News

Catholic Universe headlines 24 July 2020

These are the headlines from this week’s Catholic Universe, incorporating The Catholic Times News (with some comments by me) dated 24th July 2020:
News:
• G20 shamed as they shun debt relief call. It seems they did not heed last week’s call by Church leaders to remit the $billions of historic debt
• Our Church must never turn any away, says cardinal. There’s a new video Being Black & Catholic produced by the diocese
• World’s poor to pay price as Johnson reduces DfID role We are legally obliged to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on overseas aid, as we get poorer so that gets less
• Government in the dock after it refuses to implement its own porn site policy. No movement on enforcing age verification
• Asylum seekers voice Covid fears over crowded centres. It is quite terrifying for people forced to live too close together with strangers at this time.
• Duke eyes chance to beat homelessness
• No room in church as cap forces priest to turn people away. It is an issue that will now be with us until we change the way we live as a church.
• Climate change must be our top priority, says faith group, “The very health and future of humanity depends on our ability to act together” says Bishop John Arnold.
MPs issue new water warning “A fifth of the water supply -three billion litres of water – is lost in leakage every day.”
• Foodbank use ‘to rise’ in coming months. “A total of 80,489 people turned to foodbanks for support in May.”
• Shropshire field reveals historic papal treasure. Pope Innocent IV (c 1243ad) dropped his lead seal in a Shropshire field. Why was it there? It may have been of a document looking for English King Henry III’s support for the Pope’s claim to Sicily.
• Footballers appeal for support over fans’ sectarian abuse. Former Celtic players Northern Ireland’s Niall McGinn and James McClean say when playing they got abuse. “We had bullets sent to us in the post” McGinn said.
• UK funding key to Stormont stability. “We cannot sleepwalk into another Executive collapse,” Simon Hoare MP chair of Northern Ireland Affairs Committee said referring to the January 2017 collapse of the power-sharing executive that runs NI that remained out until January this year.
• Suspect denies gun link to McKee killing
• Veterans claim Government is sacrificing them for peace “We feel the Government is prepared to put a few old soldiers on a cross and sacrifice them for the benefit of peace in Northern Ireland,” claims former SAS soldier Robin Horsfall, part of the Million Veterans March campaign giving evidence to MPs on government plans to deal with the legacy of the Troubles in NI that could still see attempts to prosecute soldiers.
• Laity have a role but the clergy lead way – Vatican (So where are the new priests? Step up lads!)
• New guide sets out response to future allegations Vademecum, a new handbook to help bishops along the “complex path”: Cardinal Luis Ladaria
• World action needed as starvation soars
• Pope pops into summer camp
• Relief as firefighters save Nantes’ jewel
• US turns up heat on China over treatment of Uighurs
• All change as Trump backs facemasks – and adopts new focus as ratings collapse
• EU pledge hard cash to bail out economies
• Christians’ joy as bombed Aleppo cathedral reopens
• Morocco latest to threaten local Christians with arrest over their faith
• Catholic Times supplement: Rare book of Mary, Queen of Scots, goes under the hammer
• Catholic Times supplement: ACN boosts Church’s Covid help in Bangladesh and beyond
Comment:
• Sarah Lloyd: We must take care to protect justice during Covid-19 remote jury trials
• Leon Spence: Economic fallout from Covid-19 will be as deadly as the virus
• Caroline Farrow: This back-to-school season is start of our fight against RSE
• Theresa Alessandro: Build a future based on nonviolence
• CAFOD: Sinead Callaghan: Building something better
• Catholic Times supplement: David Torkington: The only solution to racial prejudice Facing up to our original sin for which the only cure is real love
• Catholic Times supplement: Chris McDonnell: Discovering and living your family spirituality
• Catholic Times supplement: Fr Francis Marsden: Remembering the Reformation martyrs this week
• Catholic Times supplement: Fr Michael Collins: Nantes and its great cathedral dedicated to Ss Peter and Paul
Features:
• A Catholic Universe special feature: Creating a wholly inclusive Church
• Catholic Times supplement: Talking Point: Japanese archbishop urges US to witness the Gospel of peace
• Vatican Letter: Old Testament is a go-to guide for coping
• Heart of the Matter: Vulnerable Venezuelans find help from Focolare member and fellow migrant
• Faith Alive: Priest donates kidney to help mum lead life she imagines for her family
• Catholic hospitals are offering a glimmer of hope for Syria’s people
• Sport (SWIFT): Why ‘Big Jack’ deserves to be called ‘great’
Around the Parishes:
• Holy Land sees first deliveries of vital water tanks from FHL
• It’s Mass among the roses as parish goes open-air
• Joy as cathedral holds its first wedding
• Group is making an impact in bringing community together
• CYMFed events take youth ministry online
• Anglican archbishop welcomed to shrine of St Margaret Clitherow
Education:
• Leeds Trinity appoints new vice chancellor
• A flag with a difference for the continent without one (ideas for an Antarctica flag)
• Fears bias will see students miss out on right grades
• College teams up with local community to beat hardship
Lifestyle:
• Profile: Harry and Izzy Judd: Positive parenting during lockdown
• Health: Enjoy a summer BBQ without feeling the heat of heartburn
• Toys: Fisher-Price at 90: Toys from the past and present
• Food and Drink: Seven top drops for a taste of the Med
• Cooking: Salted chocolate pumpkin tart
• Nick’s Music Picks: Patchwork by Passenger
• Nick’s TV Picks
Read all of this and more in this week’s Catholic Universe, incorporating The Catholic Times.
To subscribe, see: https://www.thecatholicuniverse.com/shop/

the Catholic Universe headlines for 167 July 2020

News:
• Faith leaders call for G20 to act on global debt relief- I remember the Churches made a huge effort at the start of the millennium to make this one of the goals of the new century- we are still not there yet.
• Disaster Emergency Committee is a get-together of the main charities helping feed and clothe the world – they say millions more people are now in danger
• Safety fears as migrants risk lives on deadly crossing. The English Chanel is a dangerous strip of water. We are a maritime nation. Anyone who is brave enough to risk this crossing deserves our admiration, respect and rescue. We need these brave mariners!
• New Universe website supports Church rebuilding, the website includes a shop for catholic items direct from Italy!
• Scientists in stark warning as UK told to prepare for second wave. If ever we need to be sensible, it is now.
• Joy for Scotland as public Mass returns, see above
• Radio 4 show offers ‘a word for all seasons’ there’s something about this on Sunday at 8.10am
• Crimestoppers can put an end to misery of human trafficking. Slavery is something we can all keep a look-out for, it is probably happening around here, people looking scared, downtrodden; check out the list and liberate the modern slaves by shining the light (but take care too, its dangerous)!
• Hypocrisy charge as green light given to Saudi arms exports. Especially as the Church says ending weapons sales would free up vast sums of money and resources to fight the pandemic- and maybe give local councils money to reopen and modernise toilets with lots of wash basins and soap and water!
• Big Jack was an English, Irish hero “A man of integrity and very rare character” said Fr Felzmann
• Pope ‘saddened’ as Turkey reverts historic church back to a mosque. It is very hurtful to loose our church buildings but the church is the people of God, wherever we worship.
• China, US exchange insults as tensions rise in Asia and all we can do is watch (and send an aircraft carrier God help us)
• Pandemic full speed in Africa as global virus cases pass 13m. The world is being remade in our generation, we must pray for guidance in how we are to respond
Comment:
• Joseph Kelly: Reaching out to fellow Catholics as we adapt to the ‘new normal’
• Leon Spence: Sorry Auntie, the game is up as far as my licence is concerned
• Caroline Farrow: It’s back to church – and a new path of evangelisation
• CAFOD: Elouise Hobbs: The world has changed: why shouldn’t our campaigning?
• Catholic Times supplement: Chris McDonnell: Taize offers a way to revitalise our monasteries
• Catholic Times supplement: Fr Francis Marsden: A true martyr, St John Plessington remained a priest to the very end
• Catholic Times supplement: Fr Michael Collins: Church renowned for its abundance of light now cast into shade
Features:
• Catholic Times supplement: Give generously – your parish needs those precious funds more than ever
• Catholic Times supplement: Decline in confession is damaging the Church’s mission to spread the Gospel
• Heart of the Matter: African Americans look for allies as they demand right to breathe freely
• Faith Alive: The gift of knowledge’s impact on the heart
• Racial hopscotch has to stop if America is ever to find harmony Fr Augustus craved
• Sport (SWIFT): Sporting tips to create the best version of yourself
Around the Parishes:
• Caritas Crisis Fund launched after twin donations total £100,000
• Young equality campaigners receive national recognition
• Vatican gives plenary indulgence for archdiocese’s virtual pilgrimage
Education:
• Bishop issues heartfelt farewell as Year 6 pupils set off on next chapter
• Trinity lecturer publishes first children’s science book
Lifestyle:
• Health: Binge eating disorder: What is it and when should we seek help?
• Garden: Be kinder and save our insects
• Home: Bring the holiday home: décor styles to satisfy your wanderlust
• Music: Cinema Paradiso by Katherine Jenkins
Read all of this and more in this week’s Catholic Universe, incorporating The Catholic Times.
To subscribe, see: https://www.thecatholicuniverse.com/shop/

Grenfell Tower

Sunday 14th June 2020. Corpus Christi. Today is also the third anniversary of the fire in Grenfell Tower where 72 people died, many of whom were people of colour or from minority and disadvantaged groups. As we reflect on the disproportionate suffering of our black brothers and sisters in our nation and find ways to respond well to Black Lives Matter national and international movement it is right that we pause to honour those who died in that terrible fire. I will ring the church bell 72 times this evening at 6pm in memory of their lives and in hope that such injustices as are visited on so many of our fellow citizens will be righted in our day.

websites that may be helpful on how to respond to Black Lives Matter

Educate/awareness/speakup:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/04/health/how-to-be-an-anti-racist-wellness/index.html

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/05/867060621/being-black-in-america-we-have-a-place-in-this-world-too

https://www.un.org/en/letsfightracism/

wellness/index.htmlhttps://www.wnet.org/education/blog/anti-racist-resources-for-families-educators-and-students/

Books: May be something for this weekend’s reading ?
https://www.ft.com/content/aeba9304-a57c-11ea-92e2-cbd9b7e28ee6
https://nymag.com/strategist/article/anti-racist-reading-list.html
https://time.com/5846732/books-to-read-about-anti-racism/

Movies:
https://time.com/5847912/movies-to-watch-about-racism-protests/
http://www.pbs.org/black-culture/explore/10-black-history-documentaries-to-watch/
https://www.insider.com/what-to-watch-to-learn-about-racism-2020-6

Donate:
https://www.timeout.com/london/news/donate-to-these-anti-racism-charities-and-organisations-doing-amazing-work-in-london-060420
Other reads:https://hbr.org/2020/05/how-u-s-companies-can-support-employees-of-color-through-the-pandemic
https://www.forbes.com/sites/janicegassam/2019/07/03/how-to-speak-up-when-you-witness-discrimination/#31e7ffce7c53

 

 

News for week from 27 May to 2nd June 2020

2/6/2020 The Association of Christian Counsellors is offering a crisis counselling service for up to ten sessions free to NHS front line medical staff impacted by Covid-19 and those in ancillary roles, paramedics, those in the ambulance services and those bereaved during this time, whether due to Covid-19 or not: CCSS@acc-uk.org (or by telephone -details from Fr Bill).

31/5/2020. Happy Pentecost! It’s the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples when Jesus its says in John’s Gospel, chapter 20 verses 19 to 23, “breathed on them and said; ‘Receive the Holy Spirit'”. In these days of social distancing and keeping well apart from each other it’s wonderful to see how Jesus comes up close and personal and makes each person so special. The challenge for us today is to find ways of making each person feel very special though we often can’t even safely touch them, let alone breath on them. Talking for a minute or two while keeping safely two meters apart, that can lift the spirits, even waving at each other across the road, that is like our spirit saying to their spirit, ‘it’s good to see you and see that you are alive and (as it has been recently) the sun is shining.’ Then there is the phone call saying “do you need anything?” People have contacted us in the lock-down to ask that. It makes us feel alive and cared-for. Maybe prayer is like a phone-call to Jesus, ‘Is there anything that you want me to do?’ He has promised that he won’t ask us to do anything that is too difficult for us. But he probably will ask us to do something and that’s how the church spreads, little by little. Ps: do join me for one of our Zoom masses, 10am Sunday, 9am Tuesday and Thursday. We say the rosary at 8.30am on Wednesdays. I will send you the link or details if you email me. billbowder@rcdow.org.uk

28/5/2020: CAFOD Emergency appeal. The spread of coronavirus overseas in countries with poor health systems, large refugee camps and shanty towns will be devastating. CAFOD local experts are working to protect those in need. Your help is needed now. Please donate via the CAFOD Web page www.cafod.org.uk or phone 0207 733 7900 or post a cheque to CAFOD Head Office, Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7JB . Please also remember us and those we work alongside in your prayers. Tony Sheen
Community Participation Co-ordinator -CAFOD

27/5/20 -Latest on church opening. The first thing to say is, thanks for your great patience and continued support of your parish church at this very tough time. I have really enjoyed meeting you through Zoom masses and we now have a rosary group that meets on Wednesday morning at 8.30am. (details from Fr Bill)
Second, we have had some general guidance from the diocese today. The hier4archy acknowledge and respect each parish’s particular issues relating to what is possible to do and how it may be hard to implement, given our limited resources both in young volunteers and money. The shape of our church and its age do not make it easy to make safe. However I have already had a message of support from a parishioner that has encouraged me.
Third, I will do what I can but I will only allow the church to open when I consider that it will be safe to do so, that is my responsibility as an employer and pastor. I am working on a plan to do this (see below)
Fourth, zoom masses and I hope in the future live-streaming from the church building itself will be a central part of our worship. Please help any relatives who are not familiar or at ease with Zoom and other web-based communication to feel at ease with the technology.
Fifth. The diocese wants churches to open for private prayer sometime in June. I will not do that unless I think it is safe to do so and if we have all the necessary support and provisions that we need to do so. At this stage I am not sure that we will have that support. That will depend on people responding by letting me know that they can help, are safe and not in an at-risk category to do so and will be able to make a reliable commitment to do so.
Sixth. Masses that are attended in person will not be offered until at the earliest July and more likely September. This will depend on a continued drop in Covid cases. It will also be vital not to attend mass if one has symptoms or is in quarantine. The national tracker system being introduced this week means that one person attending mass with symptoms could effectively close the whole church for 14 days.
Seven: To maintain 2 meter distance between people if and when attended masses do start again the number who will be able to attend will not exceed 20. The most likely scenario is that attended masses will still be offered once on Saturday evening and twice on Sunday with no more than 20 at mass. How to accommodate others? Proposals a. attend Saturday or Sunday mass by arrangement. b. where that is not possible attend a weekday mass or instead of your Sunday mass on the other weeks if agreed by the bishop. That would mean that attendance at a weekend physical mass might fall to once a fortnight or once a month. All other attendances would be c. through live-streaming, Zoom or a regular weekday mass. For actual attendance we will probably introduce a booking system, rather like going to a live performance in a very small theatre. If I could say mass in 15 minutes that would make attendance much safer as the longer anyone is in the presence of someone with the virus the more danger there is. The tracker system uses 15 minutes as the trigger point at which to isolate.
Eight. As the situation develops information will be on this website and I do ask people to ring me on my mobile 0739805360 before trying to come to the building. We will have one way in and another way out. It will be vital that no one comes who has any symptoms. Also, I hope to contact many of you during the coming month by phone to explain the need to continue to support your church with money. Mass and prayers have been offered for you and your intentions everyday since the lockdown began. The work of the church continues, it needs to be supported.

A parent descibes 20 ideas for keeping a toddler amused

1. Make play dough alphabet letters (see photo)
2. Create an obstacle course: see example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-D_xK1eQCc
3. Create a simple maze by taping ribbons or strings onto the floor
4. Pour water into containers of different sizes, see how objects float or sink
5. Wash toys together
6. Create a marble run with a cardboard box (see photo)
7. Create a car with a large cardboard box (see photo, the one with all the scribbles!))
8. Spot things such as animals and insects during an outdoor walk and log it in a small notebook
9. Play hide and seek
10. Make hand-painted card for friends and family
11. Pop or jump on bubble wrap
12. Bake or cook together
13. Learning different flavours by tasting condiments and smell herbs in the kitchen
14. Create a ‘drum’ set by turning pots and pans upside down and hit them with chopsticks
15. Matching small objects with shapes drawn on a piece of paper
16. Make a magic potion with leaves, peddles, feathers etc. found in the garden / park
17. Make a cereal box aquarium
18. 30min workout with youtube PE with Joe: see example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYnBVFa3DZw
19. Pretend cooking with dried pasta / rice
20. Messy, sensory play with shaving cream
All the best, stay safe and good luck!

Easy Lemon Polenta Cake by Catherine

EASY LEMON POLENTA CAKE
This rustic Italian-style lemon polenta cake is easy to make and can be served plain or with fresh fruits. It keeps well for several days in room temperature.
Prep time: 10min; Cook time: 40min; Total time: 50min

Ingredients:
• 1 cup polenta (165g), or stone-ground cornmeal
• 3/4 cup (105g) all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 2 large eggs
• 2 egg whites (1/4 cup, 60ml)
• 1 cup (220g) sugar (can use less sugar, depending on taste)
• 1/4 cup ((60ml) olive oil or neutral oil (such as canola or avocado)
• 2 tablespoons (30g) butter, softened
• 1/2 cup (125ml) whole milk plain yogurt or sour cream
• 2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon zest
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• Icing sugar to serve
• Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius and place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
2. Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan with baking paper to fit and lightly brush the bottom and sides of the pan with oil or cooking spray.
3. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
4. Beat the eggs, egg whites and sugar in a mixer on medium-high speed 4-5 minutes, until pale and creamy. On low speed, mix in the oil. butter, yogurt, lemon zest and juice.
5. Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 – 40 minutes, or until the top feels firm (not hard) and a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes before inverting onto a rack to cool – run a dull knife around the edge of the pan to loosen.
6. Sift icing sugar over the cake and serve.

Cup cakes that want to be Lemon Polenta Cakes when they grow up!

Best wishes, Catherine

Latest letter from the Archbishops of England and Wales

A People who Hope in Christ
A Message from the Metropolitan Archbishops
of the Catholic Church in England and Wales

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The radiance of the risen Lord shines upon us. At a time when so many shadows are
cast into our lives, and upon our world, the light of the resurrection shines forever to
renew and restore our hope. In the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis: ‘In the
midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up,
and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that
saves us: he is risen and is living by our side.’ (27 March 2020)
The impact of Covid-19, both nationally and internationally, has been immense. So
much of what we take for granted has changed. Our health and physical interaction,
our capacity to travel and gather, have all been affected. There is uncertainty in our
future, especially with work and the country’s economy. As we know, very sadly,
large numbers of people have died because of the coronavirus, and others have been
or remain seriously ill. Keyworkers, not least in the National Health Service and care
sectors, are serving selflessly to sustain the life of our nation. Our hearts and prayers
go out to everyone who is suffering because of Covid-19, and to all those battling to
overcome its effects. May those who have died rest in peace and those who are
bereaved find comfort.
When the Prime Minister announced the lockdown, this included places of worship
and therefore Catholic churches. These measures were put in place to stem the
general transmission of the virus. It is right that the Catholic community fulfils its
role in contributing to the preservation of life and the common good of society. This
must continue until the restrictions applied by the Government are lifted.
None of us would want to be in the situation in which we find ourselves. While the
live-streaming of the Mass and other devotions is playing an important part in
maintaining the life of faith, there is no substitute for Catholics being able to
physically attend and participate in the celebration of the Mass and the other
sacraments. Our faith is expressed powerfully and beautifully though ‘seeing,
touching, and tasting.’ We know that every bishop and every priest recognises the
pain of Catholics who, at present, cannot pray in church or receive the sacraments.
This weighs heavily on our hearts. We are deeply moved by the Eucharistic yearning
expressed by so many members of the faithful. We thank you sincerely for your love
for the Lord Jesus, present in the sacraments and supremely so in the Holy Sacrifice
2
of the Mass. The bishops and priests of every diocese are remembering you and your
loved ones at Mass each day in our churches as we pray ‘in hope of health and wellbeing.’
We thank our priests for this faithfulness to their calling.
As the Government’s restrictions are relaxed step by step, we look forward to
opening our churches and resuming our liturgical, spiritual, catechetical and pastoral
life step by step. This will also be of service to those beyond the Catholic Church who
depend on our charitable activity and outreach through which much goodness is
shared by so many volunteers from our communities.
None of us knows, as yet, how or when the lockdown will end. There is likely to be
a phased return to travelling and gathering. As a church, we are now planning for
this time and our discussions with the statutory public health agencies and
Government representatives are ongoing. Together with Catholics across England
and Wales we desire the opening of our churches and access to the sacraments. Until
then, we are continuing to pray and prepare.
We want to acknowledge with gratitude the service of our fellow bishops and priests,
our deacons and religious, our families and lay faithful, together with all our parish
and school communities, for the wonderful ways the life of the faith is being
nourished at this time, especially in the home. We also pay tribute to the Catholic
organisations and networks that are working to support the vulnerable and needy.
On that first Easter day, the disciples were in lockdown and the doors were closed.
In their isolation the Lord Jesus came among them and said ‘Peace be with you.’ May
the peace of the risen Lord reign in our hearts and homes as we look forward to the
day we can enter church again and gather around the altar to offer together the
Sacrifice of Praise.
We unite in asking the intercession of Our Blessed Lady and assure you of our
prayers and blessing
Yours devotedly in Christ,
✠ Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
✠ Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool
✠ Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham
✠ George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff
✠ John Wilson, Archbishop of Southwark

notices of deaths and a memorial mass

We are very sad to have to record the death of Darrel Pereira on 6th April. Our prayers for Erica in her loss; also of Mary Donaghy of Manor Court on 8th April. Our prayers for her son Larry, his wife, children and grandchildren. Also the funeral of the late Brendan Bird took place at Putney Crematorium on this Thursday the 23rd April. It is proposed that there will be a memorial mass and service for Brendan once the restrictions are fully lifted. We will pray for the repose of their souls.

New writing from the parish


by Ines Gutierrez
For every ‘I miss’ there is an ‘I have’: I miss my friends, seeing them, laughing together: how I took for granted sharing our lives in proximity! Yet I am lucky to have family at home, and I guess we are lucky to be experiencing this pandemic in the age of technology, so that faces on screens bridge the gap of solitude and isolation.
It is quiet, dead quiet. I miss the hustle bustle on the streets, people going in and out of shops and cafés – how careless and unaware we were of our freedom, this utter luxury to go wherever and whenever we pleased! Yet not having planes waking us up at 5am on the dot (Air Malaysia landing, I was told once) might be the silver lining of this lockdown together with hearing the birds sing in the park, loud and clearly, as if they were reclaiming a space that our hectic lifestyle had robbed them of.
Then I find myself watching in disbelief that life as we know it is changing before our eyes, crumbling down during this imposed stillness. I am torn between the drama unfolding in hospitals and care homes and the worry about the economy and how this turmoil will end up affecting our household. Yet we have been blessed with one of the sunniest springs on record, with trees in full bloom and warm sunshine to gently lift the spirits, as if to say, life goes on somehow.
The only time is now, this is no news to anyone familiar with meditation. Never have I experienced it as clearly as during this uncertain and desperate times. So all I can do is fill my now with kindness, look outwards to others, be thankful for what I have and walk in hope, walk with faith.

Fr Bill writes: I would like to feature writings from the parish that emerge from this time of lock-down. The first one printed above is by Ines Gutierrez. I propose that I first put the article in this position, then when the next article comes along, I replace it with that one, moving the earlier article to this “News”  side-bar where it can still be accessed. 

Meditation of the Holy Father on 27 March on Coronavirus

MEDITATION OF THE HOLY FATHER in St Peter’s Rome on Friday 27th March, to the world has been moved to News on this site.
“The evening has come” ( Mk4.35). Thus begins the Gospel that we have heard. For weeks it seems that evening has fallen. Dense darkness has thickened on our squares, streets and cities; they took over our lives filling everything with a deafening silence and a desolate void, which paralyzes everything in its passage: you can feel it in the air, you can feel it in your gestures, the looks say it. We found ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples of the Gospel, we were taken aback by an unexpected and furious storm. We realized that we were on the same boat, all fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and necessary, all called to row together, all in need of comforting each other. On this boat … we are all there. Like those disciples, who speak with one voice and in anguish say: “We are lost” (v. 38),
It is easy to find ourselves in this story. What is difficult is to understand the attitude of Jesus. While the disciples are naturally alarmed and desperate, He stands in the stern, right in the part of the boat that first goes to the bottom. And what does it do? Despite the hustle and bustle, he sleeps peacefully, confident in the Father – it is the only time we see Jesus sleeping in the Gospel -. When he is awakened, after calming the wind and the waters, he turns to the disciples in a reproachful tone: «Why are you afraid? Don’t you still have faith? ” (v. 40).
Let’s try to understand. What is the lack of faith of the disciples, which is opposed to the trust of Jesus? They had not stopped believing in Him, in fact they invoke him. But let’s see how they invoke him: “Master, don’t you care that we’re lost?” (v. 38). You don’t care : they think that Jesus doesn’t care about them, that they don’t care about them. Among us, in our families, one of the things that hurts most is when we hear ourselves say: “Don’t you care about me?”. It is a phrase that hurts and unleashes storms in the heart. It will also have shaken Jesus. Because no one cares more than he cares about us. In fact, once invoked, he saves his disheartened disciples.
The storm unmasks our vulnerability and leaves uncovered those false and superfluous certainties with which we have built our agendas, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have left asleep and abandoned what nourishes, supports and strengthens our life and our community. The storm uncovered all the intentions to “pack” and forget what nourished the soul of our peoples; all those attempts to anesthetize with apparently “saving” habits, unable to appeal to our roots and evoke the memory of our elders, thus depriving us of the immunity necessary to face adversity.
With the storm, the trick of those stereotypes with which we masked our “egos” always worried about their image has fallen; and once again, that (blessed) common belonging to which we cannot escape has remained uncovered: belonging as brothers.
” Why are you afraid? Don’t you still have faith? ». Lord, your Word affects us tonight and affects us, everyone. In this world of ours, which you love more than us, we have moved forward at full speed, feeling strong and capable in everything. Greedy for profit, we let ourselves be absorbed by things and confused by haste. We have not stopped in front of your calls, we have not awakened in the face of planetary wars and injustices, we have not listened to the cry of the poor, and of our seriously ill planet. We continued undaunted, thinking of always staying healthy in a sick world. Now, while we are in a rough sea, we implore you: “Wake up Lord!”.
” Why are you afraid? Don’t you still have faith? ». Lord, appeal to us, an appeal to faith. That it is not so much to believe that You exist, but to come to You and trust You. In this Lent your urgent appeal resounds: “Get converted”, “return to me with all your heart” ( Gl 2,12). Call us to take this trial time as a time of choice. It is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: the time to choose what matters and what passes, to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is time to reset the course of life towards you, Lord, and towards others. And we can look at many exemplary travel companions, who, in fear, reacted by giving their lives. It is the working force of the Spirit poured out and molded into courageous and generous dedications. It is the life of the Spirit capable of redeeming, enhancing and showing how our lives are woven and supported by ordinary people – usually forgotten – who do not appear in the headlines of newspapers and magazines or in the big catwalks of the last show but, without a doubt, the decisive events of our history are writing today: doctors, nurses and nurses, supermarket workers, cleaners, carers, carriers, law enforcement, volunteers, priests, religious and many but many others who have including that nobody saves themselves. In the face of suffering, where the true development of our peoples is measured, we discover and experience the priestly prayer of Jesus: “that all may be one” ( Jn17:21). How many people exercise patience and instill hope every day, taking care not to sow panic but co-responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and grandmothers, teachers show our children, with small and daily gestures, how to face and go through a crisis by adapting habits, raising their eyes and stimulating prayer. How many people pray, offer and intercede for the good of all. Prayer and silent service: these are our winning weapons.
” Why are you afraid? Don’t you still have faith? ». The beginning of faith is knowing that we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient, alone; alone we sink: we need the Lord like the ancient sailors of the stars. We invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us give him our fears, so that He will overcome them. Like the disciples we will experience that, with him on board, there is no shipwreck. Because this is the strength of God: turning everything that happens to us to good, even bad things. He brings peace in our storms, because with God life never dies.
The Lord challenges us and, in the midst of our storm, invites us to awaken and activate solidarity and hope capable of giving solidity, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be shipwrecked. The Lord awakens to awaken and revive our Easter faith. We have an anchor: in his cross we have been saved. We have a helm: in his cross we have been redeemed. We have hope: in his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and nobody will separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of the isolation in which we are suffering the lack of affections and encounters, experiencing the lack of many things, we listen once again to the announcement that saves us: he is risen and lives next to us. The Lord challenges us from his cross to find the life that awaits us, to look towards those who demand us, to strengthen, recognize and encourage the grace that lives in us. We do not extinguish the dead flame (cf.Is 42: 3), who never falls ill, and let hope rekindle.
Embracing his cross means finding the courage to embrace all the contrarieties of the present time, abandoning for a moment our anxiety about omnipotence and possession to give space to the creativity that only the Spirit is capable of arousing. It means finding the courage to open spaces where everyone can feel called and allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity, solidarity. In his cross we were saved to welcome hope and to let it strengthen and support all possible measures and ways that can help us to keep ourselves safe and secure. Embrace the Lord to embrace hope: here is the strength of faith, which frees from fear and gives hope.
” Why are you afraid? Don’t you still have faith? ». Dear brothers and sisters, from this place, which tells about the rocky faith of Peter, tonight I would like to entrust you all to the Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady, the health of his people, star of the stormy sea. From this colonnade that embraces Rome and the world, God’s blessing descends on you like a consoling embrace. Lord, bless the world, give health to the bodies and comfort to the hearts. You ask us not to be afraid. But our faith is weak and we are fearful. But You, Lord, do not leave us at the mercy of the storm. Repeat again: “Do not be afraid” ( Mt 28.5). And we, together with Peter, “throw all concern into you, because you take care of us” (cf. 1 Pt 5,7).
Day 9. Wednesday 25th March, Feast of the Annunciation and on Day 11, Friday 27th March, Pope Francis asked us to join him in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with the Urbi et Orbi blessing.
As we end another extraordinary day in our universal history one thing stands out clearly in the reporting and anecdotale evidence, the main response to this crisis has been people responding in love and compassion to this huge need. Whether they have been using their scientific, medical, administrative or political skills or whether they have been volunteering or ringing up their neighbours and families, the driving force has been love triggered by a determination that fear will be overcome by our humanity towards each other.
Today we contemplate with wonder and awe the miracle of God Himself becoming one with us, so that he might be with us completely in all our joys and pains, in all our achievements and failures, in the extraordinariness of being a human being and also in its ordinariness, God is with us completely. As Pope St Leo the Great who was pope from September 440 until 461, in a letter in today’s Office of Readings said of this reconciliation of God with humankind “Lowliness was taken up by majesty, weakness by strength, mortality by eternity… for he who is true God is also true human; and there is no deception in this union, where the loftiness of God and the lowliness of human are brought together…One of these is ablaze with miracles, the other is overcome by injuries. As the Word does not cease to be on an equality with the glory of the Father, so the flesh does not cease to belong to the nature of our humanit

Diocesan warning about scams

Wednesday 25 March: the diocese has asked us to make people aware that there have been have been a number of scams linked to the coronavirus pandemic, ranging from fraudsters selling counterfeit products and phishing emails, to scammers knocking on the doors of vulnerable people offering to run errands for them or claiming they are there to test them for coronavirus. There is further information at this link https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51964507 Please be vigilant and please share this information with parishioners and neighbours.

Pastoral Letter from the Cardinal for 22 March 2020

ARCHBISHOP’S HOUSE,
WESTMINSTER, LONDON, SW1P 1QJ
Pastoral Letter for the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday)
22 March 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,
You need no words from me to state the grave seriousness of the crisis of the spread of the coronavirus around the world and throughout this country. We know the steps and the sacrifices we must take in order to play our part in slowing its spread, saving lives and enabling the NHS to continue its vital work. These things are our duty before God.
There are other vitally important aspects of this moment in our history that are less prominent in our media and conversations.
At this moment we stand before God. That is never to be forgotten. Together we turn to God in prayer, at this moment as never before.
Our faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the bedrock on which we live. Prayer is the first and loving expression of this relationship. Prayer is an acknowledgement that we are not in ultimate control of our lives or of our world. That is so clear at this time. Prayer is the recognition that our lives, individually and communally, are marked by failure and sin. Prayer is an expression of our turning to God for that grace which alone can heal us, strengthen us and give us the resolve and generosity to do all that is rightly expected of us today. Please make this a time of prayer, personally, in the family and wherever you happen to be.
The highest form of prayer is the celebration of the Holy Mass. This is at the heart of the rhythm of the life of the Church, the rhythm of prayer which sustains us all. The present crisis will not disturb that rhythm. Mass will continue to be celebrated, day by day. The prayer of the Church will continue day by day.
What will change is the manner of our participation in those celebrations of the Mass. In response to the pandemic and the official guidance, which we must follow, public participation in the celebration of the Mass is not, for now, possible. This is a sacrifice we have to make. It is not easy, for any Catholic, but it is what we must do.
I want to make it exceptionally clear that the teaching of the Church is that, in these circumstances, the obligation of attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days no longer applies. Please have no doubt about this.
This does not mean that we lose our love of the Mass or our desire to take part in the celebration of the Mass. Mass will be celebrated, day by day, in your church. There are many ways of taking part in this prayer. Associate yourself with the celebration of the Mass spiritually. Read the Scriptures of the day. Use some of the materials that are available to be close in your heart. Learn again the practice of spiritual communion. If you are helped by a visual participation in the Mass, then go to one of the websites on which that celebration is being streamed. The list of those websites is available to you.
There are many ways in which we can deepen our participation in the Mass and our life of prayer in these strange and stressful days. Indeed, they are an opportunity for us to do so.
Two other points.
Being unable to attend Mass is the experience of many, many Catholics around the world. They are deprived of the Mass through distance, or through violence, or through persecution. We can unite our experience with them and, like them, return to the Mass with fresh love and enthusiasm when, again, it is possible for us to do so, in bigger numbers than ever.
Secondly, you understand well that from our prayer, and from the prayer of the Mass, flows the love and compassion which we want to show to those around us who are in need. Jesus gives Himself entirely for us in His sacrifice, the sacrifice made present again for us in every Holy Mass. What we receive from Him we offer to others. So please do look out for every way in which you can help those in need around you. Thank you.
We know that this time of crisis is not going to be brief. We are involved in a lengthy battle. We encourage each other. We pray for each other. Together we turn to Mary for her special protection, especially on 29 March when again, in keeping with our ancient tradition, we offer ourselves and our country to her, as our gift, and seeking her protection.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, pray for us
Mary, Mother of Sorrows, pray for us
Mary, Mother of Joys, pray for us.
Amen.
Yours devotedly,
 Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
PS, I was given this prayer a few days ago. It touched me deeply. It is a prayer for our times.
Dear Guardian Angel, go for me to the church, there kneel down at Mass for me. At the Offertory, take me to God, and offer Him my service: What I am, what I have, offer as my gift. At the Consecration, with your seraphic strength, adore my Saviour truly present, praying for those who have loved me, for those who have offended me, and for those now deceased, that the blood of Jesus may purify them all. During Holy Communion, bring to me the Body and Blood of Jesus uniting Him with me in spirit, so that my heart may become His dwelling place. Plead with Him, that through His sacrifice all people throughout the world may be saved. When the Mass ends, bring home to me and to every home, the Lord’s blessing. Amen.
We are still surrounded by the angels and by the saints who are glorifying God and protecting and assisting mankind. Why should we not make them our particular friends and allies in situations where we are touching limits that we cannot overcome?

Loneliness Commission 2018

 

Loneliness is everywhere and we are all likely to be lonely from time to time, but it gets much worse under certain circumstances, such as when we move house, change schools, seek asylum, leave the armed forces, develop a health condition, leave care or become a carer. Under these conditions, as well as when we become a parent, change jobs, leave work, have a family breakdown or are bereaved, loneliness can become chronic. And it is expensive. One study shows it’s the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. it costs the health services £2.5 billion a year and could cost a lot more.
Now a coalition of 13 charities have come up with a report Jo Cox Loneliness, start a conversation. Combatting loneliness one conversation at a time that urges action. The government responded last week by appointing a Minister for Loneliness to see the report does not get forgotten. The charities came together to honour the murdered MP Jo Cox’s who believed that something must be done about the national scourge of loneliness. They want us as a nation and as individuals to anticipate and manage the loneliness that is coming our way, to avoid it if possible, and for individuals to develop resilience against it. The year-long commission on Loneliness was chaired by the MPs Seema Kennedy and Rachel Reeves to realise Jo’s vision.
At the moment for 3.5 million people over the age of 65, the television is their main companion. Even young parents are saying that half of them have felt lonely and one in five said they felt lonely just the week before they were questioned. Carers are also prone to loneliness with eight out of ten saying they feel lonely or isolated because they are looking after a loved one. Refugees and asylum seekers find loneliness and isolation one of the biggest problems and one in ten men say they are lonely but would never admit it.
So what to do? The report urges strong national leadership, a national measure of loneliness and national action. It wants the government to co-ordinate and galvanise local groups who are already involved so that there will be a national strategy to reduce loneliness across the whole age range. Every year the office of National Statistics should report on the results of a national indicator of loneliness that would illuminate the causes of loneliness. It wants a programme to find out what works best and wants Public Health England to get that message across. The London School of Economics has findings that suggest public services could save £6000 over ten years for every person whose loneliness is reduced. People die from loneliness as much as they die from other major diseases.
The report also wants the government to work with Trusts and Foundations and other funds to find new ways to tackle loneliness and provide money for community action. It wants political and business leaders as well as leaders of services such as the NHS, Fire, Police. Ambulance and employers all to see what they can do to tackle loneliness both in their policies and amongst their own work forces.
And the report wants us all to play our part. “We need to check our relationship balances at lease as often as we check our bank balances and think about whether we have got the connections we need to keep going.” Could we do more to keep relationships or find new ones, it asks. We all need to think about our families, neighbours and the wider community and consider who might be feeling lonely. It might be that all we need to do is let them know we are happy to chat. We need, it says, to create connection-friendly communities, making sure that everyone feels welcome into our group.
More details at https://www.jocoxloneliness.org https://www.jocoxloneliness.org/pdf/a_call_to_action.pdf

Parish Day on Sunday 17 September

Displaying the proposals for the new Marian statue, the new kitchen( hidden behind the pillar) the Asylum Seekers Drop-in and the parish activities

This link (which I think you will have to https://youtu.be/BYn66leDGIEcopy out) should show Mike Quirke’s proposal for Stella Maris.

Deaths of young people in Manchester

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

the news of 22 deaths in Manchester last night, 22nd May and of many people who were injured as a result of a person exploding a bomb attached to himself is the occasion for us to pray for all those who have died, their families and their friends.

May God receive the innocent dead into his Kingdom of light and love.

May He be with all those who are suffering in their bodies and in their spirit from this terrible moment of violence against themselves or against those they love.

May Blessed Mary, Mother of Our Lord, who herself watched with such grief and suffering the pain and death of her own beloved Son, attend to the needs of those who are now suffering, support those who are ministering to those who are suffering   and pray Jesus  that He will ask his Heavenly Father to bring healing to those in such pain.

May Mary’s prayers join with ours as we ask Jesus to petition the Father for an end to these terrible moments of violence against the innocent, may he help us build communities of peace and care for each other.

May all of us who call ourselves the Body of Christ be people of helpfulness and support, nurturing and loving wherever we can and joining with all people of goodwill to build a new Jerusalem, shared by all in harmony and peace in this lovely country in which we are blessed to live.

May God bless us all and be with those who are suffering so much today. In our prayers at this evening’s mass at 7pm we will remember them all.

Fr Bill

Pastoral letter from the Cardinal for 22 March 2020

ARCHBISHOP’S HOUSE,
WESTMINSTER, LONDON, SW1P 1QJ
Pastoral Letter for the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday)
22 March 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,
You need no words from me to state the grave seriousness of the crisis of the spread of the coronavirus
around the world and throughout this country. We know the steps and the sacrifices we must take in
order to play our part in slowing its spread, saving lives and enabling the NHS to continue its vital
work. These things are our duty before God.
There are other vitally important aspects of this moment in our history that are less prominent in our
media and conversations.
At this moment we stand before God. That is never to be forgotten. Together we turn to God in prayer,
at this moment as never before.
Our faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the bedrock on which we live. Prayer is the first and
loving expression of this relationship. Prayer is an acknowledgement that we are not in ultimate
control of our lives or of our world. That is so clear at this time. Prayer is the recognition that our
lives, individually and communally, are marked by failure and sin. Prayer is an expression of our
turning to God for that grace which alone can heal us, strengthen us and give us the resolve and
generosity to do all that is rightly expected of us today. Please make this a time of prayer, personally,
in the family and wherever you happen to be.
The highest form of prayer is the celebration of the Holy Mass. This is at the heart of the rhythm of
the life of the Church, the rhythm of prayer which sustains us all. The present crisis will not disturb
that rhythm. Mass will continue to be celebrated, day by day. The prayer of the Church will continue
day by day.
What will change is the manner of our participation in those celebrations of the Mass. In response to
the pandemic and the official guidance, which we must follow, public participation in the celebration
of the Mass is not, for now, possible. This is a sacrifice we have to make. It is not easy, for any
Catholic, but it is what we must do.
I want to make it exceptionally clear that the teaching of the Church is that, in these circumstances,
the obligation of attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days no longer applies. Please have no doubt
about this.
This does not mean that we lose our love of the Mass or our desire to take part in the celebration of
the Mass. Mass will be celebrated, day by day, in your church. There are many ways of taking part
in this prayer. Associate yourself with the celebration of the Mass spiritually. Read the Scriptures of
the day. Use some of the materials that are available to be close in your heart. Learn again the practice
of spiritual communion. If you are helped by a visual participation in the Mass, then go to one of the
websites on which that celebration is being streamed. The list of those websites is available to you.
There are many ways in which we can deepen our participation in the Mass and our life of prayer in these strange and stressful days. Indeed, they are an opportunity for us to do so.
Two other points.
Being unable to attend Mass is the experience of many, many Catholics around the world. They are deprived of the Mass through distance, or through violence, or through persecution. We can unite our experience with them and, like them, return to the Mass with fresh love and enthusiasm when, again, it is possible for us to do so, in bigger numbers than ever.
Secondly, you understand well that from our prayer, and from the prayer of the Mass, flows the love and compassion which we want to show to those around us who are in need. Jesus gives Himself entirely for us in His sacrifice, the sacrifice made present again for us in every Holy Mass. What we receive from Him we offer to others. So please do look out for every way in which you can help those in need around you. Thank you.
We know that this time of crisis is not going to be brief. We are involved in a lengthy battle. We encourage each other. We pray for each other. Together we turn to Mary for her special protection, especially on 29 March when again, in keeping with our ancient tradition, we offer ourselves and our country to her, as our gift, and seeking her protection.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, pray for us
Mary, Mother of Sorrows, pray for us
Mary, Mother of Joys, pray for us.
Amen.
Yours devotedly,
 Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
PS, I was given this prayer a few days ago. It touched me deeply. It is a prayer for our times.
Dear Guardian Angel, go for me to the church, there kneel down at Mass for me. At the Offertory, take me to God, and offer Him my service: What I am, what I have, offer as my gift. At the Consecration, with your seraphic strength, adore my Saviour truly present, praying for those who have loved me, for those who have offended me, and for those now deceased, that the blood of Jesus may purify them all. During Holy Communion, bring to me the Body and Blood of Jesus uniting Him with me in spirit, so that my heart may become His dwelling place. Plead with Him, that through His sacrifice all people throughout the world may be saved. When the Mass ends, bring home to me and to every home, the Lord’s blessing. Amen.
We are still surrounded by the angels and by the saints who are glorifying God and protecting and assisting mankind. Why should we not make them our particular friends and allies in situations where we are touching limits that we cannot overcome?