Living and praying in isolation
During these difficult days and weeks, it is important to remember that each of us is not on our own. Some of us are blessed to have a loved one or a number of family living with us; for others there are friends and neighbours who check that we are ok, and who are able to spend some time meeting us online or on the phone. These conversations and meetings are precious because they remind us that someone “out there” is remembering us and praying for us. There are just four of us now here in the presbytery. Fr. Michael Bossy has moved temporarily to our Jesuit care centre in Boscombe and Fr. Eddy and Fr. Paul to the community in Wimbledon in order to meet their needs best and in the safest environment.
Solitude. Where loneliness is a time of self-introspection, sometimes painful, in which we are tempted to forget that anyone else cares for us, solitude by contrast is a moment of extended grace through which we learn to listen to our inner voice where Jesus, his Blessed Mother, the Holy Spirit, the Saints and even our dear God and Father may be trying to give us peace and consolation. While we fill loneliness with distractions (tv, internet, radio, music) solitude can be our time to really pray deeply, from the heart; to take a passage of scripture such as the Gospel of the day from the daily Mass, and to imagine ourselves in the scene, with the disciples, with the parents of the sick child or servant, in the boat on the lake, seeing and hearing Jesus as he carries out his remarkable mission to save us all. A special page of resources for all who wish to pray during the time of solitude is available here.
Holy Week. This most important and precious week of the church’s year is particularly significant and difficult this year because none of us will be able to celebrate the rituals of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Easter as a parish community in our beautiful church. Our candidates for adult baptism and our young awaiting Confirmation and First Holy Communion are being asked to keep on waiting. During this coming week let us take some time to pray the prayers and reflect on the readings for each of the days, adding in our own intentions either in our hearts or spoken out loud. Even if there is no one else in the room yet still the Lord hears our prayers.
Prayer ministry. Prayers are offered each day within our small Jesuit Community here at Stamford Hill. Fr. David, Fr. Michal and myself gather each day for concelebrated Mass, while Fr. Mateusz offers Mass in Polish each morning online. We pray the Mass intentions that we have and which people send us. [firstname.lastname@example.org] Our Legion of Mary group has formed a WhatsApp group to meet together virtually and to pray for all who are in any need in the parish. The various small convents of religious Sisters within our parish are also praying daily for the intentions of all of our people , especially those who are sick or facing significant hardship.
I will update this page with further information as seems best.
Fr. Andrew Cameron-Mowat SJ