Dear friends,

I think it’s safe to say that rarely has an Annual Parish Meeting inspired wild enthusiasm in a congregation; however, the short meeting which will take place after Mass this Sunday is an important opportunity for us to gather together as a Christian community – to look back with thanksgiving, to look forward with hope, and to recommit ourselves to service and witness.

The priority of these fundamental faith practices is something we discover in this Sunday’s readings, in which (in the responsorial psalm) we are called to give God praise, and say to Him, ‘How tremendous your deeds!‘ By reflecting on the ways in which, over the year past, God has blessed us and bestowed His favour upon us, our faith is thereby strengthened now to look forward with confidence, knowing that ‘anybody who loves [Jesus] will be loved by [the] Father‘, with a love that is abiding and everlasting.

In the course of the meeting after Mass, we will confirm the election and appointment of those who serve the parish in special ways, as churchwardens, members of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) and as representatives to the Harrow Deanery Synod. The Tradition of the Church has consistently affirmed that growth and renewal – as individuals and as a community – come through service: Pope St Paul VI wrote that, ‘What most truly makes a man a man, at the fine point of his being and the root of his personality, is his capacity for loving.’ Likewise, more recently, Pope Francis taught that ‘The graces we receive are intended for others, and the graces others receive are necessary for us. In the exchange of gifts, then, we learn that we cannot be self-sufficient without the graces granted to others.’ As many of our number prepare once more to offer themselves in service, let us all pray fervently for generosity of heart and will.

Next week on Tuesday, 16 May, Morning Prayer will be said at the slightly earlier time of 9.30am. Next week on Friday, 19 May, we will be joined for Mass at 9.30am by the Bishop of Willesden, Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy: please come along also, to welcome him.

On Thursday, 1 June I am inviting our young people (11-18) to join me in the Vicarage for pizza and fellowship: further details, and a sign-up sheet, will be in church from this Sunday.

Included with this post are the Agendas for this Sunday’s meetings; I have likewise attached an updated copy of the parish calendar. Finally, we are invited to join our friends at St Augustine’s Church in Kilburn on Saturday, 27 May at 10.30am for their Patronal Festival, at which the guest preacher will be former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. (Please note that there will therefore be no Morning Prayer, Adoration or Mass here at St Mary’s that morning.)

Best wishes, and with every blessing,

Fr Richard