Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Established by St Pope John Paul II in the Jubilee Year 2000, Divine Mercy Sunday grew from private revelations to Sr Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun and now a saint, received from Jesus in the 1930s, as World War II approached. In her diary, she records that Jesus told her that this Feast of Mercy would be a very special day, when “all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened”. (Diary 699) The diary records Jesus’ promise that “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.”(Diary 699) He went on to say, “I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My Mercy.” (Diary 1109) Sr Faustina also recounted in her diary the request that the image of the Divine Mercy be venerated. St John Paul II said that the image portrays the Risen Jesus Christ bringing Mercy to the whole world. The Scripture readings for the Second Sunday of Easter lend themselves to linking Easter and Divine Mercy since the texts highlight the forgiveness of sins. The Gospel is of Jesus appearing in the upper room and bestowing the authority to forgive sins, and the responsorial psalm for the day is the great Easter Psalm 117 which sings of the mercy of God enduring forever. The revelations of the Divine Mercy are nothing new. They are a reminder of what has always been taught through scripture and tradition: that God is merciful and forgiving and that we too, must show mercy and forgiveness. They point us to the ordinary channel of God’s forgiveness in the Church, the wonderful sacrament of individual penance and reconciliation (Confession). Let us rejoice on this Sunday in the love and mercy offered to the world through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord this Easter.
EASTER IS OUR HOPE AND OUR JOY Over the past year, the world has become a lonelier and more insecure place. The freedom and joy of gathering with our loved ones has been curtailed. Our screens are filled with disturbing news of so many throughout the world who have succumbed to the coronavirus. We have feared for the wellbeing the elderly. Parents are anxious for their children and children worry for the health of ageing parents. There is also the pain of those who have lost their jobs. Yet, at this time of isolation and fear, we must cling to the Easter message of hope. On the Easter Sunday morning, as the Gospel of John relates, the world seemed a dark place for Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter and the beloved disciple, but they gradually woke up to a new vision of life. They saw the tomb, empty. They observed the cloths that had wrapped the body of Jesus, and then they encountered the Risen Lord. From the darkness of unknowing and confusion, God brought light. Into the emptiness, God gave life. Instead of sorrow, God made their joy overflow. It was through the ordinariness of their own life experience, the Risen One was present to them. As Jesus is present in the Easter Sacraments, our hearts and in our lives, he is also present in our homes. In that place of refuge and security, where we live and rest, whether we are alone or with our families and friends, Christ is there. With trust in the Risen Jesus, we ask God to bless our homes:
Lord, we rejoice in the victory of your Son over death: by rising from the tomb to new life he gives us hope and the promise of everlasting life. Bless all the members of this household and surround them with your protection, that they may find comfort and peace in Jesus Christ, the Paschal Lamb, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
MASS BOOKINGS After Easter Sunday, we revert to the pre lockdown Mass schedule of Mass on Wednesday at 12noon and Sunday at 10.30am. As more people begin to return to Mass and restrictions are lifted, the schedule will be updated. Booking is still required to attend Mass. The booking link is: www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/st-patricks-catholic-church-corsham-30646123644. Covid regulations mean that sadly we are still not permitted to sing as a congregation. Masks are required (unless medially exempt) and social distancing is in Church. Communion is given in one kind on the hand only. Please observe the one-way system in Church: the car park door is for ENTRANCE only and the Bath Road door for EXIT only. If we all observe these regulations, we help to keep everyone safe. Thank you.
THE DIOCESAN CHRISM MASS 2021 Wednesday 31st March at 11am. Anyone wishing to attend the Chrism Mass in person this year may book a place through Eventbrite. There is a link on the Cathedral website which can be found at www.cliftoncathedral.org. Places will be limited to 250 people to ensure that social distancing can be maintained. As with all Masses from the Cathedral, this year’s Chrism Mass will be live streamed if you wish to participate remotely. If you are unable to attend the Triduum this year, you are asked to join Bishop Declan for the celebration on-line at Clifton Cathedral. Live stream from our Cathedral can be found on our website.
EASTER GARDENS Easter is almost here! We would like to challenge our families to try making an Easter Garden at home. You could make it in a tray inside – or outside in part of your actual garden. Take a photo of your garden and email it to us and we will include them in the bulletin on the website.
THE EASTER TRIDUUM Thankfully, we will be able to celebrate the Paschal Triduum this year. A booking system has once again been set in place to ensure the safety of everyone and booking is now open. The link is www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/st-patricks-catholic-church-corsham-30646123644. Numbers will be limited as we still need to observe social distancing. Also, the liturgies will be shorter than usual and look a little different: The Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday will be celebrated at 7pm. Sadly there can be no washing of feet this year nor procession to the altar of repose for the usual Solemn Watch. On Good Friday, the Liturgy of the Passion is celebrated at 3pm. The proclamation of the Passion will take the shorter form and there can be no individual veneration of the cross. The Easter Vigil is celebrated after sunset at 8pm. There will be no Liturgy of Light with procession and candles and the Vigil will be significantly shorter than usual. There can still be no congregational singing, however we will be supported by organ and a small group of cantors which is permitted. Easter Sunday Mass will be celebrated at 10.30am. Volunteers for stewarding and cleaning after the services will be needed. Please let Lorraine Miller know your availability. After Easter Sunday, the Wednesday noon Mass and the Sunday 10.30am Mass will abe reinstated. We all look forward to coming together again to celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord.
NATIONAL DAY OF REFLECTION for COVID-19 Tuesday 23rd March 2021. Our Bishops have said that they welcome the designation of Tuesday 23rd March as a National Day of Reflection to mark the anniversary of the first national lockdown with a minute’s silence at midday and doorstep vigils of light at 8pm. “We ask you all to make this not only a Day of Reflection but also a Day of Prayer. In reflection we ponder on all that has taken place; in prayer we bring this to our Heavenly Father. For all who live by faith in God, reflection and prayer always go hand in hand. Prayer completes reflection. Reflection informs prayer. Prayer opens our life to its true horizon. Without prayer we live in a foreshortened world and are more easily swamped by its clamour and tragedy. Throughout this difficult year, so many have been inspired by prayer, so much effort sustained in prayer, in every place. So, let us make 23rd March truly a day of prayer.” May Tuesday 23rd March be a great day of prayer that this pandemic comes to an end and that the gift of God’s Holy Spirit will carry us all forward to a new and better life, both here and in the world to come.
LAETARE SUNDAY & MOTHERING SUNDAY This Sunday is often called “Laetare Sunday.” Today’s theme is one of hope and rejoicing that Easter is drawing near. The Entrance Antiphon for Mass today begins with the Latin word “laetare” meaning ‘rejoice’ and the vestments worn by the celebrant are often rose-colored which is traditionally associated with a sense of joy amidst a season of penance. Let us rejoice indeed that our salvation is near at hand. The Preface (before the ‘Holy, Holy…’) explains: “By the mystery of the Incarnation, [Christ] has led the human race that walked in darkness into the radiance of the faith”. Even as Christ draws closer to his Passion, John’s Gospel highlights the paradox that the deeper the darkness, the closer he is to glory, salvation for the whole world. The tradition of Mothering Sunday also falls on the 4th Sunday of Lent, when those in paid service had leave to visit their mothers or the mother church of the diocese, the Cathedral. We are aware of the demands this last year has placed on mothers (and fathers) and wish them a special blessing on this day. We pray for all our Mothers, whether living or departed.
LITURGIES IN HOLY WEEK AND AT EASTER Fr Michael is hoping to be free from having to shield from 31st March. This will be confirmed by the government soon. We are therefore hoping to be able to celebrate the Triduum and Easter Day Mass. We will need to have a booking system once again, to ensure the safety of everyone. Details of how to book will follow in due course when the exit from shielding is confirmed. Please see the on line bulletin for updates. We had hoped to be able to begin a streaming service from St Patricks but sadly in the present crisis our finance committee has decided that this will prove too expensive for us at this time.