17th Sunday of the Year
I suppose one of the major topics of conversation this week has been the introduction of the compulsory wearing of face coverings in shops and supermarkets.
There are those who are prepared to comply with this requirement for the sake of the common good. Others argue that it is inconvenient, uncomfortable, not British, an infringement of civil liberty.
Fr, James Martin, a Jesuit priest from the United States puts it this way:- “I believe that all life is sacred, inviolable and a gift from God. That reverence for life includes a desire to care for the unborn child in the womb, the elderly person in danger of euthanasia, the refugee starving on the border….
To that list of sacred lives you can add: the woman standing in line at the grocery store checkout counter, the elderly man seated in a church pew or the office worker who has just stepped aboard public transportation.
Surely everyone would consider all these lives worthy of protection. So why aren’t all Christians convinced that wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are pro-life moves?”
He cites the parable of the Good Samaritan. There were those who failed to help and there was the Samaritan who went beyond the call of duty.
Fr. Martin continues: “So the question comes down to this: Do you reverence all lives—the checkout clerk as much as the unborn child? The man standing in the grocery store as much as the man in danger of euthanasia? The woman on the subway as much as the terminally ill child?
Do you really want to help save lives? Then start to bother. Wear a mask”
You can read Fr Martin’s article in America: The Jesuit Review.
Please take care of yourselves in the weeks and months ahead. Keep in mind the advice of Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England who has said “Covid-19 is still in general circulation. If we do not follow social distancing guidance then cases will rise again. It is absolutely critical people stick to the guidance that has been given.”
Pray for each other and please pray for me
May God bless you all.
Mass to view on line
Alternatively, you may like to follow daily Mass from the Holy Name, Jesmond celebrated live at 10.00 or which may also be viewed any time later.
I continue to celebrate Mass privately every day. The following Intentions will be remembered this week.
- Monday – Special Intention (RK)
- Tuesday – In Thanksgiving (KC)
- Wednesday – Lavinia and Alexander Henderson
- Thursday – The sick, their families, NHS staff & Care Workers
- Friday – Brian Quigley
- Saturday – Fr. “P’s” Intentions
- Sunday – For the intentions of all our parishioners
As you are unable to celebrate Mass with me, you may wish to make this act of spiritual communion:
Lord Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen
Please keep in your prayers this week:
- all our parishioners who are sick, housebound or in hospital
- all those near and dear to us whose memories we cherish at this time
A Prayer for Carers, Nurses and Doctors
Lord Jesus, who healed the sick and gave them new life, be with doctors, nurses and carers, as they act as agents of your healing touch.
In desperate times, keep them strong yet loving; and when their work is done, be with them in their weariness and in their tears. Amen.
Reopening our Churches
We continue to patiently await Bishop Robert approaching us to enquire if we are prepared to be risk assessed with a view to reopening our churches.
As Fr. Patterson is in the clinically vulnerable category and on the advice of the Bishops, initially we may only be able to open St. Patrick’s Church.
Until such time as our own churches have been risk assessed and we are able to fulfill all the requirements for stewarding and cleaning, we will remain closed. So please be patient, prayerful and understanding.
We need another 6 Volunteers please
If you are able to volunteer as a steward or to help with cleaning our churches please send Fr. Patterson an email stating your availability weekday/weekend and in what way you would be able to help. Your help could make the difference between being able to open our churches or not! Volunteers should really not be in the vulnerable categories.
What to expect when we can return to Church
As we patiently await being approached by Bishop Robert to consider the reopening of our churches, Fr. Patterson thought it may be helpful to outline some of the changes you will experience when we are able to gather for Mass.
First of all, things will not be the same as they were! We must observe the 2 metre social distancing rule which reduces the seating capacity of our churches considerably. Everyone, with the exception of children under 11 and those with certain medical conditions, must bring and wear a face covering. Please note there will be no toilet facilities available nor votive candles, no repository items, no Mass Books, hymnbooks nor holy water.
The number of Masses offered will be determined by the number of volunteers we can call upon to act as stewards to assist you and to make you feel welcome and safe. They will greet you on your arrival at the Church and invite you to sanitise your hands. They will lead you to your seat—which may not be the one you are accustomed to sitting in. Please remain in your seat at all times. Do not move around the Church. In your bench, you must adhere to the 2 metre social distancing rule unless you are from the same household and are sharing a bench with members of your household.
Holy Communion will be distributed at the end of Mass when you will be invited by a steward to come forward. After receiving Holy Communion you must leave the Church immediately and not return to your place.
These are only some of the guidelines we must put in place. They are under constant review by the Government and the bishops. A more comprehensive set of procedures will be published once we have had our risk assessment carried out by the Diocesan Authorities. You may be interested in a short video from the Archdiocese of Liverpool which gives an idea of what to expect when you can come to Church.
Your generous Offerings are greatly appreciated
In these financially challenging times, Fr. Patterson continues to be grateful to those parishioners who contribute their weekly offering by bank transfer directly into the parish accounts and to those who have sent cheques.
He is also appreciative of those parishioners who have dropped their weekly offering envelopes through the presbytery letterbox This all helps to meet our day to day financial commitments.
However, for security reasons, please do not put any envelopes through St. Alban’s Presbytery door. Envelopes for St. Alban’s parish should be posted through St. Patrick’s Presbytery door only.
If you Gift Aid your offertory contributions, the parish can reclaim the tax on your offering should you wish to make a bank transfer. It would be helpful to enter your name and Gift Aid envelope number as the reference when making the transfer.
If you choose to send a cheque please make it payable to the appropriate Account name below or you might wish to continue to put aside your envelopes each week and bring them along to church once we can reopen our doors.
The details for bank transfers and cheques are as follows:
St. Alban’s HSBC bank account name: DHN Pelaw St Alban, Sort code: 40-34-18, Account No: 92010984
St. Patrick’s HSBC bank account name: DHN Felling St Patrick, Sort code: 40-34-18, Account No: 52010453