New Awakenings - Thank You

Our Brothers and Sister in Christ,  Fr. Matt, Fr. Barnabas, Deacon Tim and the lovely Mandy,

We are overjoyed with the blessing you have brought into our parishes this last week. The Holy Spirit is flowing among us and we are basking in the love of our Father and our Brother Jesus. The week you organised has been inspiring and has brought our community of parishes together in ways we have never seen or experienced before.

We thank you, and we bless you.

We now with love SEND YOU to your next New Awakenings, to hand on the living flame of faith to Trowbridge and Westbury! Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

New Awakenings - They were speaking in tongues

Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit.

There is so much to say about our mission Saturday. The day was best with sunshine, laughter, tears, music, flame, love, artwork, fun, prayer, language, amazement, wonder, bread, wine, body, blood, Father, Son and Spirit.

During the day at Yate we held a family day, multiple streams allowed every age to study, play and prayer together. We opened ourselves to the Lord, prayer for the gifts of the Spirit and even talked about evangelisation.

The evening held two treats for us, first the mission Pentecost Mass and then the Taize Prayer Vigil. Fr Frank said after the Mass, "We heard them speaking in tounges, if that doesn't show the meaning of Pentecost nothing will." He was talking about the readings and prayers which were read in many languages, every language of the parishes. Christ gave us a mission at Pentecost, we as his Chruch, have been sent into the world, to proclaime His message. The use of many languages demonstrates our gifts and abilities to carry out that mission.

We are going to need strength and courage, patience and fortitude, compassion and love, knowledge and wisdom, God our Father and God our Brother have sent us God the Spirit to help us, to give us these gifts. We just need to ask and they will be given, then we need to step outside our comfort zone and use them, trust the Spirit to provide what we need when we need it.

I love the feast of Pentecost, to me it's second only to Easter. It's about mission, it's about going out, it's about be sent into a broken world. And that's our New Awakenings mission, to challenge us, to prepare us, to send us.

I don't know about you but I feel empowered, bubbling over with the Spirit, ready to proclaim a message of love and salvation to a world that greatly needs it.

New Awakenings - Mission Photo's (The Whole Week)

Forth update , now includes all the photos I have. If you want to email me photo's then please do and I'll add them to the collection.

More photos of the New Awakenings Mission can be found at New Awakenings Photos or just spend a few minutes watch the side show below.

To nice outside to blog

I'll get round to the post on yesterday's spirit filled events. But it's to nice outside to hide inside blogging. The photos are uploading and I write a proper update tomorrow.

But in short I have to say What a fantastic week.

God bless
John (sitting in the garden and pondering what to preach in the homily at olol tonight.)

New Awakenings - Let's Get Wet

Where the river flows there will be life
"Where the river flows there will be life."
 - Ezekiel 47:9

St. Augustine's last night was flooded with people thirsting for Christ. Immersed in the Father's love from last night we turned our attention to to death and life through baptism with his Son, Jesus Christ.

In our baptism we die with Christ as we are plunged into the baptism water, then dying to death we rise out of the water into a new purified grace filled life with our brother Jesus.  To take St Peter's words, "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness and into the light."

We are all special, we are all given the gifts that made the saints great. God, Christ and Spirit fill you as they did St Peter, Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, St Francis, St Paul...... What are you are special, you are powerful, you are a daughter or son of God. It's time to Live Like One.

Last night we sang, we laughed, we talked and we got wet. It's was a wonderful evening and one that taught me that by dying with Christ and rising with Christ, I can now shine with Christ to a world that needs me.

New Awakenings - Image of the Mission so far

Last night was special and I know tonight and Saturday are going to be just as special. Looking at the photo's this morning this is the one that stand out for me. I was standing in the doorway trying to take some photos of the children as the proclaimed the Gospel of the prodigal son to us. As as they were talking about the father going out to meet his son I looked up a little and saw Christ looking down on me through a rainbow of colour. Special moment for me, I hope you enjoy the feeling behind the image and know that we can all be forgiven, all be healed, all be welcomed into Gods home as a son or daughter.
Christ looking down on us through a rainbow of colour.

New Awakenings - God Filled Service of Healing

Last night St Pauls was full of people looking to reawaken a thirst and passion for mission.

Our Service of Praise, Worship & Healing started in song. The gospel was broken open for us in Word and mime by the children. Music was heavenly. The Spirit moved and people opened themselves to God.

With Priests from all over our diocese present confessions could be made easily by all, prayer teams laid on hands and prayer over us. Spiritually the evening was amazing. If our Father is a gardener he was planting seeds last night, the soil well prepared by Fr Matt, was ready for us. We now have to wait and see what miracles will grow from the night of praise and healing.

So quick quote's and tweets from last night:

  • "God help me, God I am sorry, God show me what I should do." Fr. Matt
  • "I never expect to feel Gods Divine love as I did." Fr. Matt
  • "We constantly need to ask God to poor his mercy on us" Fr. Matt
  • Children read and acted our Gospel. Fr Matt now preaching on the prodigal son. This is wonderful This is spirit filled.
  • "God our father can only rejoice in healing and wholeness for His people" Fr Barnabas
  • The emotion, faith, spirit, love, joy, fun, peace in this room is glorious
  • I am standing in the presence of my Lord and my God, filled with joy and wonder. Filled with The Holy Spirit. Amen. Amen. Amen.
There are some great photo's of the event that I'll add later today, but they take a little time to upload and I have Mass at 10 this morning in Chipping Sodbury if you would like to join us.

New Awakenings - it going to be full tonight

With 20mins to go before we start we are already filling up. I can't wait to see what happens tonight. The spirit is at work here you can feel it.

New Awakenings - £1,000,000 or something better?

You have made it to the last question on Who wants to be a Millionaire, Chris leans forward, "You have £500,000, but we don't want you to leave with that, lets look at the question for £1,000,000. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes what as the Source and Summit of Christian life? A- Saints & Martyrs, B- Heaven, C- The Eucharist and D-The Bible." This was how Fr. Matt began his homily this morning.

Of course the answer is C - The Eucharist. The meal of the last supper made real and represented to us. The taking of Christ's Body & Blood into ourselves, the Source of our Christian strength, the gift that lets us live our Christian lives as Christ would like. A taste of the heavenly banquet that awaits us in heaven with Christ, the high point of our Mass, the summit of our Christian worship and lives, the moment of being at one with Christ.

If you won the £1,000,000 prize, you may do lots of good with it, sharing it with friends, family and those in real need. The Eucharist is love and faith and grace, It's Real and It's God, it's Source and Summit, it's beyond measure, it's priceless.

After Fr. Matt's passionate and inspiring Homily we sat in silence and then shared the priceless gift of the Eucharist.

For those of you who want to read a wonderful, beautiful and detailed Vatican II document about the Source & Summit of Christian life, I really do recommend taking a look at CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY - SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM I first read it while doing Fr. Michael Fountains course on Liturgy and again during my formation. Don't be put off by the Latin name it been translated into English and is a real insight into our Mass, our Faith and our Christian calling.

Catholic Conversations

Catholic Conversations

Over the last few months Fr Robert King has been a series of short films in which academics, postgraduates and clergy talk about different aspects of Catholicism. I'll be talking to him later today about social media and how it can be used in today's church. Take a look at the films he has made so far at Catholic Conversations.

New Awakenings - Just look at our Prayer Cross

I just love the prayer cross that has been travelling around our community of parishes. Daily it's been filling up and now front, back and sides it's almost full of our prayers for each other and the world we live in. It's a beautiful thing just take a look at small video below.

New Awakenings - Passing on the Flame of our Faith

The day the Olympic torch left Bristol was gloriously warm and sunny, a wonderful British summer day. A wonderful day for the Holy Spirit to work  His wonders on our New Awakenings mission. A mission where we are being called, as Fr Matt said this morning to pass of the flame of our faith.

Our breakfast mass this morning was in Chipping Sodbury, and we had the biggest congregation of the week so far for the early Mass, and we filled the little church. After Deacon Vince powerfully read the Gospel, Fr Matt talk to us about scripture. About the importance of basis our faith in the scriptures. Jesus based his life in scripture and was often explaining it to people, we have the wealth of the Old Testament as he did, His story in the four Gospels, and all the wonderful instruction in Acts and the letters.

When we hear and read scripture we must remember Christ is present in the Scripture and will make himself present to us. We can find meaning for our own lives and meaning to help our broken world. Many people think Catholics don't read the bible, that only preists are supposed to. That's not what Vatican II said. We are called to scripture and we should spend time with it, reading it and take into our hearts what we read.

When I was ordained I was given a Bible by Bishop Declan, he told me to "believe what I read, teach what believe and practice what I teach." For a deacon that is part of my ordination promises, but it's good advice for us all.

Fr. Matt recommended starting with Paul's letter to the Philippians. It's a short letter, only four chapters and easily readable in 10-15mins. It is full of encouragement and has some wonderful words, for example, "you will be innocent and genuine... and you will shine in the world like bright stars."

After Mass, we walk next door for the breakfast of the week. The Squire, served us a wonderful breakfast completely free of charge.  It was enjoyed by parishioners from all of our parishes, like yesterday some people had travelled from one end of our community to the other. It was great to be able to get to know each other over a meal.

Our 10am Mass was at Frenchay the last of our parishes to be visited. We had a hige turnout and the little church was filled and right before mass we were still putting out extra chairs for everyone. In fact the turnout at Frenchay was the biggest of our weekly mission masses so far. It just shows the work of the spirit in this mission. After Mass Fr. Frank said a few words and thanked Fr. Matt for his enthusiasm and prayed that his zeal for preach and doing Gods work would never leave him.

Frenchay packed with New Awakenings Zeal

Proud of our Prayer Cross Fr. Frank and Fr. Matt welcome a full church at St John Fisher in Frenchay.

All of Wednesdays photo's have been added to the links and slideshow in the Mission Photo's post.

New Awakenings - Service of Anointing

With a good attendance and wonderful liturgy the Service of Anointing the Sick at Our Lady of Lourdes this afternoon was a great success. The Gospel was intoned by Deacon Peter, followed by an inspiring homily from Fr Matt who described the New Awakening Mission as "The Olympic torch relay of the Holy Spirit." Fr Frank and Fr. Matt then proceeded to lay hands on the sick and those asking for healing.

Speak to Fr. Matt about how the New Awakenings Mission was going at the end of Tuesday's hard work he said, "There's a great spirit about the parishes and a definite thirst for more. The mission is picking up pace and we look forward to an anointing of the services from Thursday through to Sunday. Roll on the cooked breakfast tomorrow morning after 7am Mass.!"

A special thanks to Phil O'Rourke for the photos and report of this afternoon service.

New Awakenings - Mission Tuesday

Fr Matt and Fr Frank at Our Lady of Lourdes
On the day the Olympic torch is carried past our parish churches Fr Matt said, "The Holy Spirit is our torch, and like the runners we are called to pass it on.", so empowered with the Holy Spirit the mission moves into Tuesday.

Today, starting in Kingswood at Our Lady of Lourdes, we are directed to Prayer and we are shown ACTS as an example.
Prayer of Adoration,
Prayer of Contrition,
Prayer of Thanksgiving and
Prayer of Supplication.

Prayers of Adoration are prayers which express our love for God, Prayers of Contrition are sorrowful prayers expressing our sorrow for things we have done wrong, Prayers of Thanksgiving are a thank you for all that is good in our lives and the world, and Prayers of Supplication are our requests for Gods help.

Another type of prayer Fr Matt talk about was silent prayer. The quiet time you take to listen to God. In a conversation it's hard to hear other people if you are talking all the time. Fr. Matt suggested leaving periods of silence in our prayers, time to listen for Gods response. Silence isn't easy for most of us but when we find it, it is special. I remember when I was back in formation writing a thought for the day about silence, which I have dug out and is presented at the bottom of this post.

After our first Mass at 7am this morning we shared a wonderful breakfast together. There is something very special about breaking bread with your Christian brothers and sisters, particularly when that bread has been home baked. I think there were close to 30 of us at Mass and breakfast this morning from across all our parishes.

Deacon Peter examines the prayer cross
Next it was a quick dash across town to Downend, and St Augustine's. There must have been over 90 of us there, including Year 6 from St Augustine's school next door. The prayer cross was again standing in greeting at the doorway of the church.

Again we were challenged about our prayer lives and called to deepen our prayer over the next few days. This afternoon the mission moved back to Our Lady of Lourdes for a Service of Anointing of the Sick.

Finally, here's the though for the day I mentioned earlier. It was written to be read aloud with a short pause to allow the silence into its reading every time you see the dots.....


Last week I was sitting in the barbers waiting my turn and enjoying a few minutes of quite time. As I sat there I realised that my quiet time was anything but quiet. I could hear, 

the click of the scissors, 
the buzz of a razor, 
a conversation that I couldn't quite overhear, 
the rustle of newspaper pages, 
the scraping of a leather soled shoe on the lino floor
and a high pitched voice was singing on the radio.

My quiet time was missing something…. it was missing SILENCE.

Real silence… like that found at the top of a mountain… or in mum and dads back bedroom deep in the Irish countryside, that’s something really special… I don’t find it often, but when I do my heart lifts and I can’t help but smile….. Silence is where love creeps into a conversation….. It was silent when I first kissed my wife….. and silent again, when I realised I loved her….. I adore the silence in an empty church….. and the silence between lines of a prayer…..

A famous Frenchman once said, "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." So when you can, find yourself a moment of silence, and experience the perfection of a moment shared with God. 

Mission goes to School

Fr Matt talks at St Augustine's School

St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Primary School this afternoon awakened with laughter and signing when Fr Matt came to visit. Bringing the New Awakenings mission to the entire parish Fr Matt visited one of our primary schools. All the children came into assembly and were greeted by Fr Matt, Fr Frank and Deacon John.

Fr Matt and the children talked about mission; been sent to do Gods work. Fr Matt asked who his boss was and they answer Jesus. He asked them when the Holy Spirit came and they told him Pentecost. He asked what they did with good news and they said they told people about there good news, several of them told him about their birthdays.

After reading them a short story from the Gospel, the Good News, about Jesus in the boat calming the storm, Fr Matt got everyone stood up and singing a song about that story. He then lead everyone in prayers and finished with another song, 'My Jesus, My Saviour, a song which some of the school children will sing at Mass later this week.

Fr Frank then thank the children for listening and Fr Matt for coming. It was a wonderful spirit filled time for everyone, and show the commitment to bring the New Awakenings mission to everyone in our parishes.

Fr Matt talks to St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Primary School about Mission

Fr Matt & Deacon John sing a song with the children

Our mission prayer cross visits St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Primary School

Fr Frank thanks Fr Matt for leading the assembly

Mission Monday - Did you receive the Holy Spirit?

Fr Matt Anscombe our mission leader
"We believe in the Holy spirit, the Lord the Giver of life, who proceeds from the father and the Son." Nicene Creed

I was up early this morning to get across to Yate for our breakfast Mass at ST Paul's. It was well worth the early start a good crowd, a wonderful Mass with lots to think about in the homily. Today we welcomed and reflect on the Holy Spirit. We asked what power the spirit has in our lives? What gifts we are given? And what we will pray for this Pentecost? 

Then a fantastic breakfast cooked by Fr Jim. He was up at 4:30 to prepare the sausages, bacon, eggs, black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, hash browns, toast, tea and coffee. Thank you :-)

After breakfast it was onto St Lawrence in Chipping Sodbury for the next Mission Mass, same Spirit different congregation. As the mission moves between our parishes it takes with it a cross, and at each stop we add to the cross prayers written on colourful squares of paper. By the end of the week it will be filled front and back with the hopes and intentions of our communities. It's my prayer that by the end of the week we will also all be filled but with the Holy Spirit, ready to go out into our world, ready to proclaim our faith to that world.

One thing that was particularly special for me today was seeing familiar faces in different locations. We are a community of parishes and the mission is coming to all of us and we are coming to it, it was lovely today to see people travelling and mingling.

Breakfast Mass at St Paul, Yate.

Fr Matt and the Mission prayer cross

Parishioners from across our parishes mingling

Screwtape, Acts, and our Church rooted in eternity

Last night at our journey in Faith group I was talking about the early Church and how the Apostles started to build the Church we are part of today. During the discussion I was reminded of one of my favourite books, CS Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. In this wonderful little book CS Lewis reveals to us a collection of demonic letters from a devil, Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood, who is just starting his demonic career. In one of the letters Screwtape describes the church as seen from hell and he describes it like this:

“I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners.”

We seldom see and often miss the greatness of our Church. It's all to easy so see the sinful nature of ourselves and see that as our Church. But that picture is just wrong, we should see the great work passed on to us by the Apostles, the early Christian’s, the shepherds who have over every generation built our Church into God's saving victory, Christ's Body, an eternal and wonderful movement. We are part of that, we should be proud.

I have two recommendations for your spiritual reading over the next couple of weeks. Neither is that long and both are wonderful insightful books. The first is the book of Acts, you can read it cover to cover in a few hours, it's the 5th book in your Bibles New Testament and is written by Luke as a second volume to his Gospel. It tells the story of the church in it's first days, months and years. We know many of the stories from Acts from our Sunday liturgy, but you lose the big picture sometime if you don't read the book as it was written. Please, pick it up and read it, you will, I promise, be amazed by the story of faith and love found in those pages.

My second recommendation is the book that prompted this post, The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. It's great fun, but really insightful. It was really helpful to me in my early days as a Christian. It helps us understand the Theology played out on a personal and eternal scale.

I am sure you can find it at most bookshop and I have seen it at quite a few second hand book shops. You can also get it of course on Amazon in paper or Kindle format Link to The Screwtape Letters on

Please, if you do take me up on these recommendation let me know how you get on.

Dad's Perfect Time

Dad’s Perfect Time

Lord, grant me the gift of patience,
The willingness to wait on you,
Understanding to know your purpose,
To say in the simplicity of faith,
Father, your will not mine be done,
Thank you for your perfect timing,
The joy that comes with obedience,
The blessings you so freely give,
As every situation works for good,
Drawing us nearer to our God.

Patrick R
November 2010



St Stephen’s Church, Bristol
Christmas Eve 2011.

In the soft gently flickering candle flame,
The solemnity of life’s passing hour,
Is reflected all our hopes and memories.

The tender love that has been our delight,
And remains constant to this day,
Brings healing to our tears and fears!

The dreams that one day will soar high,
Not answered perhaps as we would,
Yet fulfilled for us as best Dad wills!

So as we in silence pause and wonder,
Hearts sing hymns of praise and glory,
In the candlelight to God our Father!

Patrick R
December 2011

When God Created Me by Patrick Rigg

I have a friend, Patrick Rigg, who I meet regularly on the Soup Run. Patrick lives and works on the streets and in the shelters in Bristol and he is a Poet and a Christian. Patrick has been our guest at St. Augustine's before and has spoken to us at the Soup Run general meetings about his life and the good the the soup run does.

Recently Patrick has started to share some of his poetry with me, and with his permission I am going to post some of it hear.

When God Created Me

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4 verse 13.

When God created me,
He made someone unique,
He did not see a colour,
To Him I’m not black or white,
I’m just His child.

When God created me,
He made me very special,
He called me by name,
To Him I’m not male or female,
I’m just who I am.

When God created me,
He gave me many talents,
Gifts that are only mine,
The power to make my mark,
Just as I am today.

When God redeemed me,
He alone took away my stain,
Loosed from all prejudice,
Freed me to serve Him joyfully,
Enjoy the success He gives.

So today I claim victory,
Regardless of colour or gender,
All the hate that divides,
Proclaiming in certain knowledge,
I can: I will ‘cos I am.

No one will dispute my worth,
For it’s here I will make my mark,
As God’s treasured creation,
His so unique and special child,
And walk tall; proud for all to see.

April 2012.