News

Lockdown Live Stream Mass Times- 5th November to 3rd December 2020

Holy Cross Parish and Lockdown

From Thursday 5th November to Tuesday 2nd December, the Church will be open from 10am till 12 Noon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday only (not on Wednesday or Saturday morning) This will be for private prayer only.

Holy Mass will be celebrated each weekday at 9.30am (except Wednesday and Saturday morning) but not in public. Masses over the weekend will take place on Saturday evening at 6.30pm and 11.15am on Sunday morning. All Masses will be live streamed. Please see the link below.

Please note: Public participation at Mass in Church will not be allowed during the period of lockdown.

Live Streaming of Masses – see https://www.churchservices.tv/parsonsgreen

For further news and information about the parish, click the Holy Cross Parish Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/holycrossparsonsgreen

Christian Response to Pandemic Based on Love – September 9th 2020

Here is the full text of Pope Francis’ address at his weekly General Audience, on September 9, 2020, the second week since the virus’ outbreak, where the faithful could be present in the Vatican’s Courtyard of San Damaso of the Apostolic Palace.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The crisis we are living due to the pandemic is affecting everyone; we will emerge from it for the better if we all seek the common good together; the contrary is we will emerge for the worse. Unfortunately, we see partisan interests emerging. For example, some would like to appropriate possible solutions for themselves, as in the case of vaccines, to then sell them to others. Some are taking advantage of the situation to instigate divisions: by seeking economic or political advantages, generating or exacerbating conflicts. Others simply are not interesting themselves in the suffering of others, they pass by and go their own way (see Lk 10:30-32. They are the devotees of Pontius Pilate, washing their hands of others’ suffering.
The Christian response to the pandemic and to the consequent socio-economic crisis is based on love, above all, love of God who always precedes us (see 1 Jn 4:19). He loves us first, He always precedes us in love and in solutions. He loves us unconditionally and when we welcome this divine love, then we can respond similarly. I love not only those who love me – my family, my friends, my group – but I also love those who do not love me, I also love those who do not know me or who are strangers, and even those who make me suffer or whom I consider enemies (see Mt 5:44). This is Christian wisdom; his is how Jesus acted. And the highest point of holiness, let’s put it that way, is to love one’s enemies which is not easy, it is not easy. Certainly, to love everyone, including enemies, is difficult – I would say it is even an art! But an art that can be learned and improved. True love that makes us fruitful and free is always expansive, and true love is not only expansive, it is inclusive. This love cares, heals, and does good. How many times a caress does more good than many arguments, a caress, we can think, of pardon instead of many arguments to defend oneself. It is inclusive love that heals.

So, love is not limited to the relationship between two or three people, or to friends or to family, it goes beyond. It comprises civil and political relationships (see Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1907-1912), including a relationship with nature (see Encyclical Laudato Si’ [LS], 231). Love is inclusive, everything. Since we are social and political beings, one of the highest expressions of love is specifically social and political which is decisive to human development and in order to face any type of crisis (ibid., 231). We know that love makes families and friendships flourish; but it is good to remember that it also makes social, cultural, economic, and political relationships flourish, allowing us to construct a “civilization of love”, as Saint Paul VI used to love to say [1] and, in turn, Saint John Paul II. Without this inspiration the egotistical, indifferent, throw-away culture prevails – that is to discard anything I do not like, whom I cannot love or those who seem to me to not to be useful in society. Today at the entrance, a married couple said to us: “Pray for me (us) because we have a disabled son.” I asked: “How old is he?” “He is pretty old.” “And what do you do?” “We accompany him, help him.” All of their lives as parents for that disabled son. This is love. And the enemies, the adversarial politicians, according to our opinion, seem to be “disabled” politicians, socially, but they seem to be that way. Only God knows if they are truly thus or not. But we must love them, we must dialogue, we must build this civilization of love, this political and social civilization of the unity of all humanity. Otherwise, wars, divisions, envy, even wars in families: because inclusive love is social, it is familial, it is political…love pervades everything.

The coronavirus is showing us that each person’s true good is a common good, not only individual, and, vice versa, the common good is a true good for the person. (see CCC, 1905-1906). If a person only seeks his or her own good, that person is egotistical. Instead, the person is kinder, nobler, when his or her own good is open to everyone when it is shared. Health, in addition to being an individual good, is also a public good. A healthy society is one that takes care of everyone’s health, of all. A virus that does not recognize barriers, borders, or cultural or political distinctions must be faced with a love without barriers, borders, or distinctions. This love can generate social structures that encourage us to share rather than to compete, which allow us to include the most vulnerable and not to cast them aside, which help us to express the best in our human nature and not the worst. True love does not know the throw-away culture, it does not know what it is. In fact, when we love and generate creativity, when we generate trust and solidarity, it is then that concrete initiatives emerge for the common good. [2] And this is valid at both the level of the smallest and largest communities, as well as at the international level. What is done in the family, what is done in the neighborhood, what is done in the village, what is done in the large cities and internationally is the same, it is the same seed that grows, grows, grows, and bears fruit. If you in your family, in your neighborhood start out with envy, with battles, there will be war in the end. Instead, if you start out with love, to share love, forgiveness, there will be love and forgiveness for everyone.

Conversely, if the solutions for the pandemic bear the imprint of egoism, whether it be by persons, businesses, or nations, we may perhaps emerge from the coronavirus crisis, but certainly not from the human and social crisis that the virus has brought to light and accentuated. Therefore, be careful not to build on sand (see Mt 7:21-27)! To build a healthy, inclusive, just, and peaceful society we must do so on the rock of the common good. [3] The common good is a rock. And this is everyone’s task, not only that of a few specialists. Saint Thomas Aquinas used to say that the promotion of the common good is a duty of justice that falls on each citizen. Every citizen is responsible for the common good. And for Christians, it is also a mission. As Saint Ignatius of Loyola taught, to direct our daily efforts toward the common good is a way of receiving and spreading God’s glory.

Unfortunately, politics does not often have a good reputation, and we know why. This is not to say that all politicians are bad, no, I do not want to say this. I am only saying that unfortunately, politics do not often have a good reputation. Why? But it does not have to resign itself to this negative vision, but instead react to it by showing in deeds that good politics is possible, or rather that politics[ 4] that puts the human person and the common good at the center is a duty. If you read the history of humanity you will find many holy politicians who trod this path. It is possible insofar as every citizen, and especially those who assume social and political commitments and positions, roots what they do in ethical principles and nurtures it with social and political love. Christians, in a particular way the laity, are called to give good examples of this and can do it thanks to the virtue of charity, cultivating its intrinsic social dimension.

It is therefore time to improve our social love – I want to highlight this: our social love – with everyone’s contribution, starting from our littleness. The common good requires everyone’s participation. If everyone contributes his or her part, and if no one is left out, we can regenerate good relationships on the communitarian, national, and international levels and even in harmony with the environment (see LS, 236). Thus, through our gestures, even the most humble ones, something of the image of God we bear within us will be made visible, because God is the Trinity, God is love, God is love. This is the most beautiful definition of God that is in the Bible. The Apostle John, who loved Jesus so much, gives it to us. With His help, we can heal the world working, yes, all together for the common good, for everyone’s common good.

[1] Message for the X World Day of Peace, 1 January 1977: AAS 68 (1976), 709.
[2] See Saint John Paul II, Encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis, 38.
[3] Ibid., 10.
[4] See Message for World Day of Peace, 1 January 2019 (8 December 2018).

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Guidelines for the resumption of the Celebration of Mass from July 4th 2020

From Saturday 4th July, we will resume the celebration of Mass at Holy Cross Church. Every effort has been made to ensure that the risk of viral transmission is greatly minimised.
Of course, as well as the efforts that have already been made at the Church, we must also take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and others. This includes effective hand sanitisation and adhering to social distancing.

Please note the following guidance:

• If you, or a member of your household have any of the symptoms of Covid-19, you should stay at home, please do not come to the church.
• There is 2 metre social distancing requirement. This means that you don’t have to wear a face covering, even though you are free to do so if you wish. However, if you are a Family or live in the same household you are not required to strictly adhere to social distancing and may populate a bench together.
• Please fill up benches row by row starting from the front in an orderly fashion so that we can safely seat the maximum number of people.
• Please arrive in good time before Mass starts to minimise disruption. Following social distancing, the maximum capacity at Holy Cross is 60 (sixty) people per Mass.
• As you enter the church please sanitise your hands.
• Government Guidance stresses that congregational singing is to be ‘specifically’ avoided.
• Jerusalem Mass sheets, hymn books and hard copies of the newsletter will not be available. For all parish information please refer to the parish website and Facebook page.
• No altar servers will be required until further notice.
• The homily will be short, and there will be no Prayers of the Faithful.
• There will no physical ‘sign of peace’.
• After the prayer ‘Behold the Lamb of God’ … and the response ‘Lord, I am not worthy’…. the priest will raise the host and say ‘The Body of Christ’ to which we will all respond ‘Amen’ and he will then raise the chalice and say ‘The Blood of Christ’ when we will again respond by saying together ‘Amen’. Holy Communion will then be received in silence.
• Those receiving Holy Communion should come forward one row at a time beginning with the first row. Please ensure that you maintain social distancing. The presiding priest or a deacon will distribute Holy Communion under one kind only. Please hold your arms at full length and have your palms flat so that the priest or deacon can place the Body of Christ onto the palm of your hand for you to then consume reverently. If you are not receiving Holy Communion, please also come forward and ask for a blessing by holding your arms across your chest. In this way, you will not have to ‘step over’ or ‘pass close’ to people as they go up to receive Holy Communion. Having received Holy Communion, communicants and non-communicants should immediately leave the Church by the side aisles. There will be no final prayer, notices or final blessing.
• Over the past few months, most parishes have experienced the challenge of reduced finances. We thank you for the offering you give. Collection baskets will be kept at the entrance of the church rather than passed around during the Mass. You may also give your donation after receiving Holy Communion as you make your way towards the side aisles. Baskets will be on clearly labelled tables. If you are not already doing so, please consider making your weekly/monthly donation by direct debit/standing order with your bank. Thank you again for your continued and generous support.
• The Toilet facilities are open, but please use the anti-viral spray after use, and dispose of the blue cleaning paper in the bin. Please do not flush it.
• The church must be cleaned and disinfected after each Mass and particular attention will be paid to those surfaces which are frequently touched e.g. door handles, benches etc. Please leave the Church as swiftly as possible, so that the doors can be closed and the cleaning regime undertaken.
• If you wish to speak to Fr Michael or any of the other clergy, then please contact them by phone or e mail.

If we all stick to these guidelines until we are told otherwise, then we can ensure a safe gathering for the celebration of the Eucharist each time we participate at Mass.

It’s good to have you back!

With my best wishes and every blessing,

Fr Michael