Parish newsletter

5th Sunday of Lent

Dear Parishioner

Next Tuesday, 23rd March, marks the first anniversary of the day on which the Prime Minister announced the first national stay-at-home order days after warning us that “we would loose loved ones before their time.”

The total number of recorded deaths linked to coronavirus in the UK stood at 335 on that day and according to last Friday’s figures there have now been 125,353 people who have died.

To mark this anniversary, Tuesday has been declared a National Day of Prayer and Reflection, a time to come together to reflect on our collective loss, support those who have been bereaved and hope for a brighter future.

The Bishops of England and Wales encourage us to share in this day with prayer. To enable us to do so,

there will be a public Mass in St. Patrick’s Church at 10.00 on Tuesday

No booking is necessary, but seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis to ensure we do not breach our maximum capacity of 70 people for a parish Mass.

Please remember that you are still legally obliged by the Lockdown restrictions to “Stay at Home,” but you are permitted by law to come to Church if you consider it is safe for you to do so. You must not come if you are shielding or are feeling unwell.

Should you choose to come, please bring an envelope containing your name and a contact telephone number and place it in the box provided at the front of the Church to satisfy Test and Trace requirements. These will be retained for 21 days in accordance with Government requirements. Alternatively you may use the NHS Covid-19 App to “Sign in” using the QR Code displayed in the Church

I am very grateful to our volunteer stewards who have offered to assist at this Mass thereby making it possible for Mass to take place.

In keeping with the current restrictions, we continue to offer Mass on a Sunday at 10.30 in St. Patrick’s Church for which booking is necessary.

Booking for Sunday, 21st March, is now closed, so please do not attend unless you have been assured of a place as we may be unable to welcome you into the Church.

To reserve a place for Sunday, 28th March, please telephone

07526 232124 on

Wednesday, 24th March between 10.00 am – 12.00 pm
Friday, 26th March between 5.30 pm – 7.00 pm

This number will be unavailable outside of the above booking times.

Bookings cannot be made via the presbytery telephone number nor by email and can only be made for the approaching Sunday and not for dates in advance. Text messages cannot be accepted as a method of booking.

You will be asked to provide your name and telephone number to comply with the NHS Test and Trace system and also the number in your family if you are attending as a household. Under the current Lockdown restrictions you must only sit with members of your own household or bubble and not mix with people from other households.

On arrival at the church you will be welcomed by a steward and your name will be checked against the booking list.

Please remember though, the Public Health Message is that we are still legally required to “Stay at Home.” You are under no obligation to attend Mass. The Sunday obligation is still suspended. You should not come to Church if you have received a letter to say that you must shield nor if you are experiencing any signs of Covid-19 or feeling unwell in any way.

In the meantime, please continue to look after one another and pray that the Lord will watch over us and keep us safe from harm.                                                                                   

May God bless you all

Fr. Patterson

Mass to view on line

Mass is live streamed from our Cathedral on Sunday at 11.30 am and on weekdays at 12.05 pm. These Masses may be viewed live or anytime later.

Alternatively, you may like to follow Mass from the Holy Name, Jesmond celebrated live at 10.00 am on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Mass Intentions for the coming week

Fr. Patterson will continue to celebrate Mass privately each weekday. The following Intentions will be remembered this week.

  • Monday – Private Funeral Mass
  • Tuesday: 10 am in St Patrick’s Church – For all who have been affected by the coronavirus in the past year
  • Wednesday – Brian Gilmore
  • Thursday – John Lenehan and Elizabeth Lenehan
  • Friday – Private Funeral Mass
  • Saturday – Fr. “P’s” Intentions
  • Sunday: 10.30 am in St. Patrick’s Church – For the intentions of all our parishioners – booking necessary

As you are unable to celebrate Mass with him 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 Brian Gilmore and John Lenehan and Elizabeth Lenehan and,
  • Sheila Barrett and Ann Bennell who have died. “Receive Lord into tranquillity and peace the soul of your servant whom you have called from this life. May she be taken up into glory with your Son in whose great mystery of love we are all united. Amen.”

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 me in prayer for the 126,026 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.

To support you during Lent.

You may like to join Bishop Robert Barron in a “Reflection on the Way of the Cross”  or to pray The Mysteries of the Rosary with him.

A free small book, recommended by Bishop Barron, entitled “The Sign of the Cross” can be downloaded. It would be one way for you to prepare for Holy Week.

The Diocese offers daily reflections for your Lenten journey at home.

Stations of the Cross every Friday throughout Lent, 11:00-11:30 am. CAFOD invites you to join its meditation on Christ’s journey to the cross, following themes of justice, poverty, mercy, friendship and hope

Holy Week in St. Patrick’s Church

After consulting with our volunteer stewards, we hope to be able to offer a modified programme of services for Holy Week.

The Government Guidelines still require places of worship and faith communities “to adapt their religious services to ensure the safety of those present and minimise the spread of infection. It is advised that the ceremonies and services should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time,” which is reaffirmed by the Bishops of England and Wales.

In keeping with that guidance, a simple Mass will be celebrate in the early evening on Holy Thursday at 5.30 pm; a simplified celebration of the Passion of the Lord with Holy Communion will take place on Good Friday at 11 am and Mass will be celebrated on Easter Sunday at 10.30 am. There will be no need to reserve a place for Holy Thursday, but we do ask you to reserve a place for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This can be done on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week at times which will be published in next weekend’s Newsletter.

All Holy Week Services will be lived streamed from our Cathedral for those of you who do not feel ready to return to Church. You are under no obligation to do so and must still look after your own health and well-being.

National Day of Prayer and Reflection

Next Tuesday, 23rd March marks the first anniversary of the day on which the Prime Minister announced the first national stay-at-home order days after warning us that “we would loose loved ones before their time.”

To mark this anniversary, Tuesday has been declared a National Day of Prayer and Reflection, a time to come together to reflect on our collective loss, support those who have been bereaved and hope for a brighter future. There is so much on which to reflect and include in our prayer.

We reflect in sorrow on all those who have died, whether family members, friends or those unknown to us personally. We pray for them, asking our Father to welcome them into their heavenly home, the destiny for which God first gave us the gift of life.

We reflect with compassion on all those who have suffered during this last year, whether through illness, stress, financial disaster or family tensions. We pray for their ongoing resilience, courage and capacity to forgive.

We reflect with thanksgiving for the generosity, inventiveness, self-sacrifice and determination shown by so many in this most difficult of times. We pray for them, thanking God for their gifts and dedication, whether they are scientists, politicians, health workers, public servants of every kind, community leaders or steadfast family members and friends who continue to show such love and compassion.

We reflect in hope that, as the pandemic is controlled and we open up our lives again, we will gather in the lessons we have learned and build our society into a better shape, more compassionate, less marked by inequalities, more responsive to needs and deprivation.

We ask for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us in this endeavour, whether we are focussing on overcoming family breakdowns, economic recovery, or building political consensus.

Christian prayer is, of course, centred on Jesus Christ, the one who is “lifted up” before us “so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3.13). We pray with Jesus, in him and through him, for he is the one who carries us, and our prayers, into the embracing presence of his Father. He is our comfort in sorrow, our strength in the face of need, our rejoicing in the gifts we celebrate and our hope in the face of the weighty darkness of death.

May Tuesday be a great day of prayer that this pandemic comes to an end and that the gift of God’s Holy Spirit will carry us all forward to a new and better life, both here and in the world to come.

Why we are asked to reserve a place when we come to Church

“Shoulder my yoke and learn from me” (Matthew 11: 29)

I am aware that there are some parishioners who are uncomfortable with the need to reserve a place when coming to church on some occasions. In an ideal world it is something we would normally not have to do, but we are still in the midst of the pandemic and as with all the other guidelines and restrictions, we must continue to follow those for Places of Worship and be willing to make sacrifices, putting our personal preferences to one side for the sake of others, so that we can pray together in relative safety.

From the start of the pandemic, Places of Worship were described by the Government Task Force and Public Health England as “places that are particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus because of the communities and generations that are brought together,” which is why they imposed such strict guidelines on Places of Worship all of which are designed to minimise the risk of the transmission of the coronavirus.

Part of those guidelines are that we have  to have in place “pre-booking arrangements so that no more people than can be safely accommodated arrive at the church.” St. Patrick’s has been risked assessed with a maximum of 70 people at a parish Mass which is a statutory requirement. Financial penalties can be incurred if that number is breached. It also prevents our stewards having to turn people away, which they would be required to do, if our maximum capacity is likely to be breached.

So to comply with these regulations we have, like many churches, to ask parishioners to reserve a place for some of our celebrations—principally, at this time, Sunday Mass.

Roadmap Step 1: Changes from 8th March

These are the changes that came into effect on 8th March:

  • Schools and colleges have reopened, and university students can return for practical courses.
  • Two people from different households can meet outside for recreation, which can include “a coffee on a bench”.
  • Care home residents can have one nominated visitor, with testing and social distance precautions.

All other restrictions are still in place including the mandatory rule to “Stay at Home.”

Lenten Alms

The following letter has been received from Moira Ashman, the Chief Executive of St. Cuthbert’s Care. “At St Cuthbert’s Care, we provide a very personal and sensitive approach to our care. The pandemic has made this so much more challenging for us. Throughout the past year, we have carefully transformed the delivery of all our frontline services, to ensure residents and service users still enjoy life to the full. Replicating this care to every resident throughout our nursing homes alongside our disability provision and children’s homes, has been at a significant cost, and these increased costs look set to continue for some time to come. Circumstances have been difficult for us all this year. For this Lenten Appeal, any donation we receive however small, would be deeply appreciated. I know that for some parishioners, financial donations may not be an option and I fully accept this. Thank You.” 

If you feel able to support Lenten Alms this year you can make a donation via St Cuthberts Care website

New Offertory Envelopes

The new boxed sets of Offertory envelopes, beginning Sunday, 4th April, 2021, are now available and may be collected from St. Patrick’s Church after Mass on Sundays. It is hoped that alternative arrangements may be made for their distribution after 29th March, if the “Stay at Home” restriction has been lifted.

During the course of the pandemic several parishioners have chosen to contribute by Bank Transfer and it is hoped they will continue to do so in the long term rather than use envelopes. This facilitates the financial administration of the parish. Please consider contributing by Bank Transfer. The details needed are provided below.

Your ongoing financial support is welcomed and needed

Fr. Patterson renews his thanks to you for your offerings during these difficult times especially to those parishioners who regularly contribute to parish funds by bank transfer helping to meet the regular financial  commitments of our churches.

Whilst we are being urged to “Stay at Home,” it may not be wise to drop your envelopes through the presbytery letterbox, unless your daily exercise route happens to take you past the presbytery. Please be sensible. 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 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

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