“In the heart of the Church, Mary shines forth. She is the supreme model for a youthful Church that seeks to follow Christ with enthusiasm & docility. While still very young, she accepted the message of the angel, yet she was not afraid to ask questions “how can this come about?” with an open heart & soul, she was to eventually reply “behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.” (LK1:38) we are always struck by the strength of the young Mary’s “yes”, the strength in those words “be it done” that she spoke to the angel. This was no merely passive or resigned acceptance or a faint “yes” as if to say “well, let’s give it a try & see what happens.” Mary did not know the words “let’s see what happens. She was determined; she knew what was at stake & she said “yes” without thinking twice. Hers was the “yes” of someone prepared to be committed, someone willing to take a risk, ready to stake everything she had, with no more security than the certainty of knowing that she was the bearer of a promise. So I ask each one of you: do you see yourselves as the bearers of a promise? What promise is present in my heart that I can take up? Mary’s mission would undoubtedly be difficult, but the challenges that lay ahead were no reason to say “no”. Things would get complicated, of course, but not in the same way as happens when cowardice paralyses us because things are not clear or sure in advance. Mary did not take out an insurance policy! She took the risk, & for this reason she is strong, she is an “influencer”, the influencer of God.” (“Christus Vivit” by Pope Francis)
This weekend will be the third involving the new arrangements for weekend Masses at Gilling & Ampleforth, with the combined 6pm Saturday Vigil Mass this weekend at Our Lady & the Holy Angels in Gilling. Understandably it will take some time for all of us to come to terms with the new timings: it seems from the initial 2 weekends so far that some 23 of the Gilling parishioners who came regularly to their 9am Sunday Mass have attended Mass away from either Gilling or Ampleforth. I am concerned both for their spiritual well-being, & for the necessary consolidation of each & everyone in Gilling & Ampleforth, if we are, as a Parish, to move forward together on our journey in faith. . The combined Ampleforth/Gilling Harvest Service will be in Holy Cross, Gilling this Sunday at 6pm, followed by a shared supper in the Village Hall afterwards. Would you please offer to help, either in helping to decorate the Village Hall from 2pm on Sunday afternoon, or in bringing offerings for the shared plate (savoury or sweet) to the Hall before the Service. This 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.
Last Wednesday we celebrated a Mass of Welcome in Church for the new children in St Benedict’s Primary School. It was an outstanding moment, in every sense, in the life & faith of our School, & by close relationship, in the life & faith of our Parish, if we are to take advantage of every opportunity to meet in prayer, & to weave together these two foundation stones of our Catholicism. It proved to be a valuable if rare moment for many of our children to come to Church, & whilst a number of parents & grandparents joined us, & given that we had made this 11am Mass our Parish weekday Mass, few of our regular weekday parishioners came. I would encourage each of you to do all you can to offer your prayerful presence in support of these young disciples of ours, who properly look to us for a lead & example in our faith practice & belonging.
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.