“ A Church that is overly fearful & tied to its structures can be invariably critical of efforts to defend the rights of women, & constantly point out the risks & the potential errors of those demands. Instead, a living Church can react by being attentive to the legitimate claims of those women who seek greater justice & equality. A living Church can look back on history & acknowledge a fair share of male authoritarianism, domination, various forms of enslavement, abuse & sexist violence. With this outlook, she can support the call to respect women’s rights, & offer convinced support for greater reciprocity between males & females, while not agreeing with everything some feminist groups propose. Along these lines, the Synod sought to renew the Church’s commitment “against all discrimination & violence on sexual grounds.” That is the response of a Church that stays young, & lets herself be challenged & inspired by the sensitivities of young people.” (“Christus Vivit” by Pope Francis)
Last weekend heralded the introduction of the new arrangements for weekend Masses at Gilling & Ampleforth, with a combined 6pm Saturday Vigil Mass at Our Lady & the Holy Angels in Gilling, replacing their 9am Sunday Mass. Of the 23 who came to the Vigil Mass, 15 took up the invitation to stay behind to share in a conversation about the changes. It lasted an hour & proved to be a valuable opportunity, & we hope to repeat it next Saturday 28th Sept at Gilling. Attendance figures across the two Churches showed a marked decline on what is usual: on a typical weekend we would expect 25 at the 6pm Vigil Mass in Ampleforth: 35 at the Sun 9am Mass in Gilling, & 80 at the 10am Mass in Ampleforth, totalling some 140. Last weekend we had 23 at the Vigil Mass in Gilling & 60 at the 10am Mass in Ampleforth, totalling 83. With late holidays to take into account & the understandable uncertainties & anxieties over the revised arrangements, it will take some time for a normality to be restored. The combined Ampleforth/Gilling Harvest Service in Holy Cross, Gilling next Sunday at 6pm, followed by a supper generously provided in the Village Hall afterwards, will give us a first opportunity to mingle together prayerfully & then socially, & we will be arranging a series of social gatherings in the 3 localities before Advent, & preparing for the formation of a Parish Council to serve all of us & to be operational by Christmas 2019. Please keep all of us involved in these changes in thought & prayer, as we try to help each other to see this as a fine opportunity for us to grow on together what has already been caringly, carefully & fruitfully planted & nurtured thus far.
As part of our due diligence under Health & Safety best practice, we carry out an annual inspection of the gravestones in the Graveyard, termed “a topple test”. You will have noticed a number of gravestones have been carefully lowered as these were deemed a potential hazard, liable to fall & cause injury. We will endeavour to contact families of the deceased to explain the necessity for the action & to encourage them to have the gravestone re-erected by an approved stonemason in the near future. With your help, we will then try to make contact with relatives who live at a distance, to inform them of our necessary actions, & so ask for their cooperation in reinstating the gravestones. With my love & prayers Fr Bede.