Dear Friends in Christ,
Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, the Birthday of the Church. On that first day, when the promised Holy Spirit was sent to the Apostle; their lives were filled with the total presence of God. The Holy Spirit inspired them; gave them courage and strength to embark upon the work the Lord had prepared them for – to go out into the whole world and proclaim the Good News. Their lives would never be the same again. Strengthened and inspired by the Resurrection of Jesus, they now had all the tools they needed to continue his work in the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. And to this day that mandate has faithfully been carried out. There have always been hurdles and difficulties along the way, but the Church has always risen to the challenge. In these difficult times of Pandemic, our faith has certainly been tested, perhaps in a way that it has never been tested before. We now have a completely different mindset; we are going to have to adjust to a new way of life and living, and it affects all of us!
On that first day of Resurrection, Jesus appears to his friends and extends the gift of Peace. They are overawed by his presence, almost incredulous. He shows his wounds, and they are filled with Joy. Then he breathes on them and gives them the Gift of the Holy Spirit – the eternal gift that he had promised them at the Last Supper. The Apostles work must now begin. Jesus will be with them until the end of the age; as he is with us and his Church. Let us thank God for the gift of our faith & the gift of the Spirit.
This Sunday should have been the Going Forth Mass for our First Communion Children. Kathryn, Elena and their helpers have been working hard with them all year, they are a lovely group and Father John and Kathryn are so proud of them. Kathryn and the children have prepared a little gift for the Parish: a video recording of the Prayer of Spiritual Communion. Please click the link below to view it, it is so beautiful.
I know we will all keep them in our prayers.
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Dear Friends in Christ,
We have spent the past nine weeks in lockdown. In this very strange and unusual time we have endeavoured to exercise social distancing, staying at home, and trying to keep ourselves as safe as possible. We have seen courageous witness from all those working on the front-line to keep us safe. Sadly, we all probably know someone who has passed from Covid 19. I was made aware over the past week of parishioners who had lost parents. Our hearts go out to them. Even when the lockdown is lifted, life will never be the same again. What is the ‘New Normal’? None of us really know the answer to that question. The fact that the whole world has experienced this pandemic has certainly made me think seriously about life & death issues. Ultimately, life is the most precious gift we possess, and this is God given. The preservation of life is fundamentally at the heart of our existence. We have experienced a real wakeup call from God. As we approach Pentecost and the giving of the Eternal Spirit of God promised by Jesus to his Apostles; let us echo the words of the Veni Sancte Spiritus: “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of your love”.
GOSPEL REFELCTION: In the Gospel today, we hear the beautiful Priestly Prayer of Christ. Jesus prays earnestly for his disciples that Gospel will protect them and give them courage and strength. Jesus knows his own fate, that in his self-sacrifice to the Father, salvation will come to the whole world. His work on earth has been completed, now he entrusts the work of Gospel to those he had chosen. And so, the work of the proclamation of the Good News continues to this day. Twenty-one centuries later we are still gathering around the Table of the Lord; and we still proclaim the triumph of Jesus Christ.
6th Sunday of Easter 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
With the recent announcements by the government to an easing of the lockdown, a lot of people are confused with some of the measures that have been advocated. Ultimately, the safety of every human being in our society is the prime concern for everyone. Whatever we must do to stay safe and well, by staying at home and self-isolating is fundamental to human survival. Tragically, here in the UK we’ve seen over thirty-five thousand people die from Covid 19, the highest number in Europe. We need to continue to practice social distancing and follow all the advice given for the washing of hands, cleanliness, wearing a face masks, avoid using public transport if possible. No one is invincible; I speak personally after testing positive several weeks ago, it’s not very nice. I have buried two people during the past week that died from the Corona virus, and I personally know of several others who have died from the virus. This is tragic! Please stay safe and well; stay at home if you can. Until we have a vaccine, we are all at risk. Let us continue to pray for one another.
GOPEL REFLECTION: At the Last Supper table, in his dialogue with his apostles, Jesus makes the promise of sending ‘another Advocate’ – the Holy Spirit – which is the ultimate gift of his eternal presence to be with the Apostles and the Church. The perfect love between the Father and the Son, will be the life-giving force of the Church for ever! The whole life of God, Father Son & Holy Spirit, is the gift that we are given in Baptism. The indwelling presence of God is that which makes us who we are as Christians in the world today. We need that presence to continue to perfect our lives through his grace.
5th Sunday of Easter 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
I really hope that you have all had the opportunity of joining Holy Mass through Social Media. In these unusual times, it’s important to keep some semblance of normality and routine within our homes. With the lockdown of almost everything it would be easy to fall into the trap of doing nothing. But this is also an opportunity to truly value the presence of love & family; and to really evaluate the most important aspects of all our lives. We are very conscious of our health, and those who care for us through social medicine. Those working on the frontline endeavouring to protect us during this pandemic are the real heroes; and we all have so much to be grateful for. Whatever the ‘New Normal’ will be remains to be seen. But the reality is that life will never be the same again! The one conclusion that I have come to is, that it is Almighty God who is in complete control and not us. Sometimes a ‘wakeup call’ is necessary in life to point us all in the right direction. There is always a bigger picture; and there is only one Saviour, Jesus Christ!
GOPEL REFELCTION: Jesus Christ came to show us the Way to God. He did this through his life, death and resurrection. His teachings, to this day form the core of all Christian living. His words and actions are emulated and proclaimed in every Christian Community throughout our world; and most certainly have stood the test of time. Jesus continues to invite us to share in His life; it’s an invitation freely given, and it’s up to each one of us to respond personally. Let us say ‘Yes’ to the Lord!