History - St. Thomas More
Events during 2014
Thursday 5th June - Ordination to the Deaconate of Colin Purchase:
Colin's ordination to the permanent diaconate was a very special occasion for all of us.
Our best wishes and prayers go to Colin who we know will bring a prayerful and pastoral approach to his ministry with us and for us.
Many thanks to all who did anything in any way to help make the celebration the wonderful occasion it was.
First Holy Communion Day:
On Sunday 22nd June, 11 members of our parish family received their first Holy Communion at the 10.30am mass supported by their own families and friends.
The children fully participated in the liturgy by reading and leading some of the prayers as well as leading the congregation in a thanksgiving prayer which they signed and sang after receiving Holy Communion.
We look forward to seeing them often at more parish celebrations and activities which take place during the week.
As a parish family we will keep them all in our prayers. Celia Cornish
On Sunday 31st August Fr Paul was installed as Canon at Arundel Cathedral:
A number of parishioners from Seaford joined friends from Fr Paul's previous parishes of Farnham, Peacehaven and Horley to witness the installation of Fr Paul as a Canon of the Chapter of Arundel Cathedral on.
The beauty of a sung vespers was a prayerful setting for what the Bishop referred to as 'not a reward but a recognition of all that Fr Paul has done for the church and parishes in which he has served'.
The Cathedral parish team provided a delicious array of cakes with tea and coffee for a packed Cathedral Centre afterwards.
Fr Paul looked dignified and respectful in recognition of the honour and tasks afforded to him in his new role, wearing his cassock and mozetta as he thanked the Bishop, Chapter, friends and family for this wonderful occasion.
We thank God for his priesthood and offer continued prayer for him in all he does to serve Christ and His people, proclaiming the Gospel and building up the community of God.
My redshirt experience by Bethany Geoghegan
Before the Redshirts set off for Lourdes, I was, to tell the truth, terrified. I am quite a shy person when meeting new people, and so I wasn't sure if I would make any friends. Thankfully, my fears were rapidly alleviated, and by the end of the week I hugged everyone when we said goodbye at Crawley.
I met so many amazing people that week, and am so thankful that I got this opportunity to be a Redshirt. There was an amazing sense of openness to everyone in the group and everyone was made to feel like they belonged. Trust played an important part in this, as everyone was able to speak freely about their lives and any problems they were having, and it was all completely confidential.
Also, being able to speak my age about faith topics was a totally new experience for me, and it was a topic that came up frequently in conversation.
I had to mentally pinch myself to remind me that these conversations weren't imaginary. Speaking freely about the faith we share without being constantly on guard and alert and ready to answer difficult questions from non-religious friends was very freeing and exciting, and through these conversations I began to understand more.
Lourdes is a place of inclusion - where you can go and be assured that you belong, wherever you come from and whatever your personal history or background maybe.
Everyone makes the conscious effort to be friendly, and Jesus' commandment "love thy neighbour" can be seen constantly.
The Redshirts (I think) contribute enormously to this feeling of welcome. One way that we did this was the red carpet - a row of Redshirts either side of where the pilgrims walk on the way into every Mass, waving and greeting them. The smiles that lit up these pilgrims' faces were a joy to see.
Many have commented on this especially to be one of the highlights of the pilgrimage and I felt very privileged to be part of this.
The Redshirts are an integral part of the pilgrimage, and we participated in basically everything: the Marian Torchlight Procession, the Blessed Sacrament Procession, the collection at the International Mass.
The group also led the Stations of the Cross situated on the hillside - the High Stations. As we got up very early to lead them at 06:15am, we were able to see dawn break and the sunrise which highlighted the beauty of the stations even more.
The Redshirts helped with the logistics of loading and unloading the pilgrimage train at Calais and Lourdes with suitcases, medical equipment, kitchen equipment and everything for the Accueil.
We also moved benches around at the various Masses and helped set up the audio visual equipment.
On a lighter note we helped out with hotels' party night. My group went to the Mediterranee and then to the Christ Roi (hotels) where the family group were. We had a lovely time singing, selling raffle tickets and CD's for the Lourdes Sick Fund.
The Redshirts did things as a whole, but we also split off into teams so that we had a chance to have deeper discussions with more chances for people to talk.
My team leaders were Lara and Paul, and we were called "Team Exotic Like A Passion Fruit" (coined by a member of the group, when describing how she was feeling!!).
The ministry sessions that we had were opportunities to explore deeper our faith and how these different aspects relate to our lives. It was in one of these ministry sessions that I first experienced Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It was one of the most spiritual times that I have ever had, and I was deeply moved by this experience. In others we talked about the sacraments, another about the theme for this year's pilgrimage, The Joy of Conversion.
There was also an opportunity to go to a vocations talk. This was very thought provoking (learning that there were only 3 or 4 priests under the age of 40!), and really made me think about what God is calling me to do.
Since this year was the tenth anniversary of the Redshirts we had a special Mass in the Grotto to celebrate this, which I really enjoyed, despite getting extremely wet even with an umbrella.
There was also the Redshirt presentation. This is something that 300-400 pilgrims attend, and this year it had music, drama, art and testimonies - how people's lives have been changed by coming to Lourdes and the experiences they have had in which they feel God's presence. These are all completely honest, and many of them very moving. I myself helped out with the music, through playing my violin and singing
Even though by the end of the week I was completely exhausted (about four nights in a row getting in after midnight due to Redshirt responsibilities) I was constantly smiling. I was so happy and felt very blessed to go to Lourdes.
It has enriched my life and I feel more able to talk to God because I know He is always listening.
It was a bit of a comedown to come back home but we have reunions planned, and I can't wait to see these amazing people again.
We have to try and bring a little bit of Lourdes into our everyday lives, and whenever we feel a bit down we can look back and take a small sip from our Lourdes experience as Bishop Kieron said - and relive the wonderful time we had as Redshirts in that place of miracles, Lourdes.
Thank you for helping to send me to Lourdes as a Redshirt this year. It was an honour and privilege to represent our lovely parish and I had a completely awe-inspiring time!