Thursday, 16 February 2012

Meetings, MPs and Missals

Attendance goal for our next meeting
Last night saw the St John's Pro Life Group, or more accurately a remnant thereof, getting together for one of our regular meetings.  Unfortunately half term and illness had between them spirited away several members: we offer ongoing prayers for Chris and Stella that they may soon be restored to wholeness and health.  The remaining three of us gathered upstairs in the church hall and, with the assistance of Our Lady, prepared to fight the good spiritual fight.  Whilst it would of course be wonderful to see large numbers gathered together in the pro-life cause, there's something paradoxically encouraging about being one of just a few getting together and entrusting ourselves to the Lord.  I suppose because it reminds us that we can only achieve anything in God's strength - the only way we are doomed to failure is if we rely on our own puny efforts alone - and that for Him, "all things are possible".

Fighting the good fight last night mostly involved wielding flowers and cakes.  Some years ago a local SPUC group, sadly no longer in existence, established a "Memorial to the Unborn Child" in our local cemetery (Hills Farm).  Over the years people have been visiting to remember their children lost before birth for any reason, be it miscarriage or abortion, as evidenced by the touching mementoes often to be found there; but without regular maintenance the site was looking a little bit sad and run-down.  As someone involved in the original fundraising and setting-up of the Memorial, I was delighted when the new Pro Life Group enthusiastically took it up as a project and already Stella and her daughter Becca have worked wonders digging the ground and tidying the site.  Becca plans to visit soon to nourish the ground with some horse manure (might keep a distance during that period) and then at the end of March we should be able to get planting, in order to surround the Memorial with all-year colour and provide both a fitting remembrance for these little ones, and a beautiful, peaceful place for their parents to sit and hold them in their hearts.

Sometimes the weapons of spiritual warfare look like this
Our cake and home-made cards sale goes ahead this Sunday after 9am Mass in St John the Evangelist Church hall (3 Springfield Road, Horsham; do visit if you're anywhere near and buy yourself a pre-Lenten treat!).  Again, I am really grateful to the group who are donating all proceeds from the sale to Aila's Fund.

Two of us had received replies from our MP, Francis Maude, in response to our letters about assisted dying (see this earlier post) for which we thank him.  The letters, whilst avoiding overt personal commitment to specifics, read very encouragingly, particularly a sentence which commented "I am concerned that leniency towards those assisting in euthanasia will send us further down the slippery slope to legalising euthanasia itself".  Our Group had not itself offered any view about how either doctors or relatives assisting patients to die under our present laws should be dealt with, but we were delighted with this implication that Mr Maude is not in favour of legalised euthanasia (for so the sentence would seem to read).  We were also happy to read Mr Maude confirming his belief that "human life is intrinsically valuable" and that "terminally ill patients should receive the highest quality palliative support and that those patients, and their families, should be certain that their end-of-life care will meet all of their needs".  It follows, of course, that adequate resources and energy need to be expended towards providing that support and not diverted towards assisted dying...

A heartening evening.  In meetings like this, there is a sense of fellowship in shared goals and efforts that gives one courage to continue.

A beautiful Missal for a beautiful Mass
OK, the following isn't strictly speaking "pro-life", but I'm so thrilled that I have to mention it. My evening was completely made after the meeting when Katherine produced a 1953 Catholic Missal that she had found on eBay saying "Saw this and thought of you".  She knew that my husband Edek and I are trying to attend Extraordinary Form Masses twice a month as we are privileged enough to have several regular EF Masses within reach.  It contains (in English) all the prayers and readings for every Sunday of the Year (traditional calendar, obviously) and Holy Days of Obligation, set out in full for each Sunday so that one doesn't need to go backwards and forwards.  It's got a gorgeous embossed leather cover, gilt edged pages and is full of sumptuous colour pictures... I love old books anyway and what can be better than an old book that is also holy and useful?!  (Sadly it doesn't show off properly in this photo taken on my mobile.  My mobile... let's not go there...) Thanks Katherine!

Note to Demelza (also there last night):- I am not trying to flaunt my gift before you, please remember that you were offered a fab Ipsos Mori biro that is bound to be a collector's item in 100 years.  When that happens look back and remember that you were given the chance of ownership.  Note to blog readers:- Demelza makes AMAZING cakes and she is making LOADS of them for Sunday's sale!

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