Saturday, 30 April 2016

6th Sunday of Easter

Please remember in your prayers:

Sick and housebound: Kathleen Taylor, Martin Dwyer, June McCaffrey, Mary O'Connor, Jimmy O'Toole, Vida Filippini, Sheila, Peter & Noreen Stevens, Pauline Smith, Maria Twigg, Fr Terence Schofield, Dylan Jai Robson, Margaret & Michael Coyne

Lately Dead: Brian Westwell, Kieran Kiegher, Michael Langan, Mary Worrall

Anniversaries: Margaret Catlow, Gregory Heyes, Susie Gleeson, David Lowe, Ada Joyce, Sadie Pickles


Masses this week:   

Mon - No Mass                                            Tues – 18.30am Mass followed by Exposition 9.30am  

Wed – 12 noon Mass then by packed lunch   

Thurs- 09.30am Mass                    7pm Taize evening at St Mary's, Burnley

Fri – 7.30am Mass followed by breakfast


The Parish Office will only be open 10am-1pm Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday this week.


The Altar Fund has now reached £25,133.57 as we seek to raise £30,000 for the altar, baptismal font and lectern. Workers have now assessed the floor area that will form the foundation for the altar and found that it will not need strengthening. I have asked for a sanctuary carpet also to be priced up which we should be able to pay via parish funds. The generosity of many of you has been amazing. Thank you.


Coffee and tea will be served after Masses this weekend.


"How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."


That question, which the Pope said the Scribes and Pharisees repeat in many different ways, springs from a heart that is closed and blind to the faith. As Jesus explains in today's Gospel reading, "you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep". Being part of God's flock, he said, is a grace which requires an open heart.

"My sheep hear my voice", Jesus says in that reading, "I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand". Have these sheep studied how to follow Jesus and then believed, the Pope asked? No, he said, citing the words from St John's Gospel, "My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all". It is the Father who gives the sheep to the shepherd. It is the Father who draws our hearts to Jesus.

The hardness of the Scribes and Pharisees' hearts, is a drama which continues all the way to Calvary, the Pope said. They see the works that Jesus performs but they refuse to believe he is the Messiah. Even after the Resurrection, the Pope recalled, this drama continues as the soldiers guarding the tomb are told to say they'd fallen asleep in order to give credit to the story that the disciples had stolen the body of Christ. Not even the witness of those who saw the Risen Christ was able to reach those who refused to believe. And this has its consequences, the Pope said, because they are orphans who have denied their Father.

These doctors of the law, he went on, had closed hearts, they thought they were their own masters but in fact they were orphans because they had no relationship with the Father. They talked about their fathers, Abraham and the patriarchs, but these were distant figures and in their hearts they were orphans because they would not let themselves be drawn to the Father.

On the contrary, the Pope said, reflecting on the first reading for the day, the news that reached Jerusalem of the many pagans who heard the disciples preaching in Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch and turned to the faith, shows what it means to have a heart open to God. Like Barnabas, he said, who is sent to Antioch to confirm these rumours and is not scandalized by the conversion of the pagans but accepts this novelty and lets himself be drawn by the Father to Jesus.

Pope Francis concluded by saying Jesus invites us to be his disciples but to be so, we must let ourselves be drawn by the Father towards Him. The humble prayer we can say is: 'Father, lead me to Jesus, help me to know Jesus' and the Father will send the Spirit to open our hearts and lead us to Him. A Christian who doesn't allow himself to be led by the Father is an orphan, but we have a Father who can lead us to Jesus.