Poetry and Book Club: News

We have the bones of a programme for next year from our November meeting.

At this stage these are suggestions.

  • January : Poetry- “Time”
  • February: The Biblical book of Jonah.
  • March: Lancashire Poets. E.G. Williffe Cunliam (Cunliffe): One of the Lancashire Poets
  • April: “A Time of Gifts Patrick” Leigh Fermor.
  • May: DH Lawrence; Poetry and short stories.
  • June: “The light between two oceans” M L Stedman
  • July: “Poems from abroad”

Please consider the above carefully and come back to me with any improvements.

The discussion on books for next year was rather rushed, I am particularly not sure about the book for June; ask yourself if you would attend the meeting for that particular book/poet, if you wouldn’t, please come back with another idea.

In the November meeting our favourite books included:

  • “Jane Eyre” by C Bronte
  • “Death at La Fenice” by Donna Leon
  • “Going Solo” Roald Dahl
  • “The Power and the Glory” Graham Greene
  • “The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irvine Stone;
  • “Here’s the Story” by Mary Mac Alease.

Our usual great discussion, any of the above would be good for a future meeting.

We meet next by Zoom on the 16th December to discuss “Wildlife Poetry”

Love to all



Remember we welcome new members. If you are finding Winter and Covid hard and want to engage with new people then try us out. Go here, fill out the form at the bottom of the page and we will be in touch.

Lectio Divina: News

Another insightful set of contributions from our Lectio Group. This week they met on-line to consider the Gospel for the 1st Sunday in Advent.

Read what struck them here but then go on, and consider what takes you by the hand. What do you find in this reading?

Lectio Divina: News

This was our last Lectio of this Liturgical Year A. It seemed to the group that it has not been so long since they started Lectio online, and it has been eight months already!

The group considered the reading for the Feast of Christ the King  A Mt 25:31-46  “He will take his seat on his throne of glory, and he will separate men one from another.” Read their thoughtful observations and insights here.

Consider joining the group. A warm welcome awaits. Use the form at the bottom of this page to get in touch.

Poetry and Book Club: News

A reminder that for the meeting on the 25th November 1.30 – 3.00pm by Zoom we have a change to the programme: “My favourite book or author”.

Everyone is asked to to name their favourite book or author and be willing to say a bit about their choice. This topic replaces that previously advertised, “The Grapes of Wrath”. If your favourite is the Grapes of Wrath then we can discuss that too!

If you have not joined in Book Club before then send an email using the form at the bottom of this page. You will be made most welcome.

I hope that by the end of the meeting we will have a list of books to discuss in 2021.

I am looking forward to “seeing” you next week.


Getting Ready for Advent

It might seem strange to be talking about Advent a week before, but it is good to be prepared and not caught unaware: exactly what Advent is all about! Advent is derived from the Latin word adventus meaning arrive, approach, appearance. It was taken by the Church from the middle ages to signify the coming of Christ. It reminds us that the birth of the Saviour is an event that we need to prepare for and be reminded of.

Advent is not just about remembering the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem just over 2,000 year ago, but being prepared for the return of The Saviour. As the Catechism says: When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviours first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for His second coming (No. 524).

The Advent Wreath usually consist of five candles, three purple and one rose and one white. The purple and rose candles are set in a circular wreath (usually made of evergreen branches) with the white candle in the middle of the wreath. One candle is lit for each Sunday of Advent, with the rose candle being lit on the third Sunday (Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin word for “rejoice”) and the white candle is lit once Christmas liturgies begin. The purple candles represent the penance and sacrifice we undertake to help us prepare for the Lord’s coming at Christmas; the rose candle represents the rejoicing of the faithful at the mid-point of Advent and the white candle represents the birth the Saviour.

Advent is not as strict as Lent, and there are no rules for fasting, but it is meant to be a period of self-preparation. The purple colour associated with Advent and it is also the colour of penance. The faithful should fast during the first two weeks in particular and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The first reading at Eucharist, both weekday and Sunday, is taken from the Prophet Isaiah and talk of the coming of the Saviour. We are to be prepared for the return of our Saviour.

The colour of the Third Sunday of Advent is rose. This colour symbolizes joy and represents the happiness we will experience when Jesus comes again. The Third Sunday is a day of anticipatory celebration. It is formerly called “Gaudete” Sunday; from gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin.

Finally, Sundays during Advent, just as during Lent, should not be given to fasting, but instead to celebration because we celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord every Sunday. It is important to remember, however, there are no particular rules for how the laity should observe Advent.

From December 17th the tone of the liturgy changes. This time is often known as “O” time. This is because the “O” Antiphons are sung or recited during the last seven days of Advent (from December 17 through December 23) as part of the Liturgy of Hours. Each hymn begins with the interjection “O” followed by a title for Christ, e.g., O Wisdom, O Lord, O Root of Jesse, O Key of David, O Dayspring, O King of Nations, O God-with-Us.

Another way to count down to Christmas is the Advent Calendar that begins on December 1st. Again it is a visible way to focus our attention on the coming Solemnity of Christmas. Many families will also have a nativity scene that can both teach us about the birth of the Saviour, when Jesus was incarnate as human (God becomes human) and remind us of the Gospel narratives. It was St. Francis of Assisi who arranged the first nativity scene!

These are some of the many ways that we can get ready from Christmas, but what about ourselves? What can I do not to be caught in the consumer Christmas? As stated earlier we can make a commitment to fast (and not just to make space for the huge Christmas feast!) to remind ourselves of the coming celebration. The daily readings for Advent are a huge help in getting ready for both the birth of our Saviour and for the return of our Saviour. Given current restrictions there will be fewer opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but that does not mean that we cannot review our lives and make positive changes. The same goes for Advent retreats, but there will be some on-line resources (I’ll compile some for next week!). What will I be doing? As always, I will try and find some time and space to “feeding” myself; reflecting on the daily readings, learning more about the saints of Advent and spending time with the narratives of Jesus’ birth in Gospels Matthew and Luke.

Next week, I will have some on-line Advent resources that can be shared, used and adapted to what I need and what you need. If you have any resources for Advent that you wish to share, pass them along!

Poetry and Book Club: News

Mike and the group have decided to change the subject of the next Zoom meeting on the 25th November. You may recall it was to have been John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”. Instead the group are going to share their own favourite book/author and say a few words about their choice.

If you are an avid reader and have not tried the group then why not give it a go? You can contact Mike, the group leader, by clicking here, scroll down to find the contact form.

The last word on the Grapes of Wrath came in an email from one of our community. He wrote…

I’d like to share my favourite Steinbeck story. After his death, his widow was touring Japan, signing books and so on. At some point a speech of thanks was given by a Japanese man with an imperfect grasp of English, who referred to his favourite Steinbeck book, “The Angry Raisins”.

Lectio Divina: News

As one of our leaders use to say frequently, Lectio Divina is not a Biblical study, we don’t study the Word of God, but we let ourselves be read by the Word of God, Lectio, (reading), through the action of the Holy Spirit.

Then we ruminate upon the words the Holy Spirit illuminates in us so that we take from them what God wants to give us, meditatio (reflection).

Afterwards we leave our thinking aside and simply let our hearts speak to God. This response is inspired by our reflection on the Word of God, oratio (response).

The final part of our Lectio Divina is where we let go of our own ideas, plans, meditations and thoughts, in order to simply rest in the Word of God. We listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice, contemplatio (rest). As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within; and this has a profound effect on the way we actually live and the way we live is the test of the authenticity of our prayer. We must take what we read in the Word of God into our daily lives. This stage accompanies us through the week, rather than just for the session.

Our Lectio Divina for this Friday corresponds to All Saints.

Poetry and Book Club: News

Six of the group met by Zoom to discuss the Poetry of Seamus Heaney with two members sending their apologies, one with a poem.

The poems read included:

  1. Postscript
  2. I.I.87
  3. Half term break
  4. Weighing in
  5. Clearances 3
  6. At the Wellhead
  7. The Early purges
  8. Blackberry picking

Though Zoom meetings are far from ideal, we had a very informative and enjoyable session and learned more about this magnificently gifted poet. My thanks to all.

This was the second time we have devoted a meeting solely to Seamus Heaney and I am sure it will not be the last.

Our next meeting is on the 25th November to discuss “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck.

As I write this I wish we had chosen something more cheerful, is it too late to change? Do let me know your thoughts.

During the November meeting we will spend the last few minutes arranging the programme for 2021.

Please send me any suggestions for Books and Poetry for consideration. We have seven sessions up to July.

With very best wishes,

P.S. If you do not have my email address then please click here scroll down and fill in the form.