This year we will be meeting in Regional Synods. Priests will be available from 11am to hear confessions and the Mass will begin at noon. All brothers with PTO or a licence are encouraged to concelebrate. Lunch will be provided -please let your Regional Vicar know of any dietary requirements.
2nd May The West at S Bartholomew Plymouth
11th July The North
17th July The Midlands at S Mary Stamford
26th September London and South East All Hallows, Gospel Oak
Brothers are not limited to their own Regional Synod. Please write to the Master in good time, requesting a dispensation giving your reason for not being able to attend any of the Synods. “Last moment” requests will be treated as presenting apologies. (Statutes IV. 4)
The calendar of events for 2019 has been published, which details all of the exciting events happening in the Catholic Societies in the Church of England. If you would like a printed copy to display on your church, please contact Fr Adam Edwards firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or get a pdf version by clicking on the link below.
Homily for the Funeral Mass of Fr Michael ShieldsSt Mary’s East Grinstead, 11th January 2019
It’s obvious, isn’t it, why that Gospel passage was chosen for Fr Michael’s funeral. Like those disciples at Emmaus, Michael loved and recognised the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Like them, he was keen to celebrate the resurrection joy in the company of the apostles, that is to say, in the Church. And in fact, like the risen Lord himself on the Emmaus road, Michael accompanied so many disciples in their journey of faith, explaining the Scriptures and encouraging them. No doubt many of you will be thinking of times when perhaps it even seemed as if your heart was burning within you as he gave inspiration on your road of discipleship. He built up the Church spiritually through his wise counsel, as well as quite literally at St Matthias Colindale.
The first time I ever met Michael Shields though, it wasn’t just bread that was beingbroken. It was also the beautiful crystal trifle dish of Fr Timothy Lipscomb. I was onplacement with Fr Lipscomb at St Bartholomew’s Armley and after Mass I was invited to Sunday lunch because Fr Shields had come to stay. In honour of this visit Fr Lipscomb had made, among other things, a sumptuous trifle and after Fr Shields had dished himself up a portion he slid the dish along the table towards me. The table was polished to perfection and, like a giant ice hockey puck, the trifle dish instantly and alarmingly picked up speed. Before we knew what was happening it had shot off the end of the table and crashed dramatically onto the floor, great shards of custardy-creamy crystal everywhere. And while with characteristic presence of mind Fr Lipscomb instantly rustled up some emergency flambé-ed bananas by way of a replacement pudding, Michael was in a dual state of consternation and delight: consternation because, as we all know, he was a deeply courteous man, horrified to have spoilt the pudding and smashed the dish; delight because it was so funny and, as we all know, Michael Shields was a man of laughter as well as genuine seriousness and wisdom. He loved remembering that lunch!
Looking round today, I guess most of us knew Fr Michael through SSC or CMP, maybe through parish connections in Sevenoaks or earlier, or through Bromley College or the College of St Barnabas, where he was cared for so beautifully in these last months of his 88-year life. That life began in Penton House in Penton Road at Penton Hook on the River Thames in 1930 but it wasn’t long before the family moved to the Isle of Wight, where Michael’s dad worked in one of the prisons. Michael remembered the war years, when as a boy he watched the bombing of Portsmouth and the docks at Southampton. He told me that it was during the war that he first started going to Church seriously. One Sunday evening when he was 12 he looked out of the window and saw a woman pushing her bicycle to Evensong and thought “I must go”. And the rest, as they say, is history!
His Vicar encouraged him to go to the Society of the Sacred Mission for pre-theological training and so in September 1945, aged 15, he embarked on his first train journey on his own to Kelham. It was here that the young Michael had his first experience of monastic life, the attraction of which I don’t think ever left him. And it is interesting to reflect thatthis only child, who (as far as I know) has no blood relatives at all, found throughout his life that the household of faith provided a loving family for him, among the baptised to whom he ministered, and among his brother priests, in whose company he delighted. And though he had no children of his own, he was a father to so many. With his characteristic courtesy, laughter, seriousness and wisdom he modelled what it is to live a Christ-centred life and a priestly life. There’s a bit more to say about that in a moment.
Michael Shields was a Catholic Anglican to the core of his being. He served the Church not only as a Parish Priest, but as a pastor to priests, both as Master and Master General of SSC and as the Warden of his beloved Company of Mission Priests. The Society and the Company meant a lot to this only child. ‘We are family’, he used to say to us at CMP Chapter. And in his will he wrote that in the event of his death the Master of the Society and the Warden of the Company should be informed. In his life he brought tremendous fatherly reassurance to both fraternities, even in the most uncertain or troubled of times.
If it is not too strange a thing to say, I think Fr Michael’s seriously-cultivated Christian joy is what equipped him, and many of us, to live through difficult times. It is as if he had truly assimilated the wisdom to be found in his very well-used Breviary:
For even though the fig does not blossom, nor fruit grow on the vine,
Even though the olive crop fail and the fields produce no harvest,
Even though the flocks vanish from the folds and stalls stand empty of cattle. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord and exult in God my Saviour
After 1992, Michael guided the Company of Mission Priests into a joyful new chapter in its life, thanks to his dedicated nurturing of new friendships in the Vincentian Family, of which we are so delighted to be a part. Michael taught and exemplified the love of the priesthood, the concern for the poor and the Christian virtue of kindness, with which
St Vincent de Paul is so rightly associated. Michael’s was a prayerful kindness and even now his Breviaries are full of Mass cards, lists of names and even photographs of many of us here today, as well as those who have gone before us. He prayed for us all.
His kindness and his rootedness in the faith meant that there was nothing narrow-minded about Michael Shields. If his faith was Catholic with a capital C his interests were catholic too: science-fiction, Buddhism, astrology, 80’s disco hits, the RAF, Papal encyclicals,anything tech-ie and vast numbers of cards and letters from friends – all this and much more were among the possessions we went through the other day. In his last months he relished reading those cards and remembering kind things about those who had written
to him. He was particularly proud of those whose vocations he had encouraged.
I mentioned earlier that Fr Michael modelled Christian living. I would like to tell you that, for me at any rate, he also modelled Christian dying. We all know the theory about how Christians should face their death: Fr Michael lived out that theory in a very edifying way. Towards the end he spoke of being excited that he was going to be with the Lord. The
old RAF man enjoyed the prospect of soaring through tracts unknown to be with the Rock of Ages. Having spent his life recognising the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread, he was extremely thankful that he was at the College of St Barnabas, where thanks to the ministry of the Warden, the staff and all his friends, he could receive the Blessed Sacrament every day and even in his bed listen to Morning and Evening Prayer from the Chapel. The last time I saw him he said he thought it was time to make his confession. I truly believe he died in a state of grace. Goodness knows what any of us will be like in our final days. I’ll be psycho-patient of the year, probably. But be that as it may, like St John Paul II, Michael Shields has taught me these last months about how to face death as a Christian. I am truly grateful to him for showing me that.
On Wednesday I went to the funeral home to say some prayers with Fr Michael. In his coffin he is vested as a priest, just as he wanted. He is holding his beloved rosary made of rope, which he had in his hands all the time in these last months. One of the psalms I found myself saying is one beloved of religious, an appropriate psalm for Fr Michael,“How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity”. The goodness andpleasantness of common life in the Church, common life with his friends, common life with his neighbours in the College of St Barnabas, in the Society of the Holy Cross, in the Vincentian Family and common life in the Company of Mission Priests: this was, I think, the locus of Christian joy for Fr Michael Shields. We praise God for that, because Michael also knew and strongly believed that these earthly joys are but a delightful foretaste of the true joy which constitutes the very hope of the Christian faith: beatitude in heaven with the risen Lord in the Communion of the Saints.
And so, as we delight at this Mass to meet the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread, let us offer the Holy Sacrifice for our brother Michael, as he would wish, and pray that this faith and hope in the risen Christ might be fulfilled in him now. Amen.
Fr Tim Pike
11th January 2019
The Funeral of The Reverend Canon Michael Shields
The Funeral Mass of Fr Michael Shields will take place at St Mary's Church, East Grinstead at 12 noon on Friday 11th January 2019.
Fr Shields expressed the wish that priests who are members of the Company of Mission Priests, the Society of the Holy Cross or the Society under the Patronage of St Wilfrid and St Hilda be invited to concelebrate, should they so wish. Anyone wishing to do so should please write to Fr Tim Pike at email@example.com so that proper liturgical arrangements can be made.
Concelebrants should be vested in alb and purple stole by 11.45am.
The Principal Celebrant will be the Bishop of Chichester, who is the Visitor of the Company of Mission Priests.
Everyone is invited to come to the Church Hall for a glass of wine after the Mass.
Fr Shields' ashes will be interred at the College of St Barnabas where he lived so happily and whose staff cared for him so wonderfully during his final illness. Fr Shields did not want anyone to send flowers for his funeral but should anyone wish to make a gift in memory of Fr Shields, donations to the College of St Barnabas, Lingfield, will be very gratefully received. Details of how to make a donation can be found on the College's website, http://www.st-barnabas.org.uk
St Cyprian’s Sneinton, Nottingham
St Cyprian’s is a Traditional Catholic parish in the Church of England and The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham has invited the Bishop of Beverley, to provide alternative Episcopal sacramental and pastoral care. St Cyprian’s is affiliated to The Society of St Wilfred and St Hilda, and registered with Forward in Faith.
We are prayerfully seeking a House for Duty Priest in Charge (Sunday plus two days) who can put into practice our mission statement and support the Southwell Diocesan Vision of “Growing Disciples, Wider, Younger, Deeper. .
We would like an enthusiastic and committed Priest who will:-
We can offer our new priest:-
Closing date: 18th January 2019
Interview: 6th February 2019
For an informal discussion and further information contact:
Sarah Clark, Archdeacon of Nottingham, on 07917 693285 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please apply via: http://pathways.churchofengland.org/ Ref No: cofe/TP/148/1108
Details are also available to view on the Diocesan website: https://goo.gl/ZrymXR
For application queries: Jo Padmore, PA to the Archdeacons, Jubilee House, Westgate, Southwell, Notts. NG25 0JH; email email@example.com; Tel: 01636 817206
We welcome applications from suitably qualified clergy from all sections of the community and we strive to be an equal opportunity employer.
Enhanced DBS clearance required.
On behalf of Frs Parkinson, Nicholson and Cartwright. All priests of The Society/ SSC are invited to concelebrate the funeral Mass of our late brother Fr Rodney Marshall.
Fr Marshall’s body will be received into the church of St Helen, Athersley on Thursday 20th December 5pm followed by Vespers of the dead. Priests who wish to celebrate their own mass in church for the repose of Fr Marshall’s soul are welcome to from 5.40pm until 8pm at one of the altars in church. This will be on a first come first served basis with prior booking via email with Fr Naylor.
The Funeral Mass will take place at 11am on Friday 21st. Priests intending to concelebrate should notify Fr Naylor and be at St Helens Vicarage for 1030am at the latest. Please bring your own black vestments.
Please notify Fr Grant Naylor of your intentions via firstname.lastname@example.org
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