Pentecost Sunday

Solemnity of Pentecost (A) – 31 May 2020

pentecost2

Message for Pentecost from the Archbishop

 

Two Cathedrals Service

The traditional ecumenical service for Pentecost will be brought to us on-line this year with contributions from Merseyside Church Leaders. It is scheduled to go live at 3.00 pm today, the time the Pentecost Walk would normally take place. Here is the link to the Service, entitled ‘Our Service of Hope’ https://youtu.be/be6wXf_cuJQ

cathedrals

 

Sunday Mass

Although we can’t celebrate the Eucharist together this weekend, there are still ways we can pray together on this, the Lord’s Day.

 

1)  You can join in Mass online 

There are lots of websites that are livestreaming Mass:

cathedral

Mass will be livestreamed from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral at 11.00 am on YouTube:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCOiDR9mRmfnAu05Yg3ifyMw

st-stephen-warrington-1

Fr John McLaughlin is uploading Mass from St Stephen’s:

www.st-stephens-warrington.co.uk

blessed-john-henry-newman-latchford-1

Fr Peter now uploads Mass from St John Henry Newman:

www.newmanparishwarrington.com

online-masses-healthcare

There are plenty of Masses livestreamed throughout the day at the following websites:

www.churchservices.tv and https://www.mcnmedia.tv

 

2)  You can join in by praying at home – on your own or with other members of your household.  The following resources may be helpful:

the-scriptures-are-the-word-of-god-clipart-2

Celebrating Sunday at Home:    celebrating-sunday-at-home-pentecost

Fr Dave’s Prayers:    bidding-prayers-pentecost

Sunday Plus:    sunday-plus-31-may-2020

Archdiocese:    www.liverpoolcatholicresources.com/sunday-reflections-readings 

 

3)  For Children:

prayer-table-photo

You may like to use one or both of the following sheets:

Children’s Activity Sheet:    look-31-may-2020

Children’s Liturgy Sheet:    ichthus-31-may-2020

cafod

CAFOD are hosting a virtual Children’s Liturgy of the Word on Sundays at 10.00 am:

https://cafod.org.uk/Education/Children-s-liturgy

 

4)  Isolated but not alone!

‘The Tablet’ Catholic magazine has lots of links to online resources to help us during the pandemic.  The page is updated regularly:

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/12590/isolated-but-not-alone-resources-for-catholics

 

5)  And finally, a little humour…

dads-army-school

anty-bodies

 

With my prayers,
Fr Dave


7th Week of Easter

7th Saturday of Easter – 30 May 2020

pope-francis

Below is the third talk Pope Francis gave on prayer during his General Audience recently:

The Mystery of Creation

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Let us continue the catechesis on prayer, by meditating on the mystery of Creation. Life, the simple fact that we exist, opens mankind’s heart to prayer.

The first page of the Bible resembles a great hymn of thanksgiving. The narrative of Creation has a rhythm with refrains, where the goodness and beauty of every living thing is continually emphasized. With his word, God calls to life, and every thing comes into existence. With his word, he separates life from darkness, alternates day and night, interchanges the seasons, opens a palette of colours with the variety of plants and animals. In this overflowing forest that quickly vanquishes the chaos, the last one to appear is man. And this appearance inspires an extreme exultation that amplifies his satisfaction and joy: “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31). Very good, but also beautiful: the beauty of all creation can be seen!

The beauty and mystery of Creation create in the human heart the first impulse that evokes prayer (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2566). The eighth Psalm which we heard earlier states: “When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?” (vv. 3-4). The one praying contemplates the mystery of the life around him; he sees the starry sky that lies above him — and that astrophysics shows us today in all its immensity — and asks himself what loving plan must there be behind such ponderous work!… And, in this boundless expanse, what is man? ‘Almost nothing’, another Psalm states (cf. 89:48): a being that is born, a being that dies, an extremely fragile creature. Yet, in all the universe, the human being is the only creature aware of the great profusion of beauty. A small being who is born, who dies; he is here today and gone tomorrow. He is the only one who is aware of this beauty. We are aware of this beauty!

Mankind’s prayer is closely linked to the sentiment of wonder. The greatness of man is infinitesimal when compared to the dimensions of the universe. His greatest conquests seem quite small… However man is not nothing. In prayer a sentiment of mercy is powerfully confirmed. Nothing exists by chance: the secret of the universe lies in a benevolent gaze that someone meets in our eyes. The Psalm states that we are made little less than God; we are crowned with glory and honour (cf. 8:6). The relationship with God is man’s greatness, his enthronement. By nature we are almost nothing, small, but by vocation, by calling, we are the children of the great King!

It is an experience that many of us have had. If life’s events, with all their bitterness, sometimes risk choking the gift of prayer that is within us, it is enough to contemplate a starry sky, a sunset, a flower…, in order to rekindle a spark of thanksgiving. This experience is perhaps the basis of the first page of the Bible.

The people of Israel were not experiencing happy days when the great biblical narrative of Creation was written. An enemy power had occupied their land; many had been deported, and they now found themselves slaves in Mesopotamia. There was no more homeland, nor temple, nor social and religious life, nothing.

Yet, precisely in starting from the great narrative of Creation, someone began to find reasons for thanksgiving, to praise God for his or her existence. Prayer is the first strength of hope. You pray and hope grows, it moves forward. I would say that prayer opens the door to hope. There is hope but I open the door with my prayer. Because people of prayer safeguard basic truths; they are the ones who repeat, first and foremost to themselves and then to all the others, that this life, despite all its toils and trials, despite its difficult days, is full of a grace that is awe inspiring. And as such it must always be defended and protected.

Men and women who pray know that hope is stronger than discouragement. They believe that love is more powerful than death, and that surely one day it will triumph, even if in times and ways that we do not understand. Men and women of prayer bear gleaming reflections of light on their faces: because, the sun does not stop illuminating them, even in the darkest of days. Prayer illuminates you: it illuminates the souls, it illuminates the heart and it illuminates the face. Even in the darkest times, even in times of greatest suffering.

We are all bearers of joy. Have you considered this? That you are bearers of joy? Or do you prefer to bring bad news, things that sadden? We are capable of bearing joy. This life is the gift that God gave us: and it is too short to consume it in sadness, in bitterness. Let us praise God, happy to simply exist. Let us look at the universe, let us look at beauty and let us also look at our crosses and say: ‘You exist, you made us like this, for you’. It is necessary to feel that unrest of the heart that leads to thanking and praising God. We are children of the great King, of the Creator, capable of reading his signature in all of Creation. We are not safeguarding that creation today, but that creation holds the signature of God who made it out of love. May the Lord make us understand this ever more deeply and lead us to say “thank you”; and that “thank you” is a beautiful prayer.

 

7th Friday of Easter – 29 May 2020

The Church of England has produced a lovely little book of prayers for use during the current pandemic.  You can download it here:

prayer-book-church-of-england

 

7th Thursday of Easter – 28 May 2020

Today, a little something to make you smile.

First, sports commentator, Andrew Cotter, with another episode of Olive and Mabel:

 

Ever played peekaboo? …

 

And finally, watch this cat trying to understand snooker…

 

7th Wednesday of Easter – 27 May 2020

the-lords-prayer

The Lord’s Prayer
A reflection on the prayer Jesus taught us written by Raymond Friel:

Our Father
Not a frightening God
But the loving father of all humanity

Who art in heaven
Not far away but very close
Heaven is where we find the presence of God

Hallowed be thy name
We place your name above all other names
We praise you, we honour you, we thank you

Thy kingdom come
May the world look like the kind of place
God wants it to be, just and compassionate

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
We all want different things
But it’s what you want for us and the whole world that matters

Give us this day our daily bread
Give everybody what they need to live, physically and spiritually,
Give us the grace to help them

And forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
If we don’t forgive other people
We won’t be able to feel forgiven

And lead us not into temptation
Protect us from the glamorous path
The world sets before us

But deliver us from evil
Spare us from the terrible things human beings are capable of and help us to stand against evil in our world when we can

Amen.
Let all this be so.

 

7th Tuesday of Easter – 26 May 2020

Alive Publishing www.alivepublishing.co.uk have produced a little brochure of prayers and thoughts which may be helpful.  Click on the images below:

inspiration-in-times-of-isolation-p14

inspiration-in-times-of-isolation-p23

 

7th Monday of Easter – 25 May 2020

grandparents

Missing You
A  prayer for grandparents and grandchildren missing each other

Lord,

I am missing their tiny hands in mine,
I miss their wrinkles and their smile.

I am missing their visits and our weekly walks,
I miss their voice and our face to face talks.

I am missing hearing all about their day,
I miss them showing me the way.

I am missing hugs and kisses,
I miss sharing fun and wishes.

I am missing tucking them in on sleepovers,
I miss story time snuggled under the covers.

I am missing joining our hands in prayer ,
I miss just having them there.

I am missing seeing them grow,
I miss them sharing all the things they know.

I am missing the rites of passage that have passed,
I miss them being with us at Mass.

I am missing the grandchildren’s ring on the door bell,
I miss granny and grandad and hope they are well.

I am missing their presence day and night,
I miss my grandparents, my guiding light.

Please bless my grandchildren, and keep them safe and sound,
Pease mind granny and grandad until we can have them around.

By Brenda Drumm

 

7th Sunday of Easter (A) – 24 May 2020

wcd-donate-1200-800-1140x641

World Communications Day

Today is World Communications Day when we pray especially for all those who work in the media.  You might spare a prayer for a good friend of mine – Peter Heneghan.  Peter is the Archdiocesan Press Officer and a great support to the parishes and priests of the diocese.

Before the pandemic, Pope Francis wrote a letter for today entitled, “That you may tell your children and grandchildren”.  You can read it here:

pope-francis-world-communications-day-2020

eb_07dcomeholysp

Although we can’t celebrate the Eucharist together this weekend, there are still ways we can pray together on this, the Lord’s Day.

 

1)  You can join in Mass online 

There are lots of websites that are livestreaming Mass:

cathedral

Mass will be livestreamed from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral at 11.00 am on YouTube:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCOiDR9mRmfnAu05Yg3ifyMw

st-stephen-warrington-1

Fr John McLaughlin is uploading Mass from St Stephen’s:

www.st-stephens-warrington.co.uk

blessed-john-henry-newman-latchford-1

Fr Peter now uploads Mass from St John Henry Newman:

www.newmanparishwarrington.com

online-masses-healthcare

There are plenty of Masses livestreamed throughout the day at the following websites:

www.churchservices.tv and https://www.mcnmedia.tv

 

2)  You can join in by praying at home – on your own or with other members of your household.  The following resources may be helpful:

the-scriptures-are-the-word-of-god-clipart-2

Celebrating Sunday at Home:    celebrating-sunday-at-home-easter-7a

Fr Dave’s Prayers:    bidding-prayers-easter-7a

Sunday Plus:    sunday-plus-24-may-2020

 

3)  For Children:

prayer-table-photo

Collective Worship for Children:    collective-worship-for-children-24-may

Children’s Activity Sheet:    look-24-may-2020

cafod

CAFOD are hosting a virtual Children’s Liturgy of the Word on Sundays at 10.00 am:

https://cafod.org.uk/Education/Children-s-liturgy

 

4)  Isolated but not alone!

‘The Tablet’ Catholic magazine has lots of links to online resources to help us during the pandemic.  The page is updated regularly:

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/12590/isolated-but-not-alone-resources-for-catholics

 

5)  And finally, a little humour…

ascension-humour

cat-breaking-lockdown

 

With my prayers,

Fr Dave


6th Week of Easter

6th Saturday of Easter – 23 May 2020

During May, Pope Francis began a catechesis on prayer during his weekly General Audience.  The Vatican has just released his second talk:

pope-francis

The God of Love

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today we take our second step in the journey of catechesis on prayer that we began last week.

Praying with our hearts

Prayer belongs to everyone: to men and women of every religion, and probably also to those who profess none. Prayer arises in our innermost self, in that interior place that spiritual authors call “heart” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2562-2563). Therefore, it is not something peripheral that prays within us, it is not some secondary and marginal ability that we have, but rather it is our most intimate mystery. It is this mystery that prays. Feelings pray, but one cannot say that prayer is only feeling. Intelligence prays, but praying is not simply an intellectual act. The body prays, but one can speak with God even having the most serious disability. Thus the entire man prays if he prays with his “heart”.

Prayer is an impulse; it is an invocation that goes beyond ourselves: something that is born in the intimacy of our person and extends, because it senses the nostalgia of an encounter. That nostalgia which is more than a need, more than a necessity: it is a path. Prayer is the voice of an “I” that fumbles, that proceeds unsteadily in search of a “You”. The encounter between the “I” and the “You” cannot occur via calculators: it is a human encounter and we often proceed unsteadily in order to find the “You” that my “I” is seeking.

Jesus reveals God to us

Instead, the prayer of a Christian arises from a revelation: the “You” did not remain shrouded in mystery, but rather entered into a relationship with us. Christianity is the religion that continually celebrates God’s “manifestation”, that is, his epiphany. The first feasts of the liturgical year are the celebration of this God who does not remain hidden, but rather offers his friendship to mankind. God reveals his glory in the poverty of Bethlehem, in the contemplation of the Magi, in the baptism in the River Jordan, in the miracle of the wedding at Cana. The Gospel of John concludes the great hymn of the Prologue with a concise affirmation,: “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known” (1:18). It was Jesus who revealed God to us.

The prayer of a Christian enters into a relationship with the God of the most tender face, who does not wish to instill any fear in men and women. This is the first characteristic of Christian prayer. While men and women had always been accustomed to drawing near to God somewhat intimidated, somewhat fearful of this fascinating and tremendous mystery, while they had been accustomed to worshiping him with a servile attitude, similar to that of a vassal who does not wish to disrespect his lord, Christians instead address him by daring to  call him intimately with the name, “Father”. Indeed, Jesus uses the other word: “Dad”.

God is a Father, a Mother

Christianity has banned all “feudal” relationships from the bond with God. In the heritage of our faith there are no expressions such as “subjection”, “slavery” or “servitude”; but rather, words like “covenant”, “friendship”, “promise”, “communion”, “closeness”. In his long farewell discourse to his disciples, Jesus says this: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you” (Jn 15:15-16). But this is a blank cheque: “whatever you ask the Father in my name, I will give to you”!

God is a friend, an ally, a spouse. In prayer one can establish an intimate relationship with him, so much so that in the “Our Father” Jesus taught us to address to him a series of questions. We can ask God everything, everything; explain everything, recount everything. It does not matter if we feel flawed in our relationship with God: we are not good friends, we are not grateful children, we are not faithful spouses. He continues to love us. It is what Jesus shows definitively at the Last Supper when he says: “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Lk 22:20).

Opening our heart’s door

With that gesture in the Upper Room, Jesus foreshadows  the mystery of the Cross. God is a faithful ally: if men and women cease to love him, he nevertheless continues to love, even if love leads him to Calvary. God is always close to our heart’s door and he waits for us to open it to him. And sometimes he knocks on the heart, but he is not intrusive: he waits. God’s patience with us is the patience of a father, of one who loves us dearly. I would say it is the combined patience of  a father and a mother. Always close to our heart, and when he knocks he does so with tenderness and with much love.

Let us all try to pray this way, by entering the mystery of the Covenant. To place ourselves through prayer into the merciful arms of God, to feel enveloped by that mystery of happiness which is Trinitarian life, to feel like guests who were not worthy of so much honour. And to repeat to God in the wonder of prayer: how can you know only love? He does not know hatred. He is hated but he does not know hatred. He knows only love. This is the God to whom we pray. This is the incandescent core of all Christian prayer. The God of love, our Father who waits for us and accompanies us.

 

6th Friday of Easter – 22 May 2020

A Message from Archbishop Malcolm for yesterday’s Solemnity of the Ascension:

 

Pentecost Novena

thy-kingdom-come-2020

During these days between the Solemnity of the Ascension and the Feast of Pentecost in ten days time, we’re invited to join in praying with Christians across the world for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives, in the Church and throughout the world.  You can join in the Novena here:

https://www.cbcew.org.uk/home/events/pentecost-novena

pentecost-novena-booklet

 

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (A) – 21 May 2020

madonna-clipart-4

On this fortieth day of Easter, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.

1)  If you want to mark this day at home, there is a simple prayer service here:

celebrating-the-ascension-at-home

2)  If you prefer to join in Mass online:

Mass will be livestreamed from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral at 11.00 am on YouTube:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCOiDR9mRmfnAu05Yg3ifyMw

There will also be plenty of Masses livestreamed throughout the day at the following websites:

www.churchservices.tv and https://www.mcnmedia.tv

 

6th Wednesday of Easter – 20 May 2020

bishop-arnold

This evening at 6.00 pm, Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford and Chair of CAFOD, will be celebrating a special Laudato Si’ Mass at Salford Cathedral to mark the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical “on care for our common home”.  You can join in the Mass, which will be streamed live, on the link below:

https://www.churchservices.tv/salfordcathedral

 

6th Tuesday of Easter – 19 May 2020

This Sunday, 24 May, marks the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, “on care for our common home”.  Clink on the picture below to see the prayer:

prayer-card-web-en-690x450

 

6th Monday of Easter – 18 May 2020

vm

Bishop Vincent Malone, RIP

It is with great sadness that the death is announced of the Right Reverend Vincent Malone, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Liverpool and Titular Bishop of Abora. Bishop Malone died this morning, Monday 18 May, at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. He was admitted to hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

Bishop Vincent trained for the priesthood at St Joseph’s College, Upholland, and was ordained priest at St Oswald’s Church, Old Swan, Liverpool on 18 September 1955. After a number of years spent in the teaching profession, mainly at Cardinal Allen Grammar School, Liverpool, he became chaplain to the University of Liverpool in 1971 and then Administrator of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in 1979.

On 13 May 1989 he was named as Titular Bishop of Abora and Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, and received episcopal consecration the following 3 July. His resignation as Auxiliary Bishop was accepted on 26 October 2006, shortly after his 75th birthday, but he continued in his roles as Vicar General and Trustee of the Archdiocese until last year and as Canon of the Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter until his death.

We give thanks to God for Bishop Vincent’s long and faithful ministry among us.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

 

votive-in-hand

I came across these words of wisdom yesterday:

Some perspective!

1. There are no bombs raining on our heads.
2. I am not a prisoner held in solitary confinement, as millions are.
3. I am not a refugee trying to escape with my life.
4. I am not standing in line waiting to fill a pot of water.
5. I have access to fresh food and I’m not starving.
6. I have hot running water.
7. My country has not been ruined by years of war.
8. I can reach my friends by phone and check in on them.
9. My friends check in on me because they care about me.
10. Any whiplash I feel about this strange turn of events is itself a sign of privilege.
11. More than half of the world would gladly trade their everyday problems for the modest inconveniences I am experiencing.
12. I may have anxious dreams but I’m dreaming them on a proper bed and I’m not sleeping on the sidewalk.
13. By staying at home, I’m helping the planet rest.
14. As long as I have my mind I can create, imagine, dream and not be lonely.
15. This global crisis connects me to people around the world and reminds me of our common humanity. This is a good thing.
16. When something tragic happens to another country next time, I will respond to it not with superiority, but humility and recognition.
17. I will fight for positive changes and economically just policies in my own country.
18. I am surrounded by books.
19. I am surrounded by love.
20. The trees have already begun to bloom.”

And most importantly, I am held in the palm of God’s hand!

How blest we are.

Attributed to Fr Eamon Graham, Parish of Lavey, Magherafelt, Co Derry

 

6th Sunday of Easter (A) – 17 May 2020

easter-6a

Although we can’t celebrate the Eucharist together this weekend, there are still ways we can pray together on this, the Lord’s Day.

 

1)  You can join in Mass online 

There are lots of websites that are livestreaming Mass:

cathedral

Mass will be livestreamed from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral at 11.00 am on Facebook and YouTube:

The Facebook address is:

www.facebook.com/liverpoolmetrocathedral

The YouTube address is:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCOiDR9mRmfnAu05Yg3ifyMw

st-stephen-warrington-1

Fr John McLaughlin is uploading Mass from St Stephen’s:

www.st-stephens-warrington.co.uk

online-masses-healthcare

There are plenty of Masses livestreamed throughout the day at the following websites:

www.churchservices.tv and https://www.mcnmedia.tv

 

2)  You can join in by praying at home – on your own or with other members of your household.  The following resources may be helpful:

the-scriptures-are-the-word-of-god-clipart-2

Celebrating Sunday at Home:    celebrating-sunday-at-home-easter-6a

Fr Dave’s Prayers:    bidding-prayers-easter-6a

Sunday Plus:    sunday-plus-17-may-2020

 

3)  For Children:

img-20200509-wa0004

Collective Worship for Children:    collective-worship-for-children-17-may

Children’s Activity Sheet:    look-17-may-2020

cafod

CAFOD are hosting a virtual Children’s Liturgy of the Word on Sundays at 10.00 am:

https://cafod.org.uk/Education/Children-s-liturgy

 

4)  Isolated but not alone!

‘The Tablet’ Catholic magazine has lots of links to online resources to help us during the pandemic.  The page is updated regularly:

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/12590/isolated-but-not-alone-resources-for-catholics

 

5)  And finally, a little humour…

the-hills-are-closed

social-distancing-shoes

With my prayers,

Fr Dave


5th Week of Easter

5th Saturday of Easter – 16 May 2020

pope-francis

Pope Francis on Prayer (1)

Last week, Pope Francis began a series on prayer at his live-streamed General Audience.  The Vatican have now released the full transcript of his first talk:

The mystery of prayer

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today we begin a new series of catecheses on the theme of prayer. Prayer is the breath of faith; it is its most proper expression. Like a cry that issues from the heart of those who believe and entrust themselves to God.

Let us think about the story of Bartimaeus, a character in the Gospel (cf. Mk 10:46-52), and I confess that for me he is the most likeable of all. He was blind and sat begging for alms by the roadside on the periphery of his city, Jericho. He is not an anonymous character. He has a face and a name: Bartimaeus, that is, “son of Timaeus”. One day he heard that Jesus would be passing through there. In fact, Jericho was a crossroads of people, continually criss-crossed by pilgrims and tradesmen. Thus, Bartimaeus positioned himself: he would have done anything possible to meet Jesus. So many people did the same. Let us recall Zacchaeus who climbed up the tree. Many wanted to see Jesus; he did too. In this way the man enters the Gospels as a voice that loudly cries out. He cannot see. He does not know whether Jesus is near or far away but he hears him. He understands this from the crowd which, at a certain point, grows and comes closer…. But he is completely alone and no one is concerned about him. And what does Bartimaeus do? He cries out. And he cries out and continues to cry out. He uses the only weapon he possesses: his voice. He begins to shout: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v. 47). And he continues to cry out in this manner. His repeated cries are a nuisance. They do not seem polite and many people scold him, telling him to be quiet: “But be polite; do not do this”. However, Bartimaeus does not keep silent but rather cries out even more loudly: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v. 47): That beautiful stubbornness of those who seek a grace and knock and knock on the door of God’s heart. He cries out; he knocks. That expression: “Son of David”, is very important. It means “the Messiah” — he professes the Messiah. It is a profession of faith that emerges from the mouth of that man who was despised by all. And Jesus listens to his cry. Bartimaeus’ prayer touches his heart, God’s heart, and the doors of salvation open up for him. Jesus calls for him. He jumps to his feet and those who had first told him to be quiet, now lead him to the Master. Jesus speaks to him. He asks him to express his desire — this is important — and then the cry becomes a request: “that I may see again, Lord!” (cf. v. 51).

bartimaues

Jesus says to him: “Go your way; your faith has made you well” (v. 52). He recognises in that poor, defenceless and despised man, all the power of his faith, which attracts the mercy and the power of God. Faith is having two hands raised up, a voice that cries out to implore the gift of salvation. The Catechism states that “humility is the foundation of prayer” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2559). Prayer is born of the earth, of the humus from which “humble”, “humility” derive. It comes from our precarious state, from our continuous thirst for God (cf. ibid., 2560-2561). Faith, as we have seen with Bartimaeus, is a cry. Lack of faith is the suppression of that cry. That attitude that the people had, in making him keep quiet: they were not people of faith, whereas he was. To suppress that cry is a type of omertà (code of silence). Faith is a protest against a pitiful condition the cause of which we do not understand. Lack of faith is to limit ourselves to endure a situation to which we have become accustomed. Faith is the hope of being saved. Lack of faith is becoming accustomed to the evil that oppresses us and continuing in that way.

Dear brothers and sisters, we begin this series of catecheses with Bartimaeus’ cry because perhaps everything is already written in someone like him. Bartimaeus is a persevering man. He was surrounded by people who explained that imploring was useless, that it was clamouring without receiving a reply, that it was noise that was only bothersome, and thus please stop crying out. But he did not remain in silence. And in the end he obtained what he wanted.

bartimaeus-2

Greater than any discussion to the contrary, there is a voice in mankind’s heart that invokes. We all have this voice within. A voice that comes forth spontaneously without anyone commanding it, a voice that asks itself about the meaning of our journey on earth, especially when we find ourselves in darkness: “Jesus, have mercy on me! Jesus have mercy on me!”. This is a beautiful prayer.

But are these words perhaps not chiselled in all of creation? Everything invokes and implores so that the mystery of mercy may be definitively fulfilled. Not only Christians pray; they share their cry of prayer with all men and women. But the horizon can be further widened: Paul states that all of creation “has been groaning in travail together until now” (Rom 8:22). Artists are often the interpreters of this silent cry of creation that is found in every creature and emerges above all in the heart of men and women, because they are “beggars before God” (ccc, 2559). It is a beautiful definition of mankind: “beggars before God”. Thank you.

 

5th Friday of Easter – 15 May 2020

Yesterday, Cardinal Nichols was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 about safely re-opening our churches.  You can listen to the interview here:

 

 

I thought this little video was very good:

 

And finally, a little bit of humour with Olive and Mabel:

 

5th Thursday of Easter – 14 May 2020

votive-candles

Day of Prayer for Humanity

Pope Francis has invited people of all faiths to pray today for an end to the coronavirus pandemic:

“May God have mercy on us and put an end to this tragedy, this pandemic, as well as the pandemics of hunger, war, and children without an education. This we ask as brothers and sisters, everyone together.”

Perhaps we could join people across the world today by simply praying a decade of the rosary.

 

5th Wednesday of Easter – 13 May 2020

day-of-prayer

Day of Prayer for Humanity

Pope Francis announced that tomorrow, 14 May, will be a Day of Prayer, Fasting and Charitable Works to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative came from The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, who proposes that everyone, regardless of religion, participate:

“Dear fellow believers and brothers and sisters in humanity,

Our world is facing at the moment a great danger that threatens the lives of millions of people around the world due to the growing spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

While we reaffirm the role of medicine and scientific research in fighting this pandemic, we should not forget to seek refuge in God, as we face this severe crisis. Therefore, we call upon all peoples around the world to pray according to each’s respective religious convictions, to observe fast and to do good deeds to end this pandemic.

May each of us, wherever we are, and according to the teachings of our own respective faith traditions and philosophies, seek divine help to rescue ourselves and the entire world from this adversity, to inspire scientists to find a cure for the virus and to save the whole world from the health, economic, and human repercussions of this serious pandemic.

As part of its efforts to realise the objectives of the Document on Human Fraternity, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity proposes Thursday May 14 as a Day of prayers, fasting and works of charity for the good of all humanity.

In this regard, the Committee invites all religious leaders and peoples around the world to respond to this call together; to beseech God, the Almighty to safeguard the entire world, to help us overcome this pandemic, to restore security, stability, health, and prosperity, so that, once this pandemic-crisis is over, our world may become a better place for humanity and for human fraternity than ever before.”

Catholic Pictorial

catholic-pic-may

The May edition of the Catholic Pic is now available.  A downloadable digital version can also be found at www.catholicpic.co.uk

 

5th Tuesday of Easter – 12 May 2020

strong-in-the-face-of-tribulation

Strong in the Face of Tribulation

The Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See has made available a downloadable book entitled “Strong in the Face of Tribulation”, containing prayers, supplications and the Pope’s homilies as “a sure support in time of trial”.  You can download the publication here:

strong-in-the-face-of-tribulation

 

5th Monday of Easter – 11 May 2020

A Message from Bishop Tom:

 

5th Sunday of Easter (A)

easter-5aea_05d

Prayer for a household in lockdown

God of the indoors,
who knew the confines of domestic space
at a time of little comfort,
help us in this time of confinement,
help us to see it as an act of love, in solidarity
with those who care for us and put their own lives
on the line for the sake of others.

Help us to ‘make room’ for each other, even if room is scarce,
help us to find reserves of patience we never knew we had,
to take offence less easily, to find in our hearts
an easy apology when we’re petulant.
Help us to be attentive, careful, and thoughtful.
May we draw deeply from the well
of our most loving times.

Raymond Friel

 

Although we can’t celebrate the Eucharist together this weekend, there are still ways we can pray together on this, the Lord’s Day.

 

1)  You can join in Mass online 

There are lots of websites that are livestreaming Mass:

cathedral

Mass will be livestreamed from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral at 11.00 am on Facebook and YouTube:

The Facebook address is:

www.facebook.com/liverpoolmetrocathedral

The YouTube address is:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCOiDR9mRmfnAu05Yg3ifyMw

st-stephen-warrington-1

Fr John McLaughlin is uploading Mass from St Stephen’s:

www.st-stephens-warrington.co.uk

online-masses-healthcare

There are plenty of Masses livestreamed throughout the day at the following websites:

www.churchservices.tv and https://www.mcnmedia.tv

 

2)  You can join in by praying at home – on your own or with other members of your household.  The following resources may be helpful:

the-scriptures-are-the-word-of-god-clipart-2

Celebrating Sunday at Home:    celebrating-sunday-at-home-easter-5a

Fr Dave’s Prayers:    bidding-prayers-easter-5a

Sunday Plus:    sunday-plus-10-may-2020

 

3)  For Children:

img-20200509-wa0004

Collective Worship for Children:    collective-worship-for-children-10-may

Children’s Activity Sheet:    look-10-may-2020

cafod

CAFOD are hosting a virtual Children’s Liturgy of the Word on Sundays at 10.00 am:

https://cafod.org.uk/Education/Children-s-liturgy

 

4)  Isolated but not alone!

‘The Tablet’ Catholic magazine has lots of links to online resources to help us during the pandemic.  The page is updated regularly:

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/12590/isolated-but-not-alone-resources-for-catholics

 

5)  And finally, a little humour…

I thought I might take up a little hairdressing to supplement parish funds!

hair-today

I’ll probably get into trouble for this one…

chloroform

 

With my prayers,
Fr Dave


4th Week of Easter

4th Saturday of Easter – 9 May 2020

votive-candle

Prayer for a household in lockdown

God of the indoors,
who knew the confines of domestic space
at a time of little comfort,
help us in this time of confinement,
help us to see it as an act of love, in solidarity
with those who care for us and put their own lives
on the line for the sake of others.

Help us to ‘make room’ for each other, even if room is scarce,
help us to find reserves of patience we never knew we had,
to take offence less easily, to find in our hearts
an easy apology when we’re petulant.
Help us to be attentive, careful, and thoughtful.
may we draw deeply from the well
of our most loving times.

Raymond Friel

 

4th Friday of Easter – 8 May 2020

ve-day-75

Victory in Europe (VE) Day

Victory in Europe Day marks the day in 1945, towards the end of the Second World War, when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end on the continent.  Bishop Paul Mason, the Catholic Bishop of the Forces, recognises something of the war-time community spirit and solidarity in today’s very different battle:

“It’s an ironic twist of fate that our VE Day celebration of victory and liberation should find us both embattled and locked down.  How readily we have seen in these days, however, that same spirit of determination and pulling together of our forebears in World War Two.  Although we are not able to mark the 75th anniversary as planned, I am sure it will not stop us from remembering them, thanking them and celebrating the courage of all those who bought our freedom at such cost.  We pray for them and ask God to inspire us with that same sense of sacrifice in our own lives.  May they all rest in peace.”

Live Thanksgiving Mass

President of the Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, will celebrate a live-streamed Thanksgiving Mass for VE Day from Westminster Cathedral – beginning with two minutes’ silence – at 11.00 am this morning.

You can follow the Mass at churchservices.tv/Westminster

VE Day Thanksgiving 1945

The Church of England has made available the order of service used in Westminster Abbey on this day in 1945:

ve-day-1945

 

4th Thursday of Easter – 7 May 2020

Masses for the Sick and their Families,
NHS Front-Line workers and those working in Social Care

A reminder that special Masses are being celebrated for the sick, their families, care workers and NHS staff on Thursdays at 7.00 pm online from a different cathedral each week.  This evening, Bishop Marcus Stock will celebrate Mass in Leeds Cathedral.  You can watch it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf25z54QBZQ

pope-francis

At his General Audience yesterday, Pope Francis began a series on prayer.  He also had a greeting for English-speaking Christians.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Today we begin a new series of catechesis on prayer.

Prayer is the breath of faith, a cry arising from the hearts of those who trust in God.

We see this in the story of Bartimaeus, the beggar from Jericho. Though blind, he is aware that Jesus is approaching, and perseveres in calling out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mk 10:47). By using the phrase “Son of David”, he makes a profession of faith in Jesus the Messiah.

In response the Lord invites Bartimaeus to express his desire, which is to be able to see again. Christ then tells him: “Go; your faith has saved you” (v. 52). This indicates that faith is a cry for salvation attracting God’s mercy and power. It is not only Christians who pray but all men and women who search for meaning on their earthly journey.

As we continue on our pilgrimage of faith, may we, like Bartimaeus, always persevere in prayer, especially in our darkest moments, and ask the Lord with confidence: “Jesus have mercy on me. Jesus, have mercy on us!”.

I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media. In this Easter season, I invoke upon you and your families the joy and strength that come from the Risen Christ. May God bless you!”

 

4th Wednesday of Easter – 6 May 2020

A little local news for today.

happy-birthday

I think I might get into trouble for this, but I can’t resist because Brenda Snelson is 98 today! So a very happy birthday to you, Brenda.  I’ve sent a card and a gift on behalf of us all.

prayers-please

Syd Bradshaw is quite poorly. So please pray for Syd – and, of course, for Cath who is unable to visit him at the moment.

Sadly, Veronica Edwards from St Oswald’s died at the weekend. Fortunately, I was able to visit her with her family.  She was very peaceful.  We give thanks to God for this wonderful little lady who used to make us all smile.

During the lockdown, we’ve had 18 deaths in the parish – three times the average for this time of year.  Two thirds have been due to the virus.  Despite what we hear in the media, Warrington Hospital is still busy and the virus is beginning to hit our local care homes.  So please keep praying for all those wonderful carers in the NHS and Social Care as well as for those who are sick and their families, especially those who are unable to visit their loved ones at this time.  Thank you.

And now for something completely different.

haw20share

It’s Hedgehog Awareness Week. I mention that because, as you know, I love animals and hedgehogs are particularly vulnerable at this time of year.  Here are some useful tips from the College of Animal Welfare – you might need to click on the picture to read it…

hedgehog-awareness-week-infographic-how-to-help-hedgehogs3

 

4th Tuesday of Easter – 5 May 2020

A Message from the Archbishop for Good Shepherd Sunday

 

4th Monday of Easter – 4 May 2020

pope-francis-free

Letter from Pope Francis

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It’s the month of May, 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. (See below)

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.

Francis

prayers-of-pope-francis-may-2020

 

4th Sunday of Easter (A)

good-shepherd2

A People who Hope in Christ

You can read a Message from the Metropolitan Archbishops of the Catholic Church in England and Wales here:

a_people_who_hope_in_christ_final

 

The Great Realisation

This is wonderful.  A bedtime story of how it started…

 

Good Shepherd Sunday

Although we can’t celebrate the Eucharist together this weekend, there are still ways we can pray together on this, the Lord’s Day.

 

1)  You can join in Mass online 

There are lots of websites that are livestreaming Mass:

cathedral

Mass will be livestreamed from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral at 11.00 am on Facebook and YouTube:

The Facebook address is:

www.facebook.com/liverpoolmetrocathedral

The YouTube address is:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCOiDR9mRmfnAu05Yg3ifyMw

st-stephen-warrington-1

Fr John McLaughlin is uploading Mass from St Stephen’s:

www.st-stephens-warrington.co.uk

online-masses-healthcare

There are plenty of Masses livestreamed throughout the day at the following websites:

www.churchservices.tv and https://www.mcnmedia.tv

 

2)  You can join in by praying at home – on your own or with other members of your household.  The following resources may be helpful:

angelo-rosa-maria-2

Celebrating Sunday at Home:    celebrating-sunday-at-home-easter-4a

Fr Dave’s Prayers:    bidding-prayers-easter-4a

Sunday Plus:    sunday-plus-3-may-2020

 

3)  For Children:

angelo-rosa-maria-1

Prayer Service for Children:    prayer-service-for-children-easter-4a

Children’s Activity Sheet:    look-3-may-2020

CAFOD are hosting a virtual Children’s Liturgy of the Word on Sundays at 10.00 am:  https://cafod.org.uk/Education/Children-s-liturgy

 

4)  Isolated but not alone!

‘The Tablet’ Catholic magazine has lots of links to online resources to help us during the pandemic.  The page is updated regularly:

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/12590/isolated-but-not-alone-resources-for-catholics

 

5)  And finally… a little humour…

persuasive-cat

 

With my prayers,
Fr Dave