Resumption of Mass

With the Government permitting the return of public acts of worship (public masses) our PPC will meet  this week on Zoom to consider the necessary conditions to facilitate this. Fr Michael is ‘shielding’ so this will inevitably impact on the date we resume public worship. When we return for Mass, strict distancing needs to be observed, which will  significantly reduce the number of people able to attend each Mass.  The PPC will consider how best to meet the needs of the Parish. Some people may wish to attend a midweek Mass instead of the Sunday Mass. The letter from the Metropolitan Archbishops of the Catholic Church (see previous web post) has restated that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended. Meanwhile, the Church will continue to be open for private prayer at the advertised times.

 We are all looking forward to coming together for the celebration of the Eucharist once again, ensuring that this is done in a way that keeps all of us safe. We will update the Parish web site when we have further details.

Parish Website Redesign

Our web site has undergone a vibrant new redesign. Please take some time to peruse our new site and visit some of the new pages now available. We have a streaming viewer facility too, which we hope to be able to enable soon. Meanwhile we are streaming masses from the Cathedral.

Our big thanks to Mike Stuart of Disphoria Design in Bristol, who has very kindly contributed much of his own time and though to the project over the last few months. We are grateful for all his help as this assists our work of building community and communication in the work of evangelisation.

Solemnity of Ss Peter & Paul

Solemnity of Ss Peter & Paul
Today we celebrate the two outstanding apostles of the Church, two contrasting personalities. Peter was from Galilee, a fisherman, poor, un-educated and probably illiterate. St Jerome tells us that Paul too was a Galilean, yet his enforced exile to Tarsus as a child opened other possibilities for him: he was well educated and knew well the Roman system, perhaps even being a Roman citizen. He trained in the rigorous code of the Pharisees. He was a lawyer but also a skilled tentmaker. How is it their stories became intertwined? What brought these men to give totally of themselves and ultimately their lives for the embryonic Christian faith?

The answer lies in the fact that both came face to face with Jesus Christ, who called them to follow him. That encounter with Christ, that call, transformed their lives forever. Peter, impulsive and rash, struggled throughout Jesus’ ministry to understand and believe in the meaning of Christ.  Limited in the area of public relations, it is a great comfort for ordinary mortals to know that Peter also has his human weakness, even in the presence of Jesus.

He generously gave up all things, yet he can ask in childish self-regard, “What are we going to get for all this?” He receives the full force of Christ’s anger when he objects to the idea of a suffering Messiah: “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do”

Peter is willing to accept Jesus’ doctrine of forgiveness, but suggests a limit of seven times. He walks on the water in faith, but sinks in doubt. He refuses to let Jesus wash his feet, then wants his whole body cleansed. He swears at the Last Supper that he will never deny Jesus, and then swears to a servant maid that he has never known the man. He loyally resists the first attempt to arrest Jesus by cutting off the ear of Malchus, but in the end he runs away with the others. In the depth of his sorrow, Jesus looks on him and forgives him, and he goes out and sheds bitter tears. It is to this seeming failure that the Risen Lord says, “Peter feed my lambs…feed my sheep”. And it is the same Peter who responds to the prompting of the Spirit and declares boldly “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Ultimately, Christ draws out the best of Peter to whom he entrusts the leadership of the Apostles and who will go on to preach the first sermon of the Christian Church at Pentecost, afire with the Holy Spirit.

Beyond any reasonable doubt, in the early Church, as today, the successors of Peter, the Bishops of Rome, were seen as and acted as the Church’s Rock and leading Shepherd, the centre of unity, truth, and stability for the world-wide Church.

We meet Saul in the Acts of the Apostles, full of righteous zeal against these dangerous Christians, approving of the stoning of St Stephen. On such a mission to slay such Christians in Damascus, he experiences an earth shattering encounter with the Risen Christ. Blinded, dazed and confused, stripped of all his certainty, power and assuredness, he must be led by the hand into the city, lost, frightened and powerless.  Yet through the power of the Spirit the scales fall from Saul’s eyes. He begins to see with the eyes of faith.  In the new life of the baptised, the newly named Paul goes on the preach the Gospel of Christ throughout Mediterranean as far as Rome, hoping to travel on to Spain, ‘the ends of the earth’, and leaving us the precious teaching of his epistles and the wonderful example of his life and ministry.

Peter and Paul are the two great heroes of the Apostolic Age ‑ Peter for leading the first Christian communities and binding them in unity, a role that springs from his profession of faith in Caesarea Philippi, and Paul for travel­ling throughout the Roman Empire as the Apostle to the Gentiles, ensuring that the Gospel could be heard by all. They conclude their earthly journey in Rome, the heart of the Empire, where they crowned their lives of witness by shedding their blood for Christ. In celebrating the death of these apostles and martyrs, we celebrate today, the triumph of life and death offered fully to God.

Ss Peter and Paul, pray for us and with us today.

Message from Metropolitan Archbishops

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

Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

On Tuesday we heard the announcement that, from the 4th July this year, places of worship will be able to reopen for prayer and services. We welcome this news with great joy. Since the lockdown began, members of all faiths have faced restrictions on how they have been able to celebrate important religious festivals. Our own
experience of Easter was unlike any other we have known. Now, in our churches, and with our people, we can look forward again to celebrating the central mysteries of our faith in the Holy Eucharist.

The recent reopening of our churches for individual private prayer was an important milestone on our journey towards resuming communal worship. Our churches that have opened have put in place all the measures needed to ensure the risks of virus
transmission are minimised. This includes effective hand sanitisation, social distancing, and cleaning. We remain committed to making sure these systems of hygiene and infection control meet Government and public health standards.

We want to thank everyone within the Catholic community for sustaining the life of faith in such creative ways, not least in the family home. We thank our priests for celebrating Mass faithfully for their people, and for the innovative ways in which they have enabled participation through live-streaming and other means. We are grateful for the pastoral care shown by our clergy to those for whom this time of lockdown has been especially difficult, and, in particular, towards those who have been bereaved. We recognise too the chaplaincy services that have played a vital role in supporting those most in need. Gaining from the experience of all that we have been through, and bringing those lessons into the future, we must now look forward.

With the easing of restrictions on worship with congregations, we tread carefully along the path that lies ahead. Our lives have been changed by the experience of the pandemic and it is clear that we cannot simply return to how things were before lockdown. We remain centred on the Lord Jesus and His command at the Last
Supper to “do this in memory of me.” We must now rebuild what it means to be Eucharistic communities, holding fast to all that we hold dear, while at the same time exploring creative ways to meet changed circumstances. It is important to reaffirm that, at present, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended.

A significant number of churches may remain closed as they are
unable to meet the requirements for opening for individual prayer. Fulfilling these requirements is a precondition for any church opening after the 4th July for the celebration of Mass with a congregation. Please be aware that there will be a limit on the number of people who can attend Mass in our churches. This will determined locally in accordance with social distancing requirements. We therefore need to reflect carefully on how and when we might be able to attend Mass. We cannot return immediately to our customary practices. This next step is not, in any sense, a moment when we are going ‘back to normal.’

We ask every Catholic to think carefully about how and when they will return to Mass. Our priests may need to consider whether it is possible to celebrate additional Masses at the weekends. Given there is no Sunday obligation, we ask you to consider the possibility of attending Mass on a weekday. This will ease the pressure of
numbers for Sunday celebrations and allow a gradual return to the Eucharist for more people.

Moving forward, there will still be many people who cannot attend Mass in person. We therefore ask parishes, wherever possible, to continue live-streaming Sunday Mass, both for those who remain shielding and vulnerable, and also for those unable to leave home because of advanced age or illness. When we return to Mass there will some differences in how the celebration takes place. For the time being, there will be no congregational singing and Mass will be
shorter than usual. None of this detracts from the centrality of our encounter with the Risen Christ in the Eucharist. We ask everyone to respect and follow the guidance that will be issued and the instructions in each church. “As I have loved you,” said the Lord Jesus, “so you must love each other.” (Jn 13:34) The lockdown has brought forth remarkable acts of charity, of loving kindness, from
Catholics across our communities as they have cared for the needy and vulnerable. We have seen love in action through charitable works, and through the service of many front-line keyworkers who are members of our Church. Now we can begin to return to the source of that charity, Christ himself, present for us sacramentally,
body, blood, soul and divinity, in Holy Communion. As we prepare to gather again to worship, let us, respectful of each other, come together in thanksgiving to God for the immense gift of the Holy Eucharist.

Yours devotedly in Christ

✠ Vincent Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
✠ Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool
✠ Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham
✠ John Wilson, Archbishop of Southwark

This letter is addressed to the Catholic Community in England; the opening of the Catholic Churches in Wales
is devolved to the Welsh Assembly who are still evaluating their position on opening Places of Worship.

Corpus et Sanguis Christi

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This certainly applied to a Belgian nun called Juliana who lived in the 13th century. She was a great devotee of Eucharistic Adoration, and her friend was the archdeacon of Liege. Later he became Pope Urban IV and, influenced by Juliana, he instituted the Feast of Corpus Christi. The eucharist is first and foremost a sacrificial meal in which we eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Yet, we believe that the presence of Christ abides in the elements. So, what was bread and wine become the most perfect way in which Jesus Christ is present to his people. To adore Jesus in the Eucharist is to continue and reflect his presence in the Mass.
While he was Pope, Urban IV lived for a while at Orvieto, near Lake Bolsena, north of Rome. It was in this city that the first procession of the Blessed Sacrament took place and then spread to other parts of the Christian world. Even today on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the procession takes place with citizens of the various quarters of Orvieto dressing up in medieval costume to accompany the Bishop, who carries the monstrance through the narrow streets. Afterwards there is eating, drinking, singing and dancing to complete the holyday. This procession takes place today throughout the world and in many parishes throughout our own country since its revival in recent years.

Most of us, have grown up calling this Feast “Corpus Christi”. But the Second Vatican Council changed its name to “Corpus et Sanguis Christi” (Body and Blood of Christ) to emphasise the fuller symbolism of eating and drinking the body and blood which is now available to us when we receive Communion. Jesus said, “Do this…eat and drink…in memory of me”. The English word ‘memorial’ is much more than a mere remembrance. The word in the Greek scriptures is ‘anamnesis’, meaning much more to ‘do this to make me present’.

“My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink,” says Jesus. Christ abides in us as we receive holy communion, this communion strengthens us to proclaim the love of God outside the walls of our Churches, in the ordinary circumstances of our lives. Strengthened for this mission as we partake of the Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, let us tell others of his love in this great sacrament and witness to that love in our service to others.

‘Blessed praised hallowed and adored, be Jesus Christ on his throne of glory, and in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar’.

Re-opening of Saint Patrick’s Church and Volunteers Needed!

As you may have heard, the government has given permission for places of worship to be opened for private prayer only from next Monday 15th June.

Before we open Saint Patrick’s Church for private prayer, we need to show that our Church is a safe place for people when they come to pray. This will involve the completion and approval of a risk assessment and the purchase of the required PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). This will take time to complete to the recommended standards. The Church will need to be marked out with tape for social distancing, observing an entrance and separate exit door. It is recommended that people wear face coverings to enter the Church, using the sanitising gel provided. Those with cold or flu-like symptoms should not enter. Also please note that the Church toilet facilities will remain closed to prevent any risk of transmission of infection. The Church will also need to be cleaned/sanitised after each day of opening.

We are aiming to re-open the Church for the first time for private prayer on Sundays, starting on 21st June from 2pm – 4pm. The Church will also be open on Tuesdays from 10.30am – 12.30pm and on Thursdays from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. To enable this to happen we need people to volunteer as Church Stewards to ensure safety and to help sanitize at the conclusion of each period of opening. If we have sufficient numbers of stewards we will be able to extend our ‘opening hours’.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

If you are able to offer your time to steward any of the above times, please contact Lorraine Miller who is preparing our rota: Lorraine.miller945@btinternet.com

We would like two or three stewards for each opening session.  It is recommended that Stewards are not drawn from those instructed to shield or from groups considered more vulnerable.

These measures may seem burdensome, or even a little daunting. They are however necessary, not least because if any churches are seen to be operating in a way that may increase the spread of the virus, there is risk that stricter measures such as prohibition or enforced closure notices could be imposed by local authorities or even national administrations. It is our hope that working effectively together, we will be able to open churches safely for private prayer, as a significant step towards the resumption of the celebration of Mass and the sacraments.

We look forward to being able to come as individuals to Saint Patrick’s very soon to make our private prayers to the Lord. We know that it will be a very welcome home-coming for many.

The Solemnity of Pentecost

William Blake, the great English poet, painter and print maker was placed at number 38 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons a few years ago.

He was a visionary who looked beneath the appearance of things to explore the spirit that lay beyond.  Some of you may know this extract from his poem ‘Pentecost’:

Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.

The key, the prime requisite for authentic life and for knowing God, is to catch something of that flame of life, the Spirit itself.

On the first Pentecost the Spirit descended in tongues of fire. Elsewhere the Spirit is described as a dove, a breath or wind. Each description catches a particular sense of that Spirit of God which underlies everything and awaits its birth in the lives and actions of human beings.

It is the Spirit deep within the heart of humanity made in God’s image, that enables us to pray and to engage with God himself.

At times it is like a fire, a burning passion that enflames us with a sense of God’s loving presence, a fire that purifies us from the dross of self-absorption. At times it is like a wind that blows where it will – we know its power and presence even though it can’t be seen. At times it is like breath, something so very natural and almost unnoticed – yet essential for life. At times we picture it as a dove – a sign of hope and promise landing in our midst as it did in the story of Noah when it brought an olive branch in its beak showing the flood was ended.

Today we celebrate the gift of that Spirit of God, promised by the Risen and Ascended Lord. Here the Eastertide season ends as we move into the life of discipleship lived in the power of that Spirit.

But we shouldn’t see the Spirit just as simply an extra boost, something we call upon to help us do what we want. It is rather the very presence of God deep within his creation and therefore deep within our communities and indeed deep within each one of us. The invitation of Pentecost is to open ourselves to that presence.

Yet if we do this, let us be aware of what it is we are letting ourselves in for. This is a Spirit that will not just support our ambitions for the Church or for our world or for ourselves. This is the Spirit of God which will lead us in his ways (or even her ways…the spirit is in the feminine form in the NT,  as we often sing in the wonderful hymn, ‘Enemy of Apathy’), to fulfil the Spirits’s will for his church, his world and us his people.

She sits like a bird, brooding on the waters,
hovering on the chaos of the world’s first day;
she sighs and she sings, mothering creation,
waiting to give birth to all the Word will say.

She wings over earth, resting where she wishes,
lighting close at hand or soaring through the skies;
she nests in the womb, welcoming each wonder,
nourishing potential hidden to our eyes.

She dances in fire, startling her spectators,
waking tongues of ecstasy where dumbness reigned;
she weans and inspires all whose hearts are open,
nor can she be captured, silenced or restrained.

For she is the Spirit, one with God in essence,
gifted by the Saviour in eternal love;
and she is the key opening the scriptures,
enemy of apathy and heavenly dove. 
(John L. Bell & Graham Maule)

We are opening ourselves not just to an extra support, but to a radical change. We are handing over ourselves to the one who created us, and who invites us to choose to live our lives in his way rather than ours. It may, it will be full of surprises – for God’s Spirit is renowned for blowing where it wills, not where we or parts of the Church thinks it ought.

So today we are invited to live in God’s grace, and that is something many have embarked upon – though often we wrestle back control at moments when we lose faith or become selfish in our desires.

Today we recall that gathering of nationalities on the first Pentecost: Parthians, Medes, Elamites and all the rest who heard the first disciples speaking of God’s love in Jesus Christ.They were surprised that each heard in their own language – but what they heard was that Spirit of God deep within all humanity, and they were united in responding to God’s love.

The challenge of today is one for our world, our society and one for each of us here. It is to allow that love to become real in the lives of this broken and virus ridden world. It is to enable those imprisoned by violence, oppression, need or greed, to find that Spirit of God’s love deep within themselves bringing freedom from their captivity. It is to enable those who are blinded by their power, their success and their comfort in this world, to have their eyes open to the needs of all around, to change and be changed, to live differently.

It is to find the Spirit of the living God breathing new life into the dry bones of our society and our world, that all may have life, and have it abundantly; life that is both here and now, and lasts into eternity.

Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.

May this Pentecost enflame our eyes, ears, tongues, hearts and minds, that God and his love may be seen and heard, named and loved, and known by all his children in every part of his world.

Pope Francis joins Archbishops of Canterbury and York for Thy Kingdom Come Pentecost service

Pope Francis will take part in an online church service alongside the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and a number of other senior UK church leaders this Sunday.

He will deliver a special message for the virtual service for Pentecost Sunday – the day we Christians celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. The service can be watched on the  YouTube channel from 9am on Sunday 31 May.

The service marks the finale of this year’s Thy Kingdom Come, an annual ecumenical global prayer movement for evangelisation between Ascension Day and Pentecost across 172 countries.

In his message, the Pope calls on all Christians to seek a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a world “experiencing a tragic famine of hope”.

Bishop Declan’s Pentecost Message

Pentecost brings 50 days of Easter celebrations to completion with the coming of the Holy Spirit, filling the hearts of God’s people with the fire of God’s love and renewing the face of the earth. Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. The beginnings did not look too auspicious as the disciples were hiding behind locked doors for fear of the authorities. They were a group of vulnerable people whose lives had been shattered and whose hopes had been destroyed. What changed them in a remarkable way was the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives them courage and strength to witness to Jesus, the Christ, without fear or anxiety. In the Acts of the Apostles we are told that the disciples were given the gift of speaking foreign languages so that all nations might hear about the marvels of God. There was one language, the language of God, for many nations. Unlike the Tower of Babel where the languages would cause a division among the people, the language of God heals divisions, unites humanity and brings peace between God and humanity and the whole of creation. At the birth of a child people often wonder what the child will turn out to be. At the birth of John the Baptist there was such a reaction. At the birth of the Church we can ask the same question: what will the Church turn out to be? Throughout history the Church has adapted and reformed in response to the joys and sorrows of particular times and cultures. Today the Church finds different ways to proclaim and celebrate the Gospel. The means may change but the message remains the same – the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus. The message is life giving and is the way to the truth of life. Within the community of the Church there are millions of people who are gifted by the Holy Spirit. We, all of us, are part of that people. There are many gifts but always given by God for the good of others. Each one of us is created for a good purpose. We discover that purpose through the loving service we give to others. It is in giving that we receive. In this time of Covid-19 many people have shown great generosity. Neighbours who may have been strangers to one another have become friends. People who have felt alone and isolated have experienced the care and love of people who they did not previously know. The first disciples were not unique in experiencing fear, hiding behind locked doors. All of us experience fear at certain times in our lives. Fear can paralyse us and make us feel useless and powerless. Pentecost puts an end to the fear. The Holy Spirit fills us with the fire of God’s love. Though the circumstances that cause us fear may remain the same, the fear is taken away. The Coronavirus has been a cause of fear and uncertainty, making people feel vulnerable, especially when faced by the death of a family member or friend. People ask when will it end. When will we be able to get back to how things were before the pandemic? However, we cannot return to how things once were. The experience worldwide has made a difference to our lives. We can only live in the present moment and look to the future. We need to reflect on what we have learnt from our experiences of the Coronavirus both individually and institutionally – including the Church. Pope Francis compares the Church to a field hospital. The Church must not hide behind locked doors but be in the midst of people listening to their voices and bringing healing and hope to those who are afflicted physically, mentally, spiritually and socially. This will make us vulnerable and we will make mistakes, but we will be giving ourselves and others reasons for living in the present and looking with hope to the future. We are called to have a sense of togetherness in this our common home and a sense of wonder about the whole of creation entrusted to our care. To us today Jesus says: Peace be with you. As the Father sent me so am I sending you. Receive the Holy Spirit.

Organ Donation: A Brief Guide For Catholics

On 20th May, an opt-out system for organ donation was introduced in England. The Catholic Church has consistently encouraged its followers to consider organ donation. The act of donating organs before or after death has been considered a gift and an intrinsic good. However, a system of presumed consent risks taking away the right of the individual to exercise this decision, and therefore potentially undermines the concept of donation as a gift. Following the change in the law, all adults in England will be considered donors in the event of death, unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the following excluded groups: those under the age of 18; people who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action; visitors to England, and those not living here voluntarily; and people who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death. The Catholic Bishops’ of England and Wales have produced Guidelines for Catholics on Organ Donation, and how to record this decision online via the Organ Donation Register (ODR). The ODR also allows you to record your faith beliefs so that they may be respected in the event of death and organ donation. See the Bishops’ Guidelines:

CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF ENGLAND AND WALES

39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX
www.catholicchurch.org.uk

Organ Donation: A brief guide for Catholics
Spring 2020

This brief guide presents Catholic teaching on organ donation, answers
common questions Catholics may have and provides sources for further
information and reflection.
The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019
The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act became law on 15 March 2019 and
will come into force in Spring 2020. Across the UK, around three people die
each day due to a lack of availability of donated organs. The law is being
changed in the hope that it will increase the supply of organs to help save and
improve more lives. The new system now requires that you ‘opt-out’ if you do
not wish to donate your organs and tissue, otherwise you may be considered a
donor.

A message from Bishop Paul Mason, the Catholic Bishop responsible for
Healthcare and Mental Health:

“Preparing for death should not be feared. These guidelines hope to
provide you with some information to help you make a well-informed decision
with regards to donating your organs after death. It is important to discuss this
with your family and loved ones so that they are aware of your decision and
can honour it. In turn, it is hoped that this may help to start a conversation so
that you too are able to make an informed choice about loved ones when the
time comes.”

Catholic Teaching on Organ Donation

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, ‘Organ donation after death
is a noble and meritorious act and is to be encouraged as an expression of
generous solidarity’ (2296). In response to the government Consultation on
introducing ‘opt-out’ consent for organ and tissue donation in England, the
Catholic Media Association (UK) and the Catholic Union of Great Britain stated
that, ‘It is an altruistic act of free giving and a genuine expression of charity
that looks beyond the death of the donor towards the gift of life to others. It offers a chance of health and even of life itself to the sick who sometimes have
no other hope’.
Pope John Paull II, in his Address to the 18th International Congress of the
Transplantation Society (2000) said,
“…There is a need to instil in people’s hearts, especially in the hearts of the
young, a genuine and deep appreciation of the need for brotherly love, a love
that can find expression in the decision to become an organ donor.”
Whilst the Catholic Church considers voluntary organ donation as an intrinsic
good, Catholics also maintain the right to exercise a decision as to what
happens to their body after death, otherwise this undermines the concept of
donation as a gift. Christians value the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1
Corinthians 6:19) and look forward to a resurrection of the body at the end of
time.
Yet, it is the Christian belief that nothing that happens to our body, before or
after death, can impact our relationship with God:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives… and after my skin has been thus
destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold,” (Job 19:25-27)

FAQ and where to seek further information:

What is organ donation?

Organ donation is giving an organ to someone who needs a transplant.
This donation will greatly enhance or save the life of the person who receives
the transplanted organ.
You can donate some or all of your organs and tissue. This includes the heart,
lungs, kidneys, liver, corneas, pancreas, tissue and small bowel. You can donate
after death or donate a kidney or part of your liver while you’re alive.

How do I register my decision?

You can find more information via the Organ Donation NHS website and
register your decision at: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-todonate/. Here you will be able to access the Organ Donation Register (ODR),
record your faith/beliefs, or ‘opt-out’. If you have already registered via the
ODR, you can change your decision, or withdraw (remove your name) from the
register at any time via these means too.

Individuals registering as organ donors on the NHS Organ Donor Register are
now able to state on their registration whether or not they would like the NHS
to speak to their family, and anyone else appropriate, about how organ
donation can go ahead in line with their faith or belief system.

Will my relatives ultimately get to decide what happens to my
organs and tissue after death?

Under the Code of Practice, even after the new system is implemented, a
specialist nurse will always discuss with the deceased’s family whether their
loved one would have wished for their organs and tissue to be donated. This
process is easier if this has been discussed previously and if the potential donor
has registered their decision via one of the ways outlined above. NHS staff will
work with the family members to honour this decision. Family members can
also provide important information about the person’s history to help ensure
the donor’s organs can be transplanted safely.

Catholic chaplaincy support

In the event that a loved one is facing the prospect of donating organs, be
assured that at any point in this process you may seek the support of the
hospital chaplain who can offer pastoral care. Many hospital chaplains work
with people of all faiths. If you specifically want a Catholic Chaplain you can ask
for this and the hospital has an obligation to help you access that support as
part of its equality duty.

Where to seek further information:

• Information/Questions and answers around the law change:
https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/opt-out-faq/
• Information and resources regarding the Catholic perspective on organ
donation: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/podcast/blood-and-organ-donation/
• Further information on the ethics of organ transplantation can be found in
the 2014 report, ‘On the Ethics of Organ Transplantation: A Catholic
Perspective’ by The Anscombe Bioethics Centre at
http://bioethics.org.uk/Ontheethicsoforgantransplantationfinal.pdf.