“ “where is the truth? Who is the prophet with the compass to guide a lost generation? Here too, the priest is the holy scout with eye’s skinned for God’s footsteps in a territory of misleading signs & ambiguous symbols; the guide whose job is to point out the safest way for pilgrims through the hills & valleys of their daily lives; a kind of miner who probes the packed soil of our complex existence for the gold that reveals the true source & destiny of our human condition. To be God’s spy in infiltrating the government of false gods until the true & hidden self of each human being is brought to light. The intention is not to bring people something they lack & with which you have been exclusively gifted. Rather it attempts to kindle in them the recognition of who they are. You long to awaken the who to its origin, presence, possibility & promise. To awaken the fecundity of being to the possibilities of its own becoming. It is a vocation akin to that of the artist; the artist mediates the eternal through refined attention to the imagination; without the presence of the imagination the eternal could never reach us. Imagination & divinity are sisters. The quiet work of recognising the holiness of others, of “soul-making”, is so often & so sadly neglected in a world that rewards results. If we persist in the roles we are praised for playing, there is an ever present danger of being trapped into over-action, measurable by tangible & visible results; a risk of losing our freedom to serve, & eventually, our souls. We must, so to speak, collaborate within our own hearts before we collaborate with our own communities. Otherwise the action stays loveless; the music has no resonance, the emphasis is misplaced; the balance is askew, it is out of true.”
Cardinal Robert Sarah, the head of the Vatican’s office for Worship & the Sacraments wrote to all Bishop’s Conferences “let us return to the Eucharist with joy” he says “once the concrete measures that can be taken to reduce the spread of the virus to a minimum have been identified & adopted, it is necessary that all resume their place in the assembly of brothers & sisters..& encourage again those brothers & sisters who have been discouraged, frightened, absent, or uninvolved for too long.” I enclose a copy of his document for you to read, alongside my warm welcome in the homily this weekend to those of you who, for all sorts of reasons, have yet to come back to our home bread baking & breaking, shared in person, or virtually through our spiritual belonging, these last 10 weekends. In the words of cheesy hymn I shared with you last weekend “come as you are, that’s how I love you; no need to fear, love sets no limits; no need to fear, love never ends; don’t run away, shamed & disheartened, rest in my love, trust me again.”
This coming Monday our Parish Finance Committee, incorporating all three of our Churches, meets to finalise their respective Accounts to 31 August 2020. I will share some of the major points with you next weekend. I am to ask the Committee for their authorisation to execute some repair & upgrade work at Our Lady & St Benedict’s Church. Sadly the vandalism of our graveyard lighting columns continues with now four bollards destroyed in recent weeks. Since installation we have had to replace perhaps 10 columns at significant cost. Our trusted electrician, Stewart Forbes, who looks after our electrical projects is to replace 10 of the bollards with short ones, identical to the one just inside the gate to the graveyard, & in the light of both electrical running costs & expense in replacing blown spotlights, I have asked him to replace the lighting in Church with the brighter & more efficient LED lamps, similar to those which light the reredos behind the Altar. The overall cost will be in the region of £3,000. Our spending on the Church, the Hall & the Parish House has, & remains prudent, & now especially in a recession; however, we need to maintain the properties under our stewardship in safe good & best order, befitting of our beloved Church & Parish.
Traditionally September is SVP Awareness Month, which coincides with the feasts of Blessed Frederic Ozanam 9 Sept & St Vincent de Paul on 27 Sept. The coronavirus pandemic has seriously affected the practical work if not the spiritual support offered locally to those in need by our Parish SVP group who continue to meet & to serve on-line..please keep them & those they serve in your prayers. To mark St Vincent’s feastday there will special Masses streamed from St Chad’s Cathedral Birmingham; Sat 26 Sept 12noon & 2pm; Sun 27 Sept 10am & 12noon, at which all SVP members can rededicate their own membership virtually..live streamed via www.svp.org.uk. If you would like to consider joining our local SVP group please contact Mary Borrett firstname.lastname@example.org those in need, especially those still shielding, or families struggling with food provision, do be in touch with Mary or with me please.
Paul Moore remains critically ill in the ICU at York District Hospital, with further deterioration on Wednesday morning. With permissions from Fr Prior & our Matron, & the staff of the ICU I, I spent a precious 15mins with him, Maureen & Oliver, & his own nurse. Medical expertise & prayer at one in nursing & loving him towards recovery.
Last Tuesday, I was in St Benedict’s RC PS to meet Gerard Eddy our Headteacher, & Clare Lally, who oversees the Catholic Life of the School, to see how best & safely we can shape the faith & spirituality in School for both children & staff in these times of Covid restrictions, particularly in relation to my movement in School & our need to ensure the continuing safety of our Monastic Community, who remain in self-isolation, whilst some monks are in teaching & chaplaincy in the College, & as I hope to be for our own School in the Village. Please be assured we will do our best to give spiritual provision both in the classroom & in Church, where gatherings will be for separate bubbles not a full School assembly or Mass. Please keep the schoolchildren staff & parents in your prayers as we all work & pray together in ensuring a safe learning, playing & praying environment for our young disciples. It is great to have them all back.
The Risk Assessment for Our Lady & the Holy Angels Church in Gilling has now been submitted for necessary consideration & approval by the Diocese & the Abbey Trustees to allow us to re-open for small Masses very soon. It would seem we would be able to have up to 12 individuals in Church, & possibly up to 18 if some came as couples or families.
As the economic situation worsens, & many who were being furloughed find that their work is in jeopardy, could I remind you of our Food Initiative in the Village, 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 praise for the good-natured generous service given by Ray & Deb throughout the crisis, who regularly go the extra mile for us. With my love & prayers. Fr Bede