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Notes from Canon Bennie

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Thank you everybody who kept things going while I was on Holiday.

I had a great break, thank God. I spent all of my time in County Cork after travelling to see friends in the Dublin & Leinster area.

May God reward you who give God and His Church of your time.

Praise indeed! From our Local Authority.

Bishop Peter, a few years back, asked us to question ourselves….. what impression do our Churches give to outsiders who do not worship in any Church ?

A few weeks ago there was a By-election in Biggleswade. In recent years our Church has been used as a Polling Station. During this By-Election the Returning Officer had occasion to visit as part of her duty. She was fulsome in her praise of us. Compared to many such Election Day venues we stood out for our facilities (clean toilets, kitchen etc. Enthusiastically we have been booked for the Local Elections next May!). So well done folk who help in any way to give a very, very positive response to Bishop Peter’s query.

[Extracted from the 12 Aug 18 newsletter by Chris]
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A Lovely Request

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A REALLY Lovely Request came my way this week!

The request was in the form of a Question “Why do we not have any of the tickets that are out at Shefford for the Summer Fete?” I was, I need hardly say, overjoyed. So, this weekend there are plenty of our Tickets. Here are some Details of our Summer Fete.


    Each year we have 2 big fundraisers in Shefford: Our Church is a Grade 2* Listed Building. It is perhaps the nicest Church in the Diocese – indeed one of the nicest Catholic Churches in the whole Country!

    But these Lovely Listed Buildings need constant high maintenance. In recent years we have had to pay out £200 thousand (yes! – not me pressing a wrong key!) for compliance and necessary Repair. Now we are being hit with a new list of NECESSARY repairs which will set us back another £50 thousand (yes, my fingers are not touching the wrong keys!).

    So thank you folk who have come forward to ask this Question. It has, I assure you, warmed my heart. Well done.

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    Confirmations

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    Pray for our Confirmation Children and for all who helped them.

    We had a lovely Ceremony during the week. Both our and the St Francis’ Parish united wonderfully for the Evening…… thank you Will and the Servers & your Parents who arranged to get ye to Shefford, Nick and the Singers.

    A great Big Thank You to all involved in the Formation of the 21 Candidates – especially Liz Carey-Sheill, Deacon Peter Hyde, Eddie O’Callaghan and Neil Spencer. Thank you too to those who did Sessions, particularly Deacon John and Sue Armstrong.

    And a huge “gratias” also to our Social Committee for taking on the task which would have been done normally by our Union of Catholic Mothers (they were in Swanwick for the UCM annual National Conference – this year it was the turn of OUR Diocese to lead the National Annual Event, which very much involved Bishop Peter and our own Diocesan President – who happens to be a Parishioner at Shefford. And – bless them – the Shefford Ladies went to support their local Lady as she ensured the National Committee and various Diocesan Committees got a welcome at Swanwick for their AGM!

    So thank you Social Committee – it was a huge relief to Liz when ye selflessly answered her call to help in the Catering for the Confirmed and for their Parents, for their Sponsors and for their Guests.

    Bishop Peter was effusive in his compliments to me as he left the Evening. Deo Gratias.

    May God reward everybody who can give of their valuable time to evangelise our Young.

    Canon Bennie
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    From Canon Bennie

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    I want to repeat my thanks of last week for the lovely Easter Liturgies that we had.

    “He who sings prays twice” said St Augustine. Certainly, our Music here was outstanding for both Good Friday and Holy Saturday. The latter lasted well over 2 hours. Normally I would notice when a Liturgy ‘drags’ (and just goes on for too long). When I hopped on my scooter (to get back to Shefford) I was sure the clock on my bike had lost its brains…… I just could not believe it lasted for so long and yet I had never noticed. Thank you all our Musicians. AD MULTOS ANNOS.

    Both of our Parishes – at Shefford and here – thoroughly enjoyed joining each other. Obviously, it would have been much lovelier if we had the usual complete Masses and Liturgies in each Parish. But, as with many areas in the Dioceses, nowadays, Parishes are increasingly having to share a priest. Thank you very, very much to those of you who came across for Holy Thursday to St Francis. And thank ye too for the great welcome that you gave folk from St Francis at the Holy Saturday Liturgy. Our Servers – just like the Musicians – made a huge contribution to the “feel great” factor that was present during and after both Thursday and Saturday.

    And – finally – thank you…. each and every person for the very generous Easter Collection. ***
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    Easter!

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    I hope you all have a lovely Easter. I pray especially that God will bless, with Joy, your Family, your home, your concerns.

    I thank everyone who made our Holy Week and Easter Liturgies. Musicians, Servers, Extraordinary Ministers, Readers, Commentaries, Flowers, Cleaners, all enhance our Liturgies. I thank God for you and for the time that you are able to give to Him and His Church. These lovely occasions never just happen, as if almost, by accident. May God reward you all for the time that you devote to Him.

    It was so pleasing to see the wonderful turnout for our Liturgies. Shefford Church, on Holy Thursday, was like a wedding ceremony – bride’s family on the one side of the Church and the groom’s clan on the other side. The turnout was so pleasing and amazing. Again – well done everybody.

    AD MULTOS ANNOS.
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    From Father Bennie

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    I hope that, for you, Lent is going well. Already we are in the second week! Please do look around for Villages’ Lent Courses and Hunger/ Frugal Lunches going on.

    This Monday our own Course begins. It will run for 5 Mondays. It is based on Our Lady and how she carried out God’s will and how she can help us do just this.

    Looking ahead, we will all be affected by the Parish having to share me with Shefford – especially in Holy Week. I am hoping that parishioners at both St Francis and here can share my services during Holy Week.

    I hope to do the Holy Thursday Mass at Shefford (8.00pm) plus Watching until Midnight. Then I hope to do the Easter Vigil here at St Peter’s (8.00pm Saturday). Good Friday is easy because Deacon Peter Hyde can lead the Afternoon Liturgy (3pm) at Shefford while I am leading here at St Peter’s (3.00pm).
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    From Father Bennie

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    Lent is the special Season when the Church gives us the opportunity to deepen our Catholic Faith. It is a season of amazing possibilities for grace.

    We had an excellent start to Lent with a full Church for the Ash Wednesday Mass. Deo Gratias. Well done everyone who was able to make it………. on a cold and miserable evening.

    Looking ahead, we will all be affected by the Parish having to share me with Shefford – especially in Holy Week. I am hoping that parishioners at both St Francis and here can share my services during Holy Week.

    I hope to do the Holy Thursday Mass at Shefford (8.00pm) plus Watching until Midnight. Then I hope to do the Easter Vigil here at St Peter’s (8.00pm Saturday). Good Friday is easy because Deacon Peter Hyde can lead the Afternoon Liturgy (3pm) at Shefford while I am leading here at St Peter’s (3.00pm).

    This year the annual Lenten Course is on the role that Our Lady plays in the life of the Catholic. It runs on Monday evenings. Coming along will not only enlighten you but also it will help you meet other people and to discuss with them your Faith.

    And do not forget that Ecumenically there are Lenten Meetings. Going along to these ecumenical events would be a great way of sharing with your fellow Christians.


    Fr. Bennie
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    From Father Bennie

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    Thank you for your patience.

    Since you became a Parish without a resident priest many things have had to change. I thank all of you for your patience.

    An especial thank you who regularly used the 8.00am as your weekly Mass. Also thank you for accepting the change of timing for our main Family Mass from 10.30 to 11a.m.

    Fr. Bennie
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    From Father Bennie

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    The Census is going very well.

    A great “thank you” to you all who have given us your Details. Thank you too to those who enabled the Operation.

    You are now on our Parish Register. This is very important for us. And it is vital for you too to be on our Books – that we know you exist and who you are! It is so important for your Children – for the Sacraments (First Holy Communion and Confirmation). Furthermore, it can be a tremendous help for our Catholic Schools and their Admission requirements.

    While many people in St Peter’s are well established and here for years, many do come and go within a few years. The Census helps to keep our Parish Register up to date.

    If you have not yet filled in a Form please pick one up. Fill it out. And let us have it.

    Many, many thanks INDEED.
    Fr. Bennie
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    Letter from Father Bennie

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    Since Thursday – until next Thursday – we pray for all our brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we share Baptism in common.

    During the week of Prayer for Christian Unity we ask God to bless us all who believe in Him and we also plead that He will enable us all to spread the great news of His Kingdom.

    Please do sacrifice some of your valuable time to attend a Service in your Local Village Church during this very special week each year (18th to 25th January).


    Fr. Bennie
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