Newsletter- 24th Week of Ordinary Time
You will all have heard the sad news of the death last Thursday afternoon, 8th September, of HM Queen Elizabeth II. She died peacefully surrounded by her family at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. A statement from Bishop Patrick is printed in the Bulletin for this week. An area has been set aside within St Mary’s for you to be able to offer prayers for our late Queen and to spend some time in quiet reflection.
We owe I believe Queen Elizabeth II a great debt of gratitude for her long and unstinting service to this nation and to the commonwealth and to the wider world. Cardinal Vincent Nichols speaking on behalf of the Catholic community in England and Wales summed up the quality of her great service and commitment when he reminded us in his statement upon hearing of Queen Elizabeth’s death that:
“On 21 April 1947, on her twenty-first birthday, Princess Elizabeth said, ‘I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.’ Now, seventy-five years later, we are heartbroken in our loss at her death, and so full of admiration for the unfailing way in which she fulfilled that declaration. Even in our sorrow, shared with so many people from around the world, we are filled I feel sure with an immense sense of gratitude for the gift to the world that has been the life of Queen Elizabeth II.”Cardinal Vincent Nichols – Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales
At this time of national mourning, we continue as a parish and as a nation to pray for the gentle repose of the soul of her late Majesty. We do so as Catholics, and as men and women of faith, and with real confidence in the faith that we profess, because the Christian faith marked every day of Queen Elizabeth’s life and activity. In her Millennium Christmas message, she said, ‘To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.’
This faith, so often and so eloquently proclaimed in her public messages, has been an inspiration to us all. The wisdom, stability, and service which our late Queen so consistently embodied, often in circumstances of extreme difficulty, are a shining legacy and testament to her own deep faith. We pray now that she may know the loving mercy of God and rest in the Kingdom of the Father. We pray now for His Majesty King Charles, as he assumes his new office even at this time of great sadness and loss for him and for his family. God save the King.
This coming week I shall be away from Monday 12th September until Thursday 15th September. I shall be joining the bishop and my brother priests who have been ordained for the diocese for less than 10 years, in a time of prayer and reflection and sharing together at Shrigley Hall in Cheshire. I shall be back to celebrate Mass on Friday 16th September at 9.30 am. There will be no Public Worship on Tuesday 13th September. I am grateful to Andrew who will offer a Service of Word and Holy Communion on Wednesday 14th September at 9.30 am and Thursday 15th September at 11 am. Outside of these times the church will be closed whilst I am away.
This Sunday, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, is Education Sunday which is a significant occasion in the calendar of the Church in England and Wales. This year it takes place at the start of the academic year, and we are offered an opportunity this Sunday to pray for all people involved in Catholic education, to celebrate the achievements of the past and to ask for God’s blessing upon the work of our schools in the year ahead. The theme for this year is ‘Enlightening the Mind’ The enterprise of Catholic education, whether in the home, school, college, or university, is built upon the belief that it is God our Father who enlightens the eyes of our minds. Through his gift of grace, he enables us to discover him and come into a relationship with him in Christ, the one source of all truth and freedom. For truth enlightens our intelligence and shapes our freedom, leading us to know more fully Gods great love for us. A Catholic education facilitates truth and freedom above all when it places the Eternal Word of God, Jesus Christ, at its centre.
When blessed with enlightened minds, not only are students able to grow and walk in the light of truth but they share, too, the freedom and hope it brings with their family, their local communities and, as they pursue their vocation in life, with the world in which they live and work. The Church teaches that we begin to reach our full human potential when we respond with open hearts to the Lord’s call and to the vocation which he desires for each one of us. With enlightened minds we can see the great hope that his call holds for each of us. Let us give thanks in prayer this weekend for all members of staff and all who work in our Catholic schools, colleges, and universities, and pray that their lives and the lives of those pupils entrusted to their care will be enlightened by the truth which comes from the Eternal Word of God.
CAFOD – Extraordinary Appeal for Flood Victims in Pakistan: You will have seen on the news recently about the devastating floods that have hit Pakistan, leaving millions in need of urgent help to survive. Families have lost their homes, their cattle, their lands, and their livelihoods, and are totally dependent on humanitarian assistance. Thirty million people are affected as a third of the country is now submerged. We shall be holding a second collection after all the Masses celebrated this Sunday on 10th/11th September. All the money raised will go straight to CAFOD to help support their local experts respond to this climate induced disaster. Your generous support will mean more communities have immediate access to food in the regions of Pakistan that so desperately need more funds to help more families survive.
This Sunday Little Church resumes, initially twice a month. I do encourage families with young children (up to 7 years old) to make use of this group. It will we hope, be a fun and informative shared time together, for all those attending, with a little gentle catechesis, creative input, and some simple prayer. Parents are very welcome to accompany their children and there will be a corner for babies and toddlers too (one parent must accompany babies and very young children please). Those wishing to attend Little Church should gather in church at the start of Mass with their families and they will be invited to go out to the hall after the opening Collect, returning to join family members at the Offertory.
With prayer for you and for your families during the coming week. Please keep me in your own whilst I am away.
Your parish priest and friend,
2022 11th September – Newsletter – Download
Bishop Patrick Statement Thursday 8th September on the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II – Download