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'The progress of the soul consists

not in thinking much of God

but in loving Him ardently.'

~ St. Teresa of Jesus

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Gospel John 20:1-9

 

The Empty TombIt was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’ So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

 

 

Alleluia! The Lord has truly risen! Wishing all our friends and followers a very happy and blessed Easter, filled with the grace and joy of the Holy Spirit!

 

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in  it!"

(Psalm 118:24)

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Posted on 14th April, 2019

 

Pope Francis - Palm Sunday in St. Peter's Square

 

Pope Palm Sunday: Jesus destroys triumphalism by his Passion

Pope Francis during Mass on Palm Sunday tells the faithful, “there is no negotiating with the cross: one either embraces it or rejects it. By his self-abasement, Jesus wanted to open up to us the path of faith and to precede us on that path.”

 

Following the Gospel, which was read by three deacons and recounts Christ’s Passion, Pope Francis in his homily recalled how Jesus in his entry into Jerusalem shows us the way with his humility in the face of triumphalism.

 

Abandonment and obedience

With this entrance into Holy Week, the Pope explained, “Jesus shows us how to face moments of difficulty and the most insidious of temptations by preserving in our hearts a peace that is neither detachment nor superhuman impassivity, but confident abandonment to the Father and to his saving will, which bestows life and mercy.”

 

“He shows us this kind of abandonment, Pope Francis said, “by spurning, at every point in his earthly ministry, the temptation to do things his way and not in complete obedience to the Father.”

 

Humility over triumphalism

Today, too, remarked the Pontiff, “by his entrance into Jerusalem, he shows us the way. For in that event, the evil one, the prince of this world, had a card up his sleeve: the card of triumphalism. Yet, the Lord responded by holding fast to his own way, the way of humility.”

 

The Pope emphasized that “triumphalism tries to make it to the goal by shortcuts and false compromises… It lives off gestures and words that are not forged in the crucible of the cross; Jesus destroyed triumphalism by his Passion.” "One subtle form of triumphalism is spiritual worldliness, which represents the greatest danger, the most treacherous temptation threatening the Church”, he said, quoting from French Cardinal and Theologian Henri De Lubac.

 

The power of silence

Pope Francis remarked, that Jesus “knows that true triumph involves making room for God and that the only way to do that is by stripping oneself, by self-emptying. “There is no negotiating with the cross: one either embraces it or rejects it,” said the Pope. By his self-abasement, Jesus wanted to open up to us the path of faith and to precede us on that path.”

 

Addressing the young people present for this diocesan World Youth Day, the Pontiff told them not to be ashamed to show their enthusiasm for Jesus, to shout out that he is alive and that he is in their lives.

 

During his Homily, Pope Francis also noted the “profoundly impressive” silence of Jesus throughout his Passion.

 

The Pope added that, “he also overcomes the temptation to answer back, to act like a “superstar”. Pope Francis said that “in moments of darkness and great tribulation, we need to keep silent, to find the courage not to speak, as long as our silence is meek and not full of anger.” The Pope stressed that “at the hour that God comes forth to fight, we have to let him take over.  Our place of safety will be beneath the mantle of the holy Mother of God."

Times of Holy Week Services

Posted on 13th April, 2019

 

Palm Sunday - 9 am Mass, 4.30 pm Vespers and Benediction

 

Maundy Thursday - 5 pm Mass followed by watching at the Altar of Repose

 

Good Friday - 9 am Tenebrae, 3 pm Solemn Liturgy

 

Holy Saturday - 9 am Mass, 10 pm Easter Vigil

 

Easter Sunday - 9 am Mass, 4.30 pm Vespers (No Benediction)

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Posted on 13th April, 2019

 

Gospel - John 11:45-56

 

Lent crown of thornsMany of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, "What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation." But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish." He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him. So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, "What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?"

Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Posted on 12th April, 2019

 

Day of Prayer for Survivors of Abuse

Candle

 

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) has highlighted the importance of prayer and suggested to Pope Francis that the worldwide Catholic Church should join together in a day of prayer. The Holy Father has welcomed this initiative.

 

In the Cycle of Prayer for England and Wales, this day is marked every year on the Friday of the fifth week of Lent.

 

On Friday 12 April the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is encouraging the Catholic community to take part in a day of prayer for survivors of sexual abuse.

 

 

Prayer from Wellsprings

 

God of mercy, it was not your plan that children should be abused –

that vulnerable people’s lives should be destroyed –

nor that people called to goodness should give way to temptation to abuse

or to cover up the sinful actions of others.

The work of the Enemy has broken the heart of your Church –

but the work of Christ will be its healing and redemption.

In our sorrow and shame, we turn to you –

our only source of hope.

Give us faith to believe that you can bring light from this darkness;

give us hope that the future can be built on the foundations of truth and justice;

give us love that we each play our part –

however great – however small -

in your great work of healing the broken Body of Christ.

Amen.

 

 

Penitential Litany

 

The following is adapted from the words Pope Francis spoke at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, August 2018. He reflected upon meeting with eight persons who are survivors of the abuse of power, the abuse of conscience and sexual abuse and wished to implore the Lord’s mercy for these crimes and to ask forgiveness for them.

 

We ask forgiveness for the cases of abuse in the Church, the abuse of power, the abuse of conscience and sexual abuse on the part of representatives of the Church. In a special way, we ask forgiveness for all those abuses that took place in different kinds of institutions directed by men and women religious and other members of the Church. We also ask forgiveness for cases in which many minors were exploited for their labour.

 

We ask forgiveness for all those times when, as a Church, we did not offer to the survivors of any type of abuse compassion and the pursuit of justice and truth by concrete actions. We ask forgiveness.

 

We ask forgiveness for some members of the hierarchy who took no responsibility for these painful situations and kept silent. We ask forgiveness.

 

We ask forgiveness those children who were taken away from their mothers and for all those times when so many single mothers who tried to find their children that had been taken away, or those children who tried to find their mothers, were told that this was a mortal sin. It is not a mortal sin; it is the fourth commandment! We ask forgiveness.

 

May the Lord preserve and increase this sense of shame and repentance, and grant us the strength to ensure that it never happens again and that justice is done. Amen.

 

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Posted on 11th April, 2019

 

Lenten lecturn fall

Prayer

 

Be near, O Lord, to those who plead before you,

and look kindly on those who place their hope in your mercy,

that, cleansed from the stain of their sins,

they may persevere in holy living

and be made full heirs of your promise.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Posted on 10th April, 2019

 

From 'Walk with Me' for Lent 2019 - Living a Holy Life

 

Grace acts in history; ordinarily, it takes hold of us and transforms us progressively.  (Gaudate et exsultate 50)

 

John 8:31-42

'I tell you the truth everyone who sins is a slave to sin.'

 

Prayer - Fasting - CharityIn every circumstance, in the face of every evil, the pathway of forgiveness is immensely difficult, seemingly impossible. It is marked by various stages: slowly coming to terms with what has happened, beginning to recover a reason for living, and gradually over time knowing some healing. Eventually, even the possibility of heartfelt forgiveness might emerge. If such a process is necessary in the face of profound evil, we can expect a similar process in lesser evils too: a betrayal of some form, a broken promise, the sin of omission and timidity, the sudden explosion of a passing rage. Each time we make our way through this process we learn something of the art and grace of forgiveness.

 

Lord, open my lips and I will declare your praises. You don't delight in burnt offerings or grand gestures; 'the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise' (Ps 51:17).

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Posted on 9th April, 2019

 

First Reading - Numbers 21:4-9

 

Bronze SerpentThe Israelites left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt the land of Edom. On the way, the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food. At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’ So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.

 

When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am HeGospel - John 8:21-30

 

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘I am going away; you will look for me and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.’ The Jews said to one another, ‘Will he kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ Jesus went on: ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I have told you already: You will die in your sins. Yes, if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus answered: ‘What I have told you from the outset. About you I have much to say and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is truthful, and what I have learnt from him I declare to the world.’ They failed to understand that he was talking to them about the Father. So Jesus said: ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing of myself: what the Father has taught me is what I preach; he who sent me is with me, and has not left me to myself, for I always do what pleases him.’ As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.

Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Posted on 8th April, 2019

 

Responsorial Psalm - Ps 22(23)

 

Response: If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear

  1. Jesus, the Good ShepherdThe Lord is my shepherd;
    there is nothing I shall want.
    Fresh and green are the pastures
    where he gives me repose.
    Near restful waters he leads me,
    to revive my drooping spirit.
  2. He guides me along the right path;
    he is true to his name.
    If I should walk in the valley of darkness
    no evil would I fear.
    You are there with your crook and your staff;
    with these you give me comfort.
  3. You have prepared a banquet for me
    in the sight of my foes.
    My head you have anointed with oil;
    my cup is overflowing.
  4. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
    all the days of my life.
    In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
    for ever and ever.

Sunday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Posted on 7th April, 2019

 

From 'Walk with Me' for Lent 2019 - Living a Holy Life

 

Allow the Spirit to forge in you the personal mystery that can reflect Jesus Christ in today's world. (Gaudate et exsultate 23)

 

Woman taken in adultery

John 8:1-11

'Neither do I condemn you.'

 

In every Bible after John 7:52 a footnote appears: 'The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11'. They are referring to the story (unique to St. John's Gospel) of the woman caught in adultery. Scholars suggest that this passage didn't appear as part of the canon for nigh on three or four hundred years. Why this happened we cannot be sure, but we can be sure that it captures poetically and beautifully the radical nature of God's forgiveness. God's forgiveness is scandalous, shocking, revealing that no one is beyond redemption, that every sin can be forgiven and that when we judge others we are actually judging ourselves.

 

Heavenly Father, you sent your beloved Son that we would be forgiven. Lead me to repent of my sins; the evil I have done and the good I have not done; so I may praise you from the bottom of my heart for the gift of your mercy poured out upon me.