Dear friends,

I hope you are well, and enjoying the late-summer sunshine. Another bright light of hope this week will be the first Baptism in the parish since my arrival: we look forward to welcoming Carter and his parents and godparents and guests on Sunday morning, when he will be incorporated by Baptism into Christ’s Body, the Church, during the 10.30am Mass. Baptisms must be like ‘buses, it seems – as, having waited thirteen months for one to arrive, I received a second enquiry this past Sunday! Please pray for all families contemplating this next step in faith.

We enjoyed a lovely celebration for Peter Coe’s eightieth birthday last Sunday, and are grateful to him and to the “No. 1 Catering Agency” for the lovely spread! This coming Sunday, we will also celebrate Fr Mike’s sixtiethbirthday – but make sure not to tell him, as it’s a surprise!

To conclude a busy but beautiful weekend, at 6pm this coming Sunday the Willan Singers will join us to accompany a Mass of Requiem, singing Fauré’s beautiful choral Mass setting: please support this special service, and stay afterwards for refreshments.

Please also keep our Confirmation candidates in your prayers: we are blessed to have seven candidates in preparation, to receive Confirmation at the hands of Bishop Jonathan on Sunday, 5 November at 5pm (no10.30am Mass!) We will also now likely be joined by candidates from St Lawrence, Little Stanmore (tbc) – as well as many of our friends from other parishes. Please have this date and time in your diary, and please invite a friend! Pat will be putting together a list of buffet food contributions to the party afterwards: thank you in advance for your customary generosity – cash donations will also be gratefully received towards the cost of fireworks!

Our young people are invited to a Youth Group outing to LaserPlanet Watford on Saturday, 11 November: please sign up as soon as possible, in church; please also add to the list in church the names of those you would like remembered at Mass on All Souls’ Day, Thursday 2 November – choosing either the 9.30am Mass or the Mass at 6pm.

Attached with this mailing is the latest monthly prayer case from ACAT (Harrow): the decision has been taken that this local group will disband later this year (although the work of Action by Christians against Torture nationally will continue): the final annual service will be on Sunday, 19 November at 3pm at Christ Church, Roxeth Hill – and your support would be much appreciated. Advance notice also of the annual Advent Carol Service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday, 2 December at 5.30pm: if you would like to attend, please let me know – as parish groups are asked to register in advance.

“Back to basics” is often a sensible policy, in many areas of life: as Christians, we should return frequently in our hearts to the day of our own Baptism, the beginning of our walk in friendship with the Lord. We do this symbolically each time we enter church and bless ourselves with holy water; and, on the day of a child’s baptism – such as will be this Sunday – we also can think about the amazing blessing of God’s grace in our own lives. The much-loved twenty-third psalm, which we will use at Mass this weekend, is in a mystical way also a meditation upon Baptism: ‘near restful waters [the Lord] leads me‘ – that is, by the waters of the baptismal font. Through Baptism, God ‘guides me along the right path‘, and pledges His constant companionship, forever ‘true to his name‘.

May the warmth of the Lord’s love infuse your hearts; and may the remembrance of the restful waters of Baptism revive you,

Fr Richard