made our children’s advent service a really special event. The children shared the story of Christmas, a tree activity and some lovely reflections about the true message of Christmas with a final blessing from Fr Wayne. Refreshments and themed cakes were later enjoyed by all.
North Bedford Churches Together: Carol Singing in aid of Bedford’s homeless
Thank you to everyone who helped with the carol singing near Riverfield Tesco on Tuesday evening, 10th December 2019. Donations of food and money were raised for the Smart Prebend Centre which helps Bedford’s homeless. The centre is open 365 days a year supporting some of Bedford’s most vulnerable people, not only providing food & clothing but also companionship and support to help them move towards to a more positive future.
Rosary Link began in 2004 to pray for vocations to the Sacred Priesthood and in support of our Priests. There are an average of thirty such gatherings every year across Northampton Diocese. On Tuesday 3rd December 2019, Mass for Vocations to the Priesthood was celebrated at Holy Cross followed by Adoration and the Holy Rosary. Jesus told us to pray for vocations (Luke10:2) and the Rosary Link unites such prayer around our Diocese. ‘Pray the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into the harvest’.
Year of the Word
Sister Mae and Sister Margaret pictured with Bishop Peter at Northampton Cathedral on the Feast of Our Lady Immaculate, and the opening of the ‘Year of The Word’, Saturday 7th December 2019. Bishop Peter urged the faithful to: “Listen to God’s Word in groups together and let God’s word be at the centre”.
Feast of Christ the King
The children enjoyed ‘crown cakes’ after the 9.15am Mass baked by parishioner Shirley! Thank you, Shirley!
All Hallows Eve Celebration
Well done to Stephanie (our Catholic Youth Minister) and the organising team (including musicians) for a truly wonderful celebration and observance of All Hallows’ Eve! Lots of laughter from both children and adults could be heard coming from the Parish Hall whilst several parents (including visitors) commented on how much they appreciated the evening. As one visitor said: “It was the light of Jesus in a dark world on a particularly dark night.”
Sun shines once again on golfers as local charities receive over £14,000
Two local charities, Carers in Bedfordshire and FACES, each received cheques for £7,000 at the annual St Philip and St James Golf Society Charity Golf Day at Pavenham Park Golf Club, on 31 May 2019. In addition over £290 was collected on the golf course from golfers buying refreshments sold by the charities at the ninth hole and putting loose change in the bucket and forfeits for landing in the “watery grave”.
Helen Satterthwaite CEO of Carers in Bedfordshire receiving a cheque for £7,000 from Mike Chappell, Chairman St Philip & St James Golf Society.
Wendie Harvey Chief Executive of FACES receiving a cheque for £7,000 from Paddy Boylan, Secretary, St Philip & St James Golf Society.
This was a record year for St Philip and St James Golf Society, with 114 golfers and 100 diners. Over the past 28 years, the members of St Philip & St James Golf Society have raised more than £83,000 for local charities.
The society would like to once again thank all the golfers, diners, sponsors, Pavenham Park Golf Club, all those who contributed items for the Silent Auction and Raffle and everyone who helped to make it such a successful day.
Next year is 30th year of the Golf Day. The society invites any local company interested in being the Main Sponsor to make contact. It is one of the longest running charity golf days in the country and only supports local charities.
For more details on St Philip & St James Charity Golf Society, to take part in the landmark 30th Charity Golf Day on 29th May 2020, to become a sponsor or if you’d simply like to donate, please get in touch with one of the committee.
Launch event of North Bedford Churches Together
Ecumenical Hog Roast – what was there not to like?! Over 200 people of all ages attended the launch event of North Bedford Churches Together; given we were ‘competing’ with the Champions League Football Final this was a double success! Holy Cross Catholic Church (Goldington, Bedford) was the host for the Christian celebrations which included representatives from the Anglican, Methodist, non-denominational and Catholic traditions. The event started with us acknowledging the unity we share through Holy Baptism but accepting that which divides us remains a source of deep pain. The delicious food of roast-pork and stuffing rolls with lavish salads, desserts and copious drinks meant that everyone who attended enjoyed themselves; the late hour at which people departed was testament that new friendships were made and ‘old’ friends were reunited! Before the food was blessed by the ministers in the attached photograph, entertainment for our young people was provided by the Northampton Diocesan Youth Minister (Neil Roseman) and by a well known and local catechist, Joan Kedward. For further information people are asked to contact Peter Gerrish – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Group photograph (by Charles Moubarak)- from left to right: Simon Dommett (St Mary’s Church) / Cass Howes (Methodist Minister)/ Kate Scott (Elstow Abbey) / Caroline Weaver (Putnoe Ecumenical Church) / Fr Wayne Coughlin (Holy Cross and Ss Philip and James Churches & Diocesan Director of Missio)
Easter collection for Yarl’s Wood
Thank you very much to everyone who donated Easter eggs, Easter cards or money for religious bracelets for the residents of Yarl’s Wood. We are delighted by the amount that has been donated. Fr Wayne took three large boxes of Easter eggs and other donated items to Yarl’s Wood on Easter Monday. Fr Wayne said we know that the Easter eggs, cards and bracelets will be greatly appreciated by the residents and that Pastor Lonnie was overwhelmed by the generosity shown by our Christian communities.
2019 Paschal Candles
Palm Sunday Procession 2019
I am very pleased with how our Palm Sunday Procession went this year. We had at least 50 people, which is the best turn-out so far. It is wonderful that they were of a wide age range and included several children. It is also great that we had people from several churches including St Mary’s, Holy Cross, Priory, Putnoe Heights and Ss Philip & James. I did not recognise some people and so there may have also been people from other churches. Our donkey, Daisy, was brilliant and attracted a lot of attention.
The service was well led by Revd Simon Dommett, Vicar of St Mary’s Church, Bedford. Thanks are owed to Simon for producing a new sheet this year which included songs appropriate for the time of year. Also the event must have been well promoted by St Mary’s because a lot came from that church – including some in Bible costume. It was very helpful to have Tanya who led the singing which she accompanied by guitar.
We started from a better position this year – not far from the entrance of Tesco but not too close to cause any blockage to the store entrance. Thank you to the two people who volunteered to be stewards. We moved through the car park by the route designed for pedestrians, crossed the bridge and crossed Goldington Road using the Green Man Crossing. The stewards were very helpful here.
We had a pleasant walk as we sang the Easter songs and moved through the woods and across Goldington Green to the War Memorial. Thank you to Simon for leading the short service at the War Memorial and to Deacon Crispin who also took part.
One improvement to the event this year was that we were invited to the Hall at Holy Cross for refreshments at the end. Thank you to Fr Wayne for suggesting and offering this. Special thanks are owed to Kathy for the refreshments which included pax cakes – several people asked me to pass on their compliments to Kathy who prepared these.
I think everyone enjoyed the warmth of the hall at Holy Cross, on what was a cloudy cold day. They enjoyed sitting around several tables talking to each other. A few came out to talk to Diana (our donkey contact) and to meet Daisy. Perhaps more would have if it had been a warmer day. The beautiful and well behaved donkey was owned and kindly provided by Diana – a member of the Donkey Breed Society.
It was kind of Kate (who runs a Guide group at Christ Church) to agree to be our first aider again this year. It was nice that she was joined by Nesta (who runs the Guide group at St Mary’s)
Overall this is I think the most successful Palm Sunday Procession that Goldington Churches Together has organised. It went really well. Thank you very much to everyone who came and who helped in any way.
Goldington Churches Together
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.
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.
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.