“if we can face our enemies as Jesus recommended, then we can face ourselves more honestly & we can be healed, because our enemies challenge us to free ourselves from old habits & blind spots, & develop in full the potential of our beauty & our sensitivities as human beings. It is there, exactly in our relationship to our enemies, that the healing process can begin, as our enemies highlight to us our own weaknesses, our inner poverty the poverty which makes it difficult for us to look at them. We all struggle to hold onto the old ways of doing things, but there is always an alternative. We can learn to use the difficulties we have with our relationships. If we can accept our enemies as opportunities to waken & bring forth new qualities of healing in us, we can open our hearts & allow the finest human qualities..[human qualities gifted by the Holy Spirit?] awareness, compassion, humour, wisdom & a fearless dedication to the truth, to grow & develop. If we choose this approach, even the most difficult relationship becomes a pathway of deep connection with ourselves & with others, not just those we know & love easily, but those we have had difficulty in loving. All this will heal & expand our hearts” [Now is the Time; Sr Stanislaus Kennedy] “Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, enkindle in us the fire of your love.”
Last Sunday evening, the Catholic Bishops Conference of England & Wales issued a 13 page document Covid Step 3 Guidance for Communal Worship, effective from Mon 17 May 2021 on the liturgical life of the Church. It is a comprehensive re-examination of the procedures we have been following for the last few months, & reassesses the covid secure capacity of churches & other restrictions currently in place. Bishop Terence Patrick sent his own document to us on Tuesday, offering some further wise counsel for us as the local Church. I discussed both documents with Julia Brooke, Fr Abbot’s PA & Delegate for our Parishes, & we agreed that, given we still hope for the lifting of all restrictions next month, to begin an interim reassessment of our current provision, which safely meets the needs of those wanting to come to Church, would be of little practical or spiritual benefit.
This last week we have, with great joy, been able to welcome St Benedict’s RC Primary School back into Church. On Monday Nursery up to Class 2 came to pray & to become familiar being here; many came for the first time. We had some tremendous questions; a girl in Reception told me about the Holy Spirit & another in Class 2 asked me “who made God?” when I told her the answer her face was a picture of contentment. Today [Thursday] we welcome Class 3 & 4 for Mass. The School goes from strength to strength in all it is achieving, & as numbers increase impressively, do spread the good news of the life & faith of our “School of the Lord’s Service” as St Benedict calls his monasteries.
Pope Francis’ initiative in May is to pray the Rosary each day of the month in the hope of bringing an end to the pandemic. I sent out with the Outreach two weeks ago the list showing which World Shrine to Our Lady is leading the prayer that particular day with a pandemic related intention. Please do join in, in each of the last 9 days, if you can..
Our Diocesan Vicarate for Spirituality & Worship, in preparation for the Feast of Pentecost this Sunday 23 May 2021, compiled a Novena to the Holy Spirit, taking some short daily reflections from Pope Francis’ book “Let us Dream”; one example is when the Pope says “for me it’s clear, we must redesign the economy so that it can offer every person access to a dignified existence while protecting & regenerating the natural world.” [page 44] Thank you to all those who have been praying it each day, in the hope it will help to bring about the end of the pandemic. “the one who asks always receives.”
Our Parish continues to provide food through the Food Initiative at a cost of £200 a month. [£3,400 since the pandemic began]. I hope those in our own Village who may be struggling to provide food for their children in this ongoing & increasing crisis in health & in the economy, will be warmly encouraged to benefit from our Food Initiative, where it is possible to approach Ray & Deb in the Village Shop, & quietly ask for a bag of food essentials which will be delivered to your door. This has been working well since the lockdown began, & it could be more of us in the Village will find themselves in ever deeper need of help, & we would encourage them to ask..it isn’t charity, it is basic good bread & butter Christian discipleship which, at such times of crisis, is asked of us in our plenty. Across the Village there is deep appreciation for the good natured & generous service given by Ray & Deb throughout the crisis, who regularly go the extra mile for us.
Food donations to Middlesbrough Food Bank via cash in envelope to Parish House or direct via email@example.com
Please remember the sterling work of our own SVP group in the Parish, who are there, willing & able to help anyone in any form of difficulty, or those who would value a phone call now & again in the midst of the lockdown. Do please Contact Mary Borrett firstname.lastname@example.org.