EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS: Preparations are in full swing and once again I remind you that Redemptorist Publications have produced a magnificently illustrated booklet, Adoremus Extra. They are available at the back of the church. It seems to me something of a bargain at £4.75, containing a wealth of material from some celebrated authors! It would be wonderful if every family had a copy so that we can all deepen our understanding of and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Adoremus Extra will also provide us with a wonderful souvenir of the event. We will order more copies if the first batch sells well.
There will soon be a display in the porch, identifying our parish representatives, who will attend the Congress and form the pastoral area reps for the Synod 2020.
NOVENA (OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL SUCCOUR): On the subject of Novenas, may I highlight the fact that this June we are doing an exchange with Clapham. I have been asked to preach the Novena in my hometown and Fr Charles Corrigan and the students will be coming to Bishop Eton to prepare for the feast on June 27. The Novena will begin on June 19th.
Archbishop Malcolm was immensely grateful for his welcome in both our parishes and schools. He wrote and asked me to thank “all involved in the various facets of parish life” and his best wishes “to the staff and all involved in the running of the schools.”
PENTECOST: Next Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost and brings to an end the season of Easter. The nine days from the Ascension to Pentecost provide us with the tradition of the Novena (the nine days the apostles and Mary spent in prayer awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit). This year we will pray the special Adoremus Prayer during this time. Copies of the Bookmark/Prayer Card are still available in the porch. If you can't get a copy from the porch the prayer is below
FIRST COMMUNIONS: May is going to be a busy month. Over the weekend of Pentecost, May 19/20, we will have our First Communion Masses in Bishop Eton, but at St Mary’s they are experimenting with small groups making their First Communion at weekend Masses right through the month. Please pray for the children and their families that they will be truly blessed and that their joy will enliven both our parishes.
GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY: DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS: Last year, Bishop Ralph Heskett, CSsR, having been challenged about the problem of finding more priestly vocations for the Diocese of Hallam, gently reminded his priests and people that they would not emerge from Bishop’s House! This might be worth our meditation as we pray that we may all deepen our sense of vocation and strive to be faithful to our common baptismal calling.
To read Pope Francis message for Vocations Sunday please click here
ADOREMUS: It may have something to do with my age, but time does seem to be flying by these days and I am conscious that the Eucharistic Congress will be on us as soon as the schools return in the autumn. Five representatives from each parish will attend the Congress and will form part of a forty strong team working in our pastoral area in preparation for the Synod in 2020. They met for the first time last Monday evening. In due course we will have a display board at the porches of each church identifying our representatives so that you can feed and exchange ideas with one another during the next two years. Redemptorist Publications have produced a magnificently illustrated booklet, Adoremus Extra. It has 124 pages (including the Freddie Freckles story) and I have ordered a number of copies for those who wish to imbue themselves with the spirit of the event: they retail at £4.75.
THE PAST WEEK: Archbishop Malcolm was given a royal welcome at both our schools last Thursday. We have some treasured photos of children wearing his mitre and holding his crozier. Certainly the children are clear about one thing: that the Bishop’s job is to be like Jesus, a good shepherd of the flock, who is there not to rule but to serve the people. Later in the day many joined the Archbishop for the Holy Hour at St Anthony’s. It will be good if we can prepare for the Eucharistic Congress by having Holy Hours in each parish and a devotional service for each school. Watch this space!
FORWARD PLANNING: Last week I highlighted the fact that in a couple of weeks we will be stretched to the limit since most of the community will be going to Perth for a meeting with our Redemptorist General and his Co-ordinator for the Redemptorist Conference of Europe. No one has objected to my proposal that we settle for a 7.00am Mass at Bishop Eton and a noon Mass at St Mary’s during that week. It is a measure of just how things are beginning to unravel that during the past week Fr Burns had to go to Clapham to ensure that they could have their weekday Masses.Furthermore, it is no secret that some of the confrères in our community are encountering new health challenges.
With all this in mind, I simply ask you to revisit my ‘open letter’ and continue to discuss and pray with one another about the future.
In three weeks (i.e. during the first week in May) most of the Redemptorist community will be in Perth with Fr General, considering the best way forward for us in terms of restructuring the Redemptorist family in the Conference of Europe. As a consequence it will be impossible for us to maintain the usual timetable of Masses that week. Fr O’Brien has kindly agreed to offer Mass at St Mary’s and Fr Smale will be in residence at Bishop Eton.
I am proposing that for that week we have a 7.00am at Bishop Eton and a noon Mass each day at St Mary’s. I trust this will meet with unanimous approval! As you well know, we are going to meet more and more of these challenges in the months and years ahead.
AN EASTER GREETING
The Easter Liturgy is quite remarkable. It explodes with joy as it invites us to place our hope in Jesus, who bursts forth from the grave. The message is unequivocal: even death is now conquered and we have everything to live for because we will live for ever with the Lord.
Whenever Jesus was at work among the people, all he asked for was that they believed. Faith is the ultimate and most wonderful gift for us here on earth and I pray that my faith and yours will be renewed and strengthened through our celebrations together this Easter. The deeper our faith, the more we allow the Lord to take possession of our lives and the more we live in love of him and one another.
Thank you for all you do to ensure that our communities function well, but more than that, thank you for being who you are: brothers and sisters of the Lord, who witness to his resurrection.
FROM ALL THE REDEMPTORISTS:
A VERY HAPPY EASTER
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