During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021, attention was drawn to the newly-published guidelines on the importance of Ecumenism, of which this is an extract :
Our Lord’s prayer for the unity of his disciples “that they may all be one” is tied to the mission that he gives to them, “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). The Second Vatican Council stressed that division among Christian communities “openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages the holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature” (Unitatis redintegratio) …… In this we understand why the work of unity is fundamental to our identity as Church, and why Saint John Paul II could write in his milestone encyclical Ut unum sint, “the quest for Christian unity is not a matter of choice or expediency, but a duty which springs from the very nature of the Christian community.’ (The Bishop and Christian Unity. An Ecumenical Vademecum, 4th December 2020)
‘A CULTURE OF CARE AS A PATH TO PEACE’
The following points are taken from Pope Francis’s message
1. Peace, justice and care of creation are three inherently connected questions, which cannot be separated in such a way as to be treated individually …
2. How many resources are spent on weaponry, especially nuclear weapons, that could be used for more significant priorities such as ensuring the safety of individuals, the promotion of peace and integral human development, the fight against poverty, and the provision of health care.
3. What a courageous decision it would be to establish a Global Fund with the money spent on weapons and other military expenditures, in order to permanently eliminate hunger and contribute to the development of the poorest countries.
4. … everything is interconnected and genuine care for our own lives and our relationship with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others.
5. … the need for relationships between nations to be inspired by fraternity, mutual respect, solidarity and the observance of International Law.
Further Peace Sunday resources can be found on the PAX CHRISTI WEBSITE
From EPISTOLA AD DAKYNS by T.E. Brown
… The next is where God keeps for me
A little island in the sea
A body for my needs, that so
I may not all unclothed go
A vital instrument whereby
I still may commune with the sky
Even now between its simple poles
It has the soul of all my souls
But then – whatever I have been
Whatever felt, whatever seen
The loves, the hates, the hopes, the fears,
The gathered strength of all my years
All that my life in one was wrought
Of complex essence shall be brought
And wedded to those primal forms
That have their scope in calms and storms
And I shall be the living heart
And I shall live in every part.
HOLDING AND LETTING GO
We have a call to live, and oh
A common call to die.
I watched you and my father go
To bid a friend goodbye.
I watched you hold my father’s hand,
How could it not be so?
The gentleness of holding on
Helps in the letting go.
For when we feel our frailty
How can we not respond?
And reach to hold another’s hand
And feel the common bond?
For then we touch the heights above
And every depth below,
We touch the very quick of love;
Holding and letting go.
(Malcolm Guite from The Singing Bowl)
WHEN ATTENDING MASS, PLEASE BE AWARE OF THE FOLLOWING :
We are really grateful to our stewards who have given so much of their time throughout the crisis. As we gradually return to normality, we must be ready to perform U-turns. With their experience of monitoring social distancing and sanitising surfaces, they are prepared should the situation change.
Some dismiss our vigilance as unnecessary. Younger and more robust members of our community may opt for a casual approach to protective measures. For the sake of our vulnerable parishioners, we unapologetically err on the side of caution. Please, continue to sanitise your hands on arrival and on leaving our churches and maintain reasonable social distancing. Thank you
• The Sunday obligation is still suspended.
• Please adhere to social distancing guidelines in place. Any children accompanying you must do the same.
• Please sanitise your hands when you enter and leave the church. Holy water fonts are not in use .
• There will be no hymns books, Mass books or newsletters.
• You will be guided to a bench by a volunteer steward. It may not be where you usually sit.
• Toilets will remain closed at all times except for a genuine emergency.
• Only the priest will be on the sanctuary – without deacons, servers, readers etc.
• There will be no children’s liturgy or choir and no live singing.
• There will be no Sign of Peace.
• Holy Communion will now be distributed at the normal place in the Mass.
• You may only receive the Sacred Host in your hand and not on your tongue. Communicants must avoid skin to skin contact with the minister’s hands.
• People receiving Communion are instructed to approach the altar with their arms outstretched so as to maintain a reasonable distance from the minister.
• Please do not gather at the back of church to chat.
• Baskets will be available at the entrance (and exit) for your weekly Offertory collection.
This year is the 5th anniversary of Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical ‘Laudato si’
Its message is just as prophetic today as it was in 2015.
The encyclical can provide the moral and spiritual compass for the journey
to create a more caring, fraternal, peaceful and sustainable world.
Catholics around the world are being encouraged to pause, wherever we are,
and say this prayer at noon each day:-
Loving God, Creator of heaven and earth and all that is in them,
you created us in your own image and made us stewards of creation.
You blessed us with the sun, water and bountiful land so that all might be nourished.
Open our minds and touch our hearts, so that we may attend to your gift of creation.
Help us to be conscious that our common home belongs not only to us,
but to all of your creatures and to all future generations,
and that it is our responsibility to preserve it.
May we help each person secure the food and resources that they need.
Be present to those in need in these trying times,
especially the poorest and those most at risk of being left behind.
Transform our fear and feelings of isolation into hope and fraternity,
so that we may experience a true conversion of the heart.
Help us to show creative solidarity
in addressing the consequences of this global pandemic.
Make us courageous to embrace the changes
that are needed in search of the common good.
Now more than ever may we feel that we are all
interconnected and interdependent.
Enable us to listen and respond to the cry of the earth
and the cry of the poor.
May the present sufferings be the birth pangs
of a more fraternal and sustainable world.
Under the loving gaze of Mary Help of Christians,
we make this prayer through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Prayer of Spiritual Communion used at live-streamed Masses
Lord Jesus Christ,
You promise to be with us when two or three are gathered together in your name.
You promise to be with us until the end of time.
You are with us when we hear your Word in the Sacred Scriptures.
You are with us in those who are hungry and thirsty, sick or in prison and in the face of the stranger.
You are with us in our beautiful world and in the very stuff of the entire Universe.
You are with me in the very depths of my being;
And you are with us in the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist.
Today I am unable to receive you in this Sacrament of your Body and Blood.
Lord Jesus, strengthen my belief that you are always with us until you come again.
I believe that one day I will see you face to face
when there will be no more suffering, no more tears and no more sadness.
Lord Jesus, stay with me and with those I love throughout this day and for the rest of my life.
You who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen
Pope St John Paul II – on his visit to England in 1982 – had this to say about
the place of sickness and suffering in the life of the church:
‘Today I make an urgent plea to this nation. Do not neglect your sick and elderly. Do not turn away from the handicapped and the dying. Do not push them to the margins of society. For, if you do, you will fail to understand that they represent an important truth. The sick, the elderly, the handicapped and the dying teach us that weakness is a creative part of human living, and that suffering can be embraced with no loss of dignity. Without the presence of these people in your midst you might be tempted to think of health, strength and power as the only important values to be pursued in life. But the wisdom of Christ and the power of Christ are to be seen in the weakness of those who share his sufferings.
Let us keep the sick and the handicapped at the centre of our lives.
Let us treasure them and recognise with gratitude the debt we owe them.
We begin by imagining that we are giving to them;
we end by realising that they have enriched us.’ (Southwark Cathedral, 28 May 1982)
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