As long as the rising sun has been bathing each day with warmth and light it has felt like Easter breaking out already. Not that there has been much breaking out for those of us in self-imposed isolation - and Easter is still two weeks away.
Last week you may have been participating in the Mass being streamed from Clifton Cathedral. Bishop Declan presided and you may have been pleasantly surprised to hear our Parish being singled out for prayer. In fact, that is exactly what Deacon Mark and I were doing last Sunday when we celebrated Mass and included in our intercessions all the People of St Pius Xth and the Sacred Heart. Not just those who would normally be attending anyway in normal circumstances, but all those in particular need because of their vulnerability and advanced age. Actually, only this week someone wryly noted “the moment when you are worried about the Elderly, you realise, you are Elderly!”
At the fine age of 84, one of our former parishioners contacted the dreaded coronavirus in hospital in Bath and died on Tuesday. Roger Cockhill, father of five and husband of Hilary had been a staunch supporter as Reader and faithfully serving on the Finance Committee. A warm-hearted, mild-mannered gentleman who enjoyed his sport, never gave less than his best. Now at peace and free from pain, may he rise in glory.
Somehow what Roger suffered and went through being moved from ward to ward,
is similar to what we are being called to now as we enter the time of Passiontide. Just a week away from Palm Sunday we are invited to spend this period of prayer preparing for the great life-changing events of Holy Week. Christ did not suffer so as to excuse us from dying to ourselves, but to involve us more fully in it together with him, as St Peter attests in his First Letter Ch 2 v 21
Last week our dear Deacon Mark sent out a delightful dispatch urging us to be patient, persevere and take heart by reaching out to others with generosity of spirit. In many ways he was echoing Bishop Declan’s insistence on us being above all else
a People of Hope. “Hope frees us to live in the present,” writes Henri Nouwen,
“with deep trust that God will never leave us.”
It’s the kind of hope that far from feeling like Frazer in Dad’s Army who is forever claiming “we’re doomed”, we are rather continually being called to come forth to live in the Light of the Lord. As the Resurrection and the Life he can call us Lazarus-like to come out of our self-built tombs and be unbound.
Mind you, one cannot do this on your own. It requires others to take the trouble to help us out when we feel overcome like buried alive. Surely that is why we are all so heartened by the headlong rush of Volunteers ready to help out in every practical way. 250,000 were required to assist the 1.5 million at risk. Now leaping up to three times that number these volunteers flocked instinctively in their desire to ensure that the Herd Immunity will not leave them locked away in a sort of limbo.
Not unnaturally many of us may have been stunned, saddened and even silenced by what’s happening on a global scale with the numbers of those dying increasing exponentially by the day. Italy, Spain and the USA may be having it worse than China, but we know no-one is immune. We are immediately touched by other peoples’ pain.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, writing recently in the Tablet, astutely observes us that “decency, charity, compassion, integrity, faithfulness, courage, just being there for other people matters more to us than being enlarged by any material success.”
Accordingly, he concludes “we are worth what we are willing to share with others.”
This seems right and just. Let us lift up our hearts to the Lord whenever it occurs. We pray that as a society we will continue to do so especially as we draw nearer to Holy Week and being raised to new life at Easter.
Due to the current National Situation all Public gatherings in the Church are suspended
This means neither of the Sunday Masses will take place as normal. Please do not come, you will be turned away.
ALL PARISHIONERS are invited to join in solidarity with Fr Michael and Deacon Mark at 10:30 as Fr Michael will offer the Mass for us all in private at St Pius Xth. Prayers, in particular, will be offered for all those in the parish who are sick or fearful at this time, and those who are working on the frontline to support us all.
Readings for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A.
The references are below to use your own bible. Alternatively click on the Today's reading picture lower down and this will take you through to the Universalis page on the Diocesan website.
|1st Reading||Psalm||2nd Reading||Gospel|
|Ezekial 37:12-14||Ps 129||Romans 8:8-11||John 11:1-45|
|I shall put my spirit i||Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord||The Spirit of hom who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you.||I am the resurrection and the life.|
There is good news.............yes, honestly!
Holy Mass, as you may already know, is being streamed from the Cathedral, daily, at 9.30 accessible at: https://cliftondiocese.com/
However....Mass is also available From St.Bernadette’s and St.Dunstan’s, Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am and Sunday 10.30am.
And....St.Gerrard Majella Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10am.
PARISH DATABASE: For those who have supplied email addresses, you will be receiving an invite in the next few days to join up to Churchsuite which will enable you to keep in touch with the parish during these extraordinary times.
If you do not receive an invite, please email email@example.com to get the process under way.
If you only have a mobile number, please text Debbie with your name on 0772 9833 779 so we can send out group texts to keep in touch.
If you only have a landline, do leave a messageon the mobile number and we will enusre you receive a regular call.
Do not hesitate to get in touch with Debbie
This way we can all stay connected as a community of faith caring for each other. Thank you.