Newsletter- 4th Week of Eastertide

Dear Parishioners

It is good to be back in the parish again after a short time away in East Yorkshire and at my mother’s home in Southwell, a time for me personally to recharge and relax a little after the busyness of Holy Week and Easter. I am grateful to those people who have kindly made this possible by assisting during my absence.

This Sunday is known as Good Shepherd Sunday because, in each year of the liturgical cycle, on the 4th Sunday of Easter, the Gospel is always taken from the tenth chapter of John where Jesus speaks of himself as the “Good Shepherd.” Today at Mass we contemplate Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

Deep within each one of us is the great capacity to love and be loved, a well of real compassion. We are made for love, for generosity, and for kindness. Jesus is the one who can teach us how to really love. When we are living closely to Christ, so we learn more fully how to receive love graciously, give generously, forgive compassionately and care especially for the most needy and vulnerable in our midst. Such radical kindness is of the Kingdom of God. It is the very heart of the sheepfold into which Jesus the Good Shepherd gathers each of us. Such love and compassion helps to make us feel safe and secure gives us new life.

This theme is closely linked with the second theme for this Sunday: World Day of Prayer for Vocations (Vocations Sunday). We pray this weekend that the Church may be provided with good and compassionate leaders needed to do her work of spreading the Gospel. We know that at the present time there is a critical shortage of such leaders, at least in the traditional sense – ordained ministers (priests and deacons) and religious. The purpose of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publicly fulfil the Lord’s instruction to: “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). As a climax to a prayer that is continually offered throughout the Church, it affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all that concerns vocations to the priesthood diaconate and to the consecrated life.  While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention on this Sunday towards specifically praying for vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate), consecrated life in all its forms (male and female religious life, societies of apostolic life, consecrated virginity), secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life.

Later this summer at the end of June Andrew Wakley will God willing be ordained to the permanent diaconate for ministry within our diocese. I shall be highlighting more about this important event in the life of our parish in the next few weeks but on this Sunday we pray for him as he prepares for this important next step in his journey of faith, as we pray that Christ the Good Shepherd will guide and strengthen each of us in our own particular vocation in life, and that he will raise up from amongst us more vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life. May Christ continue to strengthen each of us in the pathway of constant kindness and restore in us a deep sense of our own vocation to be with him, to live in him and to work through him each and every day of our lives.

With prayer and best wishes,

Your parish priest and friend,

Fr Jonathan

2024 21st April – Newsletter – Download