OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM is England’s national Marian shrine. According to legend, Our Lady appeared in Walsingham to the Saxon noblewoman Richeldis de Faverches, in 1061. In three visions, Richeldis was taken by Mary to be shown the house in Nazareth where Gabriel had announced the news of the birth of Jesus. Mary then asked her to build an exact replica of that house in Walsingham. Throughout the centuries, Walsingham became one of the most popular shrines in Europe. Many pilgrims returned from their visit healed in body and spirit. Walsingham received visits from King Henry III, Edward II, Edward III, Henry IV, Edward IV, Henry VII and Henry VIII, who finally brought about its destruction in 1538. In 1897, the first official Catholic pilgrimage after the Reformation took place at the restored 14th century Slipper Chapel, which is now the centre of the Roman Catholic National Shrine. In the 1920s the Anglican shrine began growing in the remains of the original Priory and now has its own church, housing a copy of the original statue of Our Lady of Walsingham and a replica of the Holy House. There is also now a Russian Orthodox chapel in Walsingham. Walsingham came to be known as ‘England’s Nazareth’. During lockdown a small statue of Our Lady of Walsingham has been a focal point of our Marian devotion at St Patrick’s, and many have lit candles before this image of Our Lady. Mass will be celebrated at 12noon on Friday 24th, the feast day of Our Lady of Walsingham. Do come along and give thanks to Our Lady of Walsingham for blessings received.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION Father Michael met this week with lead staff from St Patrick’s School regarding first Holy Communion. We had hoped to celebrate this on the Solemnity of Christ the King. This would however have necessitated a shortened course and we feel that we will not be able to prepare the children adequately in this time for both the Sacrament of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. As some of the FHC children have not yet had the opportunity to return to Mass, we are now proposing to wait until early January to begin a full course for all children looking to FHC. This also gives us the ideal opportunity to begin a new 18-week course, leading to FHC at Corpus Christi (Sunday 19th June). Please do not hesitate to contact Fr Michael or Mrs Courtney if you have any questions. Application forms for the 2022 FHC are available in Church. Please return asap to Fr Michael.
RENEW, REFRESH, RE-ENGAGE: BUILIDING OUR PARISHES AFTER LOCKDOWN.
This is a new world we are moving into, full of uncertainties. We don’t know what resources we will have, who will come back to church, or how things will unfold over the next year. It’s looking as if a return to church will be a trickle-back rather than a flood, and we need to make the most of opportunities along the way. We have two different needs facing us: to re-establish our existing communities and ministry groups; – to reach out to those who have not yet returned and to new people. We are joining with Northampton Diocese to offer webinars to support these resources through September: 6th September: Fr. Nicholas King SJ will reflect with us on Christian Hospitality as we find it in the Gospel of Luke. 20th September (tbc) Jo Boyce will inspire us to refresh our music ministry with lots of new ideas to help us get going again. 27th September: Avril Baigent and Sarah Adams reflect on the practical steps to help re-build our communities. To book, go to https://refresh_renew.eventbrite.co.uk
TIME TO START SCHOOL? If you have a child born between 1st September 2017 and 31st August 2018, then now is the time to apply for a place at a Catholic primary school in the Diocese, including St Patrick’s School. You must complete an application form (either online or on paper) that is available from the school admissions team of the Wiltshire Council, for admission during the 2022-23 school year. If your child has been baptised, you must also provide a copy of the baptism certificate to your preferred school. Please ensure you apply by the closing date of 15th January 2022.
SONG GROUP / CANTORS Psalm 150 proclaims ‘…let everything that has breath give praise to the Lord!’ Music can inspire people to change, to forgive, to live a joyful life, to love more and to pray better. It expresses things that we are unable to express in words alone. We are hoping to re gather singers to assist in singing the Sunday Masses as we move from recorded to live singing. If you would like to join, all you need is a love of singing and be able to give some time to practice. All ages and experiences are welcome. Do you play an instrumo our music and enhance our worship. Please have a word with Fr Michael if you are able to help and we will schedule an initial get together to determine the way forward.
ST PATRICK’S SCHOOL Our prayers and thoughts go out to staff and children as they begin a new school year, especially to those beginning school for the first time and to staff taking up new appointments within the school. We look forward to being able to begin our school masses again when we are safely able to do so.
FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY The Catholic Church celebrates the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary on its traditional fixed date of 8th September, nine months after 8th December celebration of her Immaculate Conception as the child of Saints Joachim and Anne. The circumstances of the Virgin Mary’s infancy and early life are not directly recorded in the Bible, but other documents and traditions describing the circumstances of her birth are cited by some of the earliest Christian writers from the first centuries of the Church. After Mary’s birth, according to the Protoevangelium of James, St Anne “made a sanctuary” in the infant girl’s room, and “allowed nothing common or unclean” on account of the special holiness of the child. The same writing records that when she was one year old, her father “made a great feast, and invited the priests, and the scribes, and the elders, and all the people of Israel.” The protoevangelium goes on to describe how Mary’s parents, along with the temple priests, subsequently decided that she would be offered to God as a consecrated Virgin for the rest of her life and enter a chaste marriage with the carpenter Joseph. Saint Augustine described the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary as an event of cosmic and historic significance, and an appropriate prelude to the birth of Jesus Christ. “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley,” he said. The fourth-century bishop, whose theology profoundly shaped the Western Church’s understanding of sin and human nature, affirmed that “through her birth, the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.”