Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph, Lymington

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.

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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.