October book of the month – For Whom the Bell Tolls

Last month we read the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows and it must be said that we all enjoyed it. It was quite unusual in that the story developed not through the traditional novel format but as a series of letters between the characters in the book. And this evening, as we always do, we had a good discussion about the book via Zoom. It was great to discuss this unusual format, to discuss the characters, one or two people discussed Guernsey and we all reminisced about when we ‘we used to write letters’.

Taking a cue from some of the books and authors mentioned in the book 6 books were selected and we voted on them. The one selected by book club members was Ernest Hemingway’s, For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Buy For Whom the Bell Tolls on Amazon.

‘The blurb’

Inspired by his experiences as a reporter during the Spanish Civil War, Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls tells the story of Robert Jordan, an American volunteer in the International Brigades fighting to defend the Spanish Republic against Franco. After being ordered to work with guerrilla fighters to destroy a bridge, Jordan finds himself falling in love with a young Spanish woman and clashing with the guerrilla leader over the risks of their mission.

One of the great novels of the twentieth century, For Whom the Bell Tolls was first published in 1940. It powerfully explores the brutality of war, the loss of innocence and the value of human life

Pan Macmillan

Now did you know the the title of the book comes from a John Donne poem which goes like this:

No man is an island entire of itself,

Every man is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less,

As well as if a promontory were,

As well as any manor of thy friend’s,

Or of thine own were.

Any man’s death diminishes me,

Because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

It tolls for thee.

John Donne

Please remember that anyone can join our Book Club. The next one will be held on Tuesday 3rd November at 7.00. At this event we will discuss For Whom the Bell Tolls and select our next book.

If Amazon is out of stock, check Amazon “New” or “Used” options from other sellers through Amazon. Kindle is another option. Waterstones and Blackwells sell it as do many suppliers on eBay. Or why not check out the local library?

Can anyone join the Book Club?

Of course! To join the St Helen’s Book Club, please click this link. You can then enter your details and you will be sent joining instructions. Alternatively, you can always email Canon John on caerphilly@rcadc.org.

Have you liked our Facebook Page?

Our St Helen’s Facebook page now has over 500 likes and over 600 followers. Of all the digital channels we use, it is without doubt the one with the most regular activity.

We use it for the following:

👍 To let people know that Mass on a Sunday is about go live

👍 To let you know the latest guidelines about attending church

👍 So Canon John can offer up his daily reflections

👍 Where Canon John can share photos

👍 Where we can notify you of online events: Book Club, Bible Study and Coffee Mornings

👍 Where we can let you know about news from the diocese and even further afield

👍 To let you know that the parish newsletter has been added to this site

👍 And much more

Like our page today: https://www.facebook.com/sthelenscaerphilly

August Book of the Month – The Alchemist

On Tuesday we had our third book club meeting and chose yet another book for the month ahead. This month we will be reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. It’s a bit shorter than previous selections but is a still a big hitter in terms of book sales.

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide.

“Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book – a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life’s path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is more to life than his humble home and his flock. One day he finds the courage to follow his dreams into distant lands, each step galvanised by the knowledge that he is following the right path: his own. The people he meets along the way, the things he sees and the wisdom he learns are life-changing.

With Paulo Coelho’s visionary blend of spirituality, magical realism and folklore, The Alchemist is a story with the power to inspire nations and change people’s lives.”

If you plan to buy this book on Amazon, please click this link: https://amzn.to/3i5ySMk and the parish will earn a small commission.

July Book of the Month -Shadow of the Wind

The book that we have chosen for July is Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s Shadow of the Wind. We will be discussing it at our next book club meetup on August 4th.

To Join the Book Club you must register ONCE and then you can access every meeting. Please click the link below to register:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpf-2rqD0tH9TiA31H5uINBmnF-TdQtFhF

Here’s the blurb:

The Shadow of the Wind is a stunning literary thriller in which the discovery of a forgotten book leads to a hunt for an elusive author who may or may not still be alive…

Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the ‘Cemetery of Lost Books’, a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Julian Carax.

But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from the book, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax’s work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind…

Buying the book – if you wish to buy this book on Amazon, the parish will receive a small commission.

St Helen’s Lockdown Diaries

For the 3rd week running we have recorded an episode of Lockdown Diaries which is your chance to see how people in the parish have fared under lockdown. This week we have brought together some young people and teacher Jennie Gough to talk about their experiences. We are sure that you will find it as interesting as our previous conversations.

Thanks to Maeve for presenting and Melanie and Jenany, Kieran, Clare, Aoife, Emma and Jennie for taking part.

St Helen’s Lockdown Diaries – Episode 2

📽️ Hi folks. We are super excited to let you know that the 2nd instalment of our Lockdown Diaries is now available on YouTube. This week we have invited Simon, Rory, Maeve, Margaret, Claire, Brett and Canon John to give you some idea about what they have been up to over the past few months.
We do hope you take as much enjoyment from watching it as we did in making it.

➡️ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YE00q3rUn4

Please feel free to comment or like it either on YouTube or below. AND make sure you Subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you can find out about our latest videos.

Join the St Helen’s Book Club

Hi Everyone

How do you fancy joining us for Launch of the St Helen’s Book Club? Here’s how it will work:

📗 We will select one book a month to read.
📕 Read it (obviously!)
📙 Then meet as a book club to discuss it

Initially, everything will be done through Zoom.

If you’re interested, please let us know through this Facebook Events Page or email Canon John at caerphilly@rcadc.org.

Bible Study Group Starts Thursday

Got any plans this Thursday? If not, you may want to join Father John and other parishioners for Bible Study. We’re going to be doing it on Zoom and all are welcome.

Message us on Facebook or send Father John an email at caerphilly@rcadc.org and we’ll send you an invite. And we will even give you some tips for using Zoom.

Hopefully, we’ll see you on Thursday.

CAFOD School Volunteer Taster Session

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CAFOD is running a taster session open to anyone who wants to find out more about CAFOD’s volunteer work in schools and parishes. The session will be held at Saint David’s Cathedral in Cardiff on Monday 17 September, 11-4pm. A great way to find out more about CAFOD’s educational work, meet other volunteers, unpack resources and see first-hand what this vital role entails. It’s an ideal opportunity for those who are interested in becoming a volunteer, but want to find out more first. Please contact CAFOD at southwales@cafod.org.uk or 029 20 344 882 to find out more and book your place.

Journey To Justice – a CAFOD Retreat

Romero-retreat_opt_fullstory_largeListening to the poor, reflecting on the Scriptures and engaging with political realities transformed Oscar Romero into one of the Church’s most respected and inspirational figures. His legacy of radical love lives on 100 years after his birth.

At this CAFOD ‘Journey to Justice’ retreat, you are invited to explore how Romero’s life and faith can inspire and challenge us and transform our world. Take time to reflect on your own journey of transformation, and be inspired and enriched by stories of those who continue to speak out for justice today.

All are welcome to join us on Saturday 18 November, 10am-4pm, at the peaceful surroundings of the Tŷ Croeso Centre, Llantarnam Abbey, Cwmbran, Torfaen, NP44 3YJ. You don’t have to be a CAFOD campaigner or volunteer already to take part.

The retreat is free of charge, but donations accepted. A simple lunch will be provided. Advance booking needed.

Book your place on this retreat

There are similar retreats taking place across England and Wales in November. All retreats are open to people from any diocese. See the full list of retreats.

We also have an opportunity to learn more about Romero closer to home this Friday, November 10th at 7.00 pm when the film of his life and ministry will be shown in St Helen’s Community Hall.

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