8th Sunday of the Year
Some of you will be familiar with the hymn, “The Love I have for you, my Lord”. The chorus reads:
“My life is in your hands”
which might be said to reflect the nature of the Public Health Message we heard this week as we begin to learn to live with Covid-19, moving from Government restrictions to taking personal responsibility for our actions so that we protect ourselves and each other without losing our liberty.
The NHS Public Health message outlined by Sir Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer on 21st February, is very clear. We are all strongly urged to play our part to reduce the risk of catching and passing on Covid-19 in the following ways:
- by getting vaccinated;
- by letting fresh air in when meeting indoors or choosing to meet outside instead;
- by wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, especially where you come into contact with people you do not usually meet with and when rates of transmission are high;
- by trying to stay at home if you are unwell;
- by taking a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms, and staying at home and avoiding contact with other people if you test positive;
- by washing your hands and following advice to ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’.
If we are prepared to follow this advice we may, by example, encourage others to do the same. After all, such behaviour is central to our Christian faith.
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 next 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. We probably all know of someone who has the virus or is self isolating, you may even be one of them. Please keep them in your prayers.
I would also like to explore with you whether or not we are going to be able to reopen St. Alban’s Church which will depend on having sufficient volunteers to be able to fulfil the requirements outlined in our parish Roadmap.
If you are willing to volunteer, I would like to invite you to a socially distanced gathering in the parish room in St. Alban’s presbytery next Saturday, 5th March from 11.00 – 12.00. Those attending are asked to wear a face covering unless they are medically exempt and to sanitise their hands on entry. For more details, please see the news item later in this Newsletter.
Bishop Robert has written urging us to remember in our prayers the people in Ukraine who only wish for what we have and enjoy and Pope Francis asks us to remember them in a special way on Ash Wednesday, through prayer and fasting in the hope of peace.
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 – Brian Barrett
- Tuesday: 10am in St. Patrick’s Church – Ron McKewon
- Ash Wednesday: 10am in St. Patrick’s Church: Margaret and Brian Pankhurst
- Thursday – The sick, their families, NHS staff & Care Workers
- Friday – Andrew Sloan
- Saturday – Fr. Patterson’s intentions
- Sunday: 10am 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 Andrew Sloan and,
- Brian Barrett who has died. Receive Lord into tranquillity and peace the soul of your servant whom you have called from this life. May he 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 161,224 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 Season of Lent
Wednesday, 2nd March, 2022 is Ash Wednesday which marks that time in our Christian lives when we perhaps go out of our way to prepare spiritually for the celebration of Easter.
Thanks to our volunteer stewards, we will be able to offer Mass in St. Patrick’s Church on Ash Wednesday at 10am when it is hoped children from Years 5 and 6 from our school will join us.
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. Unfortunately the booklet is too large to make printed copies available, but it is accessible online to those of you who have internet access.
The Lenten Journey
Starting 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.
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 4pm – 5:15pm. There is no charge but you are asked to register via the Diocesan website.
St. Alban’s Church – our future is in your hands!
With a possible further relaxation of our Diocesan Covid protocols in sight, we can now turn our attention to considering whether we will be able to reopen St. Alban’s Church.
As you are aware from our Parish Roadmap, which was circulated in June, 2021, many of our parishioners who served the parish in different ways over the years have asked to step down from their roles and Fr. Patterson has thanked them for their years of service and renews his thanks to them. Others have moved away and sadly, some have died – may they rest in peace.
Before we can open the church, we need committed volunteers to fulfil the roles outlined in our parish Roadmap which was recently recirculated . Further copies may be requested from email@example.com.
Fr. Patterson would like to invite all those who feel able to commit themselves to any one of these roles to gather together, socially distanced, 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 will take place next Saturday, 5th March from 11.00 – 12.00 in the Parish Room of St Alban’s presbytery. Fr. Patterson appreciates that this date and time may not suit everyone, but as it is of importance for our future, he hopes those of you who feel able to volunteer, will make a special effort to attend. Please wear a face covering unless you are medically exempt.
If you are unable to come along, but are willing to help in any one of the roles mentioned in the Roadmap, or would like to know more about what the roles entail, please contact Terry or Christine Harbron (0191 469 8697) or email Fr. Patterson on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone him on 0191 495 2277.
If you have helped in the past and would like to continue in your former role, it is important to contact Fr. Patterson in advance of our gathering.
Fr. Patterson has also submitted a request to the Diocesan Health and Safety Advisor to arrange to carry out a risk assessment of the Church which every parish must have in place before a church can be reopened.
Pope Francis has made a heartfelt appeal for peace in Ukraine, saying that the threat of war had 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.”
The Synod Webinar
Sr. Nathalie Becquart, the under secretary to the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, is currently organising the synod process and empowering the Church across the world to journey towards the international Synod. She will be the guest speaker at a webinar on the 5th March 11.00—12.30 for people across the diocese. A time to listen, discuss and question her on the church and the way forward. To register please email email@example.com requesting ‘webinar registration’.
An Appeal from our Diocesan Justice and Peace Refugee Project
Thank you for continuing to respond so positively to this Appeal which supports on average 300 clients each week, who all receive a bag of food. 102 of them are destitute and also receive a supermarket voucher.
If you are able to bring donations of sugar, biscuits and toiletries as well as 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 a table if you enter by the rear door. Please note: baked beans and tinned meat are not required.
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.
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
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 – What is the reality of living with Covid-19
In this week’s update, Tim discusses the prime minister’s speech on living with COIVD, and what this really means for us going forward. He also looks at the latest figures and updates from the Zoe studies with more insights from the diet studies they conducted previously during the pandemic, this week he is looking at snacking habits.
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.