Madeleine McCann: Wednesday 3 May marks the tenth anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. As you know, her grandparents Susan and Brian Healy are faithful members of our parish community and I have promised them and her parents, Gerry and Kate and the twins, Sean and Amelie, that we will continue to support them with our prayers. Each year we have marked the anniversary with a Mass and we will do the same this year at 6.00pm on Wednesday week.
AN EASTER GREETING
In the midst of all the uncertainty in our world today, I find myself with an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be supported by the communities of Bishop Eton and St Mary’s as well as my own Redemptorist community. During Lent, in each of these communities, we have been coping with the sadness that comes with death, and yet that sadness has turned to hope and joy as we have entrusted each of those who have died to the Lord, confident that he will fulfil his promise of eternal life.
Towards the end of his book – God with us: The meaning of the cross and resurrection then and now – Rowan Williams has so many wonderful passages that I want to quote them all, but I will settle for this one, under the sub-title Death cannot defeat us:
St Paul’s statement in his first letter to the Corinthians is unequivocal: ‘If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.’ Easter is the feast without which none of our Christian living makes sense. I want to thank you all for your faith and invite you to pray that this Easter our faith will grow stronger and our commitment to the mission of Christ more fervent.
My thanks to all of you who work so hard to ensure that the Holy Week and Easter ceremonies are celebrated with such dignity and reverence and this includes all the unsung heroes and heroines who beaver away in the background in the offices and sacristies as well as our catechists who have been preparing the adults and children throughout the year.
Furthermore, as the priests visited the sick and housebound in preparation for Easter, I realised just how many people our Ministers of Holy Communion visit each week. Thank you too for your wonderful ministry.
A VERY HAPPY EASTER TO YOU
FROM ALL THE REDEMPTORISTS
HOLY WEEK: I encourage you not to let this week pass you by, but with your families and the family of the parish to allow the Lord to enrich you and deepen your awareness of his literally loving you to death. It would be wonderful to think that in every home there will be some special moments in the day when the family will reflect together on the events that lead us to Easter Sunday and of course I urge you to join in the great ceremonies at the end of the week, which take us from the drama of Maundy Thursday and the institution of the Eucharist, through Good Friday and the Passion to the joy of the Resurrection after a patient wait on Holy Saturday.
Laetare Sunday: Today we reach the halfway point in Lent and the Church invites us to take a breather. The entry antiphon is from Isaiah and tells us to “rejoice…be joyful…exult.”
Happily it is also Mothering Sunday, so we greet all our mothers and thank you not just for all you do, but for the people you are… I hope the family spoils you today!
FASTING IN LENT: I do apologise for neglecting to remind you that Ash Wednesday was one of only two days of fasting and abstinence now in the Church’s calendar. The other, of course, is Good Friday. The CAFOD fast days also serve as reminders of this traditional Christian discipline, so again I hope you remembered to do something last Friday. Nevertheless, if you have forgotten these invitations to us to be united in our concern for those less fortunate than ourselves, I am sure you will find opportunities in your own time during the Lenten season. It is heartening to see the numbers making the effort to come to the weekday Masses: thank you for your good example.
Paul Murphy: After four and a half years as our Redemptorist youth officer, Paul has decided that it is time to move on and he finishes at the end of this month.
On behalf of all the young people to whom he has ministered, I want to say a huge ‘thank you’. He has some wonderful gifts, which have enabled many people across the country to deepen their spiritual lives and become more involved in the life of the Church.
There will be a farewell Mass for him on Tuesday, 21 March, in St Mary’s Woolton at 7.30pm. Please do come, even if you are unable to join him for the meal afterwards. It is vital that we keep this ministry alive and I will say a word on Tuesday week about my hopes for the future.
Meanwhile, we will be looking for someone to continue Paul’s work and will welcome enquiries. We can review the scope and nature of the work and negotiate with the successful candidate a job description and appropriate salary.
JOURNEY IN FAITH: This afternoon those who have been on the Journey in Faith (RCIA), which this year has been hosted by St Mary’s, will be presented to the Archbishop at the Cathedral. Please pray for them that this last part of their journey towards Baptism or Reception into the Church at Easter will be especially blessed. We will also present them to the parishes on one of the Sundays during Lent.
Visit of Fr Daniel O’Leary: Today we welcome Fr Daniel O’Leary, a celebrated speaker and writer, who will lead a session organised by the ACTA group in the Fisher-More Hall between 1.30pm and 4.00pm. I hope to be able to welcome him, but will then leave to be with the RCIA group at the cathedral.
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