1st Sunday of Lent
I suspect we are all concerned by the situation in the world at present as the media focuses our attention on the war in Ukraine and the plight of the Ukrainian people.
Pope Francis has made a heartfelt appeal for peace in Ukraine, saying that the war has caused “great pain in my heart.” “Despite the diplomatic efforts of the last few weeks,” the Pope said, “increasingly alarming scenarios are opening up, with many people all over the world feeling anguish and pain.“ “Once again the peace of all is threatened by partisan interests,” he stressed. Pope Francis appealed to those “with political responsibility to examine their consciences seriously before God, who is the God of peace and not of war, who is the Father of all, not just of some, who wants us to be brothers and not enemies.” He also prayed that “all the parties involved refrain from any action that would cause even more suffering to the people, destabilizing coexistence between nations and bringing international law into disrepute.” (Vatican News)
Cafod have launched a Humanitarian Appeal with their sister organization “Caritas Ukraine” who are already helping people afflicted by this conflict.
Tetiana Stawnychy, President of Caritas Ukraine, has expressed concern that Ukrainian families are now in need of emergency water, food and safe shelter: “the current crisis will inevitably lead to a colossal humanitarian catastrophe,” she said.
Russia’s military invasion will have dire consequences for Ukraine; threatening people’s lives, their jobs and essential buildings like schools and hospitals. The conflict has already caused food shortages and forced people from their homes.
As freezing temperatures continue, the plight of Ukrainians will only worsen. Any bombing of public services like schools, hospitals and train stations across the country will only result in further suffering of the Ukrainian people.
According to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR), over 800,000 people have fled Ukraine into neighbouring countries (mainly to Poland, Hungary, Moldova and Romania), with thousands more having to leave their homes inside Ukraine. Many of those who have fled are women and children, having to leave behind their loved ones.
Our Third World Group are accepting donations for Cafod’s Humanitarian Appeal and have already sent £100.00 to the Appeal. £500.00 has also been sent from St. Alban’s Charity Box. Donations may be left in the boxes at both entrances to St. Patrick’s Church – please mark your envelope Ukrainian Appeal. Alternatively you may choose to donate directly via the Cafod website.
Closer to home, the Diocesan Refugee Project, which we have been supporting for many months, renew their thanks and seek our continuing help to enable them to support over 400 asylum seekers. They try to provide them all with a bag of food and those who are destitute also receive a supermarket voucher.
If you are able to bring donations of sugar, biscuits, tinned fish in oil and tins of tomatoes and chick peas to St. Patrick’s Church before Mass, they may be left on the table to your right as you enter the front of Church or on any table if you enter by the rear door. They are particularly in need of toiletries and shampoo. Please note: baked beans and tinned meat are not required.
Covid-19 is still very much on our doorstep too. Several of our parishioners have tested positive this week and we probably all know of someone who has the virus or is self isolating, you may even be one of them. Please pray that everyone suffering from the virus will make a full recovery. The Public Health message is still to act cautiously, especially in an indoor environment when we are in the company of those we do not usually mix with by considering to wear a face covering. Please respond in a positive way for the sake of each other.
May God bless us all.
Mass to view on line
With the exception of Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Fr. Patterson will celebrate Mass privately during the week for the following Intentions. Face coverings should be worn when attending Church, unless you are medically exempt.
- Monday – LDM Foster and Freeman Families
- Tuesday: 10.00 in St. Patrick’s Church – Mary Robinson
- Wednesday – Bill Harland
- Thursday – The sick, their families, NHS staff & Care Workers
- Friday: 10.00 in St. Patrick’s Church – Funeral Service for Brian Barrett – Diocesan Covid Protocols apply
- Saturday – Fr. Patterson’s intentions
- Sunday: 10.00 in St. Patrick’s Church – For the intentions of all our parishioners*
* Please note the change of the time of Sunday Mass from next Sunday, 6th March, 2022
When you are unable to celebrate Mass with us in Church, 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.
In case you are not aware, a parish priest is obliged to celebrate Mass for the “Intentions of the Parishioners” every Sunday or Holyday, which prevents him from fulfilling personal intentions on those occasions.
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 especially Bill Harland and,
- Fr. Harry Ryan (retired) and Brian Barrett who have died. Receive Lord into tranquillity and peace the souls of your servants whom you have called from this life. May they be taken up into glory with your Son in whose mystery of love we are all united.
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.
A time to pray
Please join together in prayer for the 162,008 people who have died in our country from the coronavirus. (Friday’s figure)
Gracious God, as we remember before you the thousands who have died from the coronavirus, surround us and all who mourn with your compassion. Be gentle with us in our grief, protect us from despair and give us grace to persevere and face the future with hope. We make this prayer in Jesus Christ our risen Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for the Ukraine
Lord God, hold the people of Ukraine deep in your heart. Protect them from violence, from political gamesmanship, from being used and abused. Give the nations of the world the courage and the wisdom to stand up for justice and the courage to care generously. Take from us those traits that see us pursuing our own needs and wants before those of others. Teach us how to live in love and dignity and respect, following your ways. We ask this in your name and for your sake. Amen
Diocesan Covid Protocols are still in place in our churches.
As we await an update from Bishop Robert relating to our Diocesan protocols, we request that you maintain the “status quo” when it comes to attending St. Patrick’s Church. So we ask that face coverings continue to be worn in the Church unless you are medically exempt. You are also asked to maintain social distancing from others in your bench, unless you are from the same household or bubble. Sanitising your hands is also good practice.
With the ongoing support of our volunteer stewards, we continue to do what we can to ensure St. Patrick’s Church is both welcoming and as Covid-19 safe as we can make it for you. At this present time, Mass will continue to be celebrated on Tuesdays at 10am and from this Sunday, 6th March, at 10am.
There is no longer a need to provide Test and Trace details, nor to “log in” using a QR code.
If you are still hesitant about attending Church, you are under no obligation to do so.
If you have Covid symptoms or feel unwell, please stay at home until you feel better.
St. Alban’s Church – our future is in your hands!
In an attempt to determine whether we will be able to reopen St. Alban’s Church when all the Covid restrictions are lifted, Fr. Patterson has invited parishioners who feel able to commit themselves to any one of the roles outlined in our parish Roadmap, to gather together to discuss how we can rebuild St. Alban’s parish with the resources available to us. In doing so, it is important that we look to the future rather than harken back to the past.
The gathering took place on Saturday, 5th March after this Newsletter had gone to print, so Fr. Patterson will inform you of the outcome in next weekend’s Newsletter.
The Lenten Journey
Starting this Sunday, 6th March, 2022, Father Denis McBride C.Ss.R. will be leading a free online retreat.
Each video will be added to the Redemptorist website every Sunday, but they will be available throughout the Lenten season, so you can re-watch them at your leisure.
The Diocesan Vicariate for Faith and Mission has produced the first part of a booklet of Lenten reflections which you may find of value during Lent.
Sycamore for Lent
Sycamore opens up the heart of the Christian message and helps people to grow in faith. The films give an inspiring vision of Catholic Christianity. They involve some clear teaching and thought-provoking testimonies. The discussion groups, even online, help people grow in friendship and build a sense of community.
The Diocesan Vicariate for Faith and Mission invite you to join a Sycamore journey during Lent. They offer an opportunity to gather online each Sunday from 6th March to 10th April from 16.00 – 17.15. There is no charge but you are asked to register to join.
Bishop Robert Barron asks, “Do you want to grow in your faith this Lent?”
It is almost two years since we were faced with the first total lockdown in our country due to the Coronavirus. You may remember for several months we were able to offer those of you who have access to the internet the opportunity to engage in a variety of talks and video presentations given by Bishop Robert Barron and the Word on Fire team.
During Lent this year, Word on Fire offer the opportunity to engage in more talks and videos with the ability to access those videos you have watched in the past and it is free of charge. Visit the Word on Fire website for more information as to how to access this material.
Each week Bishop Barron offers a Sunday sermon.
Head of Finance
The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle is looking to appoint a new Head of Finance. The role will be based in the Diocesan Offices in Newcastle and agile working is available. Full-time or 30 hours a week. Closing date for applications: 12th March, 2022. For full details, please visit www.diocesehn.org.uk or contact us 0191 243 3301
Your ongoing financial support is welcomed and needed
Fr. Patterson continues to be grateful for your offerings during these difficult times and is especially grateful to those parishioners who regularly contribute to parish funds by standing order helping us meet the regular financial commitments of our churches.
You may bring your envelopes to Mass on Tuesdays or Sundays or drop them through the presbytery letterbox. For security reason, envelopes should not be put through the letterbox of St. Alban’s Presbytery.
The parish is still able to reclaim the tax from Gift Aided offertory contributions made by bank transfer. It would be helpful to enter your name and Gift Aid envelope number as the reference when making the transfer.
The details for bank transfers/standing orders 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
Returning your call
If you telephone the presbytery and there is no-one available to take your call, you may choose to leave a message on the answer machine. We will do all we can to return your call. However we are only able to do so if you leave your telephone number!! For safeguarding reasons, we are unable to return anonymous calls, so please leave both your name and number for your call to be returned. For security reasons, the presbytery number is sometimes withheld for outgoing calls, so please bear this in mind if you are expecting us to return your call.
When to take Lateral Flow Tests
With access to free lateral flow tests ending from the 1st April in England, Professor Tim Spector of the Zoe Study presents some valuable insights from their recent research to help us make the most of testing. Their scientists recently analysed the length of time it took for people to test negative, following their first positive test. They found that, on average, it took 8 days after the first positive test to log a negative test.
What can we learn from these findings?
- Have some LFTs at home ready so you can test as soon as symptoms start. You don’t want to be out and about looking for test kits while symptomatic
- Use a LFT on the day that you start experiencing symptoms
- If you log a positive test, wait 6 days to retest as it’s unlikely that you’ll test negative before then
- Those aged 75 and over could wait up to 10 days to retest as research suggests that those in this age bracket may take longer to recover
- If your test is negative, test again the next day
Please get vaccinated
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has echoed the call encouraging people to take up Covid vaccinations and boosters when offered by the NHS. “The call ‘Get vaccinated! Get boosted!’ is more and more pressing.”
ZOE Covid weekly update – Why bother tracking Covid-19
This week, Professor Tim Spector looks at some new data Zoe have discovered on Lateral Flow Tests and how long you are likely to test positive, helping you to use the tests economically and save money. He also explains why it’s so important to keep on tracking COVID and logging your health and tests in the ZOE app, as well as some intriguing data on whether skipping breakfast is really as bad as people say it is.
In a separate blog, the updated symptoms of Omicron are discussed.
Parish News by Email
If you are aware of parishioners who would like to receive the Newsletter and other news from the parish by email, please ask them to email Fr. Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be added to our contact list.