This Week’s Newsletter Is Out Now!

This week’s St Helen’s Church newsletter is now out – 1 full day before mass! If you know anyone else who would like updates from our site, please point them in the direction of the site and ask them to complete the sign-up details. Aside from mass times and community hall events you can found our more information about next month’s Parish Mission which takes place from the 16th-20th October.

St Helen’s Twitter Account

Twitter_logo_blue2Have you signed up for our Twitter account, yet? The account has been up and running for almost a couple of weeks and we have built up a following of 13 to date. Father John has been tweeting regularly and some of us have added photos, retweeted (or tweeted other people’s updates) and created updates from our blog.  Our Twitter username is @StHelensTweets . Follow us and you will receive regular updates about what’s going on in the Parish, news from the Parish groups, updates from the Parish Mission, thoughts from Father John and ‘retweets’ (or updates!) from other Catholic Twitter accounts. If there’s anything you’d like us to tweet about, please get in touch.

Help us reach our target of a 100 followers by the Mission (16th-20th October)!

The Word This Week

We will sometimes interrupt our usual cycle of Sundays for this Feast, which therefore also interrupts the usual pattern of readings. Today all the readings harmonise with the central theme, which is, of course, the cross. There are many ways of looking at the cross: as an instrument of torture and shame, as an emblem of death and defeat. But in the Church there has always been a way of looking at the cross which the world cannot understand: it is to see it as a sign of victory, of triumph, as a banner or standard of the forces of good
and light as Jesus defeats the prince of this world by his death. The early Church depicted the cross as a richly jewelled emblem of victory; when the faithful looked at this jewelled cross, they knew that it was the sign of God’s love and the Victory over sin and death that had been won for them.

Today’s Scripture: (Psalter: Week 4)
Numbers 21: 4 – 9
Response: Psalm 77
Give heed, my people to my teaching;
turn your ear to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable
and reveal hidden lessons of the past.

When he slew them then they would seek him,
return and seek him in earnest.
They would remember that God was their rock,
God the Most High their redeemer.

But the words they spoke were mere flattery;
they lied to him with their lips.
For their hearts were not truly with him;
they were not faithful to his covenant.

Yet he who is full of compassion
forgave their sin and spared them.
So often he held back his anger
when he might have stirred up his rage.

Philippians 2: 6 – 11
Acclamation for the Gospel:
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
We adore you, O Christ,
and we bless you;
because by your cross
you have redeemed the world.

John 3: 13 – 17
Prayer of the Faithful: R/. Lord, lift us up.

Today’s Readings can be found on Catholic Online.

Parish Trip to Margam Park

Castle from a distance

On September 20th we will be having another Family group excursion. This time we heading to the lovely Margam Park, just outside Port Talbot. A Green Flag Award-Winning Park it boasts extensive grounds, a castle, deer park, Margam Abbey (a ruined Cistercian Monastery), Orangery, Grade 1 listed gardens and park, Adventure playground and narrow-gauge railway. Also, there’s an Iron-Age fort, Discovery centre and Celtic stones museum. So, pretty much everything to keep the whole family entertained!

It will be 10:00am pick up / meet at the church or meet at the park entrance near car park at 11am for those going straight there. Bring a picnic lunch and anything else you might need to make it a fun day out. There’s a cafe if you prefer.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

You can text or phone when you arrive at Margam. Here are the contact numbers: 07969017214/ 07807806058

[UPDATE] Thanks to a generous gift from Caerphilly Funeral Services transport to Margam Park will be FREE.

Parish Pilgrimage to North Wales

Lourdes, Fatima, Rome, The Holy Land, Assisi and……Penmaenmawr?

Bardsey IslandThe little North Wales village is an unlikely companion for the world-famous shrines but in July this year it became the latest centre to be added to the list of places which have hosted our parish pilgrimage. Having visited the major sites in recent years, we felt it was time we had a look at our own native Celtic saints. The decision was a sound one as the stories and places associated with these saints proved every bit as interesting and spiritually inspiring as those surrounding the more illustrious locations we have visited in the past.

Noddfa Spirituality CentreEight people signed up for the 5 day pilgrimage led by Father John. Our base was Noddfa Spirituality Centre on the outskirts of Penmaenmawr. The Centre is run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary and they attract parishes and individuals from all over the UK and Ireland for retreats, contemplation and pilgrimages. The grounds of the building are extensive and beautiful with access straight on to the mountainside above the village. It is an excellent place to prepare for a spiritual journey.

Continue reading “Parish Pilgrimage to North Wales”

St Helen’s Tweets

Twitter_logo_blue2This week sees the launch of our new St Helen’s Twitter account. Our Twitter username is @StHelensTweets and you can follow us at: We plan to regularly update it with the latest news about what’s going on in the Parish, news from the Parish groups, updates from the Parish Mission, thoughts from Father John and ‘retweets’ (or updates!) from other Catholic Twitter accounts. If there’s anything you’d like us to tweet about, please get in touch.

And help us reach our target of a 100 followers by the Mission (16th-20th October)!

50th Anniversary Photos

Last week we had a wonderful service to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of St Helen’s Church, followed by a lovely drinks reception in the hall. Thank you to all who helped out and to all who attended. We look forward to the next 50 years! Cliff Bray took some excellent photos which captured the evening well and we thought we would share them with you. And please feel free to leave a comment below.

Living Stones

Beach_Stones_2Thank You and Congratulations to the whole Parish on the beautiful and joyful celebration of the 50 years of our church building, and to all who worked so hard for it. Proposing, planning, and preparing.
Inviting special guests, and looking after them when they replied and came.
Doing out the church – The 50th anniversary banner designed and stitched by Catherine and her versatile team.
The flower-arrangers excelling themselves in creations of gold.
The secret cleaners, including Graham, Tony on lights and cobwebs assisted by Martyn, Cliff on kneelers, and Mary and Luigi on candle grease.
Norma’s linens- and Louisa on altar cloths, candles, and the sacristy.
Imagining the liturgy and putting it together to make it happen.
Preparing the music, Brett practicing us, the musicians and choir in tune, and everyone singing with gusto.
The newly confirmed welcoming at the door.
The flock of altar-servers trained and well turned-out by Tom and his two dressers.

And the great assembly of so many members of the parish, living stones bringing your imaginative and artistic stone stones to decorate the altar.

And the celebrations after in the Hall: The team that planned the reception and ordered the food; Mike i.c. the gazeboes; Vic’s running compilation of photos and memories; Tony clearing more cobwebs; The fun-raisers decorating, and laying out the food; Zanzibar on the booze, and clearing up everything after; And the wonderful cake baked and iced by Edna. Oh, and the Archbishop and priests.

Thank you to everyone for making the Jubilee such a memorable celebration. Our fine church building is here, thanks to the faith, vision and fund-raising of our fore-fathers and mothers, to build up our faith and that of future generations.

The Word This Week

“No man is an island…” How true this is for those who follow Christ: each of us has responsibilities towards each other, based on our ‘debt of mutual love’. When we see wickedness and wrongdoing, then because of our privileged position of following the Lord Jesus, we have a duty to speak out. This will not always be easy – remember the prophet Jeremiah last week – but
this was the mission of our Lord Jesus himself, and as his followers, it is our mission too. As with everything, love is ‘the answer to every one of the commandments.’

Today’s Scripture: (Psalter: Week 3)
Ezekiel 33: 7 – 9
Response: Psalm 94
Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the rock who saves us.
Let us come before him, giving thanks,
with songs let us hail the Lord.

Come in; let as bow and bend low;
let us kneel before the God who made us,
for he is our God and we /
the people who belong to his pasture,
the flock that is led by his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voiced
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as on that day at Massah in the desert /
when your fathers put me to the test;
when they tried me, though they saw my work.”

Romans 13: 8 – 10
Acclamation for the Gospel:
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Your word is truth, O Lord,
consecrate us in the truth.

Matthew 18: 15 – 20
Prayer of the Faithful: R/.Lord, save us.