Psalm 41
Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.
My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life; when can I enter and see the face of God?
My tears have become my bread, by night, by day, as I hear it said all the day long: “Where is your God?”
These things will I remember as I pour out my soul;
how I would lead the rejoicing crowd into the house of God,
amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving, the throng wild with joy.
Why are you cast down, my soul, why groan within me?
Hope in God, I will praise him still, my Saviour and my God.

The response to our prayers of praise and thanksgiving is:
Praise to You, my Saviour and my God!
SCRIPTURE READING:  1 Peter 2:9-10
You are a chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession to sing the praises of God who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were a non-people and now you are the People of God; once you were outside his pity; now you have received pity.
The word of the Lord.
In times of crisis and tribulation, when we are shaken out of our sclerotic habits, the love of God comes out to purify us, to remind us that we are a people. Once we were not a people; but now we are God’s people. The closeness of God calls us together. “Thou hast made me known to friends whom I knew not,” says the poet Rabindranath Tagore. “Thou hast brought the distance near and made a brother of the stranger”. This time for action asks us to recover our sense of belonging, the knowledge that we are part of a people.
What does it mean to be “a people”?  This category draws on and expresses many sources: histories, linguistic, cultural (especially in music and dance), but above all, a collective wisdom and memory. A people is held together by that memory, treasured in history, custom, rites (religious or not), and other bonds that transcend the purely transactional and rational.
At the beginning of the story of every people is a quest for dignity and freedom, a history of solidarity and struggle. For the people of Israel, it was the exodus from their slavery in Egypt. For the Romans, it was the foundation of a city. For the nations of the American continent, it was the struggle for independence.
Just as a people comes to an awareness of its shared dignity in times of struggle, in war and hardship, so, too, a people can forget  that awareness. I people can become oblivious to its own history, In times of peace and prosperity, there is always the risk that the people might dissolve into a mere mass, with no unifying principle to bind them.
When this happens, the centre lives at the expense of the margins, people divide into competing tribes, and the exploited and disrespected might burn with resentment at the injustice. Rather than thinking of ourselves as members of a people, we have competition for dominance . . . and so the people no longer see the natural world as their inheritance to be nurtured; the powerful seize and extract all they can from it, while putting nothing back.  Indifference, egotism, a culture of complacent well-being, and deep divisions within society, spilling out into violence – all these are signs that a people has lost awareness of its dignity. It has ceased to believe in itself.
Every now and then, however, great calamities awaken the memory of that original liberation and unity, Times of tribulation offer the possibility that what oppresses the people – both internally and externally – can be overthrown, and a new age of freedom begin.

INTERCESSIONS:  Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:  Glory be to the Father . . .


As we begin this Lent, this time of repentance, let us call to the Father and ask for His mercy and help in our struggles to turn away from sin and to come back to the path He has chosen for us.

We pray for Bishop Mark, that, ever guided by God’s Spirit, he may continue to lead the people of God powerfully in this time of re-building the Church, here in this place, on the foundation of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Christ’s love.

Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

We pray for our parish community, that every member will renew their efforts to strengthen the existing bonds of love, especially with those who have become isolated through the pandemic restrictions and who are, as yet, unable to join in the celebration of the Eucharist here in St.Clare’s.

Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

We pray for those key workers who, day after day, face the dangers of the coronavirus, that they will be strengthened by the gratitude of those in their care and rewarded by the Lord for their loving commitment.

Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

We pray for the success of the work that CAFOD does on our behalf, that our efforts and generosity next Friday, Family Fast Day, will bring hope and health to all our brothers and sisters living in poverty and danger.

Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

We pray for our young people, students and children, that they may soon be able to return to their schools and colleges and enjoy the opportunities for study and the restoration of friendships that they have been denied for the past year.

Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

We pray for the grieving families of all who have died during the pandemic, that they may receive comfort  in the sure hope that those they have lost will be safe in the arms of the Lord and will be filled with the joy and peace that only the Lord can give.

Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

Let us invite Mary our Mother and Joseph, her spouse, to be our guides and companions on our Lenten journey: Hail Mary . . .

Let us pray deep in our hearts for those who have asked for our prayers.

Father, listen to our prayers and through our observance of Lent, help us to understand the meaning of your Son’s death and resurrection, that we might reflect it in our lives. We ask this through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


CELEBRANT:  Let us turn to the Father with faith and gratitude, for He never rejects our prayers for His help.

For Pope Francis and bishops across the world, that God’s Spirit of Wisdom will guide their words and actions as they lead us all through these difficult times: we pray to the Lord.  (Pause)
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For Government ministers and scientific advisers, that God’s Spirit of Truth will help them to discern the best advice to give to the nation in the light of the constantly changing evidence: we pray to the Lord.  (Pause)
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For all key workers in care homes, hospitals and in the community, that God’s Spirit of Love will empower them to continue to give generously of their care and  their skills, despite the difficulties and dangers they face: we pray to the Lord. (Pause)
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For all who mourn for beloved victims of the virus, that God’s Spirit of Peace will bring them comfort, strength and hope for the future: we pray to the Lord.  (Pause)
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For the children of our parish, especially those who were expecting to celebrate their first Holy Communion soon, that God’s Spirit of Holiness and Grace will dwell in them and in their families and sustain them in this time of waiting: we pray to the Lord.  (Pause)
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For every member of our parish, that, striving to live each day in accordance with Christ’s Commandments of Love, God’s Spirit of Joy will fill their hearts and minds and lead them to praise God for His tremendous deeds and His enduring love: we pray to the Lord.  (Pause)
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
Let us ask Mary to be our model of obedience to the will of the Father: Hail Mary . . .
In silence, let us make our own petitions for those who are sick in mind or body.

(Long pause)

CELEBRANT:  Father, we cry out to You in this time of great distress and uncertainty.
Help us to put all our trust in You, knowing that we make these prayers through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Universal Prayer – Third Sunday of Eastertide

As the sons and daughters of our Almighty Father, let us ask for His help as we travel through the joys and the sorrows that we meet along our pilgrim path.

Let us pray for Pope Francis, for our bishops and all who explain the Scriptures to us; may our hearts be set alight by the power of God’s word and may our souls be restored to their youthful vigour.

Risen Lord . . . Stay with us on our journey

Let us pray for our government, for the National Health Service and for all who provide their equipment; through mutual co-operation and prompt action, may they help to bring an end to the present pandemic and save the lives of countless people.

Risen Lord . . . Stay with us on our journey

Let us pray for the front-line workers in the fight against the coronavirus, especially the scientists working to find a reliable vaccine to protect against future outbreaks; may the Lord bless their work and reward them for their dedication and skill.

Risen Lord . . . Stay with us on our journey

Let us pray for all who have died in recent weeks, especially those in care homes and hospices; may they be safe in the tender embrace of the Father and may the pain of those who mourn for them be softened by their happy memories of the past and the sure hope of the fullness of joy their loved ones will come to know in God’s everlasting presence.

Risen Lord . . . Stay with us on our journey

Despite being unable to come together for the Breaking of Bread, let us pray for Father Emeka and our parish community; may we recognize the presence of Christ in every person and strive to accompany them in their daily lives by our prayers and our practical help.

Risen Lord . . Stay with us on our journey

Let us turn to Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of us all, and ask her to walk with us each day: Hail Mary . . .
Let us make our own petitions to the One who always hears us.

Father, in a world filled with fears, uncertainties and bewildering challenges, but with faith in the truth of your promises, we place our lives in your hands and rest in your unending love. We make this prayer through Jesus, our Saviour, our Lord and our Brother. Amen.