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23rd September – Saturday 30th September 2023


Twenty- Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Dear parishioners,

SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL, DEFEND US IN BATTLE! Michaelmas, Friday 29th September. Mass at 10.00 a.m.

Pope Leo XIII composed the Prayer to St Michael, the Archangel, after experiencing a horrifying vision. On October 13, 1884, while consulting with his cardinals after Mass, Pope Leo paused at the foot of the altar and lapsed into what looked like a coma. After a short time, the Pope recovered himself and told them about the terrifying vision he had seen of the battle between the Church and Satan. Afterwards, Pope Leo went to his office and wrote down this now famous prayer to St. Michael and asked for it to be recited after every Low Mass, at the foot of the altar, by the priest with all his people. This was the practice everywhere until Vatican II and has continued in some parishes where the Traditional Latin Mass is still celebrated.

Some years later, possibly having experienced ‘the smoke of Satan entering the Church’ described by Pope Paul VI , Pope John Paul II recommended this prayer again in a speech to a crowd of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square on Sunday April 24, 1994. But why did the prayer fall out of use, especially considering what has happened in the church and the world since the 1960s? We now need to say this prayer more than ever because many think that the Day of Battle is here. You may hear translations of this prayer in which St Michael is asked to defend us ‘in the day of darkness’. This is a mistaken translation of the prayer given to Pope Leo, in which he refers to ‘in proelio’ which is the Latin for ‘in battle’. The prayer to St Michael is not referring to a period when the Church will enter a period of darkness, in other words, hidden by ‘the darkness’ of a sinful world. This has happened in many periods and places in history, including in these islands from the sixteenth century when the Church was suppressed, the celebration of mass forbidden by the state and catholic priests, religious and laity were tortured and killed.

However, although The Church suffered persecution, within The Church itself, the faith remained strong and people gave their lives to pass it on. In this way, what had always been believed by God’s church continued to be believed by the faithful remnant of The Catholic Church in England. Catholics passed their faith on, secretly ‘in darkness’ until the Church was free to live freely and celebrate her sacraments openly, in the light again from the mid- nineteenth century. At that time, the Church emerged from the darkness of three centuries with her faith strong and rebuilt a very visible presence in this country, building schools, universities, parishes, cathedrals, seminaries and monasteries and sending people on the missions. This happened because in all the preceding period of ‘darkness’, the Church had not faced a battle within herself for the beliefs of the Catholic Church itself. We were strong, we knew who we were and we understood our mission from Christ to the world. In that vision, Pope Leo XIII had come to realise that the Church was facing much more than a period of darkness, that secular ideas and a loss of belief in the supernatural, were beginning to infiltrate The Church itself. This has continued until our time now, culminating in the so- called ‘synod of synodality’ and in the ‘German Synodal Way’ in which we are witnessing a campaign for denial of what The Church has always believed and a rejection of passing this same faith on to future generations. Perhaps Pope Leo’s vision was of the very time we are in now because many believe we are no longer seeing the Church struggling to survive in a sinful world of darkness, but are in a spiritual battle within the church for the church itself against a ‘hostile takeover’ from within, as Cardinal Mueller has called it. Then last week Muller also said about the Synod ‘ This is the great hour of manipulation, of propaganda of an agenda that does more harm than good to the Church’. It looks like we have already entered the Day of Battle for which we call upon St Michael to defend us. In this parish, at the end of Low Mass on Saturday mornings we still say the prayer of St Michael at the foot of the altar and on many days after the Daily Rosary. It is important that we recognise the battle for our very soul and ask St Michael to support us with his prayers, as we defend ‘basic truths’ given to us by God, recorded in Holy Scripture and passed on through the ages. These were outlined by Bishop Strickland of Tyler Diocese in Texas, in his pastoral letter on the ‘synod of synodality’ and include:

· That Christ established only the Catholic Church. · That it is sacrilege for anyone to unworthily receive communion. · That marriage is between one man and one woman. · That every human person is created in the image and likeness of God and shouldn’t be supported in attempts to reject their biological identity. · That sexual activity outside of marriage is a grave sin. · That belief that all men and women will be saved regardless of how they live their lives is false and dangerous. · That in order to follow Jesus Christ all must willingly choose to take up their cross.

Bishop Strickland writes, “We must hold fast to these truths and be wary of any attempts to present an alternative to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or to push for a faith that speaks of dialogue and brotherhood, while attempting to remove the fatherhood of God,”. Bishop Strickland continues, “When we seek to innovate upon what God in His great mercy has given us, we find ourselves upon treacherous ground”.

“It is a travesty that these things are even proposed for discussion,” Bishop Strickland says.

In his pastoral letter, Bishop Strickland goes a step further, calling those who propose changes to the “basic truths” of the faith – that the suggested topics for discussion at the October synod go against – “schismatic.” In other words, they break away from the Christian tradition. However, this accusation is also being made about those who reject their radical proposals:

“Regrettably, it may be that some will label as ‘schismatics’ those who disagree with the changes being proposed,” Bishop Strickland writes. In this, he refers to all who hold the faith as it has always been believed and practised. “Be assured, however, that no one who remains firmly upon the plumb of our Catholic faith is a schismatic.” “Instead, those who would propose changes to that which cannot be changed seek to commandeer Christ’s Church, and they are indeed the true schismatics,” Bishop Strickland adds.

And so on our knees, we ask St Michael to pray for the Church in this Day of Battle. We hold fast to our belief that no matter what anyone thinks or says, as Pope Benedict made clear, what has always been sacred, will always be sacred and one thing that is sacred is the unity of God’s Church. This was commanded by Christ, and so our response to irreverence or lack of belief or sacrilege will always be to fight it, with St Michael leading us, with the spiritual weapons of increased devotion and reverence ourselves in our parish and to proclaim our Catholic Faith more loudly and strongly through our Prayer, our words and our Good Works. These spiritual weapons will always be enacted in faith and hope, not in despair, in peace not in anger and in love and unity for all our brothers and sisters who share our catholic identity.

Overcome by the faithlessness of the world, sadly, some Catholics have invented their own man -made and man-centred ideologies and now campaign for the Church to embrace them for an easy accommodation with the values of the world. This is what popes, such as Leo XIII and visionaries have seen and feared was to come, but armed with our spiritual weapons, we will ask St Michael to pray with us that all people in God’s Church resolve to move forwards united in the Way, the Truth and the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ handed down to us through the ages.

For Bishop Strickland’s comments, See The Catholic Herald:

Or the Diocese of Tyler website:

God bless,

Fr Jonathon



War On The Catholic Family Conference. Saturday 14th October 2023 9am-5pm at Our Lady and St Peter Church 15 Victoria Drive, Wimbledon, SW19 6AD

This pivotal conference gathers seven distinguished Catholic voices to address challenges arising from poor catechesis and media misinformation. They bring rich insights, rooted in research and experience, to support today’s Catholic families. Tickets available for in-person and online Zoom attendance at: Tel: 020 88579950.

Tickets: Single £10.00/ Family £20.00. Areas of exploration will include:

  • Methods to strengthen children’s faith amidst growing secularism.

  • Fostering the enrichment of children’s spiritual lives by guiding them in prayer, engaging with sacraments, and nurturing emotional wellbeing.

  • Strategies to counter ‘culture of death’ and ‘woke’ ideologies.

For further information and tickets go to



1. Our Lady of Sorrows, Friary Road, Peckham. Saturday 23rd September 2023 from 9.45 to 5.15. Please bring a packed lunch.

2. Sacred Heart, Essendene Rd, Caterham. Saturday 30th September 2023 from 8.45 to 5.30. Please bring a packed lunch.



The Divine Mercy Apostolate, London is hosting a Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, Co Mayo from November 9 to 14 to pray for the Holy Souls. It will be led by the Marian Fathers. Package includes: Return flights by Aer Lingus from Heathrow Airport, half board, 5 nights, accommodation in en suite twin rooms, hand-luggage (10 kgs), all transfers and Airport Development fee. The Retreat will include daily Mass and Hour of Mercy and retreats at Glendalough and Kylemore Abbey. Cost £800. All Welcome. Please call Millie Fernandez on 07957594646 for more information



Saturday 14th October 2023, 10.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.

For Parishes in the Deaneries of Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich

Venue: St Stephen’s Church, 26 Deepdene Road, Welling, Kent DA16 3QL

If you are a lector or extraordinary minister you are encouraged to put this in your diary and attend it. Please let me know if you are going so I can let them know numbers.








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