Fifth Sunday of Easter
Parish Priest – Father David B Barrett – email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish Deacon – Rev Peter Griffin – Tel 07850499414 – email – email@example.com
Administrator – Denise Wallinger Tel 01234 711212
SVP Contact – Tel 07925 125206
Parish Website: www.ourladysolney.co.uk
EASTER SEASON LITURGIES VIA YOUTUBE.
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
We will recite the Rosary every day after Mass during the month of May
Saturday 9th May
6.30pm Mass of the 5th Sunday of Easter For the people of the parish
Sunday 10th May
10.30am Mass of the 5th Sunday of Easter Margaret Donnelly RIP
5.00pm Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Vespers & Benediction
Monday of the 5th Week of Easter 11th May
Tuesday of the 5th Week of Easter 12th May (St Pancras)
10.00am Mass George Annette RIP
Wednesday – Our Lady of Fatima – 13th May
10.00am Mass Nuala Annette & family Int
Thursday- Feast of St Matthias Apostle – 14th May
10.00am Mass Jack Doyle RIP
Friday of the 5th Week of Easter 15th May
10.00am Mass Eddie Bagg RIP
5.00pm Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Rosary & Benediction
Saturday of the 5th Week of Easter 16th May
10.00am Mass David Beadle RIP
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Sat 6.30pm Mass For the people of the parish
Sun 10.30am Mass Michael Freeman RIP
Sun 5.00pm Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Evening Prayer and Benediction
To watch the parish Liturgy on the internet, either ask Denise to email you the daily link, or go to our parish website and press the link button that reads TAKE ME THERE. Live Masses have the word LIVE printed on the picture on the screen: you click on that and you should be there. Just make sure that it is the correct Mass.
HOLY HOUR ON SUNDAY – At 5.00pm we will be holding Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Evening Prayer and Benediction. The prayers for Evening Prayer (also known as Vespers) and the for Benediction will be available on the Prayers and Reflections part of the parish website. It is a time for prayer and praise of the Lord Jesus, for quiet reflection and intercession for the Church, our country and our world, and for all who are dear to us.
HOLY HOUR ON FRIDAY 15th MAY – a time to continue our dedication of this month of May to Our Lady. This will be a time of quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament with Rosary and Benediction. It will begin at 5.00pm.
REGINA CAELI – this is the Eastertide hymn and prayer to Our Lady which replaces the Angelus. You will have noticed that I have been singing it after Mass. You will find the full text in Latin and English on the parish website under the Prayers and Reflections section.
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION – Even if you are not attending Mass, you can make a Spiritual Communion every day. It is an expressed heartfelt desire to receive Our Lord even when we are unable. In making the prayer, we receive the Lord spiritually. Here is one prayer to make a Spiritual Communion:
My Jesus, I believe that You are truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as being already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
St Alphonsus Liguori
FOODBANK – Many thanks to all of you who have been so generous in supporting the Food Bank. I have been able to take over to Milton Keynes a good supply to help those in need. A box is left outside the Presbytery door every day for donations of goods such as
- Long Life Juice
- Long Life Milk
- Tinned Rice Pudding / Custard
- Tinned Meat
- Tinned Vegetables
- Tinned Tomatoes
- Pasta Sauce
PARISH SUPPORT – If
you would like to contribute, you can either put the offering through the door
of the Presbytery when you are out for a legitimate trip – if you didn’t collect
your new envelopes, just put down your old envelope number on an envelope with
your initials. If
you would prefer to set up a standing order for donations to your parish using
either your on-line bank account or in your branch, please contact Denise for
the relevant details. Any cheques should be made payable to Our
Lady Help of Christians.
MASS OFFERINGS (STIPENDS) – If you have any Mass intentions to be offered, please contact Fr David, Deacon Peter or Denise. Please do include the full name of the person for whom you want the Mass to be offered, whether they are alive or deceased.
USEFUL WEBSITES: The following could be helpful during this time of restricted movement. I hope that they help:
http://www.spiritualdirection.com – with lots of stuff on the spiritual life and how to pray
http://www.aleteia.org – plenty of news, articles and reflections on current news, on our Faith and prayer
http://www.ewtn.com – news and articles and links to other useful blogs
http://www.ascensionpress.com – news, articles and videos on our Faith and prayer
http://www.corpuschristiweston.org/coronavirus – some helpful videos by two students from Wonersh seminary looking at St Paul’s Letter to the Philippians
In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see how the Apostles decide to sort out a row that was brewing between two different groups within the early Church in Jerusalem. The number of those who were becoming disciples was increasing and this obviously made further demands on the Apostles. The work of feeding the poor, especially widows, was burgeoning and obviously distracting the Apostles from their other work. So, they decide to choose seven men “of good repute, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom.” These become the first deacons of the Church. The Apostles lay hands on them – or ordain them – and in this way they bestow upon these seven a portion of the full gift of ministry which the Apostles received from Jesus. For these seven it was a particular share in service of others. As the Church expanded, the Apostles left in each town where they established the Christian life three different grades – a bishop, who was the nominated successor of the apostle; presbyters or elders (what we call today priests) who would work as representatives of the bishop in caring for Christians (standing in for the bishop since the bishop could not be everywhere at once); and the deacons, who were called to serve the community or the bishop in a wider way. These grades have always been part of the Church ever since.
It’s worth noting the reason the Apostles give for the decision to ordain the first deacons. “It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food.” Giving out food, social help, was good and very much part of what Christians were meant to be doing. But if it was all the Apostles were doing, there would be a danger for them to be reduced just to being an ancient form of social workers or charity workers: the Church is more than a charitable NGO. If we neglect the word of God – the teaching of Jesus – and focus just on social work we will lose what makes us distinctive. The Apostles knew that. They made it clear that entrusting this charitable work to the seven deacons would allow them time to focus on the word of God: “We will hand over this duty to them, and continue to devote ourselves to prayer and the service of the word.” The initial disagreements had enabled to them to refocus their attention to their most essential role while also managing to provide for this other important work to continue. Re-focusing on their ministry of prayer and the service of the word, did not mean that they had to stop their charitable work: rather they ordained others to carry it out on their behalf.
In doing all this, the Apostles were imitating Jesus. His work of inaugurating God’s reign on earth embraced every aspect of human life in order to help everyone in need – both spiritually and physically – and to lead all to their ultimate home – which is with God the Father. The Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit is the origin of all that we are and is the goal of our existence. Jesus teaches us in words but also in His actions a complete love for God and a complete love for our neighbour – even our enemies. On the Cross most of all, He lived it out and He expressed it by dying in total love for His Father and total love for us. He really is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
The Apostles did not want to completely distracted from their ministry of the word but neither did they abandon their work of charity – neither was neglected. During this lockdown, there is much of the normal sacramental life of the Church which is not directly available to us. We are not neglecting it – but maybe we are feeling neglected. Yet we can devote ourselves to prayer as I know many of us are doing – the live-streaming of Masses seems to support this. To give some time each day to meditating on the Bible will also help us – it will help us to get to know a bit better the fascinating Person of Jesus. He will enlighten us further about ourselves and about our lives – and He will draw us more deeply into the mystery of God, helping us to begin to taste and savour the delights of who God is in Himself. St Augustine of Hippo said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you!” There is nothing more fulfilling than being with God – and also being in God, which is where prayer always leads us. This kind of prayer will then lead us to a further beautiful revelation – that, by grace, God is in us. He hasn’t neglected us and He never desserts us because in Jesus we are God’s Beloved. We are in Jesus most of all at the Eucharist – and we yearn to be together again for the Mass when we will be in Jesus and He will be in us.
The lockdown has also revealed something else – the social outreach of the Church has not ceased. The care that so many of you have shown each other – with support, phone calls, help with shopping – has demonstrated this. The food bank donations have also been remarkable – at Milton Keynes they are amazed that our parish gives so much each week. We may not be meeting at our lovely church here in Olney at the moment but I feel that our parishioners are very much being the Church, doing what the Church is able to do in such restricted and difficult circumstances.
Maybe the blessing of this lockdown will be that we will be aware of the real blessings we have in our lives. I think that it will also help all of us, clergy and people, to work out more clearly what our roles as Catholics should be in our parish, at home, at work, at school or college and in the wider world. It might help us to see how important a routine of daily prayer is for us. It should help us be aware of how much our society and our world needs Jesus Christ. I think it will also awaken in us a deep love for the Mass, for the Eucharist – as the wellspring for all we do in our lives and as the summit of our worship. The lockdown has helped me to see more clearly that an essential part of my role as a priest involves being devoted “to prayer and to the service of the word,” as the Apostles said. But this cannot mean that the work of serving those in need will be neglected – and hopefully together, energised by the grace we will receive from the Eucharist, we will make sure it won’t be.
I am so looking forward to the day we can be at Mass together again. The words of Psalm 62 probably encapsulate everyone’s desire to receive the Lord again in Holy Communion:
O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,
my mouth shall praise you with joy.
In the meantime, let the words at the end of the psalm comfort us about our closeness even now to God and His to us:
My soul clings to you;
your right hand holds me fast.
May Our Lady, Help of Christians, who rejoiced at the Resurrection of her Son, St Joseph and St Lawrence pray for us all, for all in the Health Service, for our Governments, for our parish and Diocese and the whole Church – and for all of the world. Let’s continue to support and pray for each other and those in need.
With my love and prayers,
Fr David B Barrett