In light of the Government guidance, mass is suspended until further notice!
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Dear parishoners, I thought this might be of interest. Some of you may remember Thea from one of her occasional appearances at mass at St Thomas More.
This month marks the fifth ‘birthday’ of Laudato Si. Where are we, in the journey towards addressing the climate emergency, and finding a new way of relating to creation? Dr Theodora Hawksley will introduce the theme of moral imagination, and ask how the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic might help us to recognise our global interdependence, and the need for an integral approach to human dignity, development and security.
To attend this online talk simply create a Zoom account and log in using the information below:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2365092814 or Meeting ID: 236 509 2914
Or you can watch it livestreamed on Facebook:
Come Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
A pastoral message from the Cardinal for Pentecost
The Cardinal has asked me to write to let you know that he has recorded a video of a pastoral message in preparation for Pentecost. In it, he reflects on the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, particularly in the context of the circumstances in which we are living at the moment.
The video is available online at https://vimeo.com/421046273 and on the diocesan website. The Cardinal would be grateful if you could make your parishioners aware of the message, perhaps by including a link to it in any newsletter or e-mail communication that may be going round the parish in the coming days. For the more technically minded, if you would like to embed a copy of the video on your website, you can clink on the link and follow the option to ‘Share’ to obtain the embed code.
When you view the message, you will see that the Cardinal asks that, across the diocese, priests and people participate, from their homes, in a short vigil of prayer next Saturday, the Vigil of Pentecost. There is no specific time or format for this: what is important is that as many people as possible engage positively with the Cardinal’s invitation. A meditation on Pentecost, based on Christian art, will be available in the coming days via the diocesan website as one possible way to help with this time of prayer, but do feel very free to be creative in thinking how best to encourage participation in your local situation.
As ever, but particularly as the important Solemnity of Pentecost approaches, the Cardinal assures you that he holds you and your parishioners in his prayer, and remains most appreciative of all you are doing to sustain your lives of faith, and those of your parishioners, especially in reaching out to those who are isolated or facing real hardship at this time.
With all best wishes,
LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THE FAITHFUL FOR THE MONTH OF MAY 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The month of May is approaching, a time when the People of God express with particular intensity their love and devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is traditional in this month to pray the Rosary at home within the family. The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this “family” aspect, also from a spiritual point of view.
For this reason, I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May. This can be done either as a group or individually; you can decide according to your own situations, making the most of both opportunities. The key to doing this is always simplicity, and it is easy also on the internet to find good models of prayers to follow.
I am also providing two prayers to Our Lady that you can recite at the end of the Rosary, and that I myself will pray in the month of May, in spiritual union with all of you. I include them with this letter so that they are available to everyone.
Dear brothers and sisters, contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial. I keep all of you in my prayers, especially those suffering most greatly, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. I thank you, and with great affection I send you my blessing.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 25 April 2020
Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist
You shine continuously on our journey
as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who, at the foot of the cross,
were united with Jesus’ suffering,
and persevered in your faith.
“Protectress of the Roman people”,
you know our needs,
and we know that you will provide,
so that, as at Cana in Galilee,
joy and celebration may return
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the will of the Father
and to do what Jesus tells us.
For he took upon himself our suffering,
and burdened himself with our sorrows
to bring us, through the cross,
to the joy of the Resurrection.
We fly to your protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from every danger,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.
“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.
In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.
Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.
Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.
Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.
Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.
Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.
Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.
Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.
Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.
To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
The Fourteen Stations of the Resurrection
I do hope and pray that you and your families are well and in these difficult days, you are able to appreciate the spring and the warmer weather.
In 2013 I set in motion a book called ‘The way to Life’ Stations of the Ressurection. My love of icons came about having appreciated that icons are powerful representations of that transcendent eternity where the splendour of God shines forth. Icons convey the faith of the ages and draw us heart and mind deeper into prayer. As a Russian priest friend put it they provide a window to the spiritual world.
The icons were painted by my friend Caroline Lees and the meditations written by Fr Terry Tastard. Having meditated on 14 objects of the passion let us now contemplate these 14 stations of the Resurrection.
Over the coming days we will update our homepage with a new icon. Below is the latest icon. You can also see all the icons here
Jesus said: ‘When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.’ John 16.13-14
This icon depicts Pentecost, but not as a one-off event. Rather, it helps us to understand Pentecost as a process continuing through time as the Spirit of God moves throughout the world.
The spirit is depicted as an orb, like the sun, its rays reaching down towards Mary and the apostles. As the Spirit flickers towards them we notice that it’s symbolic rays are coloured green, a reminder that fruitfulness is one of the gifts of the Spirit.
It is the Spirit also that drives the Church outward, making us evangelists. If we believe in God, we cannot stand still. We must give an account of the hope that is in us. The fruits of this are seen in the figure of the king emerging out of darkness. We know that in history missionaries often converted kings or other leaders first, because this would encourage their followers to come after them. So the king is represents the achievement of the Church in bringing the gospel to the pagan world.
The king has heard the good news of Christ risen from the dead: hence he carries in his hand white garments. These garments remind us of Christ, set free from the tomb, just like the king who emerges out of darkness. But the white garments are also a symbol of baptismal robes, baptism setting the seal on our Christian commitment and joining us to the mystical body of Christ, the Church.
Around the tomb the apostles and Mary give their affirmation. The hands of the apostles are lifted in blessing, while the arms of Mary rise in praise and intercession. She pleads for many, constantly, for all the saints in eternity she has been uniquely privileged. Looking at the icon we see that around her head are Greek words which tell us that she is ‘Mother of God’. Through her, the Christ, the Messiah has come into the world, human and divine.
There is a unity here among the apostles and Mary. Each figure is distinct, yet each sits comfortably with the others, for the unity of the Church does not mean uniformity, but rather harmony. Some of the disciples are robed in red, because in the history of the Church in virtually every age, there have been men and women who have paid for their faith with their lives.
We adore you and praise you, O Risen Lord
Because by your death and resurrection you give life to the world.
We are one people,
Drawn from many nations.
Holy Spirit, go-between God,
Weave your people ever more closely together
So that our faith in action
And the joy of our worship
May draw others to know you.
Patricia Hammond, our 12pm Mass musician sings the ancient Easter song that we sing until the feast of Pentecost on the 31st May.
Regina caeli, laetare! Alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, Alleluia.
Resurrexit sicut dixit; Alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum; Alleluia.
Queen of heaven, rejoice, Alleluia!
For he whom you were worthy to bear, Alleluia!
Has risen as he said, Alleluia!
Pray for us to God, Alleluia!
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