Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph, Lymington

This beautiful historic church of Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph, Lymington, is badly in need of funds for essential repairs.

You can make a donation via the webpage.

This webpage is temporary - in use just for the Coronavirus.

Go to the menu on the left and scroll down past all the Coronavirus pages to

Lymington’s Historic Catholic church needs your help.’

Thank you for your generosity.

God bless you.

Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph ,Lymington

 

6pm Saturday Mass has been CANCELLED for the foreseeable future.

 

Due to the restrictions imposed by the Government and Diocese there are a limited number of seats for Mass

 

THEREFORE,

ALL SEATS MUST BE BOOKED IN ADVANCE,

for the  Sunday 10.30am​ Mass,

BY RINGINGTHE PARISH OFFICE

01590 676696

 

YOU MUST GIVE A CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER WHEN YOU RING TO BOOK

WHICH WILL GO TO ‘TRACK & TRACE’ IF NEEDED.

 

 

 

TRUSTING THAT GOD IS WITH US IN STORMY TIMES

9th August 2020

In today’s Gospel two things are going on simultaneously. As the disciples set off across the lake, Jesus goes up on the mountain to pray (v.23). The biblical idea is of Jesus ascending the mountain, a traditional place for contact with God. In prayer, Jesus returns to the source of all that he is and does.

But while Jesus is in close contact with God the crossing of the lake becomes a conflict, a battle with a heavy sea. Jesus leaves the union of prayer with God to join his struggling disciples. Yet, despite their need for him, his presence strikes fear into their hearts as they cry out, “It is a ghost” (v.26).

Jesus reveals himself to them in a formula, which has a long history in the Bible: “It is I” (v.27). From Moses’ encounter with the burning bush (see Ex 3:14), down to the conflicts of the prophets with the false gods introduced into Israel (see Is 43:10; 45:18), this formula was used to speak of the presence of the true God to his people: “It is I”. Equally important to moments when God or the Angel of God speaks to his people are the words of encouragement: “Do not be afraid”.

Peter’s response is typical. At first he is prepared to take a risk upon the word of Jesus. If it is Jesus, he will only have to call him across the water, and he will come (v.28). At first he places his trust in the Lord, but then succumbs to the pressures of the storm around him. However, in this situation he calls on the help of the Lord, and Jesus holds him and keeps him safe (vv.30 -31). In Peter’s situation of little faith and doubt, his Lord has stood by him. So it is with all the disciples in the boat. Jesus and Peter get into the boat, the wind drops and all confess: “Truly, you are the Son of God” (v.33).

In the experience of the disciples and Peter we find reflected the experience of every Christian. We often begin with the great courage, which only faith can give us, but such courage of faith dwindles when wind and wave assail it. In this situation we remain ultimately dependent upon the gracious help of our Lord. Without Jesus we can make no headway. Jesus is the one who is close to God, who unfailingly looks to him for guidance and strength, while we go on with the everyday things in our lives, never giving our God a thought. Yet, when difficulties come God is there, coming out of the darkness into our lives. But even then our faith can falter. He sometimes asks us to do strange things: to jump out of the boat into the stormy water. Encouragingly, Peter’s story – and the story of disciples who thought Jesus was only a ghost – tells us it is to those of little faith that Jesus still comes, holding us close and leading us into safety and peace which only he can give.

(From “This is the Gospel of the Lord” Year A, by Francis J. Moloney).

YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO EAT 2nd August

With the death of the Baptist Jesus crosses the lake, to be alone with his disciples. However, the crowds travel the long distance around the lake to receive the wholeness that Jesus brought into their lives. The sight of their brokenness moves him.

Now the crowds must be nourished for their journey. The disciples do not see this as their responsibility. They ask Jesus to send the people off to look after themselves. But people who have been restored to wholeness by Jesus must be nourished, and he demands that his disciples see to that nourishment: “Give them something to eat yourselves” (v.16). He has been unable to take the disciples into a lonely place to instruct them, but he will instruct them by calling them to minister to a broken and needy people.

The disciples can only reply in the terms of the poverty of their possessions, but Jesus asks them to come to him with the little they have. He accepts their poverty, blesses it and gives it back to them (v.19). Jesus himself does not minister to the people; the disciples have the task of distributing the loaves to the crowd. The large number of people adds to the wonder of what has happened.

Reading this Gospel, we think immediately of the Eucharist. Jesus raises his eyes, blesses, breaks and the disciples distribute (v.19). Jesus is the one who both restores the broken to wholeness (v.14), and who nourishes them for the journey. It is not enough for Jesus to tell his people: “Go, you have been healed”. He must also travel with them, nourishing them on their journey. However, it is not only Jesus who is involved in this task. He has intimately associated his disciples, and thus those of us who form the Church of today, with his life-giving mission. We are commanded to feed those in need.

Like the first disciples who preferred that the people go to the villages to look after themselves, we too shy clear of the challenge of Christian loving. This often happens because, again like the disciples in the story, we feel we have little or nothing to offer. But Jesus can take what little we have to offer, bless it, and give it back to us so that we might bring fullness to those whose lives we touch. As Jesus transforms the eucharistic bread, so he also transforms us into eucharistic people. The meal of Jesus is always open. As long as there are people looking for the gifts Jesus offers, this nourishment can never be totally consumed. But the story also tells us that Jesus wants disciples who are prepared to distribute his gifts.

(From “This is the Gospel of The Lord” Year A by Francis J. Moloney SDB).

THE TREASURE WITHIN & WITHOUT 26th July

 

St Augustine said that “our hearts are restless till they rest in you, O Lord”. If we desire peace, blessing, true joy and every good, there is only one source and that is God. But how do we find God, connect with God, be with God? From our little self-centred perspective God can seem so far away, so far above.

We are confused, our lives are a bundled of contradictions and conflicting desires and aspirations. Each of us, individually and all of us collectively are like the net full of fish. We are a mixture of good and bad, positive and negative. Only God can transform the bad into the good and bring peace and harmony to our souls and to humanity as a whole.

But what is impossible for us, is supremely possible for God. We cannot ascend to God so God has descended to us. We cannot find God, so God has found us. We cannot reconcile ourselves to God, so God has reconciled the whole world to himself in the Christ.

The priceless pearl is, in the words of St Paul: “Christ among you, your hope of glory”. It is the Holy Spirit within us uniting us to the Father and the Son and welling up as a spring of eternal life bringing joy, hope, restoration and everlasting love. The Kingdom of God, says Jesus, is not here or there, it is within us, among us.

In fact every thing and everywhere can be a portal to the Divine because everything has come from the hand of God. As God purifies our hearts more and more we begin to see God more and more, (Blessed are the pure in heart they shall see God!).

If we approach everything seeking light and love ,and are ready, according to our capacity, to give light and love then we will find those infinite treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ (Col. 2:3). Jesus said there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents and again that: the one who is forgiven little loves little. So even our falling into sin can be turned to good if by grace it leads us to fall into the merciful hands of God with greater humility.

So all our relationships, activities, work, hobbies, interests can lead us to God if we receive them with gratitude and we are open-hearted and loving to all.

It is just a shame that some self-appointed “gatekeepers” are so judgemental and narrow minded. They want to keep control and be the Masters and Rabbis. They want people to depend only on them. So they do not encourage people to find God everywhere and to celebrate the Spirit that God has poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28) and the gifts God gives to all people, irrespective of gender, race, status or age.

So we are graciously invited to connect to the Divine life present everywhere. This is a connection nourished by prayer and Sacred Liturgy, but a connection that we must personally respond to & seek to nurture. But even so it is all grace. This union in our deepest heart and soul is not a retreat into introspection or a flight from the world. Drawing on the Divine life within enables us rather to engage with the world to bring, above all by our actions, attitudes and our relationships, something of the peace and love of Christ. (DMA)

 

 

LEAVING THE FINAL JUDGEMENT TO GOD 19th July

That demand for instant judgement, for rooting out those who have done harm in the community, for bringing the last judgement into the present tense, is something that is seriously challenged in today’s scripture.

The author of Wisdom tries to answer the pressing question: why does God allow the bad to flourish? Why is God so patient and moderate with Israel’s enemies? He argues that God’s moderation is not a result of weakness: his justice, after all, has its source in strength. But how does God actually use this sovereign strength? The answer is that he disposes of it in favour of governing with “great lenience”. So God’s mercy is heaped on everyone in sight, even on traditional enemies. And in this there is a purpose:

By acting thus you have taught a lesson to your people

how virtuous man must be kindly to his fellow men,

and you have given your sons the good hope

that after sin you will grant repentance.

 

The people are asked to share in the same spirit of God and act with kindness to their fellow human beings. The argument is that God’s leniency will give the people of Israel the good hope that when they wrong God, they too will surely benefit from his forgiveness. This same hope is enshrined in the Our Father: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

The scandal of God’s patience and forbearance with wrong-doers appears again in the Gospel. The kingdom of heaven is compared to a farmer who is confronted with a serious problem: his field is alive with wheat and a poisonous weed, darnel, which can only be distinguished from the wheat when the growth is advanced.

 

The farmer’s servants want to weed out the darnel, but the farmer tells them to leave it alone; he is worried that uprooting the weeds will endanger the wheat. He orders that no premature attempt be made to separate them. Thus both the wheat and the darnel are allowed to grow, and only at the final harvest are they separated.

 

T he message of the parable is something that Jesus lived throughout his ministry. He reached out to all sorts of people, mixing with prostitutes, priests, crooks, scribes, politicians, children, tax-collectors. Religious separatism was something Jesus refused to advocate, making it his business to seek out and save the lost. The Pharisees, those whose very name means “the separated ones”, criticised him for associating with the wrong crowd. But Jesus knew that all communities are a mixture of the good and bad, the crooked and the cracked. And further that it isn’t always easy to tell which is which. In the end Jesus is the one weeded out by the authorities and thrown on to the killing fields.

 

The message of the parable still challenges the Church today. It is not the place of the Church to set up inquisitions, support witch hunts, organise purges to free the field for its own approved supporters. The Church is not God. As Christians we have no authority to pronounce the final judgement on anyone. The last word cannot be said about anyone until death, and then it is God’s part, not ours, to say it.

 

(From Seasons of the Word by Denis McBride)

Risk assessment opening church july 2020[...]
Microsoft Word document [141.3 KB]

May I share this homily from Pope Francis with you.

FINDING HAPPINESS 12th July

You can have flaws, be anxious, and even be angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from going bust. Many appreciate you, admire you and love you. Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments.

To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness. It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures. It is not only to feel happy with the applause, but to be happy in anonymity.

Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves. To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny's author. It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our soul. It is to thank God for every morning, for the miracle of life.

Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings.

It's to be able to talk about you. It is having the courage to hear a "no". It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified. It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us.

To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple. It is to have maturity to be able to say: "I made mistakes". It is to have the courage to say "I am sorry". It is to have the sensitivity to say, "I need you". It is to have the ability to say "I love you". May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness. That in spring may it be a lover of joy. In winter a lover of wisdom. And when you make a mistake, start all over again.

For only then will you be in love with life. You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But use the tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your losses to train patience. Use your mistakes to sculptor serenity. Use pain to better appreciate pleasure. Use obstacles to open windows of intelligence. Never give up .... Never give up on people who love you. Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible adventure. (Homily by Pope Francis, July 2020)

To contact Fr David

Telephone   01590 676696

Or email

lymbrockmil@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

KEYHOLDERS- Please do not enter the church during this time of isolation.

           SCROLL DOWN FOR FURTHER INFORMATION         

 

THERE MIGHT BE MASS BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT!

5th July

We have been working through the five pages of Diocesan Re-Opening Guidelines and the fourteen pages of the Risk Assessment required by Government legislation. These documents arrived late on Friday and were further amended today, Saturday!

First of all, our Bishops remind us that no one is obliged to go to Mass. We are encouraged to pray and if possible follow Mass online. Those in an at risk group, 70+ and/or shielding should continue to stay at home as much as possible. Anyone displaying symptoms that may indicate a COVID-19 virus infection MUST NOT attempt to come to church. We are all to remember that there will be no toilet facilities available.

Hopefully, we will be able to begin a very limited provision of Sunday Mass on 12th July. And even that may not happen if we do not have the required stewards at all our churches. But it will not be Mass as we have known it. To say it will be minimal would be an understatement. There will only be space for a few. Places will need to be booked and contact details given at the time of booking. We will need to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to participate in Mass at least once a month. This will be unavoidably selective and divisive.

We will need to practice social distancing and scrupulous hand hygiene. We should wear masks but we will need to provide our own. We should sanitise our hands on entering and leaving the church. Hand sanitisers will be available at the church door. Seating will be allocated by the stewards. Instructions will be given for receiving Holy Communion which should be in the hand only. We will be instructed on how to leave the church at the end of Mass.

There will not be any leaflets, singing, or candles. We can have some recorded music during Holy Communion but not such as to prolong the celebration. Sacristans, Servers, Readers and Ministers of Holy Communion will not be required. The duration of Mass will be much shorter and unessential elements will be omitted.

Perhaps it is good to remind ourselves that this is not a unique situation in Church history by any means. In modern times millions of Catholics around the world still have very limited provision of Mass and the sacraments. For the last 30 years or so for some communities in rural France Mass has only been celebrated once a month. In poorer parts of the world it may be available once or twice a year. Pope Innocent III also placed the kingdom of England under an interdict for six years between March 1208 and May 1213, after King John refused to accept the pope's appointee Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury. An interdict effectively bans nearly all celebrations of the sacraments. I often wondered many years ago why many priests in Ireland celebrated the Mass so quickly. Apparently, it became the norm during the penal times when Catholics were persecuted, and Mass prohibited. The priest would gather the people around, often out in the countryside availing of a suitable rock or fallen tree and by necessity would celebrate Mass speedily. So these restrictions are nothing new really.

At the beginning of this pandemic I, and a few other priests, suggested to the Bishop that it may be better to calmly and patiently wait until we can return to a full, joyful, unrestricted celebration of the Holy Eucharist as we were able to do before this crisis started. It might be a while, but it would save a lot of expense and anxiety. It would also spare those elderly priests who are living alone with no parish staff or volunteers to help put in place the necessary health & safety measures. We would also be all experiencing the same deprivation and learning the same lessons together. There wouldn’t be just the lucky few for whom it is safe and easy to come to church. It would also protect the good, positive memories we have of celebrating Eucharist together and allow absence to make the heart grow fonder! If Mass is newly associated with anxiety, hassle, restriction, and dissatisfaction people may not be so keen to return.

Anyway, that approach was not adopted. So as soon as we can, we will distribute information about booking a place at one of the Sunday Masses for 12th July. This will be emailed around in the usual way. It will very deliberately NOT be published on the website because it will only cause problems if people turn up without a booking. Our few, generous, stewards have enough to do without having to turn away disgruntled visitors. It is surprising how rude some Christians can be when they don’t get their own way! DMA.

PASTORAL MESSAGE FROM BISHOP PHILIP 28th June

 

My dear People, “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16: 18 ESV). These words of Jesus from the Gospel today, the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, are thrilling. They reassure us that the Church is founded on Christ and led by the Holy Spirit, that as disciples of Christ, abiding in Him, we will be safe in the Truth, and that whatever perils the Barque of Peter might encounter in history, the Church’s life and mission will endure on earth until the Lord returns at the End-Time. Dear friends, these last months of coronavirus have been extraordinary and very distressing. Let us commend to the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, all who have been ill and those who have generously cared for them, all who have died and their families, and all who have suffered - and will continue to suffer - financially or in whatever way because of the pandemic. We humbly ask God our Father to grant everyone a safe and effective recovery. In His name, I want to thank every one of you in the Diocese of Portsmouth, and not least our clergy. Thank you for all you have been doing during this time to preserve and deepen your Catholic faith. Each day, our priests have continued to pray and to offer Holy Mass for their people. Each day, parish and school communities have sought to care for the poor and needy. Each day, our faithful, whilst having to endure a long and painful period of time without the salvific support of the Sacraments, have continued to offer prayer at home and to join live-streamed liturgies and devotions online. Each day, our chaplains have worked on the front-line, along with others caring for the dying. Many parishes, many priests and many people have been amazingly creative, keeping in touch with one another and with the most vulnerable by phone and by email. It is now a great consolation that, within the requisite safeguards, our parish churches at last have begun to reopen and the public celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is to resume.

We know, of course, that the danger has not passed. COVID will be with us for some time to come. Let us implore from the Lord His continuing protection. Let us pray for a resolution of this pandemic. Let us ask Him for the discovery of an effective vaccine and for a secure recovery. But I want to recall another line of Scripture, this time from St. Paul: “Now is the favourable time: this is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6: 2). These words surely speak to us. For now is a favourable time! This is the time to pray for the gift of hope. Hope is the anticipation that God is about to act in our lives to bring about something new. The Holy Spirit is at work, uniting us with Jesus and through Him with the Father, which is why Mother Church can look forward with renewed hope and trust. The pandemic has been a huge challenge to our parishes, our schools, our Diocese. But we now need to move forward, to be reunited joyfully with the Lord in His Sacraments, to draw new life and energy from Him and to reopen, rebuild and rejuvenate our communities. To do this, we need to look beyond COVID and to resume our historic mission of Bringing People Closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. As the Diocese of Portsmouth, this is our purpose. The pandemic has made many review their priorities in life, their values, their spirituality. We must not now become absorbed solely with internal repairs. We need to look beyond, to seek and to serve the needy, to reach out in love to those who wish to know more about the Gospel and the Catholic faith. “Now is the favourable time: this is the day of salvation”. So let’s get going again – with these words before us over the weeks and months ahead! Let us enlist the help of St. Peter and St. Paul that we may deepen our own conversion to Christ and thus be equipped to go out on mission. Let us ask our inspiring patrons to pray for us: Mary Immaculate, St. Edmund of Abingdon and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. And let us continue ever to love and care for one another. With my prayers and best wishes – please pray for me too –

 

In Corde Iesu, +Philip, Bishop of Portsmouth

29th June 2020 The Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul

THE LORD IS AT OUR SIDE – A MIGHTY HERO

21st June

Our gospel today is full of paradox. Three times Jesus says: “Do not be afraid”. Then Jesus says that if we should fear anyone we should fear God who has the ultimate power. Then Jesus counters this by saying that God has compassion even for the sparrows. But God respects us deeply and also respects the radical choices we make. God does not force herself upon us if that is not what we really want.

There is no neat and easy solution to this paradox and we should be suspicious if any were offered. The paradox arises from the meeting of two freedoms, God’s and ours. If we allow God’s love to fill us, to hold us and keep us then no earthly terror, or power, or evil can have the ultimate victory over us (“Do not fear those who can kill the body…”). But this is scary stuff and Jesus needs to constantly reassure us not to be afraid.

Of course in our cosy Western Christianity we have effectively neutralised any danger of being rejected by the world. Our Christianity is so lukewarm, our confrontation of injustice and evil so weak that no one bothers to persecute us! Our danger is not in denying Jesus with words. We are very good at protestations of faith. Our danger is to deny Jesus by our actions, or lack of them.

We need to ask ourselves what we are really afraid of. Is it the ridicule of others or the rejection of others? Is it physical pain and discomfort? Is it the loss of wealth and prestige? Jesus says that if we insist on living out of fear then just remember who should be feared the most! So lets fear God if it brings us back into God’s love and truth. Jesus is not talking about ultimate rewards and punishments because God’s love is beyond all that (the free gift of grace comes after sin and considerably outweighs the sin!).

Jesus is challenging us here and now to make a decision. God is the only source of our good. If you are a follower of Jesus you are assured of ultimate victory. If we allow God to lovingly hold us and lead us then fear will gradually be banished from our lives. (DMA)

CORPUS CHRISTI 14TH JUNE

 

RECEIVE YOUR OWN MYSTERY

 

Today we are also celebrating the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (known previously by its Latin title: Corpus Christi).

 

Jesus was a spiritual genius and artist because he took simple things used in everyday meals and, by a unique association with himself in the death and resurrection he was to experience, he created a transformational ritual. This ritual which we have come to call the “Mass” has been at the centre of the liturgical life of Catholic & Orthodox Christianity since the beginning.

 

The Eucharist is first of all the celebration of God’s work in Jesus freeing us from sin and death and sharing with us Divine life. For this free, undeserved grace we can only give heartfelt thanks, which is in fact the meaning of the word Eucharist. Secondly the Eucharist is invitation and challenge. The invitation is to be “one body, one spirit in Christ” so that we can no longer regard ourselves as separate from others. Rather we are invited to recognise our responsibilities for others and to others. The call is to treat others as ourselves, to love others as ourselves. This way of love is a challenge to accept the sacrifices love may ask of us. As Jesus gave his life and death for us, so we are called to give our living and our dying for one another. In this way the Eucharist expresses something that is happening in our everyday lives: a growing experience of gratitude to God and a growing capacity to love as Jesus has loved us. All this is made possible by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Eucharist reveals the ultimate pattern and purpose of our lives.

 

In the Eucharist we celebrate the gift of ourselves in God. Holy communion makes a powerful statement that God’s life is in us, as the prayer at Mass says: “By the mingling of this water and wine may we come to share the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity”. Holy Communion gradually attunes us and confirms us in this mystery of loving union with God. If God can take simple bread and wine and make them his Body & Blood how much more does God takes us and delight in us being the “Body and Blood of Christ” in the world today. This is not our doing; it is by God’s graciousness alone. We are no better than anyone else, it is just that by faith, we are made aware of this relationship and by the Holy Spirit that we can begin to respond appropriately. This is the Good News to be shared respectfully with others.

 

God’s big HUG and EMBRACE which is the Eucharist accompanies us at every stage of our lives. It is the hug and embrace of unconditional love which desires the best for us and nurtures the best in us. When we’re very young it’s all hugs and kisses and comfort. As we grow there is also encouragement. As we get older still there is also challenge. As we get older still it’s there is a call to loving service and responsibility. We are never ready for so great a gift or for so much love. We respond gradually, sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes indifferently, sometimes we rebel, maybe upset at God for not making things go as we would like. As long as we keep returning to the Source in humility with as much acceptance as we can muster the grace continues its work. Everything is turned to our good once we allow ourselves to be caught up in the flow of God’s love which fills the whole creation. (DMA)

 

EVERY LIFE MATTERS – ALL HUMANITY HAS BEEN CHOSEN BY GOD FROM ALL ETERNITY

Trinity Sunday 7th June 2020

 

Before the world was made God chose the whole of creation, humanity included, us included, IN CHRIST (cfr Ephesians 1:4). The Christ is the eternal union between the Divinity and the creation, between the Infinite and the finite, between, spirit and matter, between heaven and earth. In a finite and limited way we share in the Self of the Christ (cfr. 2 Timothy 2:13). God is the whole of creation, but the creation is not the whole of God. God is the whole of me and you, but you and I are not the whole of God.

The Blessed Trinity, one God, is not a puzzle to be solved, nor a mystery to be shelved or ignored and left to the academics. Our God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit, is the life in which we live, the flow that carries us forward and the power that binds everything together. The Holy Trinity is our origin, our purpose, our meaning and our ultimate glory.

 

God is not just relational by nature. God is relationship itself in a very dynamic sense. God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit is not just loving but is love itself. God is love and love is always giving and receiving, always flowing back & forth. In God it is the giving and receiving of Divine life. The Divine Beauty, Goodness and Truth is made visible in the Christ. The exchange or flow of life and love between the Invisible and Visible (the Christ) is the Spirit.

 

The God who is love can only be truly known and loved in freedom. We are that part of the Christ mystery that can, by the Spirit, begin to respond in love and freedom to the One who is the Source of all, the Divine Mother/Father. We are invited to receive the love and to let the love flow through us and to give the love to everyone and everything.

 

That is why our relationships with others are so important. Every opportunity to help, encourage, support, forgive, heal, strengthen, to share, to receive and so on, is an opportunity to let God’s love flow in and out of us to the other.

This is why, at this time of cultural, social and economic shock we appreciate more deeply the people who are showing practical love and care: the medical staff, the care staff who look after us when we are helpless, the essential workers enabling us to receive the food we need and the services that enable society to function. This is the life of God, the Blessed Trinity in action within us poor, unworthy but still wonderful human beings. We are earthen vessels that hold this Divine treasure (2 Cor 4:7). (DMA)

 

In God we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28); the God who is, who was, and who is to come (Rev 1:8). God is in all and through all and with all (Eph 4:6). Everything exists from God, through God and for God (Rom 11:36). Glory be to God the Father through Jesus Christ his Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen)

RE- REOPENING CHURCHES 

The plans for reopening the churches are with the Bishop in consultation with the Clergy. The Diocese has to be compliant with Government guidelines. As instructed by Bishop Philip, we are waiting to see the final draft of the guidelines before we can consider opening any of our churches.

When the final draft is submitted by the Bishop, Linda, as our 3 parishes H&S co-ordinator & myself have been asked to do the risk assessments of all 3 churches and work out the possibilities which will be, of course, different for each of our churches.

Therefore, as the person legally liable for the safety of my parishioners I must insist that nothing is done without my express permission.

31st MAY

I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT ON ALL FLESH (Joel 2:28)

For Luke, the writer of the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel, Pentecost is the great empowerment of the disciples of Jesus. They had been discouraged by Jesus death, mysteriously enlivened by the resurrection experiences of Jesus but they were still afraid and unsure of their next move.

So they were altogether, women, men, apostles, disciples - and Jesus’ mother was there too with Jesus’ relations. They were praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amazingly, just as was prophesied by the prophet Joel, the Holy Spirit comes down on all of them, with wind & tongues of flame. They are given courage and boldness to openly praise God for all God’s wonderful works. And all those who heard it were amazed that they could hear the praises of God in their own language.

So, irrespective of gender and status, the great gift of the Holy Spirit is given to everyone, male & female, slave or free person. The praises of God are declared in the different languages of the hearers. They didn’t have to listen to it in Hebrew or get a translator.

So the Holy Spirit was overcoming divisions, prejudices, statuses and empowering everyone male or female, young or old. The Holy Spirit was establishing the democracy of the Spirit. In harmony with Jesus’ own teaching the Spirit does away with selfish ambition, status, power, privilege. The Holy Spirit does away with special clothing and any other obsession with appearances or trivial things. The Holy Spirit makes known to everyone that God is with us in all our situations. We don’t have to be in any particular places, or say any particular words, or use any particular style of language. We don’t have try to reach up to God, or try to make ourselves acceptable to God. We don’t have to change God’s mind or persuade God to be good to us. God has already done all this for us in Jesus. God is now Emmanuel, God With Us. In Christ we become his Body & Blood and God is present with us in the ordinary things and situations of every day.

The Holy Spirit gathers the community together where all are brothers and sisters. No one sets themselves up as the only Teacher or Master, because Christ is the Teacher. No one allows themselves to be

called Father and the others do not allow anyone to dictate or dominate the group because they have only one Father, in heaven. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the followers of Jesus learn from the gentleness and humility of Jesus. They allow themselves to be changed and become as children, not silly, naïve and irresponsible, but spontaneous, grateful, non-judgemental, trusting, believing, & benevolent. The Spirit teaches them to love and serve one another with joy and graciousness. The Spirit teaches them that they are all one. So there is no need for competition, jealousy or envy. Everyone has an equal value in God’s eyes and everyone has some role they can fulfil which helps the community. No one is better than anyone else.

The Holy Spirit teaches everyone that they are on a spiritual growth journey. The Spirit is leading them into the fuller truth. They will come to know other “sheep” that Jesus has that don’t come from the same culture or religious tradition. The followers of Jesus will listen to them, share with them and learn from them. They will admire and respect the work that God has done in gathering all these different groups in different parts of the world.

The Holy Spirit will dwell in the hearts of all, leading them on a spiritual journey of prayer. On this journey it doesn’t matter about words, because the Spirit will pray in ways that are beyond words. The prayer of the “little ones who have faith” will be primarily thanksgiving and praise. They will praise God for all the wonders of the creation. They will thank God for all the greatness of God’s compassion, mercy and goodness revealed in Jesus.

They will delight in all the marvellous things they can do, in all the gifts and talents they have, in the many ways they can be kind, loving, caring and life-giving. They will recognise also limitations, weaknesses, faults and failings. But because they have complete trust in God’s love they do not waste energy on self-condemnation, guilt or anxiety. They do not allow themselves to be paralysed by discouragement. Instead, taking responsibility for themselves and for those in need they take positive action and do all they can to make things better for everyone. (DMA)

RELATIONSHIP: THE REAL ISSUE

24th May

Following on from this Sunday’s Gospel (in John 17:20) Jesus prays for a radical unity for those who believe in him. That is a unity rooted in the relational being of God: Father, Son & Holy Spirit, (“May they be one in us”). This unity is not a facile agreement to disagree, nor is it an imposed uniformity or conformity. It is the love that seeks to hold together, with respect and non-judgement, the whole spectrum of perspectives. It does this while at the same time inviting all to an openness of heart and mind that acknowledges and accepts difference. So the people of God are on a constant journey of discovery. This process of being led “to the fullness of truth” (John 16:13) is never a smooth path because our egos always resist surrendering the prized possession of superiority in the imagined state of “being right”. Pope Francis has been trying to re-establish in the Church the structures and processes of dialogue as endorsed by the Second Vatican Council. He has called this process synodality. For the official exposition of synodality cfr: Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church, a document published by the Vatican Theological Commission on 2nd March 2018 and available from the Vatican website. Its basically about giving everyone a voice, listening to all and together, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, finding a consensus, a way forward that all can accept.

The Church has always experienced tension, controversy, argument and discussion. It is there in the heart of the Hebrew & Christian scriptures. It is the wrestling with a God who is always breaking in upon our closed minds and hearts, always leading us to a fuller and more wholesome understanding and way of life. The clash of ideas and attitudes is a necessary and healthy process in the context of God’s inexhaustible patience and the freedom we have been given.

It would be very unhealthy for the Church if people were afraid to express their thoughts and feelings. Dialogue and discussion are as much a human right as they are a necessity. All that God asks of us is that we respect each other & not judge one another, that we are open and honest and faithful to that part of truth that is given to us. We need to recognise that none of us has the whole picture, that truth is present on all sides. Our viewpoint is precisely that – a view from a point. There are many other points! We do not have all the answers and we do not need to have them. Thankfully we have a God who is the answer to everything. God understands even if we do not!

At work, at home, in the Church and in society, if we cannot agree on everything then we try to operate on mutually acceptable compromise. However there are some things that cannot be compromised though even here people will disagree. In the Church the one thing that cannot be compromised (as I see it!) is the “Good News” – the free gift of God’s love and mercy, given to all irrespective of sex, age, race, status or any other human label that can be applied. All of us and every authority in the Church must be humble enough to accept examination by the light of God’s mercy revealed in Jesus. There can be no exceptions based on power, status or vested interest. Jesus does not pray for the “world” or the “worldly” church. No one has the right to limit God’s mercy. No one can claim to be acting in the name of Jesus if they exclude or scapegoat another person or group for any excuse whatsoever.

Beyond divisions of right and left, conservative and liberal is the relationship with all people that God has revealed in Jesus. The love of God and the holiness of each person in God’s love can never be compromised. (DMA)

JESUS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!

17th May

This time is a great opportunity to dig deep and uncover some of the neglected aspects of our faith which can nourish us in perhaps new and invigorating ways. I have used the slightly facetious heading to help us be less dependent on physical buildings. There’s nothing wrong with them but they can become very constraining and use up much of our resources and energy. Remembering “new wine, new wineskins” the post-Vatican 2 recovery of community, active participation, collaboration and shared ministry has suffered from the limitations of many older buildings designed with a very different set of priorities. It was new wine into old wineskins!!

 

The first break in this understandable dependency on buildings came at the crucifixion of Jesus when he “yielded up his spirit”: “and suddenly the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom..” (Matt 27:51). God had left the building. Christ’s body is the real Temple which fills the whole universe. “I could not see any temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb..” (Rev 21:22). As God is everywhere in every possible way, “over all, through all and in all (Eph. 4:6), so all creation is part of the temple. It’s a bit like Russian dolls, one mystery nested inside another mystery. The community is God’s temple (1 Cor 3:16) and so is each person. Jesus says he is going to prepare a “place”. Scholarly research has linked this to the temple. God is preparing each one of us to be a place, a temple: “you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you” (John 14:20). And a bit further on: “Anyone who loves me will keep my word, and will be loved by my Father, and we shall come and make a home in that person” (John 14:23).

 

As Bishop Philip said some years ago, we need to concentrate not on the Church of the Lord, but rather on the Lord of the Church.

 

During this time instead of wasting energy fretting and worrying over so many things we may feel we’ve lost or cannot have. We can concentrate on the “one thing necessary” (Luke 10:42), our personal and collective relationship with the Lord. We can imagine and discover new ways of being together, sharing, interacting and helping. We can receive more deeply the “peace the world cannot give” and be assured like St Paul: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power, nor height nor depths, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39).

We are never alone because our loving, kind and gentle God is always with us, healing, guiding, forgiving, consoling, patiently teaching, strengthening and empowering. And with just a few others, ( like Mum, Dad and the children) these blessings are multiplied “For where two or three are gathered in my name I am with them” (Matt 18:20).

 

We can re-discover and rebuild the domestic church. Knowing that whoever loves has been begotten by God (1 John 4:7) we know it isn’t about religious labels or whether people are able to have explicit faith. Its about what is in our hearts. If we can be united in genuine love, care and compassion then we can trust we are united in God. (DMA)

Dear People,

I just had a phone call from Judith Giles (Lymington) to say that her son, Jeremy Giles, sadly died during the week at his home in Salisbury.

Jeremy had been unwell for sometime and did not die from Covid-19.

Jeremy went to primary school at Our Lady & St Joseph, Lymington in the 1970s where his mother taught. He had a very happy childhood in Lymington enjoying crabbing by the quay and sailing. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.

We pray for him, his mother Judith, and his family.

CHURCH CLOSURE: WHY WE MUST MOURN.

by Sara Parvis, a senior lecturer in Patristics at the University of Edinburgh. Published in The Tablet, 30-04-20

 

Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is part of the lifeblood of the Catholic faith. A theologian writes of the depth of her grief at being unable to receive the Eucharist – and why we must not allow self-pity to distract us from our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable

The little Catholic chapel in Edinburgh that I normally attend has a glass front, and looks on to a garden. This means that you can still see both the tabernacle and the lit sanctuary lamp next to it from the lane behind the church, even when the back gate is locked.

I was enormously proud of the Church’s prompt response to the coronavirus pandemic, and had little time for those who thought otherwise. It was just the reverse of the child abuse crisis: we saw the institution moving swiftly to protect the vulnerable, showing intelligence and resolve, and swallowing the probable cost to its own status and financial security without hesitation. Led by Pope Francis, who smothered all self-pitying tendencies by directing our gaze to the health workers, bus drivers and supermarket workers daily risking themselves for others, the Church laid down its life, the life of its public Eucharist, for the good of the people, in hope and trust that in due time God would allow it to take it up again.

Our local community of Dominican friars moved quickly to become connected to their people in other ways, broadcasting their celebrations of the Mass on their Facebook page and sending out a daily email with spiritual reflections and jokey video clips intended to keep our spirits up, braving for the common good the risk of inciting volatile responses from pent-up parishioners with frustration in their hearts and too much time on their hands.

I have always had a strong devotion to receiving the Eucharist; praying before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle and on the altar has also become very dear to me in recent years. We need a tangible sense of Christ’s presence. We need to know that Christ is with us. Of course, you can find Christ in others, in prayer, and clothed in the flesh of Scripture. You can find Christ in your heart, in your memory, understanding and will. But Christ in the Eucharist has a sureness, a concreteness, that is irreplaceable. Yet I knew we had to give that up to safeguard as far as possible the lives of our fellow parishioners and their families.

I was surprised, therefore, at the strength of my reactions to watching from afar the Dominican community celebrating the Triduum without the people. I felt not only terrible desolation but also naked jealousy. It looked like some kind of clericalist fantasy: no lay people, and above all no women. I so missed every lay reader, psalm singer, coffee maker; I missed the thrill of gathering in the fresh, cold night as a raggle-taggle group in the lane for the blessing of the new fire, the dark, excited procession back into the church, the organ and bells at the Gloria, the invocation of the saints and the sloshing of the holy water over us all, ending with sharing the Eucharist together. I missed joining everyone afterwards to share our Easter joy. So many are Vatican II Catholics in their seventies and eighties, my parents’ generation, who had remained faithful and joyful over so many years. These were also the people most in danger from the virus. I thought of what the chances were of going back to normal again next year, and wept.

Instead, we watched other people feast on the risen Christ together while we fasted separately from behind an impregnable online wall. It was meant to comfort, but it felt like being shut out of Paradise. The “Act of Spiritual Communion” said at every Eucharist jarred more than anything. “Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.” “At least” spiritually! “As if” you were already there! What atrocious theology! St Alphonsus Liguori was bad enough; the suggestion, widely offered by friends both clerical and lay, that being separated from the sacraments might somehow help us appreciate them more was salt on the wound. It seemed to make a mockery of my fast, dictating the terms of my grief, somehow hinting that it was my faith that was lacking.

Yet I also recognised over the successive liturgies the shining witness of the friars to Christ in the quiet dignity of their celebrations, and their care for one another and for us. So I carried on wrestling with it all. I started a series of arguments with different people (over the phone and by email), and did some further reading and thinking. Another Dominican, expert in the theology of sacramental desire, took me to task for misprizing the notion of Spiritual Communion as somehow second best, argued it all out with me, and sent me off to read St Thomas Aquinas on the subject (Summa III.80.1, since you ask). I realised that he was right that physical and Spiritual Communion are equivalent in Thomas’ teaching (much to my surprise). I also saw that, for St Thomas, although the Eucharist heals and feeds us as individuals, just as important is its function of making us into the Church, joining us as Christ’s members to the Head.

At this, it all fell into place, with a bit of help from Mary Magdalene. The deep grief I felt was her grief at the apparent disappearance of Christ’s body, the gathered Church. Only the dry bones, dismembered and deprived of flesh, seemed to remain of the assembly of the people that we had been. But Ezekiel had prophesied to us resurrection as a people, a rejoining of bone to sinew and flesh to flesh. Christ would still raise Lazarus for Martha and Mary, no matter how late his coming seemed, and in the meantime he would weep with them. While we wait and watch and ponder the Crucifixion from afar, or in some cases very close-up, only a truly sacramental desire, continually renewed in our hearts, to be again the re-membered Church, can keep us from oblivion and allow us to see and hear the resurrected Lord once more. It is and has long been the depths of our longing to be the Church, our longing to be the Body of Christ, which is the source of our grief. This is why we mourn, and this is how and why we shall be comforted when Christ shall choose to raise us.

Meanwhile, we must stand at the gate and gaze on Christ until it is opened and we can enter the garden once more.

Fr David's reflection 26th April

KEEP CALM: KEEP TAKING THE MEDICINE OF THE PRESENT MOMENT AND TRUST IN GOD (Part One)

One of the glaringly obvious things from the Gospels is that Jesus’s relationship with his Father (and our Father) was nourished overwhelmingly by his connection with creation and with people. Jesus’s words and parables spring from nature, domestic life, and the simple, predominantly rural economy: lilies of the field, birds of the air, sheep and shepherds, seed and sower, a woman sweeping the floor, builders laying foundations etc. He attended the synagogue of course but invariably the Gospels record only the conflicts that ensued. Jesus taught in the temple but there is not a single mention of Jesus participating in official temple worship. In fact, he caused a major disturbance by driving out the money changers and the merchants with a whip of chords! When Jesus prays, he often goes off to the hills by himself. And he teaches us, literally or metaphorically to “go to our private room and pray to our Father in that secret place.” (Matt 6:6)

The Church rightly encourages us to read the Scriptures, especially the Gospels. Indeed, as the Second Vatican Council (1962-5) declared: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”. However, the truth is that the simplicity and power of the Gospel witness has been overlaid by centuries of “churchianity” with its unavoidable entanglement of both “nourishing wheat and poisonous weeds” (Matt 13:24). We have had an overdose of outer authority but little nurturing of inner experience and the personal authority that it gives. We’ve become dependent on middle management (clerics like myself) who mostly haven’t had the natural training and experience that ordinary life affords. Again, the witness of Scripture has been ignored. For St Paul wrote of a church leader: (he must be) a man who manages his own household well and brings up his children obedient and well behaved: how can a man who does not understand how to manage his own household take care of the Church of God? (1 Tim. 3:4)

So, despite all the best intentions our relationship with God has to some extent become second-hand. It has been conditioned, controlled, and perhaps reduced to our passive reception of Sacraments, our attendance, or more hopefully, our participation in worship and our following of instructions. Of course, genuine trust in God and love of God has always been able to grow in these circumstances, no doubt. But the consequence has been that most of the positive feelings and associations of God’s presence, peace & acceptance have been formed around physical attendance at church. And for many of us this fusion has been welded together since early childhood and so is deeply embedded. This has been largely positive and helpful for people.

However there have been downsides. We feel lost and spiritually disorientated when we can no longer get to church! It has also nurtured an unhealthy “co-dependency” between clergy and laity. Clergy get recognition, respect, authority, and power, and of course a living! Laity don’t have the burden of responsibility and the relationship with God can be made safe and manageable. This very subtly nurtures our sense of self-righteousness and reinforces the illusion that we are in some way in control. We can more easily satisfy ourselves that we have done the works that God wants (John 6:28). And there is something more that I’ve noticed over the years. The strong link between our relationship with God and attending church that is presumed and encouraged by the Church, hasn’t worked for everyone. Many people don’t meet the requirements, can’t jump the hurdles or don’t feel listened to or accepted. And if they are still coming to church it is because of the community, the love, friendship and support that is offered. The archaic and clumsy language of the Liturgy is suffered rather than enjoyed and the implicit medieval worldview is perceived as quaint but largely irrelevant.

KEEP CALM: KEEP TAKING THE MEDICINE OF THE PRESENT MOMENT AND TRUST IN GOD

Part Two

So what is the medicine of the present moment? This time is all very strange, and we all want to get back to the way things were, perhaps? But there are always blessings in times of trial. I think one of the things that God is giving us is an opportunity to deepen our relationship with God right where we are, personally, one to One. It should be a little easier for us to praise God in creation. We are geographically blessed here in many ways. Others are not so fortunate. We know God is everywhere, but that knowledge is in our heads but not always in our hearts, or bodies or souls. In fact, when we think of ourselves, we often lack confidence. We are more inclined to think of our faults and weaknesses and so end up discouraged and doubting God’s love for us. But God wants us to enjoy God’s being with us wherever we are. As Jesus said: Not on this mountain nor in Jerusalem rather what the Father wants is for people to worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:22ff).

Jesus invites us to go into our private room and shut the door and talk with God in that special place. This can just be within our own hearts and minds at any moment. So we need to just talk to God wherever we are. Giving thanks, praising God for the goodness and beauty in the world and in people and in ourselves! Asking God to help us and others in all the difficulties and fears and anxieties. Thanking God that he is quite happy to be with us sinners, just as Jesus ate and drank with ordinary people and enjoyed their company. Every grace we could possibly imagine is all there for us in Christ. Just believe you have received it and it will be yours, Jesus says (Mark 11:24). In this way those feelings of peace and presence that are more usually associated with being in a church building will also become stronger wherever we are. If Holy Communion has been teaching us anything it is that God wants to live in us and love through us. It is just sad that this wasn’t emphasised enough in our Catholic upbringing, or maybe we weren’t listening. Too much emphasis was placed on God outside us, God in special people but not so much in us ordinary people with ordinary lives and ordinary hopes and fears. St Teresa of Jesus (16th cent.) wrote that as we come to realise how much God loves us we will be able to endure the embarrassment of being with One so different from ourselves.

Having greater joy in God-with-us (Emmanuel), always and everywhere (sufferings not withstanding) does not make the gathering of the community unnecessary or less important, because church is about being together in Christ. What is does mean is that we have much more to “bring to the party” & to share with others. Our prayer, our listening to the word of God, our celebration of the Eucharist will be more meaningful and enjoyable because we will be bringing the whole of our lives to God with one another and we will be receiving God into the whole of our lives.

So God is inviting us to a re-configuration, a re-balancing of our spiritual lives so that we can have greater peace, greater confidence in God and a humble but real inner authority. We should be grateful for the service of others but not dependent upon them. (Call no one on earth your father … Do not allow yourselves to be called Master or Teacher…Matt 23:9; Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. Matt. 18:20;) Good parents don’t keep their children dependent and subservient they nurture them to maturity and responsible freedom. All the charisms of service in the Church are to be used to build up the Body of Christ “until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ (Eph 4:13). (DMA)

From Fr David 26th April

Dear Sisters & Brothers,

 

I am really pushing the boat out this weekend (not literally as the harbour

is closed & I haven’t got a boat & the paddleboard doesn’t quite qualify!).

The reflection is TWO pages long!! I promise this won’t become a habit. Now you really will want things to get back to normal.

Also there has been a minor miracle in the parish office. Three years’ worth of paperwork, which was accumulating in plastic boxes, has finally been sorted. Thankfully most of it can just be recycled as we now use electronic filing for most things. I’ll have to spend the next

five weeks putting out the bags, one or two at a time, for our marvellous waste collectors.

My next job is to vacuum all those books which have been sitting on the shelf for six years and rarely used. (They remind me of all those yachts in Lymington harbour & surrounds. I wonder how often they get taken “off the shelf”. Can anyone tell me the market value of all the boats & yachts registered in the UK. It must be billions.)

And there is a bag of old batteries waiting to go to Tesco for recycling.

 

Anyway, enough wittering on. I’m tempted to mention intravenous disinfectant & ultra-violet light but I really must resist.

Oh, I will just mention that I did manage to cut my hair (No.4 all over with clippers). I have to say it doesn’t look too bad from the front. But Linda tells me the back is another story. For some reasonshe doesn’t want her own hair clipped. I can’t think why.

And did you see the David Tenant & Catherine Tate sketch on Comic Relief, very funny (or maybe you weren’t bothered!)

There are the usual attachments & DON’T FORGET THE WEBSITE FOR MORE GOODIES FOR THE SOUL.

Keep safe & well & strong in Faith, Hope & Love.

 

God bless

Fr David

 

From Fr David 19th April

 

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all keeping safe & well.

We are OK here. We have all we need and we’ve been getting on with lots of jobs that have been put off over the years. We’ve also started the big spring clean but we still have 10 or more rooms to do!

 

The flower boxes have been weeded and pruned & watered. But we were certainly grateful for the rain over the past two days. The car park has been swept down one side and the other side with the drainage gully is waiting to be done. We have over 25 bags of green waste waiting to go to the tip.

 

I’m also doing a virtual cycle ride on the exercise bike, about 1 hour every other day, also daily back exercises & some balance training. Olly the dog gets a walk out or several runs in the car park, depending. He is a very nosey dog & likes to stop every 2 minutes assessing the smells & often watering a lamp post or similar spot. It can be a bit awkward when one is trying to keep to the social distancing because the people behind you then catch up. So Olly cannot be allowed to indulge his nasal curiosity for too long!

 

The Waitrose shop went off smoothly on Wednesday followed by obligatory hand washing & cleaning of purchases. Most things were available but not all. We have of course been spoilt for choice for many years and been taking all these things for granted to some extent.

 

I’ve been praying for you all, and especially when I celebrate Mass. This is a somewhat strange experience as you can imagine. It is definitely the exception and cannot, as Pope Francis has emphasised, become a “norm”.

We look forward to the time when we can get back to being together as before. I do however appreciate the slower pace of life and I don’t have any great desire to be hyperactive!

 

Anyway, let us know if there is anything we can do. Do look at the website for links to helpful and inspiring material. Keep safe & well, as far as its in your power and God bless.

 

Fr David

10th April

Dear People,                                                                        You will find pdfs below with resources for Good Friday. Please click to download.

The commemoration of the Passion is traditionally held at 3pm on Good Friday.

Included are the Scripture readings, the prayers, Stations of the Cross prayers & hymn verses (plus pictures in a separate PDF).

Unfortunately, the Koder meditations that accompany the pictures are too long to reproduce, so just use your imaginations.

There is a reflection about asking for forgiveness & trusting in God’s mercy.

There are a couple of penitential psalms and a psalm of thanksgiving for God’s mercy.

Finally three hymns appropriate to Good Friday.

I hope you will find at least something helpful.

We look forward to celebrating Easter – the triumph of God’s life, love and mercy for all!

Keep safe & well.

God bless you all.

Fr David

A message from Father David 4th April

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

It's good to see you have found the website. You will find lots of resources at this time of crisis to help you here.  It also directs you to the live streamed Masses and the latest information from Bishop Philip

Thank you to all of you who offered help. We have had many more offers of help than requests for help, but this may change in the coming weeks so we have kept your name ‘on the books’ and will contact you if anything changes.

If, in the coming weeks, you have changed your mind and find you need help with shopping or collecting medication, or you would just like a friendly phone call, please contact the parish office 01590 676696 and we will organise that for you.

This is a difficult time for all of us, but we must pray and stay strong and we will get through this together. We are approaching Palm Sunday leading to the Holiest of weeks in our Liturgical calendar. Our churches remain closed, but the Holy week services will take place at the usual times, sadly without a congregation.

Linda has added a 'Prayer Request' page to the website. It will include details of Anniversaries at this time and the names of the sick and housebound. If you want to request prayer for someone please email the request to lymbrockmil@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

Please remember all priests at this time. The Mass is a celebration for the priest and people together as a worshipping faith community. It is alien for them not to have any responses from the congregation when they are celebrating Mass alone. They need your prayers and support as they 'stay safe, stay home.' So please remember them in your prayers

Finally, reluctantly, I have to approach financial support for your parishes. For many of you this crisis will involve financial hardship and I do understand that. But this crisis will also significantly affect the upkeep of our parishes.

I'd like to thank those who are continuing to contribute by Standing Order or Direct debit. For those who use the envelope scheme or give cash each Sunday, perhaps you will consider setting aside an amount each week that you can afford. You could put the contribution in a marked envelope and keep it until such a time when it can be handed in. If you wish to contribute by Standing Order or Direct Debit instead, please contact the parish office

There are also Special Collections that need our support too: The Clergy Assistance Fund (22/03/20); and support for the Holy Places (Good Friday

Keep safe & well. God bless.

Fr David

ON JOINING UP THE DOTS 29th March

If we want to grow in our faith understanding we need to start “joining up the dots”. It took me a long time to wake up to this. Its like having all the ingredients of a cake and cooking them separately and NOT enjoying the result! Once you mix them together and cook them in the oven of “pondering & treasuring” as Mary did, the results are rewarding. For example, the 2nd Vatican Council (1960s) reminded us that Christ is present in creation, in all people, in the Word, in the Sacraments, in the ministers of the word & sacraments, in the gathered People of God, in all the baptised etc. Start connecting all these dots and suddenly one is enveloped and filled with the loving, creative presence of Christ in every possible way.

I want to concentrate here on some other “dots”, which taken together will help us appreciate the wonderful work God has done in Christ. It will also help to allay our fears and root us more confidently in trusting God’s great love and mercy. So what are the “dots”? No.1: “… for they will all know me, from the least to the greatest – declares the Lord – since I shall forgive their guilt and never call their sin to mind.” (Jeremiah 31:31 re: the New Covenant, nearly 600 yrs before Jesus). No.2: “worshippers, when they had once been purified, would have no consciousness of sins” (Heb 10:2). No.3: “(we are ) ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter (of the Law) but of the Spirit, for the letter (of the Law) kills but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor 3:6). No.4: “ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.” (1 Cor 15:56). No.5: “…so that by his (Christ’s) death he could set aside him who held the power of death, namely the devil, and set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.” (Heb 2:15). No.6: “I watched satan fall like lightening from heaven.” (Luke 10:18). And finally, No.7: “..the accuser (lit. satan) of our brothers and sisters, who accused them day and night before our God, has been thrown down.” (Rev 12:10)

So cooking all these ingredients in the oven of pondering and treasuring, what do we get? In the New Covenant, i.e. the new relationship, God forgives our sin and indeed has no consciousness of it. (cfr. John 5:22 –“Nor does the Father judge anyone;.”.). Our consciousness of sin is about a sense, experience or conviction that having broken the “Law” we are thereby judged and condemned.

It is an experience of separation or alienation from God, a sense that the relationship has been broken from our side and we are helpless. In our consciousness we have an “accuser” a satan or devil, who is constantly accusing us and burdening us with a sense of guilt. From this experience arises the fear of death, in the spiritual sense. (This is different from the instinctive fear of danger & death which is natural to us as sentient beings. Jesus was so afraid in the garden, he sweated blood, and sadly some other people have suffered similarly.) Now from God’s side there comes not condemnation but justification. The judgement is a judgement of forgiveness and mercy. God looks on us not as rejected children but as loved children. We are wounded yes, and the divine Physician only wants to heal and restore.

 

So what of our sins, our selfish, angry, destructive behaviour? Of course, God not want that! God wants only our good and the good of everyone else. So, does God punish us for our sins? No, God weeps over the wounds we inflict on ourselves and others. We are punished BY our sins not for our sins. Acknowledging responsibility (confession) is not self-condemnation but the necessary precursor to healing and restoration. So behaving justly, wisely, lovingly is an imperative. We must do what is right for the right reasons. Our future, our planet depends on it. But let us explore further. The accuser (satan) has been thrown out of heaven. But where is heaven? Like the kingdom of God it is both within us (Luke 17:21) and beyond us. To experience heaven is to experience “it” within the consciousness of our own being. Yet because heaven is relationship with Divine Love it is also from beyond our being. In the consciousness of our being is heaven, purgatory and hell. The angel with a flaming sword that was placed by God at the gates of Paradise after Adam and Eve were banished from it (Genesis 3:24) has been cast out. The gates of heaven are now laid open. Learning from trusting children, as Jesus bade us, we are changed by love and can run joyfully into the arms of our lovinng Father. (Matt. 18:3).

“Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed own, shaken together, and overflowing will be poured into your lap; because the standard you use will be the standard used for you.” (Luke 6: 36-38). (DMA)

 

Pope’s Easter Message: “The contagion of hope”

Sunday, April 12th, 2020 @ 11:05 am

 

Pope Francis’ 'Urbi et Orbi message on Easter Sunday challenges us to ban indifference, self-centredness, division and forgetfulness during this time of Covid-19 – and to spread the “contagion” of hope.

 

By Seàn-Patrick Lovett, Vatican News

 

No banner hung from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica. No bands played the Vatican anthem. No floral arrangements decorated St Peter’s Square. Nearby streets were empty and silent, as Italy continues to respect a nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

 

Inside the Basilica, surrounded only by his closest collaborators, Pope Francis delivered his traditional Easter Urbi et Orbi message to the city of Rome and the world.

 

A different “contagion”

Millions of people watched and listened on various media platforms as the Pope repeated the Easter proclamation: “Christ, my hope, is risen!”. He called this message “a different ‘contagion’”, one that is transmitted “from heart to heart”.

 

This Good News is like a new flame that springs up “in the night of a world already faced with epochal challenges, and now oppressed by a pandemic severely testing our whole human family”, said the Pope.

 

Christ’s resurrection is not a “magic formula that makes problems vanish”, he continued, “it is the victory of love over the root of evil”. This victory “does not ‘by-pass’ suffering and death, but passes through them, opening a path in the abyss, transforming evil into good”, he added.

 

Comfort for those affected by the coronavirus

The Pope’s thoughts turned immediately to those directly affected by the coronavirus. “For many, this is an Easter of solitude, lived amid the sorrow and hardship that the pandemic is causing, from physical suffering to economic difficulties”, he said.

 

“This disease has not only deprived us of human closeness, but also of the possibility of receiving in person the consolation that flows from the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and Reconciliation”, said Pope Francis.

 

“But the Lord has not left us alone”, he added. “United in our prayer, we are convinced that He has laid His hand upon us”.

 

Gratitude to those providing essential services

The Pope then expressed his gratitude and affection to doctors and nurses, and “to all who work diligently to guarantee the essential services necessary for civil society, and to the law enforcement and military personnel who in many countries have helped ease people’s difficulties and sufferings”.

 

Encouragement to work for the common good

Pope Francis acknowledged that “this is also a time of worry about an uncertain future, about jobs that are at risk”. He encouraged political leaders “to work actively for the common good”, providing the means “to enable everyone to lead a dignified life and, when circumstances allow, to assist them in resuming their normal daily activities”.

 

Not a time for indifference

This is not a time for indifference, said the Pope, “because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic”. He prayed that the risen Jesus may grant hope “to all the poor, to those living on the peripheries, to refugees and the homeless”.  Pope Francis also called for the relaxation of international sanctions and for “the reduction, if not the forgiveness, of the debt burdening the balance sheets of the poorest nations”.

 

Not a time for self-centredness

This is not a time for self-centredness, continued Pope Francis, because “the challenge we are facing is shared by all”. Europe, in particular, was able “to overcome the rivalries of the past” following the Second World War, “thanks to a concrete spirit of solidarity”. It is urgent “these rivalries do not regain force”, the Pope continued. We all need to recognize ourselves “as part of a single family and support one another”. Selfishly pursuing particular interests risks “damaging the peaceful coexistence and development of future generations”, he added.

 

Not a time for division

This is not a time for division, said the Pope, as he appealed for “an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world”. Criticizing the vast amounts of money spent on the arms trade, Pope Francis called for a solution to the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon. He said he hoped Israelis and Palestinians might resume dialogue, that the situation in eastern Ukraine might be resolved, and that “terrorist attacks carried out against so many innocent people in different African countries may come to an end”.

 

Not a time for forgetfulness

This is not a time for forgetfulness, continued Pope Francis, referring to the humanitarian crises being faced in Asia and Africa. He prayed for refugees and migrants “living in unbearable conditions, especially in Libya and on the border between Greece and Turkey”. The Pope prayed also that solutions may be found in Venezuela, allowing “international assistance to a population suffering from the grave political, socio-economic and health situation” there.

 

Christ dispels the darkness of suffering

“Indifference, self-centredness, division and forgetfulness are not words we want to hear at this time”, said the Pope. These words “seem to prevail when fear and death overwhelm us”, and we want to ban them forever, he added.

 

Pope Francis concluded his Urbi et Orbi message with a prayer: “May Christ, who has already defeated death and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, dispel the darkness of our suffering humanity and lead us into the light of His glorious day. A day that knows no end”.

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ACCESS TO THE OTHER SACRAMENTS

Pope Francis has said that these crisis conditions now permit Bishops to authorise General Absolution when it is needed. And he has also said, in effect, that if it is not possible or advisable to access a priest we should pray to God directly expressing our sorrow for sin and our desire for forgiveness and then trust confidently in God’s mercy.

Fr David will to be available on the phone for counselling and reassurance. He will also be on call to administer the Anointing of the Sick in urgent cases.