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19th Sunday Ordinary Time

Dear brothers and sisters,
In the Gospel today we read about how Jesus, after he had fed the five thousand, sent the people away and he withdrew to a quiet place to pray. In last week’s Gospel we read about Jesus hearing about the death of John the Baptist and how he had to delay his prayer because the people had followed him to this lonely place and how he had compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
The Gospel tells us that although it is the end of the day and he is exhausted, Jesus still finds time to pray. Prayer is something we find Jesus doing frequently in the Gospels because it was Jesus’s communication with his Father. We might wonder why, if Jesus was the Son of God, it was necessary for Jesus to pray.
The one thing that we must remember is that Jesus was both human and divine. It is the human nature of Jesus that made it necessary for him to pray and why he taught his disciples to pray. Prayer is the main source of communication with God.
In the second half of the Gospel, we read about the disciples out on the sea in their boat and being battered by the wind and the waves. They are fearful when they notice Jesus walking on the sea. This instills more fear into them because they thought they were seeing a ghost.
Jesus calls them not to be afraid.
Peter recognising that it was Jesus, asks Jesus if he can come to him walking on the water. Jesus tells him to come. At first Peter is overjoyed while he has his eyes on Jesus but the minute he takes his eyes off Jesus and becomes aware of the wind and the waves, he starts to sink. He calls out to Jesus who stretches out his hand and saves him. This might be a foretaste as to what would happen to Peter, when after the arrest of Jesus and he declaring that he would die if necessary for Jesus, he disowns Jesus three times.
Jesus then challenges Peter on his lack of faith.
The symbolic lesson in this story is that we all face trials and tribulations in our lives, the so called wind and the waves, and that just like the apostles, we need to pray and keep our eyes on Jesus.
At this time, we are all facing the crisis and trial of Covid-19 and we ourselves might be fearful and anxious. We, therefore, are invited by our Lord to focus the eyes of our heart on Jesus. This is the time for us to pray and put our trust in Christ. We are given a wonderful opportunity to spend time with the Lord and pray.
I would like to suggest three ways we can pray to the Lord.
- First to spend some time each day talking to the Lord in prayer. Withdrawing ourselves away from the busyness of our lives and find a place in our homes just to spend, say 10 minutes, reading some scripture or saying some prayers; or just sitting quietly listening to the voice of the Lord speaking in our hearts just like Elijah did in the first reading of today where we are told how he found God, not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire, but in the gentle breeze outside the cave he was staying in.
- Secondly, after we have read the prayer of spiritual communion, just to sit and thank the Lord for the graces and blessings that we have received by receiving a spiritual communion.
- Thirdly, to try and make time to spend a morning, or an hour or two, just looking at nature and reflecting on all the blessings that we have received in our lives, like our families, work, health and other blessings we might have received. Also to thank our Lord for being in our lives in the difficulties that we have experienced, the so called wind and the waves that have disrupted the good moments of our lives.
This my brothers and sisters, is the time that we must focus on the Lord and put our faith and trust in him.

God bless
Fr Mark

18th Sunday Ordinary Time

Dear brothers and sisters,

First I would like to congratulate St Ignatius on their Feast Day which was this last Friday 31st July. My prayer for the Parish is that Our Lord will continue to bless us as a Parish and that through the intercession of St Ignatius we will grow as a community and become closer and better disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Readings for this week are very beautiful Readings. The one thought or idea that strikes a person in these Readings is the providence of God. The prophet Isaiah brings out to the People of Israel who are in exile in Babylon that despite the fact that they have nothing to offer to God, he still wants to fill them with the abundance of his love. He encourages them not to despair or lose faith because he will restore them back in Jerusalem.
In the Gospel we have Jesus, having heard about the death of his cousin St John the Baptist, wants to go to a quiet place where he can mourn like any other person who has lost a loved one in death. When he arrives at this quiet place we find that the people have followed him and he soon puts his grief aside and ministers to the people because he is filled with compassion. These people were hungry for his teaching because it was different from the teachings of the Pharisees and the scribes. When we read about the parable of the feeding of the five thousand, we find a people who have very little to offer in return. At the end of the day we find the disciples saying to Jesus that he must send the people away because they are in a lonely place and they must be physically hungry. Instead of agreeing with the disciples he gets them to get the people to sit down and he takes their small offering of five loaves and two fish and multiplies them so that there is an abundance to eat, even in the end, leaving 12 baskets full of scraps. Jesus does not leave it there,  but takes it further  because he wants to fulfill a far deeper hunger than just a physical hunger and that is the hunger of the soul. This is something that the people longed for.
The Readings are relevant for us today as much as it was for the people in the time of Jesus.
We ourselves hunger for something more than just a physical hunger. We also hunger for love and hope especially in the time of crisis in the world. Ever since the Churches have had to close for public worship we are aware of how this has affected each and every one of us.
We hunger for his Word and most importantly we hunger for receiving his Body and Blood. It is at this time that we realize how, maybe, we had become complacent in our attitude towards Mass and at times just took the availability of Mass for granted. It has at times, just become part of the routine of our daily lives. Something we do every Sunday. In other words, it is just the same as when we go to work or relax in front of the TV, etc. Yes, these other things that fills our days are important, but Mass should become our priority. Due to lock-down maybe we are now more aware of it.
Now is not a time of despair or a lack of hope. God comes to us today as he did for the People of Israel in the time of exile in Babylon or the time when Jesus showed compassion on the people in that lonely place where they had come to be fed with his word and food to satisfy the different hungers that they had. Yes, we come with our little faith and hope but Our Lord transforms it with his abundant love and hope. He gives us hope that we will come through this crisis in the world. As he promised to his disciples he is with us until the end of time. Let us in this coming week present to the Lord our love, faith and hope and allow him to bless us abundantly.
God Bless
Fr Mark

August 2020

Thank you for your support, your patience, your prayers and your continued ongoing financial support during this time, which enables me to continue to run the parish.
Fr Mark

31 July 2020 - A Message from the Holy Cross Sisters that Fr Mark wants to share

Good morning, dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ.

Tomorrow will mark two weeks since that fateful day on 18 July 2020 when fire caused extensive damage to the home we created for children.
Unfortunately, we also experienced what others saw as an opportunity to capitalise on this deep sorrow by spreading fake news, while others attempted to garner financial gain.
Our loving Lord stepped in triumphantly and those seeds of destruction did not take root at all.
We fielded dozens of calls per day and donations came flooding in from various hearts and homes, even from abroad. Your overwhelming support far outweighed any and every attempt of sabotage.
Thank you for :
* calling us and inquiring about our Children's wellbeing;
* sharing your finances, especially the pensioned individuals;
* bringing clothing, shoes, blankets, toys, toiletries and non-perishable food;
May God richly bless you and your family, every parish, school and Convent for showing us the warm and caring face of Jesus.
On Sundays we pray for our benefactors by name. May God richly bless you and your loved ones according to your needs.
The Holy Cross Sisters

17th Sunday Ordinary Time

My dear brothers and sisters,

The theme for the Readings of today is that of Wisdom. The wisdom that is spoken about is not an earthly wisdom for self-gain or for honour or glory.

In the first Reading, King Solomon succeeded his Father King David and God gave Solomon a choice. He could ask for anything and God would give it to him. The choice that faced the King is that he could ask for a material treasure like gold, power, glory or good health. Some of these things are good and asking for them would not be wrong but the question that would need to be asked is would it bring happiness, an inner peace, an inner contentment. The answer would be not really. Solomon asks for wisdom. Not an ordinary wisdom but a wisdom that exceeds this world. He asks for the wisdom to govern the people of God, the wisdom to discern between good and evil. This pleases God who praises Solomon in that he did not ask for something that he alone would benefit from but something that would be beneficial to all the people. In response, God gives him a wise and discerning mind. Even today we use the expression “Wisdom of Solomon”.

In the Gospel, Jesus gives us the example of two people looking for treasure of some kind. We have the farmer who is working in his field and the merchant who seeks valuable pearls. When they find that treasure they sell everything and buy the field or the pearl. In the parable, Jesus wants to teach the people that they need to seek a treasure that is beyond this world, namely, the Kingdom of God.

This is the same treasure that Jesus offers us today. This same treasure that overshadows any earthly treasure. That treasure is the Kingdom of God. And an opportunity to be part of that kingdom. The question we must ask is: Do I open my heart and mind to that treasure, that gift of being a disciple of Christ by putting into action the commandments of Christ? Do I seek the treasure of Love of God, Service of God, Praise of God? In this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, do I become a person of hope and not despair? Do I trust that Our Lord will help us, be with us even if this results in us been called to the fullness of his Kingdom by passing through the gates of death? We certainly can’t say that if a person has passed away due to the virus that, that person did not have faith or hope. In fact, it is in the death of the illness that that person has shown total faith and hope, which inspires us to have faith and hope. Yes, we pray that this pandemic might pass, but we need to know that Christ has not abandoned us during this difficult time. He is with us always, guiding us towards his Father and presenting to us that wonderful gift of faith that is the most precious treasure that we can hope for.

God Bless.

Fr Mark

Friday 24th July 2020

Opening church for private prayer

Dear parishioners,

We are glad to announce that the church of St Bernard’s, Newlands will be open for private prayer from Saturday 1st August.

As we are only allowed 5 people at a time in the building, there will be 2 slots as follows:


3.20pm for screening etc; prayer from 3.30pm to be out of the building by 3.50pm

4.00pm for screening etc; prayer from 4.10pm to be out of the building by 4.30pm


4:50pm for screening etc; prayer from 5.00pm to be out of the building by 5.20pm

5.30pm for screening etc; prayer from 5.40pm to be out of the building by 6.00pm

Please phone or email the office to book: 021 674 3667 / newlands@adct.org.za

Bookings will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

God bless!

Fr Mark







1 Sat - Pothier Mortuary List
2 Sun - Alec Dawson & Raymond Pothier Intentions
3 Mon - No Mass
4 Tue - Pothier Mortuary List
5 Wed - Pro Populo
6 Thu - Mortuary List
7 Fri - Manuel Arujo Int/ Walter Family Mort List
8 Sat - Bishop Rucastle Intention
9 Sun - Mortuary List
10 Mon – No Mass
11 Tue - Ann Gallagher RIP
12 Wed - Pro Populo
13 Thu - Bernard Pothier RIP
14 Fri - Mortuary List
15 Sat - Mortuary List
16 Sun - Edwin Rosslind RIP
17 Mon – No Mass
18 Tue - Mortuary List
19 Wed - Edwin Rosslind RIP
20 Thu - Pro Populo
21 Fri - Mortuary List
22 Sat - Ann Gallagher RIP
23 Sun - Caleb Stellenboom RIP
24 Mon – No Mass
25 Tue - Mortuary List
26 Wed - Pro Populo
27 Thu - Jim & Margaret Gallagher RIP
28 Fri - Mortuary List
29 Sat - Festus Anyaniouagiou Intention
30 Sun - Dolores & Charles Mc Lachlan RIP
31 Mon – No Mass