“With a friend, we can speak & share our deepest secrets. With Jesus too, we can always have a conversation. Prayer is both a challenge & an adventure, & what an adventure it is! Jesus gradually makes us appreciate his grandeur & draws us nearer to him. Prayer enables us to share with him every aspect of our lives & to rest confidently in his embrace. At the same time, it gives us a share in his own life & love. When we pray, “we open everything we do” to him, & we give him room “so that he can act, enter & claim victory.” In this way, we can experience a constant closeness to him, greater than anything we can experience with another person. “it is no long I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2: 20) Do not deprive your youth of this friendship. You will be able to feel him at your side not only when you pray, but at every moment. Try to look for him, & you will have the beautiful experience of seeing that he is always at your side. That is what the disciples experienced when, as they walked along dejectedly towards Emmaus, Jesus drew near & walked with them. In the words of St Oscar Romero “Christianity is not a collection of truths to be believed, rules to be followed, or prohibitions. Seen that way, it puts us off. Christianity is a person who loves me immensely, who demands & asks for my love. Christianity is Christ.” Jesus can bring all the young people of the Church together in a single dream, a great dream, & a dream with a place for everyone. The dream for which Jesus gave his life on the cross, for which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost & brought fire to the hearts to every man & woman, to your heart & mine. To your heart too, he brought that fire, in the hope of finding room for it to grow & flourish. A dream whose name is Jesus, planted by the Father in the confidence that it would grow & live in every heart. A concrete dream who is a person, running through our veins, thrilling our hearts & making them dance.” (“Christus Vivit” by Pope Francis)
Pope Francis speaks above of “Jesus bringing all the young people of the Church together in a single dream.” We refer often to the blessing we have of so many young people who belong within our Parish family, & it is inspiring to realise that this weekend 8 of our young disciples are in Medjugorje for the Youth Festival. Please keep them in your prayers, as they pray for us on their pilgrimage & live the dream.
We have already begun to benefit from the life & joy of our fledgling choir/music group who have started to meet regularly & have led our music at 2 weekend Masses recently. They have been encouraged by the way you have all taken to the new hymns & music. They are to meet again after 10am Mass this Sunday. If you would like to join them please do stay behind: they will be delighted to have you, whether you can read music/play an instrument or not.
Last Saturday evening at our Vigil Mass we had “the perfect storm”. We had no fresh flowers for the Altar, no one to ring the bell of welcome, no server, no Minister of the Word, no one to take the Offertory, no Minister of the Eucharist. Far from taking any of these vital ministries of service for granted, it shows just how much we need, value & appreciate all that some of you do for the Parish on a regular basis & often “under the radar”. On your behalf, I would like to offer them our profound thanks, & to encourage others of you who notice a gap, to step forward & take on a ministry of service for us.
Last Wednesday I went to Bradford to visit the retired Chaplain to St Bede’s & St Joseph’s College, who has come to us with staff & students on Retreat for many years. She has just completed some months of chemotherapy & radiotherapy. It has been, & remains, an anxious time, as she relies on the skills of her medical team, & vitally on her trust in God & in the power of prayer. Pope Francis’ words above weave powerfully into her situation “when we pray we open everything we do to him & we give him room so that he can act, enter & claim victory.” When I was asking her about the treatment, particularly the radiotherapy & how long each daily session lasted, she responded spontaneously “as long as 8 Hail Mary’s.” please include her in your prayers, as indeed she prays regularly for us. With my love & prayers, Fr Bede.