Takehomenews Sunday 23rd May
Fr Colin writes:
Happy Birthday to all of you. Yes, the Feast of Pentecost is the birthday of the Church so we should celebrate today as if it were our own birthday. At Pentecost, the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and then went out with the strength to spread the Good News far and wide. It marked the start of the Church as we know it. Today we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Giving us the strength and guidance to fulfil our role as members of the Church.
On Monday we start the season of Ordinary Time. Green will be the prominent colour although we have a number of feast days coming up in the week. On Sundays, we have two ‘white’ Sundays—Trinity Sunday next week and Corpus Christi the following week. We have now purchased a new altar cloth for Ordinary Time and it will be placed on the altar on Monday. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed towards this and more altar cloths which will follow.
With the lifting of some of the lockdown restrictions from 17th May, there are a few positive changes that concern services in the church. We are now able to have up to 30 people present at baptisms and weddings. The number present at funerals has been increased to the normal capacity of the church under social distancing restrictions. For the time being, we cannot allow more people into the church for Sunday Masses. We often reach capacity and apologise to those who find that they have to stand outside. Enjoy your Birthday. Fr Colin.
There will be a session for parents who wish to have their baby baptised on Sunday 6th June at 4.pm in the church.
First Communion programme
The children in Group A have their third session today (Sunday) at 9.15 in the Canon Smyth Parish Centre. Because of half-term, Group B have their next session on Sunday 6th June, not next Sunday.
Candidates for confirmation continue to have their sessions on Wednesday evenings at 7pm by Zoom, Bishop Sherrington will be here on Sunday 13th June at 3pm and Saturday 19th June at 3pm to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The aspect that I noted when reading through the account of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles was how the Holy Spirit was visible and audible to the apostles. They heard the sound of a powerful wind from heaven and saw something like tongues of fire. Yet our experience of the Holy Spirit is something invisible and inaudible. Just like COVID, we can see its effects on people and the world but we can’t see it or hear it. This helps me realise how powerful the Holy Spirit is, acting in so many different ways to help us, guide us, strengthen, protect us and most of all love us. When we look at the fruits of the Holy Spirit listed in the 2nd reading, we realise how the Holy Spirit can penetrate so many aspects of our lives. The Holy Spirit brings us love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and goodness, trustfulness and gentleness. It is a magnificent antidote to all those other things mentioned in the reading which can happen when we are self-indulgent.
Another aspect of today’s readings that has struck me is the description of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel. This reading is part of Jesus’ Final Discourse at the Last Supper when He was preparing the disciples for his imminent death and indicating that the Holy Spirit would be coming. Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as the Advocate. This title makes me think of the court room where the Advocate defends the accused in every way possible. The Advocate is on our side, looks after our interests and know all our needs. This applies to the Holy Spirit who is there all the time defending us, protecting us and caring for us. This Advocate is also described as the Spirit of Truth. God is Truth. The Holy Spirit leads us to the complete Truth. Our life’s journey is one of pursuit of the Truth, finding out more and understanding more of the nature of God. The Holy Spirit is the facilitator of that.
Finally, I find the words of the Sequence help me so much in my understanding of the Holy Spirit. I love singing this hymn. In fact, last year when the churches were closed I sang this aloud during my private Mass at Pentecost. Unfortunately, this year we cannot sing. This sequence unravels the whole nature of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enlightens us, brings us treasure-like gifts, consoles us, brings peace to our hearts, brings relief in our toils, coolness when we are hot and bothered, comfort in our troubles, strength when we are weary, enthusiasm when we feel dry, forgiveness from our sins, eases our stubbornness, brings us back when we stray, and most important of all, everlasting joy. So, let us reflect on how the Holy Spirit is active in so many aspects of our everyday lives.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has written a Pastoral Letter which will be read at Masses today. In the letter, he speaks about the beauty of God’s creation through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and how we have the responsibility of caring for everything and everybody that God has created.
Friends of Silkstream
We are scheduling a litter pick up on the 29th May in Watling Park at 10.30am, please come along if you would like to help.
COMMON PRAYER FOR EARTH AND HUMANITY
Creator of Heaven, Earth, and all therein contained.
Open our minds and touch our hearts,
so that we can be part of Creation, your gift.
Be present to those in need in these difficult times, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.
Help us to show creative solidarity as we confront the consequences of the global pandemic.
Make us courageous in embracing the changes required to seek the common good.
Now more than ever, may we all feel interconnected and interdependent.
Enable us to succeed in listening and responding to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.
May their current sufferings become the birth-pangs of a more fraternal and sustainable world.
We pray through Christ our Lord, under the loving gaze of Mary, Help of Christians. Amen.
Feast and Saints Days this week
Monday—The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
The message of Mary is the message of the Gospel, to repent and believe the Good news. The message of Mary is conversion to Her Son by saying "yes" to God's invitation. That is the path to true peace. Her response to the Angel "I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be to me according to your Word" (Luke 1:38), proposes to every man and woman the new way of living called the Christian life.
Tuesday—St Bede the Venerable
Wednesday—St Philip Neri
Thursday– Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest (This replaces St Augustine of Canterbury on 27th May this year).