Fr Dave's Blog

7th Week of Easter

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


3rd Week of Easter

3rd Saturday of Easter – 2 May 2020

eucharist-bw

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 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 well-being.’ 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

 

3rd Friday of Easter – 1 May 2020

blessed-james-bell-2

Anniversary of the Foundation of the Parish of Blessed James Bell

It was on this day in 2018 that our Parish of Blessed James Bell came into being by a formal decree issued by the Archbishop. The decree merged the three former parishes of St Benedict’s, St Mary’s and St Oswald’s into one new parish under the patronage of the Warrington martyr, James Bell.  Later that year, on 26 October 2018, we had a liturgical celebration inaugurating the new parish.  Today, perhaps we could pray this prayer of rededication that I put together for that celebration.

Prayer of Rededication

God our Father,
we, your pilgrim people,
gather in your presence and ask your blessing
as we seek to serve you and your people.

Under the patronage of Blessed James Bell,
and in communion with the whole Church,
form us into a community,
built on the fidelity of those who have gone before us.

May we take to heart the last words of the Lord Jesus
and go into the world
to proclaim the Good News to the whole of creation.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit,
may your Word take root in our hearts inspiring us
to gather and give thanks in the eucharist,
to serve you in our love for one another,
and to reach out in welcome to all people,
especially those most in need.

United with other Christian communities in this area,
may our parish be a source of grace and blessing
for the local community,
and so help to build your kingdom of justice, love and peace.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

St Joseph the Worker

Today is also the beautiful feast of St Joseph the Worker.  It’s one of two days in the year dedicated to St Joseph, husband of Mary.  Today’s feast remembers his vocation as a carpenter and as the patron of all workers.  St Joseph is also the patron of the Universal Church, unborn children and fathers.  At Mass this morning, Pope Francis invited us to pray for all workers – that no one might be without work and all might be paid a just wage, and that all may benefit from the dignity of work and the beauty of rest.

st-joseph-the-worker

 

 

3rd Thursday of Easter – 30 April 2020

online-masses-healthcare

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 Richard Moth will celebrate Mass in Arundel Cathedral.  You can watch it here:  www.cbcew.org.uk

stay-at-home-protect-nhs_original

Coping with the Lockdown

Loving God,
we thank you for the wonder of our being,
but there are times when fear and anxiety
threaten to overwhelm us.
Fill our hearts and minds with peace
in the midst of the storm,
and the sure and certain knowledge
that you are with us always.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Mental Health & Wellbeing

health-wellness

tips-that-may-help-during-this-period-of-uncertainty

Contacts for support:  https://www.liverpoolcatholicresources.com/mental-health

Those living with Dementia and their Carers

dementia-forget-me-not

This time of isolation and social distancing can be especially hard for people living with dementia and their carers.  The Archdiocese has provided links to resources which may be helpful:

https://www.liverpoolcatholicresources.com/dementia

a-guide-for-carers-of-people-with-dementia

activities-for-older-adults

Family Life

family-life

parenting-during-covid-19

For those who are divorced and separated:

https://www.restoredlives.org/dealing-with-the-covid19-crisis-for-divorcees

Messy Church for Children:

https://www.messychurch.org.uk/covid-19

 

 

3rd Wednesday of Easter – 29 April 2020

clipart-email-6050717

Fr Chris Thomas reflects on The Word of God

It struck me that during these days of isolation when things seem to be so confusing and we can’t meet in our churches to receive Christ sacramentally that at home we might reflect on the Scriptures and so meet the same Christ who wants us to have life and life in its fullness.

When I was a child my nana lived with us. She was bedridden and my mum looked after her. My dad was an alcoholic and when I couldn’t cope with his moods I would run and hide in my nana’s bed and she would read bible stories to me. It was very unusual for a woman born in the 1890s to read the Bible but Nana did. Even when I lost faith, I would still read the Scriptures because I loved the stories that I found there, and they reminded me of times when I found a little bit of peace in what was sometimes a traumatic childhood. The Scripture stories and nana’s calm presence were pools of light for me in the darkness. There was somewhere I felt safe. When God found me, I was fifteen and one of the first things that happened to me was that the Scriptures came alive. The stories that I had read to me for so many years took on new meaning as I discovered the presence of God in and through the Word. I’m convinced that through reading and praying the Scriptures we will encounter God in a new way.

The Christian Church believes the Scriptures are the Word of God, inspired by the spirit, written by communities of faith to help others on their faith journey, that God speaks to us through them. Every time we read them God will speak challenging us, comforting us. The Scriptures draw us into an experience of God an encounter with God where we know that God is alive and with us.

For most of us who are Catholic when we think of the presence of God we think about the Eucharist. We talk of the real presence, but you know the truth is that God is as really present in the Scriptures and in people as God is present in the Eucharist. Every time we read the Word, we enter into the presence of God. What do I mean by presence? Well I guess it’s that indescribable sense of relationship, where we know by faith that another is walking with us and addressing us and entering into the reality of our lives.

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

The Scriptures tell our story, our faith story, the difficulties we have in life, the challenges we have to face, the big questions that we wrestle with. Why am I here? Why do I exist? What’s suffering all about? They reveal the universal patterns of human experience. You know the questions that my mum asked when she was dying in a hospice in 1993 are the same questions that someone dying in first century Palestine would have asked. The Scriptures invite us to reflect on the way in which we love one another, the way we relate to one another and see one another. The Scriptures say to us that loving one another is not about coming to church services, it’s about justice, mercy and truth.

So, pray the Scriptures of the day, the ones usually read at Mass and see what it does for you. A tool that can help us pray the Scriptures by ourselves or with members of our household at this time is the ancient practice of Lectio Divina.

  • Listen
  • Silence
  • Recall the story with another person if you are able or by yourself
  • Read it again stopping wherever you want to stop, with whatever word or phrase captures your attention
  • Silence
  • If you are able, share with another person what has struck you in the reading
  • If there is no-one else with you, then record it on paper so that looking back you can see what God has been saying to you

 

 

3rd Tuesday of Easter – 28 April 2020

pope-2

A prayer from Pope Francis:

“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God.”

In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our mother, and seek refuge under your protection.

Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes toward us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.

Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.

Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.

Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.

Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.

To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

 

3rd Monday of Easter – 27 April 2020

Today, a few videos to cheer you up!

Someone sent me this video.  It’s about recognising what’s important in life.

 

Doing the weather from home… in style!  BBC weatherman, Owain Wyn Evans, accompanies the  BBC News theme on his drums:

 

And finally, the Episcopal Church in America has released this Easter Hymn performed by a virtual choir and orchestra.  It’s genius.

 

3rd Sunday of Easter (A)

emaus02

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, with a recording available on YouTube shortly afterwards.

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-3

Celebrating Sunday at Home:    celebrating-sunday-at-home-easter-3a

Children’s sheet:    look-26-april

Fr Dave’s Prayers:    bidding-prayers-easter-3a

Sunday Plus:    sunday-plus-26-april

 

3)  For Children:

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…

wheelie-bin

With my prayers,
Fr Dave

 


2nd Week of Easter

2nd Saturday of Easter – 25 April 2020

votive-candle

‘And The People Stayed Home’ by Kitty O’Meara

And the people stayed home.

And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art,

and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.

And listened more deeply.

Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. 

Some met their shadows. 

And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.

And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless,

and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again,

they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images.

And created new ways to live.

And heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

 

2nd Friday of Easter – 24 April 2020

kindness-coronavirus-cover_1

Struggling with the lockdown?  The Mental Health Foundation has some good ideas.  They’re good ideas because they take us out of ourselves and help to bring some cheer to someone else.

  • Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while
  • Tell a family member how much you love and appreciate them
  • Make a cup of tea for someone you live with
  • Arrange to have a cup of tea and virtual catch up with someone you know
  • Help with a household chore at home
  • Arrange to watch a film at the same time as a friend and video call
  • Tell someone you know that you are proud of them
  • Tell someone you know why you are thankful for them
  • Send a motivational text to a friend who is struggling
  • Send someone you know a joke to cheer them up
  • Send someone you know a picture of a cute animal
  • Send an inspirational quote to a friend
  • Send an interesting article to a friend
  • Contact someone you haven’t seen in a while and arrange a phone call
  • Spend time playing with your pet
  • Reach out to call a friend, family member or neighbour who is experiencing loneliness or self-isolation
  • Donate to a charity
  • Lend your ear – call a colleague and ask how they’re finding it all
  • Give praise to your colleague for something they’ve done well
  • Arrange to have a video lunch with a colleague
  • Send an inspirational story of kindness from around the world to someone you know
  • Donate to foodbanks
  • Offer to skill share with a friend via video call – you could teach guitar, dance etc
  • Offer support to vulnerable neighbours
  • Offer to send someone a takeaway or a meal

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk

2nd Thursday of Easter – 23 April 2020

Happy Feast Day!

st-george

Today is the Solemnity of St George, Patron and Protector of England.  He was a Roman soldier, martyred on this day in 303 AD, during the persecution of Christians in what is now present day Israel.  He became a favourite saint for the Crusades and his feast day has been kept in England since 1222.  Let us ask St George to pray for us today, and for all the people of our country.

God of hosts,
who so kindled the fire of charity
in the heart of Saint George your martyr,
that he bore witness to the risen Lord
both by his life and by his death;
grant us through his intercession, we pray,
the same faith and power of love,
that we who rejoice in his triumph
may be led to share with him
in the fullness of the resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

online-masses-healthcare 

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

A reminder that special Masses will be 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, Cardinal Nichols will celebrate Mass from Westminster Cathedral:

Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral on churchservices.tv

 

2nd Wednesday of Easter – 22 April 2020

walsingham

A reminder that Mgr John Armitage, the Rector of Walsingham, is leading a retreat this week which you can join in online.  The talks can be replayed so you can join in the retreat anytime.  It really is very good.

https://www.walsingham.org.uk/2020/04/15/retreat-by-mgr-john-armitage-19th-to-26th-april/

Mgr Armitage began the retreat with this beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit:

O Holy Spirit, give me stillness of soul in you.
Calm the turmoil within, with the gentleness of your peace.
Quiet the anxiety within, with a deep trust in you.
Heal the wounds of sin within, with the joy of your forgiveness.
Strengthen the faith within, with the awareness of your presence.
Confirm the hope within, with the knowledge of your strength.
Give fullness to the love within, with an outpouring of your love.
O Holy Spirit, be to me a source of light, strength and courage
so that I may hear your call ever more clearly
and follow you more generously.

William Browning, C.P

2nd Tuesday of Easter – 21 April 2020

synod-update

During these days of isolation and social distancing, we are experiencing different ways of being Church. Our prayer and worship has become transformed as we gather remotely, online, from our own home. Our sense of community is challenged as we find creative and new ways of coming together to meet, to socialise, to work, or to check in on each other.

Today begins an extra period of reflection to consider what our Synod can learn from the experience of living through these difficult and different times. A short film together with a leaflet (below), have been produced to help our reflection.

synod-reflection-covid-19

Please submit your reflections online by Monday 4 May:   https://synod2020.co.uk/

Thank you.

2nd Monday of Easter – 20 April 2020

online-masses-healthcare

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

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales recognise that this time of pandemic is affecting every person in our countries. Those who are sick, and their families, are suffering many hardships, especially isolation from those they love. Our front-line workers in hospitals and care homes are giving exceptional service to those who are vulnerable at this time.

In order to show a spiritual solidarity with all those affected by the pandemic, each week a Catholic Bishop will celebrate Mass in their Cathedral which will be live-streamed for people to join. This will take place every Thursday at 7.00 pm.

23 April
Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral on churchservices.tv

walsingham

Retreat from Walsingham Live streamed

Mgr John Armitage is leading a retreat from 19th to 26th April live streamed from Walsingham.  For more information and retreat notes:

https://www.walsingham.org.uk/2020/04/15/retreat-by-mgr-john-armitage-19th-to-26th-april/

 

2nd SUNDAY OF EASTER (A) – 19 April 2020

easter-2a

In this Sunday’s Gospel, the risen Lord appears to the disciples who are in their own self-imposed lockdown in Jerusalem.  His first words to them are:  ‘Peace be with you’.  Jesus greets you and I every day in the same way.  Let his greeting fill you with his peace.

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 9.00 am on Facebook, with a recording available on YouTube shortly afterwards.

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

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:

Celebrating Sunday at Home:    celebrating-sunday-at-home-easter-2a

Children’s sheet:    look-19-april

Fr Dave’s Prayers:    bidding-prayers-easter-2a

Sunday Plus:    sunday-plus-19-april

3)  For Children:

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)  God is with us

During the week, I received this beautiful card from Imogen who is in Year 4 at St Oswald’s Catholic Primary School.

imogen-card

Inside the card, Imogen wrote:  “I know this Easter is going to be different but Jesus and God will still be with us.”  Sometimes we need the simple faith of children to remind us of what is so true.

6)  And finally… a little humour…

emotional-support-dog

wearing-muzzle

 

With my prayers,
Fr Dave


The Feast of Easter 2020

Saturday of Easter Octave – 18 April 2020

Some powerful images from Cardinal Nichols at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper celebrated in Westminster Cathedral last week:

Speaking of families celebrating the Passover in their homes, the Cardinal spoke about the Chief Rabbi who said recently, “This pandemic is making us realise again that the home is a house of God and a place of prayer.”

“In the Mass, we join in the prayer of Jesus, holding our troubled world before the Father, praying with him for our healing. This is the wonder of the Mass to which we cling and for which we long. Today we thank God for this gift of prayer, in every form that it takes: candles in windows, ringing of bells, prayers said and sung together as a family, whispered quietly in the night. Prayer is our part in the sacrifice of Jesus, new for all eternity.”

“The Sacrifice of the Mass, offered in thanksgiving, flows outward in loving service. The two are inseparable: sacrifice and service, bound together in love. True service is given with humility. The knees of our mind and heart must bend if we are truly to serve one another. True service comes with a sacrifice of self-interest. True service is an act of thanksgiving for the very gift of life and the freedom we are given.”

cardinal-washing-feet

Friday of Easter Octave – 17 April 2020

For prayer today, perhaps let this beautiful chant calm you…


Calm me, Lord, as you calmed the storm;
still me, Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease,
Lord, enfold me in your peace.

Margaret Rizza © 1998, Kevin Mayhew Ltd. Admin. and sub-published by GIA Publications, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. One License #A-632722.

Thursday of Easter Octave – 16 April 2020

A Message from Bishop Tom Williams:

For those who might need a reminder, Maisy Griffin (St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School) has designed a great poster:

maisy-griffin

Wednesday of Easter Octave – 15 April 2020

hillsborough-memorial

Today, 15 April, is the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster thirty-one years ago in 1989. Let’s take a moment today to remember the 96 children, women and men who died, and for their families and friends.

The final Hillsborough memorial service was due to take place at Anfield this afternoon but has had to be postponed due to the current pandemic.

notre-dame

Also, it was on this day last year that a fire devastated Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. This evening at 9.00 pm on BBC4 there is a programme about the fire and the restoration of the Cathedral: Rebuilding Notre Dame. 

And finally, a thought from Pope Francis:

good-friday-pope-francis

Tuesday of Easter Octave – 14 April 2020

 easter-vigil-2

Today, the second part of Pope Francis’ reflection on the Gospel passage given to us at this year’s Easter Vigil.

Pope Francis at the Easter Vigil – Part 2

Courage. This is a word often spoken by Jesus in the Gospels. Only once do others say it, to encourage a person in need: “Courage; rise, [Jesus] is calling you!” (Mk 10:49). It is he, the Risen One, who raises us up from our neediness. If, on your journey, you feel weak and frail, or fall, do not be afraid, God holds out a helping hand and says to you: “Courage!”. You might say, as did Don Abbondio (in Manzoni’s novel), “Courage is not something you can give yourself” (I Promessi Sposi, XXV). True, you cannot give it to yourself, but you can receive it as a gift. All you have to do is open your heart in prayer and roll away, however slightly, that stone placed at the entrance to your heart so that Jesus’ light can enter. You only need to ask him: “Jesus, come to me amid my fears and tell me too: Courage!” With you, Lord, we will be tested but not shaken. And, whatever sadness may dwell in us, we will be strengthened in hope, since with you the cross leads to the resurrection, because you are with us in the darkness of our nights; you are certainty amid our uncertainties, the word that speaks in our silence, and nothing can ever rob us of the love you have for us.

This is the Easter message, a message of hope. It contains a second part, the sending forth. “Go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee” (Mt 28:10), Jesus says. “He is going before you to Galilee” (v. 7), the angel says. The Lord goes before us; he goes before us always. It is encouraging to know that he walks ahead of us in life and in death; he goes before us to Galilee, that is, to the place which for him and his disciples evoked the idea of daily life, family and work. Jesus wants us to bring hope there, to our everyday life. For the disciples, Galilee was also the place of remembrance, for it was the place where they were first called. Returning to Galilee means remembering that we have been loved and called by God. Each one of us has their own Galilee. We need to resume the journey, reminding ourselves that we are born and reborn thanks to an invitation given gratuitously to us out of love, there in our respective Galilees. This is always the point from which we can set out anew, especially in times of crisis and trial, remembering our Galilee.

do-not-be-afraid-go-tell

But there is more. Galilee was the farthest region from where they were: from Jerusalem. And not only geographically. Galilee was also the farthest place from the sacredness of the Holy City. It was an area where people of different religions lived: it was the “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Mt 4:15). Jesus sends them there and asks them to start again from there. What does this tell us? That the message of hope should not be confined to our sacred places, but should be brought to everyone. For everyone is in need of reassurance, and if we, who have touched “the Word of life” (1 Jn 1:1) do not give it, who will? How beautiful it is to be Christians who offer consolation, who bear the burdens of others and who offer encouragement: messengers of life in a time of death! In every Galilee, in every area of the human family to which we all belong and which is part of us – for we are all brothers and sisters – may we bring the song of life! Let us silence the cries of death, no more wars! May we stop the production and trade of weapons, since we need bread, not guns. Let the abortion and killing of innocent lives end. May the hearts of those who have enough be open to filling the empty hands of those who do not have the bare necessities.

Those women, in the end, “took hold” of Jesus’ feet (Mt 28:9); feet that had travelled so far to meet us, to the point of entering and emerging from the tomb. The women embraced the feet that had trampled death and opened the way of hope. Today, as pilgrims in search of hope, we cling to you, Risen Jesus. We turn our backs on death and open our hearts to you, for you are Life itself.

empty-tomb-2

Monday of Easter Octave – 13 April 2020

An Easter Message from the Archbishop:

This week, every day is like Easter Sunday. The Gospels at Mass recount all the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection as recorded by the four evangelists.

Today and tomorrow, with the help of Pope Francis, let’s reflect on the Gospel passage given to us for this year’s Easter Vigil.

empty-tomb

Matthew 28:1-10

After the sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre. And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow. The guards were so shaken, so frightened of him, that they were like dead men. But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now he is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him.” Now I have told you.’ Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.

And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’

votive-candles

Pope Francis at the Easter Vigil – Part 1

 

“After the Sabbath” (Mt 28:1), the women went to the tomb. This is how the Gospel of this holy Vigil began: with the Sabbath. It is the day of the Easter Triduum that we tend to neglect as we eagerly await the passage from Friday’s cross to Easter Sunday’s Alleluia. This year however, we are experiencing, more than ever, the great silence of Holy Saturday. We can imagine ourselves in the position of the women on that day. They, like us, had before their eyes the drama of suffering, of an unexpected tragedy that happened all too suddenly. They had seen death and it weighed on their hearts. Pain was mixed with fear: would they suffer the same fate as the Master? Then too there was fear about the future and all that would need to be rebuilt. A painful memory, a hope cut short. For them, as for us, it was the darkest hour.

Yet in this situation the women did not allow themselves to be paralyzed. They did not give in to the gloom of sorrow and regret, they did not morosely close in on themselves, or flee from reality. They were doing something simple yet extraordinary: preparing at home the spices to anoint the body of Jesus. They did not stop loving; in the darkness of their hearts, they lit a flame of mercy. Our Lady spent that Saturday, the day that would be dedicated to her, in prayer and hope. She responded to sorrow with trust in the Lord. Unbeknownst to these women, they were making preparations, in the darkness of that Sabbath, for “the dawn of the first day of the week”, the day that would change history. Jesus, like a seed buried in the ground, was about to make new life blossom in the world; and these women, by prayer and love, were helping to make that hope flower. How many people, in these sad days, have done and are still doing what those women did, sowing seeds of hope! With small gestures of care, affection and prayer.

At dawn the women went to the tomb. There the angel says to them: “Do not be afraid. He is not here; for he has risen” (vv. 5-6). They hear the words of life even as they stand before a tomb… And then they meet Jesus, the giver of all hope, who confirms the message and says: “Do not be afraid” (v. 10). Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear: This is the message of hope. It is addressed to us, today. These are the words that God repeats to us this very night.

Tonight we acquire a fundamental right that can never be taken away from us: the right to hope. It is a new and living hope that comes from God. It is not mere optimism; it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement, uttered with an empty smile. No! It is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own. Over these weeks, we have kept repeating, “All will be well”, clinging to the beauty of our humanity and allowing words of encouragement to rise up from our hearts. But as the days go by and fears grow, even the boldest hope can dissipate. Jesus’ hope is different. He plants in our hearts the conviction that God is able to make everything work unto good, because even from the grave he brings life.

The grave is the place where no one who enters ever leaves. But Jesus emerged for us; he rose for us, to bring life where there was death, to begin a new story in the very place where a stone had been placed. He, who rolled away the stone that sealed the entrance of the tomb, can also remove the stones in our hearts. So, let us not give in to resignation; let us not place a stone before hope. We can and must hope, because God is faithful. He did not abandon us; he visited us and entered into our situations of pain, anguish and death. His light dispelled the darkness of the tomb: today he wants that light to penetrate even to the darkest corners of our lives. Dear sister, dear brother, even if in your heart you have buried hope, do not give up: God is greater. Darkness and death do not have the last word. Be strong, for with God nothing is lost!

And something to make you smile:

resurrection-dont-even-think-about-it

EASTER SUNDAY (A)

easter-3

“This is the day that God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
(Psalm 117)

easter-2

Christ is risen!  He is risen, indeed!
Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!
Chrystus zmartwychwstał! Prawdziwie zmartwychwstał!
Khristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!
Le Christ est ressuscité! En verité il est ressuscité!
Tá Críost éirithe! Go deimhin, tá sé éirithe!
Atgyfododd Crist! Yn wir atgyfododd!

A very happy Easter to you all!  May the joy of this day – the greatest day of the year for Christians – lift your spirits and bring hope to your hearts.

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:

The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster at a press conference in the Archbishops Office at Westminster Cathedral in central London, prior to being made a Cardinal when he attends the consistory in Rome on Saturday.

Cardinal Nichols will lead an Easter Sunday Morning Service at 8.00 am on all BBC local radio stations. It will not be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as previously advertised.

cathedral

Archbishop Malcolm will preside at Mass from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral which will be livestreamed at 11.00 am on Facebook, with a recording available on YouTube shortly afterwards.

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 will upload Easter Sunday Mass from St Stephen’s:

www.st-stephens-warrington.co.uk

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:

Easter Sunday at Home:    easter-sunday-at-home

Fr Dave’s Prayers:    bidding-prayers-for-easter-2020

Children’s Sheet:    look-12-april-2020       

Sunday Plus:    sunday-plus-12-april

 

3)  For Children:

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)  Church Bells

Archbishop Malcolm supports a suggestion made by the Bishops’ Conference and encourages the ringing of church bells at midday on Easter Sunday, where this can be done without requiring the presence of external bell ringers.  So I will do my best to ring St Benedict’s bell at midday.  If you’ve got bells of any kind at home, why don’t you ring them at the same time?  It’s a gesture of solidarity during the pandemic and a reminder that Easter Day is the greatest day of the year for Christians.  We are celebrating our hope in the Risen Lord.

 

6)  And finally… a little humour…

Social distancing and the Last Supper:

social-distancing-last-supper

wilson-working-from-home

 

With my prayers,
Fr Dave

 


HOLY WEEK 2020

Holy Saturday – 11 April 2020

holy-saturday

The Easter Vigil

On this Holy Saturday night, the holiest night of the year, we keep the ‘mother of all vigils’ (St Augustine). The Vigil begins with the lighting of the big Easter candle proclaiming “Christ is risen”.  Then, in the light of the candle, we read the stories of what God has done for his people through the ages.  After the Gospel of the Resurrection, we renew our baptismal promises.  Finally, we celebrate Christ’s risen presence with us always in the eucharist.

If you wish to join me in prayer this evening, there is a short Prayer Service below that you could use at home. Alternatively, you might like to join in one of the many celebrations online. If you scroll down the page to Palm Sunday, you will find plenty of links.

Prayer Service:  the-easter-vigil-at-home

Good Friday – 10 April 2020

free-good-friday-clipart-4

Today, all over the world at 3.00 pm, Christians stop whatever they are doing to celebrate the Passion of the Lord. Let’s read the Passion together, pray for the Church and the world, and adore the Cross.  There is a Prayer Service below that you could use at home.  Alternatively, you might like to join in one of the many celebrations online. If you scroll down the page to Palm Sunday, you will find plenty of links.

Prayer Service:    good-friday-at-home

Reflection

Archbishop Malcolm writes:

Many years ago, Good Friday was a very quiet day, it was a day when shops were closed, and people took time out of their busy lives to go to church and commemorate the passion and death of Jesus.

In these last weeks, our towns and cities have become quieter, but for a very different reason. There isn’t as much traffic on our roads and there are fewer people to be seen.  Our churches have been closed and people have not been able to worship as they normally would.

We cannot make sense of the crisis in our world today, but we have witnessed the heroism of those in the health service, those providing care, people in essential services, and the generosity of so many volunteers in giving their time and energy for the sake of others. We give thanks to God for this willingness to reach out to those around us.

The death of Jesus on the cross didn’t make sense to his followers. Only days earlier he had been hailed as a king when he entered Jerusalem, and now he had been scourged, beaten and mocked.  A crown of thorns was forced on to his head and a purple robe put around him.  He had experienced the screaming of the crowds, ‘Crucify him, crucify him!’ and was forced to carry the cross.  The disciples didn’t understand, every hope they had was being destroyed and they hid in fear; and yet their lives were about to be transformed.

Life has changed for us in recent weeks, rather than hiding in fear we must, for the good of us all, accept and comply with the necessary government restrictions and look forward with hope.

So today we have to find a different way of giving witness to the Crucifixion. Our towns and cities are once again quiet and we can’t hold a Walk of Witness, or even go to a church to pray.  This doesn’t make our prayer less sincere, instead it can become deeper and from the heart.  The psalmist prays ‘in the silence of my heart teach me wisdom’ and it is there that we can find the Wisdom of God for this day.

good-fri

 

Holy Thursday – 9 April 2020

holy-thursday

This evening, we begin the Easter Triduum – a three-day celebration of our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.

On this day, we recall what Jesus did on the night before he died – how he washed the feet of his disciples and shared the Last Supper with them. While I celebrate Mass for us all in church, you might like to join me by having a little celebration at home using the resources below. Alternatively, you might like to join in one of the many celebrations online.  If you scroll down the page to Palm Sunday, you will find plenty of links.

Prayer Service:    holy-thursday-at-home

Bidding Prayers:    bidding-prayers-for-holy-Thursday

Reflection

Fr Chris Thomas writes…

I remember being at a conference some thirty-five years ago and meeting a woman who had with her a child who had both learning and physical difficulties. I watched as this woman looked after her daughter each day tending to her needs with the utmost care. If you can see love, I could see it during that week, shining in her eyes. I learned as the week went on that this woman had to get up at 5.30 am each day to make sure that her daughter was ready for breakfast at 8.00 am.

She had to go through a complicated medical procedure which was what took much of the time, along with bathing and dressing. As the week went on, I learnt that the woman had adopted her daughter because she wanted the girl to experience love. There was a lot of letting go that had to happen within that woman for her to get to a place where her heart was big enough to do something that she did not have to do.

Richard Rohr, the American Franciscan, once wrote this: ‘Eucharist in John’s Gospel is not ritual or liturgy but suffering service’. That’s what I saw in that woman. Rohr’s understanding is one of the most challenging concepts to take on board in a church which loves to ritualise and dogmatise. This is not a bad thing to do because it leads us to a deeper understanding, but there is always more. We are always invited to go beyond the ritual and the dogma and ask ourselves the question: Whose feet am I prepared to wash? Who am I prepared to lay down my life for? Where do I express in very practical ways what God in Jesus has done for me? I guess it could be summed up in the question:  where do I love?

It seems to me that is the most important faith question that we have to ask. I think that we would grow a lot more in faith if we attempted to answer it rather than getting ourselves all hung up on what we usually call faith questions. Hung up on whether or not we’ve said our morning and night prayers. Hung up on whether we’re going to hell or not. Hung up on our moral lives, or our moral standards or maybe other people’s! I’m not saying those questions aren’t important, all I’m saying is that there is a deeper question that has to be asked. Is love at the core of my life? Or have I allowed myself to grow hard and selfish, refusing to respond to the needs of anyone who doesn’t fit in with my understanding of people who are worthy of my care and presuming that religious practice is what faith is about.

I love the Eucharist but the purpose of receiving the Lord is to help us love more and to help us deal with those things in our hearts and minds that stop us loving. St Augustine is reported as saying, ‘We who are the body of Christ, receive the body of Christ to become more the body of Christ.’ We are to become more like the Lord and Master we say we serve. That’s what is so powerful about the Gospel on Maundy Thursday. John presumes that we know Jesus took bread and wine and shared himself with us. He wants to show us what that means by having Jesus get down on his knees and wash his disciples’ feet.

Somehow, we have to get on our knees and serve the broken and the poor in this world. At this time of COVID-19 it is more imperative than ever. The listening ear, the ready smile, the open heart all speak of the presence of God to whoever we meet. That’s the challenge of today, to love our brothers and sisters, whoever and whatever they may be, and so to feed a world that’s hungry for love.

Wednesday of Holy Week – 8 April 2020

clipart-stations-of-the-cross-7

As we reach the eve of the great Easter Triduum or ‘Three Days of Easter’, we might take some time today to pray the Stations of the Cross. The link below provides a set of Stations prepared by the Archdiocese.

stations-of-the-cross-during-covid-19

Tuesday of Holy Week – 7 April 2020

penance-service

On this day, we usually gather together as a community to celebrate God’s forgiveness and love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Since we can’t gather together just now, I’ve put together a little Service of Reconciliation that you can use at home, either on your own or with those who share your home.

reconciliation-at-home

Alternatively, Archbishop Eamon Martin will be livestreaming a Service of Reconciliation from Armagh at 7.30 pm this evening. Clink on this link and then click on St Malachy’s webcam:

http://armaghparish.net/

Monday of Holy Week – 6 April 2020

holy-week-clipart-picture-e1490555217820

Monastic Liturgy

For those who like monastic chant in English, the Benedictine monks of St Meinrad Archabbey are streaming their liturgies during Holy Week and Easter: https://www.youtube.com/user/SaintMeinrad/videos

 

Today’s Gospel (John 12: 1-11)

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot – one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him – said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions. So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone; she had to keep this scent for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.’

Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.

mary-of-bethany

 

Reflection

Following his arrival in Jerusalem, today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus sought out the company of his friends – Martha, Mary and Lazarus. While he was in their home, Mary poured her love and compassion on Jesus by anointing his feet with expensive ointment.  St John tells us that the scent of the ointment filled the whole house.  I’ve often wondered if the scent of the ointment stayed with Jesus throughout the week reminding him of the love and care of his friends.

In our own times of suffering, it’s the little gestures of friends and family that we remember and which mean so much. They are precious moments when God reaches out to us physically through others and help us to bear our suffering.

Today, let’s take a moment to give thanks to God for reaching out to us through the kindly actions of others.

Fr Dave

PALM SUNDAY (A) – 5 April 2020

palm-sunday-clipart-palm-sun-clipart-1

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 from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is livestreamed on Sundays at 9.00 am on Facebook, with a recording available at 11.00 am on YouTube.

The Facebook address is: 

www.facebook.com/liverpoolmetrocathedral

The YouTube address is:

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

Please note:  for Palm Sunday & Easter Sunday, the livestream will be at 11.00 am and the recording will be uploaded shortly afterwards.

The Cathedral is also livestreaming the Holy Week ceremonies.

For further details:  www.liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk

st-stephen-warrington-1

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

www.st-stephens-warrington.co.uk

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:

church

Palm Sunday at Home:  palm-sunday-at-home

Children’s sheet:  look-5-april-2020

Sunday Plus:  sunday-plus-palm-sun-a

Fr Dave’s Prayers:  bidding-prayers-for-palm-sunday

Palm Sunday Readings:  readings-palm-sunday

 

3)  For Children:

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.  It’s updated regularly:

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

5)  And finally… a little humour…

 

please-dont-walk-me-again

 

With my prayers,
Fr Dave


Fifth Week of Lent

Saturday 4 April 2020

Five ways of sustaining faith in difficult times

Part 5 – Reality

gods-love

Each of us is called to be real, loving and honouring our lives and our humanity. I think one of our tasks as church is to help nourish and protect the goodness of humanity in a world that’s often hostile to us. We are to offer the world the real wisdom that can be found in Jesus and in his way. The wisdom of Christian spirituality is that it does offer a human life that is rich, vibrant and fulfilling, and a foretaste of all that is to come.

Our human nature is holy, in many ways damaged and broken, but holy none the less. Incarnation tells us that we must take our humanity seriously and any form of spirituality that makes us reject the reality of who we are is not ever going to satisfy our desire for God. We, in our humanity, reflect the nature of God. The greatest witness we can give to the Gospel is to be really human and alive.

What does that mean in these times of coronavirus? Maybe it means praying that everyone is aware of their own dignity and the wonder of humanity. Maybe it means reminding ourselves that God isn’t angry with the world but weeps with us at this time. Perhaps it is about reminding us that all of us are the pinnacle of God’s creation.

  • Take time each day to remind yourself that you matter.
  • Take time to remind others how precious they are.
  • Thank God for the gift of being human and alive.

Fr Chris Thomas

Five ways of sustaining faith in difficult times

Part 4 – Community

love-neighbour

I think it would be true to say that for Jesus the two great commandments are inseparable: love God and love your neighbour as yourself. We are called not just as individuals but as community. There is no room in Christianity for going it alone.

The Gospel invites us to recognise our need of the other, to know that real life comes from community. It’s about ‘us’ rather than ‘me’. We don’t walk the journey alone. It seems to me that the desire for community has been planted in our hearts by God and that it reflects the reality of who God is, a God who is one, a God who is in perfect relationship.

So, what about our parish communities in these difficult times when we can’t gather together? Are we no longer Church because we can’t celebrate the sacraments in our normal ways? Of course not.  We are Church. We are community. We are one. Maybe these difficult times will help us recognise the gift of one another.

  • Take time each day to pray for your community.
  • Contact people by phone, text, email just to say ‘hello’.
  • Gather people on your computer if you can, and have a time of prayer.

Fr Chris Thomas

Friday 3 April 2020

Five ways of sustaining faith in difficult times

Part 3 – Gratitude

gratitude

Fr Ronald Rolheiser says that the only heart that can transform the world is the grateful heart. Why? I think it is because the world does not understand gratitude. The grateful heart is the heart that knows that the very reason for its existence lies in the love of another, and the world no longer understands that we owe our very existence to another. Our gratitude can remind others of the presence of God. Perhaps it reminds others that only in God is peace and happiness to be found which are much needed in these troubled and difficult times.

What are we to be grateful for? Maybe it’s the gift of life, the gift of the world, the gift of energy, sexuality, people. There is so much to be thankful for if we take time to reflect on our lives. A spirit of gratitude is an alternative to all the negativity. It’s an alternative to hatred and suspicion, judgement and condemnation. It’s not so much an emotion as a decision to view the world in a particular way. It’s to face the world with a heart that’s open rather than a heart which is suspicious or presumes badness rather than goodness. It’s a way of embracing the world rather than separating oneself from it.

In the grateful heart there is room for acceptance, understanding, compassion and love. It is those things that transform our beautiful broken world, and the key to it all is gratitude.

  • When you wake, choose five things to be grateful for.
  • Spend a few moments thanking God for all you are given.
  • Cultivate gratitude each day for the food you eat.
  • Pray that God changes your heart to a grateful heart.

Fr Chris Thomas

Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse

The Bishops of England & Wales have chosen today, Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent, as the annual Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse.

candle-1200-800-1140x641

Prayer for Healing and Reconciliation

Praise to you, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the source of all consolation and hope.
Be the refuge and guardian of all
who suffer from abuse and violence.
Comfort them and send healing
for their wounds of body, soul and spirit.
Help us all and make us one with you
in your love for justice
as we deepen our respect for the dignity of every human life.
Giver of peace, make us one in celebrating
your praise, both now and forever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

hurt-by-abuse-respond

Thursday 2 April 2020

Five ways of sustaining faith in difficult times

Part 2 – Reaching Out

reaching-out

That challenge to reach out can be found throughout the Scriptures. Maybe we need to hear it now more than at any other time. The prophets are constantly inviting us to reflect on the call to be on the side of the little ones. Richard Rohr says ‘any experience of grace tells us that history is not about us. In fact, my own life is not about me.’ I think now more than any other time we have an opportunity to look out for our neighbours and to create what Pope Paul VI called a ‘society of sharing solidarity and love.’

What can we do? In these challenging times we can keep our eyes open for those who are isolated, lonely and need help. We can make sure our neighbours have enough shopping. We can phone people and encourage people. We can make sure that we only buy what we need and not more than that. We can pray for others constantly, particularly those who are struggling. We can pray that we move away from our own individualism where it’s me and my needs that matter to a place where we live for the common good and make decisions for the common good. We can focus our attention outwards rather than inwards and maybe we can change the world.

  • Take time each day to phone people you know.
  • Take time each day to pray for others and for yourself.
  • When shopping, look for what you need and not what you panic about.
  • Have care for those in complete isolation and see what they need.

Fr Chris Thomas

Five ways of sustaining faith in difficult times

Part 1 – Prayer

sun17cii

You know if we’re not praying people, in love with God and taking time each day to fall deeper in love with God, then I don’t know what faith is about. For me, prayer is to enable us to deepen our loving relationship with God through Christ.

Desire for God is at the heart of prayer and silence enables God to meet that desire and to fulfil it. So I would encourage anyone to spend some time in silence each day.

If you watched the television programme the ‘The Big Silence’ narrated by Fr Christopher Jamieson, you will have seen five people step back from their hectic lives and experience silence and, all of them without exception, had to face a difficult journey as they moved beyond themselves, but it was a life-giving journey. It might be difficult to move beyond that which often fills our hearts and minds, ourselves, but it is the most extraordinary experience that becomes impossible to live without. So, take time each day to be still and to be silent and open your heart to God.

Silence restores us and brings us wellsprings of hope within that we never knew existed. It is the source of our power to bring unconditional love into the world we live in.

  • Light a candle.
  • Take time to breathe.
  • Use a sacred word to get you to a place of inner quiet.
  • Repeat your word gently as you need to focus your attention.

 Fr Chris Thomas

Wednesday 1 April 2020

A message from the Archbishop to Key Workers, Teachers and the NHS:

Tuesday 31 March 2020

Some photo’s today.

With our churches closed and the country in lockdown, we’re having to find new ways of keeping Sunday holy.  Some parishioners are joining in Mass online, others are gathering together in their homes to pray.  Here are a few pictures of some children in the parish getting ready to celebrate a time of prayer together:

angelo-rosa-maria-3

angelo-rosa-maria-2

angelo-rosa-maria-1

Meanwhile, in a parish I used to serve, a Deputy Headteacher is delivering meals:

lesley-delivering

Go for it, Lesley!

I hope these photo’s encourage you in this strange time.  We may see a lot of negativity on the news – people being selfish or angry, critical of others, and so on, but there’s also a lot of goodness going on every minute of every day that doesn’t make the headlines.  Let all that goodness encourage you and inspire you.

Monday 30 March 2020

Here’s an interesting website…

ALONE (TOGETHER)
A guide to isolation and social distancing from those who know

Some online resources offered to help people live through the coronavirus pandemic. Their special quality is that they don’t come from theories; they all come from those with experience of social distancing or isolation, people who have lived this reality either intentionally like monks and nuns or against their will like hostages or the housebound. This is a new and difficult journey for most people, but experienced guides give us hope along the way.

www.alonetogether.org.uk

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT (A)

lent-5

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 online.  There are lots of websites that are livestreaming Mass:

cathedral
From Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (livestream on Facebook at 9.00 am, repeated on YouTube at 11.00 am)
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCOiDR9mRmfnAu05Yg3ifyMw

st-stephen-warrington-1
From St Stephen’s, Orford:
https://www.st-stephens-warrington.co.uk

From other churches in the UK and Ireland:
https://www.churchservices.tv/
https://www.mcnmedia.tv/

2)  You can join in by praying at home – on your own or with other members of your household.  Below are some resources kindly provided by Redemptorist Publications and the Archdiocese:

Mass sheet:  mass-sheet-lent-5a
Children’s sheet:  look29mar2020  and  ichthus-29-mar-2020
Sunday Plus:  sp-29-mar-2020
Prayer Service:  5th-sunday-of-lent-web
Fr Dave’s Prayers:  bidding-prayers-for-sunday

3)  For Children:

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

4)  Rededication of England to Mary

our-lady-of-walsingham

On the Feast of Corpus Christi 1381, King Richard II dedicated England to Mary in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey in thanksgiving for his kingdom being saved at the time of the Peasants’ Revolt.  England received the title ‘Mary’s Dowry’, meaning that England was ‘set aside’ as a gift – a dowry – for Our Lady under her guidance and protection.

This weekend, England will be rededicated to Mary in Cathedrals, Parishes and Catholic institutions throughout the country.  We’re invited to join in the prayers of rededication which you’ll find by clicking on the link below.

prayers-of-the-rededication

5)  Catholic Pictorial

catholic-pic
You can read April’s edition of the Catholic Pictorial here:
http://www.catholicpic.co.uk

6)  National Call to Prayer

As much of the world faces the unprecedented challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic, Churches Together in England (CTE) is encouraging Christians across the nation to continue uniting in prayer, praying in their homes at 7.00 pm each Sunday evening.  Following the overwhelming response which the National Call to Prayer received on Mothering Sunday, CTE has prepared a candle poster for those who would like to place a permanent symbol in their front windows of Christ’s light shining in the darkness. Visit www.cte.org.uk/prayersofhope This poster has been made available due to our awareness of the potential fire risk posed by lighting live candles, particularly on windowsills. We are keen to avoid adding any pressure to our emergency service personnel, particularly at this difficult time.

With my prayers,
Fr Dave


Fourth Week of Lent

Saturday 28 March 2020

behold-2020-640w

Rededication of England to Mary

On the Feast of Corpus Christi 1381, King Richard II dedicated England to Mary in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey in thanksgiving for his kingdom being saved at the time of the Peasants’ Revolt.  England received the title ‘Mary’s Dowry’, meaning that England was ‘set aside’ as a gift – a dowry – for Our Lady under her guidance and protection.

This weekend, England will be rededicated to Mary in Cathedrals, Parishes and Catholic institutions throughout the country.  We’re invited to join in the prayers of rededication which you’ll find by clicking on the link below.

prayers-of-the-rededication

our-lady-of-walsingham

 

Friday 27 March 2020

27-march-6pm

Join Pope Francis as he prays on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica today (Friday) at 5.00 pm UK time (6.00 pm Rome). Although the square will be empty, there will be a period of Adoration and readings from Scripture. At the end of the service, the Holy Father will impart his Urbi et Orbi blessing.

Pope Francis asks that we join together to uphold the universality of prayer, compassion and tenderness, and encourages us to “remain united and make our closeness felt – especially with healthcare professionals and those who serve.”

To view online, click on this link and scroll down the page:  https://www.cbcew.org.uk/

 

Thursday 26 March 2020

nhs-clap

 

Message from Archbishop Malcolm for yesterday’s Solemnity of the Annunciation – his first vlog!

Wednesday 25 March 2020

The Annunciation of the Lord

Message from Cardinal Nichols

Today is the great Feast of the Annunciation – the moment when the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and presented to her the Word of God, which she accepted with an open heart and to which she gave her flesh in the incarnation.

Today, then, is the day of the first joys of Mary. And we turn to her not only as our Mother of Sorrows, but also as our mother of joys.

Now, today, Pope Francis has asked Christians right around the world to pray with him at midday in Rome, which is eleven o’clock here, to pray the Our Father with him for the health of the world for our strength against this virus and for our healing.

So please pray with me now:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Amen.

Today, another prayer has been offered to us as well from the bishops of the continent of Europe – a continent in which this virus is biting so deeply now – a prayer for our protection and indeed for our help:

God, our Father,
Creator of the world, almighty and merciful.
Out of love for us, you sent your Son into the world
as the doctor of our souls and bodies.

Look upon your children,
who in this difficult time of confusion and dismay
in many regions of Europe and the world
turn to you seeking strength, salvation and relief.

Deliver us from illness and fear,
comfort our sick and their families,
give wisdom to our rulers,
energy and reward to our doctors,
nurses and volunteers,
and eternal life to those who have died.

Do not abandon us in this moment of trial,
but deliver us from all evil.

We ask this of you who with the Son and the Holy Spirit,
lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Amen.

Mary, Mother of Health and Hope,
Pray for us.

Amen.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

pope-2

Join Pope Francis on Wednesday Morning

At this time of uncertainty and anxiety, and now with our churches closed, Pope Francis has called on the world’s Christians and people of goodwill to join together in praying the Lord’s Prayer on Wednesday 25 March at 11.00 am UK time (midday in Rome).

This is a simple powerful act of solidarity.

If you have access to the internet, we can gather virtually by clicking on this link and scrolling down the page:  https://www.cbcew.org.uk/

Prayer

Today’s Psalm at Mass is a good prayer for today:

God is for us a refuge and strength,
a helper close at hand, in time of distress,
so we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea.

The waters of a river give joy to God’s city,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within, it cannot be shaken;
God will help it at the dawning of the day.

The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come, consider the works of the Lord,
the redoubtable deeds he has done on the earth.

(Psalm 45)

And finally for today, a picture sent to me from one of our younger parishioners:

house-cat

Monday 23 March 2020

stay-at-home

Pandemic by Lynn Ungar

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Centre down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love—
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

 

4th Sunday of Lent (A)

lent-4

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

1)  Our churches are open for private prayer:

St Oswald’s (8.00 – 10.00 am), St Benedict’s (10.00 am – 12.00 noon)

2)  You may wish to watch Mass online.

Lots of churches in the UK livestream Mass.  You might like to try one of these websites:

https://www.churchservices.tv/

https://www.mcnmedia.tv/

I am looking into the possibility of livestreaming Mass from St Benedict’s or at least being able to upload a recording.

3)  Praying at home – on your own or as a family.

Below there are some resources kindly provided by the Bishops’ Conference and Redemptorist Publications:

when-mass-cannot-be-celebrated-publicly

green-mass-sheet-lent-4a

look-lent-4a  (Children’s Activity sheet)

sunday-plus-22-march-2020

4)  For Children

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

5)  National Call to Prayer

This evening, Christians across the UK are invited to light a candle and place it in their window at home as a sign of hope – Jesus is the light in our darkness.

national-call-to-prayer

6)  Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Malcolm

Archbishop Malcolm has written to us.  You can download the letter by clicking on the link or watch it on the video below.

pastoral_letter_22_march_2020

 

And finally…

mothers-day

With my prayers,
Fr Dave


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