St Peter’s in Eastwood is holding a Parish Mission from 25 January until 2 February. It will be led by Fr José Costa (left), a Canadian priest of the Congregation of the Family of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, based in Fatima. The Mission will take forward the vision of Pope Francis ‘to find new ways to bring evangelisation to the ends of the Earth’.
Fr Jeff Woolnough, parish priest at St Peter’s, says: “The real essence of the input is to walk alongside people in a spirit of positive and enthusiastic companionship rooted in Christ and to deepen people’s awareness of God’s presence in their lives.”
He says the Mission is part of the parish’s positive response to the renewal and restructuring programme currently being formulated by the Diocese of Brentwood. “It is important to engage with the mission part because, without it, restructuring can be a bit scary,” says Fr Jeffrey. “The two have to work together.”
The Mission will be based around the timing of Saul’s conversion. “Fr José will give us food for thought by asking the question: ‘If we are converted, why do we need an ongoing conversion?’” he says.
Fr José is to lead the Mission thanks to links forged through lay members of the Family of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Eastwood’s neighbouring parish of Westcliff. Fr Jeffrey visited Fatima for its centenary celebrations last year and met Fr José then. “I think the Mission will give me a huge lift as parish priest. And I hope that hearing a different voice and different insights, especially from Fatima with its message of renewal and hope, will give everyone a spring in their step, inspiring them to think about the mission of the church and how they can be a bit more courageous in speaking about their faith.”
The Mission is open to all and will begin with a 7.30pm Mass on the 25 January, the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, and a talk afterwards. Fr José will also be visiting St Thomas More School with Fr Jeff and will talk to sixth-formers about how vocations work in Fatima. He will also visit St Helen’s in Westcliff for Mass on Tuesday 30 January. Eastwood’s Sunday Masses will be followed by a parish brunch. The Mission will end, symbolically, on Candlemas: “We will go from darkness to light,” says Fr Jeff.
He has also organised a Lent course in the parish and a series of talks at Nazareth House on different ministries: hospital chaplaincy; vocations; the Legion of Mary and pastoral formation of young people.
Mission Week details
Thursday 25 January Mission Begins: 7.30pm Holy Mass and Homily with first talk by Fr Costa.
Friday 26 January 9.10am Morning Prayer, 9.30 am Holy Mass and Homily followed by the Rosary, 6 – 7pm Exposition and Evening Prayer, 7pm talk, 7.30pm Benediction and Night Prayer
Saturday 27 January 9.10am Morning Prayer, 9.30 am Holy Mass and Homily followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Devotions and Confessions. 6 pm shared supper and talk.
Sunday 28 January Masses at the usual time 8.30 & 10.15am followed by Parish Brunch. 6.00 pm Evening Mass.
Monday 29 January 9.10am Morning Prayer, 9.30 am Holy Mass and Homily followed by the Rosary 6pm Rosary, Evening Prayer with Exposition and talk.
Tuesday 30 January 9.10am Morning Prayer, 9.30 am Holy Mass and Homily followed by the Rosary.
7pm Evening Mass at St Helen’s Westcliff preceded by the Rosary at 6.30pm. There will be a meeting with the members of the Family of the Immaculate Heart of Mary after Mass.
Wednesday 31 January 9.10 Morning Prayer, 9.30 am Holy Mass and Homily followed by the Rosary 6.00 pm Rosary, Evening Prayer and talk ending with Benediction.
Thursday 1 February 9.10 am Morning Prayer, 9.30 am Holy Mass and Homily followed by the Rosary 6.00 pm Rosary, Evening Prayer followed by talk.
Friday 2 February Candlemas The Presentation of the Lord 9.10 am Morning Prayer 9.30am Holy Mass followed by the Rosary. 7.30 pm Solemn Mass with Ceremonies for the Feast followed by a shared Supper and farewells to Fr Costa.