5th Sunday of Lent
The Bishops of England and Wales have issued the following statement:- As the Government has now lifted the Covid-19 restrictions and exhorted all people to adopt the recommendations of the “Covid Response: Living with Covid-19” document, the principal means of protecting people who attend Catholic Churches in England and Wales is through participation in the Government vaccination programme. Those who are fully vaccinated (i.e. two routine vaccinations plus booster) will have significant personal resilience against major illness from the Covid-19 virus and its variants. The Catholic Church has promoted the participation of all in the vaccination programme as part of its mitigation of virus transmission in Church and ancillary buildings. Alongside the positive effects of covid vaccination, it should be stressed that any people displaying symptoms of Covid-19 should stay at home and not participate in acts of worship in church.
In keeping with the National Guidelines of the Bishops Conference of England Wales, Bishop Robert has eased the Diocesan protocols and recommends the following points as methods of good practice against the transmission of the virus in our churches. After discussion with our stewards it was agreed that the following will be adopted in St. Patrick’s Church from Easter Sunday
- Hand sanitiser should be available for all to use at places of entry and exit to our churches.
- Those who wish to wear a face covering may do so during a Mass or service in Church.
- There is no requirement for social distancing, but we should continue to be sensitive to the wishes of other people.
- Singing can occur although there is a general encouragement to wear face coverings while singing.
- Holy Communion must continue to be distributed under one kind only.
- It is still important to ventilate our buildings. This has the effect of diluting and dispersing viral particles
Bishop Robert goes on to say that “it is important that we continue to be mindful of our local prevailing conditions in terms of viral infection and transmissions and local adaptations should be put in place. It is also important to consider the demographic of your parish communities, appreciating that some people continue to be more vulnerable to infection than others. In those circumstances you may wish to adjust the level of controls accordingly so that people feel comfortable.”
Your ongoing support of the Diocesan Refugee Project would be welcomed. The project supports 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. Donations of sugar, biscuits, tinned fish in oil, tins of tomatoes and chick peas may be left on the table to your right as you enter the front of St. Patrick’s 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.
Cases of Covid-19 continue to rise in our region. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics cite 1 in 13 people currently have Covid in England. Many of us will be aware of someone who has the virus or is self isolating, you may even be one of them. Please pray that they will make a full recovery. This is particularly important, as more cases of “long Covid” are beginning to emerge. The Public Health message is still to act cautiously and to consider wearing a face covering especially in an indoor environment when we are in the company of people we do not usually mix with. Please respond in a positive way for the sake of each other’s well-being. May God bless us and keep us safe from harm.
Mass to view on line
With the exception of Sunday and Tuesday, 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 – Leonard Robinson.
- Tuesday: 10.00 in St. Patrick’s Church – Pat Donald
- Wednesday – Sheila Fletcher
- Thursday – The sick, their families, NHS staff & Care Workers
- Friday – James Fagan (AM)
- Saturday – Fr. Patterson’s intentions
- Sunday: 10.00 in St. Patrick’s Church – For the intentions of all our parishioners
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 and,
- all those near and dear to us whose memories we cherish at this time especially Pat Donald
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 165,570 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
The Lenten Journey
Father Denis McBride C.Ss.R. is leading a free online retreat during Lent.
A video will be added to the Redemptorist website every Sunday, and 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 final part of a booklet of Lenten reflections which you may find of value during Lent. Unfortunately the booklet is too large to make printed copies available.
Bishop Robert Barron asks, “Do you want to grow in your faith this Lent?”
For several months during the early stages of the pandemic, we were able to offer those of you who have access to the internet, the opportunity to engage in a variety of video presentations by Bishop Robert Barron.
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.
Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
Each week Bishop Barron offers a Sunday sermon.
Prayer and Reconciliation
There will be a time for private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament on Friday, 8th April from 10-10.30 am with the opportunity of Sacramental confession for those who wish. If you choose to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a face covering must be worn. Please use the Church Street entrance which will be open at 9.50am.
Holy Places Collection
If you wish to contribute to the collection for the Holy Places next Sunday, please place your offering in the boxes at the entrance to St. Patrick’s in an envelope marked Holy Places. Those of you with boxes of envelopes should have an envelope in your box.
Cafod’s Humanitarian Appeal for the Ukraine
Fr. Patterson is grateful for donations received for this appeal during the course of the week totalling £30.00. If you wish to support the Appeal, donations may be left in the boxes at both entrances to St. Patrick’s Church or put through the letterbox of St. Patrick’s presbytery. Please mark your envelope Ukrainian Appeal. For security reasons, envelopes should not be put through the letterbox of St. Alban’s Presbytery. Alternatively you may donate directly to Cafod – please mark your envelope Ukrainian Appeal.
Your Offertory contributions from 1st April, 2022
For the past two years, as a result of the pandemic, we have been left with a large number of unclaimed sets of weekly offering envelopes which came at a considerable cost to our parishes. With the uncertainties of the year ahead, we will only be issuing envelopes for the coming financial year to those of you who are in the parish gift aid scheme and are not already contributing by standing order or bankers order.
As non gift aid envelopes no longer need to be individually recorded, we ask that those of you who are not in the gift aid scheme, might bring your offering in an envelope of your own or simply place your offering in the box provided in the church as “loose plate.” Alternatively you may take a set of envelopes from St. Patrick’s Church dating back to 2020/21 which may be used. You do not have to use the number that was allocated to you in the past—any box will do.
Many of you during the past two years have chosen to make your offering by standing order or by bank transfer and we are most grateful to you for doing so. It is hoped that you will continue to make your offering in this way, which saves on administration costs. For those of you who gift aid your offering, tax can still be reclaimed from the standing order method of contributing. We invite more of you to consider making your offering in this way whether you are in the gift aid scheme or not. The bank details you require are printed below.
If you are a tax payer and are not a member of the parish gift aid scheme please consider joining the scheme, it costs you nothing and the parish benefits by being able to reclaim the tax you have already paid on your offering. All that is required, is for you to complete a simple form which does not involve you disclosing any personal financial information and is held securely by the Diocesan Finance Office.
To obtain a form, or for more information, please email St. Patrick’s Gift Aid organiser at email@example.com.
For the time being, enquiries concerning the Gift Aid scheme for St. Albans Church should be directed to Fr. Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Volunteers are invited to help with the cleaning of St. Patrick’s Church for Easter on Friday, 8th April at 6pm. Please enter by the Church Street Entrance.
St. Patrick’s Church Heating
The heating has now been repaired with the purchase of a new motor and wiring loom. We await the invoice!
In the coming months many of us face steep rises in the cost of living and the hardship that will involve. Perhaps this is something we need to address in our shared parish after Easter and discover ways in which we may be able to offer support and reassurance to others. If you would be interested in coming together to reflect on this issue some time after Easter please contact Fr. Patterson on email@example.com.
Caritas, the social action agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, has released a free booklet to increase our awareness of Catholic Social Teaching on poverty which may be of help to us in our local situation. A few printed copies will be available at Mass on Sunday in St. Patrick’s Church.
St. Alban’s Church – A final call for your support
It has always been Fr. Patterson’s hope, and still is, that we would be able to reopen St. Alban’s Church once the Covid restrictions had been removed.
To achieve this, a bank of volunteers are required to assist with all aspects of parish life. A Roadmap was prepared in June, 2021 outlining the roles and the level of help needed. This was widely circulated and has been recirculated on several occasions since, accompanied by frequent appeals for volunteers in the Parish Newsletter and by word of mouth.
On 5th March, 2022, a Gathering was held in St. Alban’s parish room for prospective volunteers. At this meeting, Fr. Patterson explained both the level of help required and the nature of the roles which were needed to be filled. He renews his thanks to those who have offered to help so far. However, volunteers are still required in the three areas below if we are going to be able to reopen the Church.
We will need to make a decision about the future of our church after Easter, so this is a final appeal for your support.
Fr. Patterson has discussed our situation with Bishop Robert who is supportive of the efforts we have made, and continue to make, to reach out for volunteers. Fr. Patterson will be meeting with the Bishop after Easter to review the situation following this final appeal for your support.
The following essential roles still need to be filled:
Eight volunteers, to work in pairs on a rota, to open the Church 30 minutes before a weekday Mass or service, to prepare the Church for those services, to tidy up afterwards and to lock the Church. These volunteers must be available to open and prepare the Church for funerals, weddings and any other services which may take place. A degree of flexibility, when it comes to days of the week and times of services, is necessary.
Saturday Vigil Mass
Ten volunteers, to work in pairs on a rota, to open the Church 30 minutes before Mass on a Saturday evening; to prepare the church, to tidy up afterwards and lock the church. To fill the votive candle stands and to remove used candles; to welcome people as they arrive offering them a Mass book/hymn book, to organise the taking of the collection.
A degree of flexibility may be needed in this role if, sometime in the future, the time of the Vigil Mass is brought forward to 5.30pm. In the review of the time of the Vigil Mass carried out in 2019, 49% of the parishioners who took part requested Mass be celebrated at 5.30pm. We were unable to meet that request, as some of the volunteers opening the church at that time felt unable to accommodate the earlier time. It is therefore important, for those who may be considering offering to open the Church on a Saturday, to bear in mind, before coming to a decision, the possibility of the Vigil Mass being celebrated earlier in the future should the need arise.
Counting and banking
Twelve volunteers, to work in teams of four on a rota, to count and record the collections; to empty the candle boxes; to prepare the money for banking and to take it to the bank. This is a weekly commitment. The Diocesan Code of Practice advises that, for safeguarding reasons, counting teams should ideally be composed of four people and a minimum of two people should be engaged in the banking process
Why so many volunteers?
Volunteering should not be burdensome, hence the number of volunteers we are seeking in the above roles. This will minimise the demand made on any individual or group/team and will assure cover when volunteers may not be available due to family commitments, sickness, holidays or unforeseen circumstances. However there is a need to be able to commit to a particular role on a rota basis.
Please give serious thought as to whether you could help in any of the above roles and inform Fr. Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0191 495 2277. Alternatively you may contact Terry and Christine Harbron by telephoning 0191 469 8697.
Please get in touch by Saturday, 16th April so that Fr. Patterson can have a further discussion with Bishop Robert after Easter.
Please avoid telephoning either number after 6pm or at weekends. Emails are welcome anytime.
Please get vaccinated
The Bishops have issued a statement declaring that the principal means of protecting people who attend Catholic Churches in England and Wales is through participation in the Government vaccination programme. Those who are fully vaccinated will have significant personal resilience against major illness from the Covid-19 virus and its variants. The Catholic Church has promoted the participation of all in the vaccination programme as part of its mitigation of virus transmission in church and ancillary buildings.
ZOE Covid weekly update – 1 in 13 people have COVID in new record highs
Professor Tim Spector, in the data this week, shares how COVID symptoms have changed over time and gives some advice and reassurance on how to prepare for the lack of free testing in the UK. He also shares interesting research on gut disease and how eating a lot of plants has an impact on gut and digestive problems.
In a separate blog, the updated symptoms of Omicron are discussed.
Data from the Office of National statistics may also be of interest to you.
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 email@example.com and they will be added to our contact list.