Newsletter- 7th Week of Eastertide
On the 7th Sunday in Easter, we keep World Communication Day, a day on which we pray at all our Sunday Masses for the work of those engaged in communications, and in particular, the new Communication Directorate of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales. This Sunday there will be a second collection at all our Masses for this crucial work. Please do if you have time visit the Bishops’ Conference website: https://www.cbcew.org.uk Here you will find the latest news, features, events, podcasts and much more happening within the Church. You can also sign up to receive the communications team’s weekly newsletter.
This year’s World Communications Day takes its theme from Ephesians 4:15, Speaking with the heart – ‘the truth in love.’ In his message to mark this day our Holy Father, Pope Francis stresses the need to listen before speaking truth with a pure heart to “see beyond appearances and to overcome the vague din which, in the field of information, does not help us to discern in the complicated world in which we live.”
The Holy father, warning against indifference and indignation, hails the example of the great Doctor of the Church, St. Francis de Sales, in particular his commitment to patient, heartfelt dialogue. A gifted theologian, his phrase: ‘heart speaks to heart’ inspired many, none more so than the recently canonised St. John Henry Newman, who chose the phrase as his cardinalatial motto, ‘Cor ad cor loquitor.’ Many Catholics within our land will remember with affection too that ‘Heart speaks to Heart’ was the theme of our late Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI historic visit to the UK in 2010. How fitting that speaking from the heart is the central theme of the Pope’s message to the Church on this the 57th World Communications Day. In recent years, Pope Francis has reflected upon the building blocks of good communications. The heart he says, is the common factor motivating us all “to go and see” and “to listen”. It enables us, having listened to “speak the truth in love.”
The readings for the 7th Sunday of Easter remind us that even though Jesus is not with us in his human body, we are still connected to him and to each other in prayer. Prayer helps us to communicate with God and listen more fully to his voice. Through prayer we are motivated to communicate to others the good news of the gospel message of Christ. The first reading at Mass tells of how after the ascension of Jesus, his followers grow in community by praying together. The psalm expresses our longing for God. The second reading reminds us to glorify God always, even when we are suffering. And in the gospel Jesus prays as he prepares to ascend to the Father. There are four main themes to be found within the Liturgy of the Word for this Sunday which you may like to reflect upon during this coming week:
- The unity of believers: This Sunday focuses on the prayer of Jesus for his disciples to be united, just as He and the Father are one. The theme emphasises the importance of unity and love among all Christians.
- Witnessing and evangelism: The Gospel reading for this Sunday is from John 17:1-11, in which Jesus prays for his disciples and asks them to witness to the world about his mission and teachings.
- Waiting for the Holy Spirit: As the Sunday after the Solemnity of the Ascension, last Thursday, this Sunday also prepares the faithful for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The theme focuses on waiting and praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and empowerment.
- Embracing new beginnings: To move forward towards a hopeful future, we must relinquish the past and let go of any burdens that may hold us back. This requires us to seek forgiveness and healing, as we embark on a fresh start. We should also take time to reflect on our purpose and mission in life, seeking discernment of God’s will, and trust in His guidance as we prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.
With every blessing for the coming week,
Your friend and parish priest,
2023 21st May– Newsletter – Download