Easter Message from Fr Michael

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St Patrick’s

This has been for us all perhaps one of most surreal of Lenten Journeys. Celebrating the Liturgy of the Triduum over three days, alone in an empty Church, is strange indeed. It is just as strange to be watching the celebration of the Great Holy Week of Christians unfold on our TV’s and computer screens.

Sometimes it feels that isolation saps our very humanity: grandparents  are isolated from their grandchildren, elderly parents from their children, lovers separated from one other. Yet people have rallied to keep channels of communication and love open. People shop for those who cannot leave the house, ensure that medication is delivered. People continue to send ecards, texts and make the phone call that can be life giving when isolated. A parishioner left  gifts including fresh bread and wine on the door step of the presbytery. What a wonderful gift for Holy Thursday! Small gestures can speak of profound belonging.

Though the pandemic had closed our churches and prevented us from gathering for Mass, the community will bounce back, recovering from our long Eucharistic fast. Pray God that we will bounce back stronger, more united, more idealistic – if we learn the lessons. With thanksgiving we rejoice this Easter in the countless acts of selfless service we’ve witnessed in recent days from health workers, neighbours, families and our church family. Think of the novel pastoral responses to this novel coronavirus. In times like these people of faith and ideals really shine.

After Good Friday comes Easter, after the tomb new life. There can never be resurrection without first standing at the foot of the cross and passing through death. This is for us both our Passover and Feast. We know this to be central to our faith as Christians. Yet this year has brought this into very stark relief indeed.

On Holy Saturday night, the new Paschal Candle is usually  lit  from a blazing fire which lights up the night sky and carried into the darkened Church  with songs of “The Light of Christ. Thanks be to God”. This is a vibrant symbol of the risen Christ, our light returned and hope restored. Tonight there will be no congregation to light their own candles from the great Paschal Candle and no procession. Yet this vibrant symbol that Christ has conquered death will still be lit in St Patrick’s Church this evening. That darkness will still be pierced. Pray God, that we will continue to demonstrate that Easter light in our works of mercy and prayer, as we show our love and concern for others as we continue through Eastertide.

Yes, this will be for us an unprecedented celebration of Easter in modern times. Yet the light and life of Christ has conquered fear and death. The risen Christ continues daily to speak those Easter words to us, “Do not be afraid”. We must hold fast as an Easter People to the reality of Our Lord’s Resurrection in our lives today, rejoicing that he is truly risen.

May God bless you, your homes and loved ones in this strange but holy time.

With Easter blessings

Fr Michael

Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Victory in Europe Day 75th Anniversary

Victory in Europe Day marks the day, towards the end of World War Two, when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end on the continent. Over the May Bank Holiday weekend, three days of commemorative events were due to take place to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Restrictions to contain COVID-19 have changed the shape of how we celebrate the contribution of those who fought with such courage for our freedom. Bishop Paul Mason, the Catholic Bishop of the Forces, said he 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.”

From the Act of Commitment for Peace

Lord God our Father,
we pledge ourselves to serve you and all humankind, in the cause of peace,
for the relief of want and suffering,
and for the praise of your name.
Guide us by your Spirit;
give us wisdom;
give us courage;
give us hope;
and keep us faithful now and always.
Amen.

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

A Message from the Metropolitan Archbishops of the Catholic Church in England and Wales

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, The radiance of the risen Lord shines upon us. At a time when so many shadows are cast into our lives, and upon our world, the light of the resurrection shines forever to renew and restore our hope.

In the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis: ‘In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side.’ (27 March 2020) The impact of Covid-19, both nationally and internationally, has been immense. So much of what we take for granted has changed. Our health and physical interaction, our capacity to travel and gather, have all been affected. There is uncertainty in our future, especially with work and the country’s economy.

As we know, very sadly, large numbers of people have died because of the coronavirus, and others have been or remain seriously ill. Keyworkers, not least in the National Health Service and care sectors, are serving selflessly to sustain the life of our nation. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone who is suffering because of Covid-19, and to all those battling to overcome its effects. May those who have died rest in peace and those who are bereaved find comfort. When the Prime Minister announced the lockdown, this included places of worship and therefore Catholic churches. These measures were put in place to stem the general transmission of the virus. It is right that the Catholic community fulfils its role in contributing to the preservation of life and the common good of society. This must continue until the restrictions applied by the Government are lifted. None of us would want to be in the situation in which we find ourselves. While the live-streaming of the Mass and other devotions is playing an important part in maintaining the life of faith, there is no substitute for Catholics being able to physically attend and participate in the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments.

Our faith is expressed powerfully and beautifully though ‘seeing, touching, and tasting.’ We know that every bishop and every priest recognises the pain of Catholics who, at present, cannot pray in church or receive the sacraments. This weighs heavily on our hearts. We are deeply moved by the Eucharistic yearning expressed by so many members of the faithful. We thank you sincerely for your love for the Lord Jesus, present in the sacraments and supremely so in the Holy Sacrifice 2 of the Mass. The bishops and priests of every diocese are remembering you and your loved ones at Mass each day in our churches as we pray ‘in hope of health and wellbeing.’ We thank our priests for this faithfulness to their calling.

As the Government’s restrictions are relaxed step by step, we look forward to opening our churches and resuming our liturgical, spiritual, catechetical and pastoral life step by step. This will also be of service to those beyond the Catholic Church who depend on our charitable activity and outreach through which much goodness is shared by so many volunteers from our communities. None of us knows, as yet, how or when the lockdown will end. There is likely to be a phased return to travelling and gathering. As a church, we are now planning for this time and our discussions with the statutory public health agencies and Government representatives are ongoing. Together with Catholics across England and Wales we desire the opening of our churches and access to the sacraments. Until then, we are continuing to pray and prepare.

We want to acknowledge with gratitude the service of our fellow bishops and priests, our deacons and religious, our families and lay faithful, together with all our parish and school communities, for the wonderful ways the life of the faith is being nourished at this time, especially in the home. We also pay tribute to the Catholic organisations and networks that are working to support the vulnerable and needy. On that first Easter day, the disciples were in lockdown and the doors were closed. In their isolation the Lord Jesus came among them and said ‘Peace be with you.’

May the peace of the risen Lord reign in our hearts and homes as we look forward to the day we can enter church again and gather around the altar to offer together the Sacrifice of Praise. We unite in asking the intercession of Our Blessed Lady and assure you of our prayers and blessing

Yours devotedly in Christ, ✠ Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster ✠ Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool ✠ Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham ✠ George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff ✠ John Wilson, Archbishop of Southwark

Food Bank Update

UPDATE The Food bank really needs the following please:

Tinned meat of all descriptions- eg. Hotdogs, minced beef, Fray Bentos pies, ham, corned beef, curry etc. Rice –  Long life fruit juice -Tinned vegetables – Tinned rice pudding – Cereals – Squash – Pasta – Sugar

Ann-Marie Clapp has kindly offered to sit in the St Patrick’s Church car park on Friday from 11am-12noon  with her car boot open for contactless donations of anything anyone wishes to donate. She is also happy to pick up from people’s doorsteps if they can’t get to the Church – please call her on 07515830483 to arrange a collection.

Thank you

Urgent Plea from Corsham Foodbank

The Corsham Churches Foodbank is supporting many more families than normal at the moment and are desperate for basic items.

Ann-Marie Clapp has kindly offered to sit in the St Patrick’s Church car park on Friday from 11am-12noon  with her car boot open for contactless donations of anything anyone wishes to donate. She is also happy to pick up from people’s doorsteps if they can’t get to the Church – please call her on 07515830483 to arrange a collection.

Many thanks.

Sycamore

SYCAMORE starting Monday 27th April, 10.30am and 4.00pm each day.

How can we find happiness? What’s the meaning of life? Is there a God? Does prayer make a difference?

Sycamore is an informal course about the Christian faith and its relevance for life today.

It gives you space to meet other people, share ideas, explore your beliefs, and think about questions that really matter.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham is very grateful to Fr Stephen Wang for allowing them to use his Sycamore Program. The Shrine will be showing the 20 half hour videos, starting on Monday 27th April. They will be shown at 10.30am and 4.00pm each day.

To stream, see www.walsingham.org.uk For more info on the course, see www.sycamore.fm/about-sycamore/

A quarter of an hour with the Lord

This wonderful guide to how to pray before the Tabernacle can also be used at home before an image of Our Lord (e.g. The Sacred Heart) at home.

To please Me, dear child, it is not necessary to know much; all that is required is to love Me much, to be deeply sorry for ever having offended Me and desirous of being ever faithful to Me in future. Speak to Me of the poor you wish to comfort; tell Me all that now fills your mind and heart. Are there any you wish to commend to Me? Tell Me their names, and tell Me what you would wish Me to do for them. Do not fear, ask for much, I love generous hearts, which, forgetting themselves, wish well to others. Speak to Me of the poor you wish to comfort; tell Me of the sick that you would wish to see relieved. Ask of Me something for those who have been unkind to you, or who have crossed you. Ask much for them all; commend them all with your heart to Me.

And ask Me many graces for yourself. Are there not many graces you would wish to name that would make you happier in yourself, more useful and pleasing to others, more worthy of the love of Me, the dearest Lord, master, and Spouse of your soul? Tell Me the whole list of the favours you want of Me. Tell Me them humility, knowing how poor you are without them, how unable to gain them by yourself; ask for them with much love, that they may make you more pleasing to Me. With all a child’s simplicity, tell Me how self-seeking you are, how proud, vain, irritable, how cowardly in sacrifice, how lazy in work, uncertain in your good resolutions, and then ask Me to bless and crown your efforts. Poor child, fear not, blush not at the sight of so many failings; there are Saints in heaven who had the faults you have; they came to Me lovingly, they prayed earnestly to Me, and My grace has made them good and holy in My sight. You should be Mine, body and soul; fear not, therefore, to ask of Me gifts of body and mind, health, judgement, memory and success. Ask for them for My sake; that God may be glorified in all things. I can grant everything, and never refuse to give what may make a soul dearer to Me and better able to fulfil the will of God. Have you no plans for the future which occupy, perhaps distress, your mind? Tell Me your hopes, your fears. Is it about your future state? Your position among My creatures? Some good you wish to bring to others? In what shall I help and bless your good will?

And for Me you must have, have you not, some zeal, some wish to do good to the souls of others. Some, perhaps, who love and care for you, have ceased, almost, to know or care for Me. Shall I give you strength, wisdom and tact, to bring these poor ones close to my heart again? Have you failed in the past? Tell Me how you acted; I will show you why you did not gain all you expected; rely on Me, I will help you, and will guide you to lead others to Me. And what crosses have you, My dear Child? Have they been many and heavy ones? Has someone caused you pain? Someone wounded your self-love? Slighted you? Injured you? Lay your head upon My breast, and tell Me how you suffered. Have you felt that some have been ungrateful to you, and unfeeling towards you? Tell Me all, and in the warmth of My heart you will find strength to forgive and even to forget that they have ever wished to pain you.

And what fears have you, My child? My providence shall comfort you. My love sustains you. I am never away from you, never can abandon you. Are some growing cold in the interest and love they had for you? Pray to Me for them; I will restore them to you if it be better for you and your sanctification.”

Giving to St Patrick’s at this time just got easier!

SUPPORT THE PARISH THROUGH ON LINE OFFERTORY VIA PAYPAL

We have just enabled a way to support St Patrick’s Church through online giving. We have added a PayPal button to the front of our web page.

This now allows you to direct your donation to the parish as a one-time or recurring monthly gift. Donations can also be made via this PayPal button.

It is very easy to use. Parishioners do not need to have a PayPal account to use this feature, PayPal accepts all major debit and credit cards. Donations via PayPal can be Gift Aided like any other donation – PayPal will make the claim and the funds will be paid over to the parish. It’s that easy! Thank you very much for any contribution you make, it will play a vital part in keeping the parish functioning at this difficult time.

 

Live streaming reminder from Clifton

Live Streaming from Clifton Cathedral:

  • Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 8.00pm
  • Good Friday: Stations of the Cross at 12noon
  • Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at 3.00pm
  • Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil at 8.00pm
  • Easter Sunday: Mass at 9.30am

These liturgies can be can be accessed through the diocesan website (cliftondiocese.com) or through churchservices.tv.

Also on Easter Sunday Cardinal Vincent Nichols’ celebration of Easter Mass next will be broadcast on all local BBC Radio Stations across Britain at 8.10am.

Domestic Violence Help

We have all heard that there is an increase in Domestic Violence due to the current  situation, with particular regards to people being  indoors with each other far longer than  normal. 

People living in enforced close proximity will lead to increased  tensions in some cases. Although it’s something we would like to hope is not too prevalent within our parishes, unfortunately there are likely to be families and partnerships  who are in  challenging, and in some cases abusive and or  violent  relationships.

Please pray for any who are vulnerable at this time.

Here are some helpful numbers.  They might just be a lifeline for someone in need.