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.
Vocations: Next weekend at the 5.30pm Mass on Saturday in St Mary’s and 6.00pm Mass at Bishop Eton on Sunday,Fr Charles will speak about vocations to religious life and the priesthood. There will be informal receptions afterwards for everyone in the respective parish centres and we hope there may be among you some young people who will form a group to support one another to discern and pray about vocations. Fr Charles has been asked by the Redemptorist Provincial Council to look after this work for us in the north-west of England.
It will be good for us to welcome Fr Charles Randall properly and we are planning that he will preach at the 5.30pm Mass at St Mary’s on Saturday week (25 February) and at Bishop Eton at the 6.00pm Mass on Sunday (26 February). There will be informal receptions in the parish centres afterwards.
Fr Charles has been asked to work with Fr Richard Reid in the field of vocation and take responsibility for this part of the world. So at these Masses he will address the subject of religious and priestly vocation.
I invite any young men and women who may be interested to make a point of coming to one of these Masses. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could form a support group to meet and discern with Fr Charles over the coming months? To learn more about the Redemptorists visit www.redemptorist.co.uk, to learn about their sister order the Redemptoristine nuns visit www.rednuns.com
WELCOME TO FR CHARLES: Fr Charles Randall joins the community on Monday. This is his first appointment after his priestly ordination and I am sure he is going to have a wonderful experience ministering in our two parishes. It will be good if each parish can celebrate his arrival with a special celebration of the Eucharist. My hope is that we can use these occasions, not only to invite everyone to simple receptions afterwards, but also extend special invitations to any young men who may be interested in our Redemptorist way of life. I will provide details in next week’s bulletin when we have had a chance to discuss the suggestion.
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