Sunday, 5 July 2020

Sunday 5th July 2020

The Bible: Introduction (II)

Sunday 5th July 2020

 


‘Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.’ (#81 Catechism of the Catholic Church)

 

This quotation from the catechism conveys so simply the awesomeness of God’s presence in the Bible. He speaks to us through through His Sacred Scripture. He wants to speak to you, now, through His holy word. To begin to listen to God and understand what He is saying to us we must first learn the language of Scripture. Before Shakespeare composed a sonnet or Yeats a heart rendering poem both had to learn their ABC. An alphabet is the nuts and bolts of any language and as we begin our time of wandering through the Bible we need to know what the nuts and bolts for beginning to grapple with Scripture are.

 

The first thing is to learn how to find a biblical reference. Many people will know how to do this already but for those who are unsure let’s remind ourselves.

‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ (Gn 1:1)

At the end of the sentence you will notice (Gn 1:1). ‘Gn’ is the abbreviation for the book of Genesis. If you look at the contents page of your Bible you will see the book of Genesis listed and next to it, in brackets the abbreviation (Gn). If you continue looking through the rest of the contents page you will see that all the books that make up the Bible have an abbreviation after their title. Exodus (Ex), Joshua (Jos), Tobit (Tb), Isaiah (Is), Maccabees (M), The Gospel of Matthew (Mt), The Gospel of John (Jn), St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Rm), St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians (2 Th) etc.

 

The number that comes immediately after ‘Gn’ is 1. This number indicates the chapter. The book of Genesis contains 50 chapters and if you quickly flick through Genesis you will see how each page is dotted with large bold numbers.




After each large bold number you will also see little numbers printed within the text and these are the verses. So when you see the biblical reference Gn1:1, it is referring to the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 1. The verse numbers always appear after the : colon.  

 

For those who want to practice getting to grips with biblical referencing here are some examples you might want to look up.

 

      Gn 2:1. If you have found it correctly is should say: ‘Thus heaven and earth were completed with all their array.’

      Si 7:10. This reference from Ecclesiasticus should say: ‘Do not be impatient in prayer; do not neglect to give alms.’  

      Ho 11:9. The words of the prophet should read: ‘I will not give rein to my fierce anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again, for I am God, not man: I am the Holy One in your midst and have no wish to destroy.’

      Mk 10:12. Jesus says in Mark’s Gospel: ‘And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.’

      1 Cor 13:11. Saint Paul writes: ‘When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and think like a child, and argue like a child, but now I am a man, all childish ways are put behind me.’

 

For some people finding biblical references is easy and for others it may be very new. I hope the above explanation proves useful to the novices and a reminder for the initiated.

 

The next Bible Introduction will explain the three points that the Second Vatican Council published to help us interpret the true sense of Sacred Scripture in accordance with the Holy Spirit. After this we will then begin our virtual tour of the Old Testament looking at those five books that form the Pentateuch/Torah.

 

God Bless and keep praying

Fr. O’Brien


Saturday, 4 July 2020

Saturday 4th July 2020 - Re-Opening of St Mary's church

Saturday 4th July 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

            In the Gospel this weekend Jesus says:

‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’ (Mt 11:28-30)

This coming week the good news is we are now able to respond to the Lord’s invitation, not only in prayer at home, but also in silent individual prayer before the Tabernacle at church. Amen! Amen! Before I give more information I would like us as a family to thank those parishioners who have stepped forward and offered their time and services to make the re-opening of St. Mary’s a reality. As you will be aware many churches in the diocese are still closed and will continue to be so for many reasons, one being a lack of volunteers. Thank you to all those who came on Thursday for the first session in tackling the church grounds. Thank you to those who came on Friday to install and set up the PPE. Thank you to those two teams who came throughout Saturday to deep clean the church. Thank you to all those who have been preparing rotas. Thank you to all those who have stepped forward as stewards and have filled in the numerous safeguarding forms and watched the diocesan online training video to receive their certificate. Thank you all and may God Bless you for what you have done and continue to do for our church.

Bishop John in his homily for St. Peter and St. Paul made this statement about the re-opening of churches and restrictions on public worship from this weekend onwards.

In this diocese it will mean that: “that very few churches in this Diocese will open for Mass next Sunday. That is because there are numerous rules and regulations and conditions that need to be in place to do with social distancing, cleansing, the stewarding of people and indeed the Church must be deep cleaned after every service. That is going to rely on any number of volunteers and not all churches will be able to meet those conditions by next weekend. And let us be clear about this too, even those few churches, and others will follow on as quickly as possible, even those few churches will have a much reduced capacity.”

In addition Bishop John reminded us that there is no obligation to attend Sunday Mass at this time. 

Initially St. Mary’s will be open this week for private silent individual prayer thanks to our volunteer stewards. The times of opening will be:

Wednesday 8th July 2020    9:30am -11am

Friday 10th July 2020    5pm – 6:30pm

Saturday 11th  July    9:30am – 11am

If more people step forward to be stewards we can have more opening times and hopefully public Mass. Please contact Jennifer Pickles for more details about being a steward.  jennifer.pickles@virginmedia.com                      

In line with government directives and diocesan requirements I am obliged to draw your notice to important information about the use of the church building during the current Covid-19 restrictions.

  

      All the doors of church will be open for ventilation requirements. However, because we have to abide by a one way system the official entrance will be the right front door of church. The small side door of church (Hawthorn Ave) is only to be used for those who are disabled, those who cannot manage the front door steps and for emergencies. The official designated exit will be the left front door of church, again this is signposted.

 

    As you come into church you will be welcomed by a steward (wearing a blue identification lanyard). They will direct you to the hand sanitising station and guide you to a specific area of church where you can spend time in silent prayer. Normally we sit where we like in church, but these are not normal times and we do have official directives to follow in the interest of public safety and hygiene.

 

   When you leave church we ask you to follow the one way system, which is signposted, to the official exit where you will find another hand sanitising station.

 

      There will be a steward at each entrance and one designated cleaner for each time church is opened.  The stewards will be wearing masks and gloves but people visiting are nor required to do so.

 

         The 2 meter social distancing rule still applies in the church. 

 

      Stewards are not allowed to manually assist a visitor. We would kindly ask, at this present moment, those who have mobility issues do not visit St. Mary’s for the time being.

 

        There will be no votive candles at present.

 

        The piety stall is temporarily suspended.

 

      There will be a donation basket at the foot of the sanctuary if you wish to make a gift for the up keep of the church.

 

      Please be respectful of the Lord’s House. The pubs are re-opening for socialising, peoples gardens are free for chatting, St. Mary’s is open for praying. He is truly present in the Tabernacle. Talk to Him, Our Lord, because he is waiting to listen.

 

Many of our normal routines, regular practices and everyday customs in regards to church have changed. Change is never nice and always a little unsettling. Thank goodness the Lord is unchanging because He, and He alone, is the one certainty we have in life. I would ask that people be respectful to the stewards, who are all volunteers giving up their time, and abide by the health and safety requirements put in place by the diocese. One of the Vicar’s General, Mgr. Daly and the former PP here at St. Mary’s, has communicated recently to all Salford diocesan priests the following:                  

Message from Mgr John Daly VG

Clergy are reminded that churches may only open for private prayer and public worship with a Covid-19 risk assessment having been carried out. Failing to observe this government directive, which is now law, could mean serious consequences involving fines and even the possibility of imprisonment.

As you can see, failure to abide by official directives will have consequences. It would be a shame to have to ask somebody to leave who was putting others a risk because of selfish actions and behaviour. Let’s work together so that returning to some kind of normality may be a possibility in the future.

 

Over the next two weeks St. Mary’s will be open for private silent prayer. During this time hopefully more volunteers will come forward as stewards and then we can begin to look at re-introducing public weekday Masses.

 

God Bless and keep praying

Fr. O’Brien 






Saturday, 27 June 2020

The Bible: Introduction (I) Sunday 28th June 2020

The Bible: Introduction (I)

Sunday 28th June 2020

 

I would like to begin this reflection by bringing you down to a dusty desert road. It is almost two thousand years ago and a conversation is about to take place between two strangers. At the end of their meeting a life is changed for ever.      

 

‘The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, 'Be ready to set out at noon and go along the road that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza, the desert road’. So he set off on his journey. Now it happened that an Ethiopian had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem; he was a eunuch and an officer at the court of the kandake, or queen, of Ethiopia; he was her chief treasurer. He was now on his way home; and as he sat in his chariot he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, 'Go up and join that chariot.' When Philip ran up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, 'Do you understand what you are reading?' ‘How can I’ he replied, 'unless I have someone to guide me?' So he invited Philip to get in and sit by his side...Starting, therefore, with this text of scripture Philip proceeded to explain the Good News of Jesus to him.’ (Acts 8:26-31, 35)

 


  

The result of Philip’s guidance and explaining the scriptures to the Eunuch leads to new life for the Ethiopian court official, ‘...Both went down into the water and Philip baptised him.’ (Acts 8:38). I was reflecting on this episode in the Acts of the Apostles recently and it reminded me of how important our knowledge of the Bible is. Saint Jerome’s saying came back to me, ‘Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ!’

 

As we begin to adapt to life with the Coronavirus, as we begin to learn the new language of two meter distancing, social bubbles and virus tracing apps, the only one constant and unchanging rock we have to rely on is Our Lord. To be ignorant of him, to not know the ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’ can only lead us to sadness and despondency.   

 

As I write this reflection our churches are still not fully open and operational for Masses and liturgies however by being able to pick up our Bible, to read and to have some basic understanding of God’s word, allows us to still hear and follow Him. For many people praying with the Bible is second nature but for others it can be a little daunting and an obstacle in their relationship with God. For those who aren’t that confident praying with scripture I thought we might copy the example of Saint Philip and the Ethiopian court official. The Eunuch had the scriptures in front of him but needed a little guidance so that the words on the page became truly alive for him and he was able to hear God speaking.



  

I love these words from the prophet Jeremiah who said:

 

‘When your words came, I devoured them:

your word was my delight

and the joy of my heart;

for I was called by your name,

Lord God of Sabaoth.’ (Jer 15:16)


You can hear the hunger of Jeremiah as he knows earthly food can feed the body, but God’s holy word is the only sustenance that can nourish the soul. Our vocation as baptised members of God’s family has not been suspended because of the Coronavirus and the challenges it presents. No. Our vocation, our calling, our duty as children of God should be as active as ever and therefore we need to continue to know the Lord more and listen to where He is calling us and what His will for us is. Over the next few weeks I invite you to wander with me through the Bible and hopefully begin to have both the confidence and the hunger to listen to the voice of God speaking to you personally through Sacred Scripture. I invite you to continue to foster and nurture your relationship, through prayer, with God by devouring His Word, as the prophet phrased it. I think you will be surprised at what He says!

 

To begin you will need a Bible. I strongly recommend buying:



  

The CTS New Catholic Bible not only contains all the books of scripture we use but it has various maps and charts, helpful notes, meditations and a table of the readings used at Mass throughout the year. If you are unable to get a CTS Bible then another edition is the New Jerusalem Bible.


 

  

This translation is more or less the same as the CTS Bible. During the 16th and 17th centuries when some Christians separated themselves from the Church and set up their own faith communities they edited the Bible and removed various texts from the scriptures. Therefore some Bible translations do not have all the books that we pray with like Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus), Maccabees and some additions to the Books of Daniel and Esther.

 

You can buy these Bibles online at the Catholic Truth Society’s website – www.ctsbooks.org or from Amazon – www.amazon.co.uk

 

I look forward to our scriptural wander together as we all continue to grow and know the Lord more and listen to where He is calling us to be.

 

God Bless and keep praying

Happy Feast of St. Peter and St Paul.

Fr. O’Brien      

 


Friday, 26 June 2020

parish notice 26th June


Friday 26th June 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

            There was a reading, used last week for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, that has lingered at the back of my mind all week. It is from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans:

‘Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried...These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us.’ 

(Rm 8:35,37)

Many of us have and are still continuing to face the trials of working, shopping, conducting everyday business, maintaining familial relationships and looking after both physical and mental health, all under exceptional circumstances. I think those words of St. Paul help to ground us amidst the present worries and challenges we are all facing. Jesus Christ, Our Lord, is with us through thick and thin and as we move forward it is by imitating him in his love, his sacrifice and his mercy, that our future reunion, as a parish family, around his Altar is possible.

 

The good news is that many of our churches are beginning to open albeit at different stages. There are all kinds of factors that are contributing to the slow and gradual re-opening of places of worship both nationally as well as locally. These range from a lack of volunteers because of their age and underlying health issues to people returning back to work and so not having the time to give. The ‘R’ number, not only regionally in the North West but in specific areas and local authorities, is still very high and that has affected the re-opening of some church buildings. Things maybe moving slowly but thank goodness they are moving – the power of prayer!  

 

The Bishop, in an email sent to all priests today, wrote in regards to the various conditions and requirements needed for a church to be opened:

‘You may think my preferences are likely to discourage and even frustrate and annoy people. I accept that as preferable to placing people at risk - a risk that we still do not fully comprehend. I believe that we best show our love for our brothers and sisters by taking all the precautions to keep them safe and well. Can you imagine living with the evidence that some of your parishioners had died through a contagion proven to have been passed in your church?’

It would be hard to argue against this common sense.

 

Now for us at St. Mary’s the practical work begins. Yesterday we had the official compulsory diocesan inspection. A risk assessment is now being produced and therefore we have completed one of our our Bishop’s conditions for re-opening church. There are some more things we still need to do…

 

The PPE required for our reopening will be ready for collection next Friday 3rd July.

‘Address: Fitzpatrick Hall (next to Our Lady of the Rosary School and St JH Newman Parish Centre), 1 Davyhulme Rd, Urmston, Manchester M41 7DS. The opening times are 10am – 2pm with 10 minute slots allocated per collection (on the hour, 10 past the hour, 20 past the hour etc…)’

Can a parishioner who is able to collect our PPE from the address above please email me in the next few days at sean.obrien@dioceseofsalford.org.uk Without it we cannot re-open.

 

Volunteer work begins on the church grounds later next week. In accordance with government directives and social distancing measures, it is vital that people contact Navada Keenan who is kindly facilitating this work. Navada can be contacted at keenannavada@gmail.com .Thank you to those parishioners who have offered their time and services already. We don’t need Alan Titchmarsh or Monty Don, we just need helpful and practical hands.

 

Karen Beard, the parish Housekeeper, will be contacting those who have volunteered their cleaning services this week. Thank you again to Karen and that good number of parishioners who have stepped forward.  

 

You will have read the letter from the Cardinal and the Archbishops of England that was posted on the parish website yesterday. You will have seen from that letter how important stewards are going to be in the foreseeable future. Their role will not just be assisting at church for periods of private individual prayer but also to welcome and facilitate a safe environment once Mass and other forms of public worship begin. At the inspection yesterday, it was pointed out to me that stewards would seat people from the front of the church first. At the end of Mass they would guide those sat at the back of church to the exits first, as well as giving the signal for when each row could walk up for Holy Communion. I had not thought about any of these practicalities including the limited numbers which are allowed in church. 

 

Thank you to those who have volunteered to be stewards and to Jennifer Pickles who has been overseeing this. As you can imagine more are needed because the number of stewards will dictate when St. Mary’s re-opens and what liturgies and services we can provide from Mass to funerals, from private prayer to baptisms. Jennifer can be contacted at: jennifer.pickles@virginmedia.com

 

The Salford Diocesan Safeguarding Department has emailed the following about those who do volunteer to be stewards.

‘It is so important that all those who are given positions of responsibility are known to you and are able to be trusted. Having a volunteer not known to you, who cannot be given approval by others, risks putting yourself at risk and being accused of not maintaining standards of safeguarding. Remember that there are some people, not of the diocese, who will try and test our ability to do this. Whilst given to maintain the guidance of the CBCEW in matters of safeguarding at all times we have to accept that these are difficult times when we are looking for volunteers. It is advised that at least one of the stewards has had safeguarding training whilst not all stewards require to have a DBS certificate.’

There will be a future email to all those who have come forward as stewards about the requirements and conditions that the safeguarding department have asked for.

 

The re-opening of St. Mary’s is becoming a reality and not a distant hope, the knowledge of exact dates and times is only a short way off. I am truly looking forward to seeing you all again when, as a family, we can be physically present before the Tabernacle and allow the Lord to refresh us.

 

God Bless and Keep praying

Fr. O’Brien                    

             


Thursday, 25 June 2020

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

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.

 

 

 


Sunday, 21 June 2020

Happy Father’s Day Sunday 21st June 2020

     Happy Father’s Day

Sunday 21st June 2020

 


  To all the dad’s in the parish – HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! One of the good bits of news that we have had in the last two weeks concerns the ‘support bubble’.

 

‘In England, if you live by yourself or are a single parent with dependent children – in other words, if there is only one adult in your home – you can expand your support network so that it includes one other household of any size. This is called making a ‘support bubble’ and means you are able to meet indoors or out, be less than 2 metres apart and stay overnight as you could if they were members of your own household.’ (www.gov.uk)

 

I’m sure there are many families who have found this both comforting and healing. I’m looking forward to my mum’s roast beef dinner – I’ve already put my order in! However, though the ‘support bubble’ initiative will be welcomed by many, others are still struggling despite the easing of lockdown restrictions. Loneliness, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues still abound in many peoples lives at this moment in time. You may know a neighbour, a relative,  friend or colleague who is going through a bad time. For a person who is suffering, just to know that there is somebody thinking and looking out for them can make a huge difference.

 

Our own Holy Father, Pope Francis, shared a beautiful devotion a few years ago with the Church about how he finds peace and reassurance during difficult times.

He has this statue (below) on his desk in the Vatican.                

 

 

 

This statue is known as ‘Sleeping Saint Joseph’. As we know St. Joseph faced many  difficulties yet despite how overwhelming they seemed to be, he continued to trust in God. When he found out that Mary, his wife, had conceived by the Holy Spirit he felt unworthy to be her husband because she had been chosen by the Lord. Feeling unworthy to be near Mary, Joseph decided to divorce her informally. While silent in sleep God spoke to him.

 

‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus...’ (Mt 1:20b-21)    

 

His dilemma about leaving the woman he loved and cared for so much was resolved. The mental anguish of his decision was ended by God who soothed and calmed him through the vision in his dream. St. Joseph did not doubt or even err on the side of caution after God spoke to him. No. The carpenter from Nazareth trusted God so completely and unconditionally that he acted on the Lord’s words immediately.

‘When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife home and, though he did not have intercourse with her, she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus.’ (Mt 1:24-25)

 

The next difficulty that St. Joseph had to struggle with was becoming a refugee. King Herod, through fear and greed for power, ordered the murder of all boys age two and below. Again when St. Joseph was silent in sleep, God spoke to the foster father of His Son.

‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ (Mt 2:13)

Again St. Joseph’s response to God was immediate. He did not question or try to compromise with God about leaving his homeland, his business, his friends and family. No. He just went. He just practised the Faith he professed. He lived those words that Jesus was to teach his disciples, ‘Not my will but Your will be done.’

‘So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him,

left that night for Egypt...’ (Mt 2:14)

 

When we worry, fret and are anxious sleep becomes disturbed and we feel restless. As we see from the Gospel, this never happened to Saint Joseph. Despite the dilemmas he was facing he still slept. He slept so soundly and undisturbed that he was able to hear God speak to him and reassure him about what his servant must do next. How on earth did St. Joseph, a man of flesh and blood, sleep so peacefully? Simple. His love, trust and knowledge of God permeated every fibre of his being. Faith was so deeply rooted in his heart that through suffering and daily challenges, God the steadfast rock and anchor of his life, gave him hope and certainty.

 


The Holy Father, when he has worries and concerns, simply writes them on a piece of paper and places that paper under the ‘Sleeping Saint Joseph’ on his desk.  

"I have great love for Saint Joseph, because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table I have an image of Saint Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church!" (Pope Francis)

 


  

God not only gave St. Joseph to be the foster father of His Son, but to be our spiritual father as well. He is the official patron saint of the Church. He is our protector and defender. He is our Heavenly Father’s gift of what a dad should be. Brothers and Sisters if you are struggling and finding life difficult then pray to St. Joseph. He saved the lives of Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother from the evil of Herod, he looked after them and loved them so dearly and devotedly, he wills and wants to do the same for us as his adopted children.

Happy Father’s Day Saint Joseph!      

 

 

We have had the official news this weekend that our diocesan inspection for re-opening church for silent private prayer will take place on Thursday 25th June.

I would like to say a big ‘Thank You’ to all those parishioners who have freely come forward and offered their time to help re-open church as volunteer stewards, cleaners and gardeners. You will be contacted by Jennifer, Karen and Navada once the inspection is completed and we will be able to engage more formally and practically with the government and diocesan directives and conditions.

 

Over these last three months of lockdown we have walked through Holy Week together, reflected on the Easter Gospel’s, mediated with our online Rosary and prayed a parish Novena to the Holy Spirit. As our spiritual lives as Catholics is having to adapt and many people are exploring different ways of prayer I thought we could, as a parish, begin to look at the Bible. Though we are unable to attend Mass at the moment, God our Father still wants to speak to us through His Holy Word. For some people praying with the Bible will be second nature, for others it may have been a long time since they picked it up and read it. Many will approach it as a totally new experience. Whatever your knowledge of Scripture I hope over the next few weeks we all learn something new or a reminded of something forgotten. Whatever our past, present or future the Lord is waiting to speak to us personally.     


God Bless and keep praying

Fr. O’Brien