THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD This Thursday 13th May, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. After Jesus’ resurrection, the time came for him to return to heaven to prepare a place for us, as his earthly ministry had been fulfilled. The Ascension serves as an ultimate demonstration of Jesus’ power over death, inaugurating his reign over heaven and earth as the Living King. But what is Significant about the Ascension? Acts 1:6-11 describes the Ascension and Jesus’ final words to his disciples before he returned to his Father: When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”
But Jesus did not leave them alone in this Great Commission; not in the least. He promised to send a “helper” to strengthen and intercede for all his followers: the Holy Spirit. It was, and is, the Holy Spirit who guides the Church and fills Jesus’ followers with his power, enabling them to share the Gospel until the day Jesus returns. Pope St John Paul II wrote that when Jesus ascended into heaven, two significant events in particular happened: Jesus gave his followers instructions on how they were to live, and he left them with a promise. He directed the disciples to spread the message of the Gospel to the ends of the earth, declaring the good news of salvation. Let us celebrate this wonderful part of the Easter Mystery at Mass of Thursday at 12noon. Booking via Eventbrite.
ST PATRICK’S PASTORAL CARE TEAM Jane Wragg and a small team of people support Fr Michael in the pastoral care of our parishioners. This is a ministry exercised within our Parish Pastoral Council. We do of course need to be kept up to date with the needs of the frail/elderly/the sick etc. Please do let Fr Michael or Jane, as group coordinator, know of anyone needing help. Once lockdown is ended, the monthly Mass for those with special needs will be restored followed by lunch time refreshments. Jane can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
MAY PRAYERS FOR THE END OF THE PANDEMIC Pope Francis is inviting Catholics across the globe to dedicate the Marian month of May to praying for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative, behind which the Pope has thrown his support, involves 30 Marian Shrines from various parts of the world. It takes place under the theme “The whole Church was fervently praying to God,” which recalls a verse in the Acts of the Apostles. See www.vaticannews.va for more details. As part of this initiative will pray the rosary and other Marian devotions in St Patrick’s throughout the month of May before the Wednesday at 11.30am.
PLACE SUNDAY MASS AT THE HEART OF OUR PANDEMIC-LIVES The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have issued a reflection on post-pandemic recovery and the challenges faced by the Church in encouraging people back to the Church and her Sacraments. In a reflection titled The Day of the Lord, the Bishops also praise families, parish communities and those who have worked tirelessly in hospitals, care homes, schools and prisons during these challenging times of ill-health, grief and isolation. The Bishops salute the leadership of our priests and also express gratitude for the ‘immense efforts’ of those who have provided food for those most in need. The Bishops recognise that it is impossible to predict the pace at which we will emerge from the pandemic but state “what is clear is the challenge we face of bringing our communities and the practice of the faith to a still greater expression and strength.” They identify the groups of people they are seeking to reach:
- Those who have lost the habit of coming to church and who may be anxious about doing so.
- Those who may not want to re-establish a pattern of Catholic worship – who may have seen a gap widen between the spiritual dimension of their lives and any communal expression of that spiritual quest.
- The ‘Covid-curious’ who have encountered the Catholic Church for the first time during the pandemic.
The Bishops highlight the strengths, the “veritable treasures” of the Catholic Church as being the tools at their disposal to rise to these challenges. The greatest treasure is, of course, the sacramental life of the Church and at its heart, the Eucharist. “It is the Eucharist, the celebration of the Mass, that makes the Church; and it is the Church, in the gift of the Holy Spirit, which makes the Eucharist. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the lifeblood of the Church. It requires our active participation and, to be fully celebrated, our physical presence. “We face the task of seeking to nurture the sense of Sunday as ‘a weekly gift from God to his people’, and something we cannot do without; to see Sunday as the soul of the week, as giving light and meaning to all the responsibilities we live out each day; to see the Sunday Eucharist as food for the unique mission with which we have been endowed.” The text is available at www.cbcew.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2021/04/Day-of-the-Lord-220421.pdf
WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS This Fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Vocations Sunday or Good Shepherd Sunday and is marked as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The purpose of this day is to fulfil Jesus’ instruction to “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38). While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates her attention on raising up shepherds for God’s people – vocations to Holy Orders (the priesthood and diaconate) and to the religious life – while encouraging all who are discerning their vocation to pray more earnestly that they may hear and respond to God’s call. Today the Holy Father has asked all Catholic to intercede for vocations. Will you make a special effort to ask the Lord for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life?
- Pray for the priests who have ministered to you throughout your life, both living and dead.
- Keep our parish priests and deacons in prayer throughout the week.
- Encourage your children or grandchildren to consider a vocation as a priest or religious brother or sister.
- Pray a rosary for more young men and women in our diocese to respond to God’s call.
- Keep our Seminarians and all who are discerning a vocation in your prayers.
- Pray for Deacon Stephen Corrigan and Joseph Meigh who are in priestly formation for our diocese at St John’s Wonersh.
CAFOD CLIMATE CHANGE PETITION This year, the UK will host the largest gathering of world leaders ever to take place on British soil: the ‘COP26’ climate talks in Glasgow in November. As Prime Minister, Boris Johnson must push world leaders to show the ambition we need to keep temperature rises below the disastrous 1.5-degree threshold. This means that all countries must play their part. With the eyes of the world on the UK, we must urge the Prime Minister to make sure communities hardest hit by the climate emergency are listened to at COP26. Please sign our petition at www.cafod.org.uk/reclaim