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Public worship suspended during the coronavirus crisis

During this health emergency the celebration of Mass on Sundays, Holy Days and weekdays will continue to take place, but without a public congregation, and you are encouraged to unite yourself spiritually to the daily offering Mass. This might be helped by participating by the live streaming of the Holy Mass and following its prayers at home and making an act of spiritual communion. Saint Thomas Aquinas described this act of spiritual communion as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament and a loving embrace as though we had already received Him.” 

You can access a livestream of the Mass via the Diocesan website, here: http://www.dioceseofshrewsbury.org/.

Asking the Lord’s blessing on the days ahead

Fr Emeka 

WEDNESDAY PRAYER: 17th June, 2020

Psalm 102

My soul, give thanks to the Lord, all my being, bless his holy name.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings.
It is he who forgives all your guilt, who heals every one of your ills, who redeems your life from the grave,
who crowns you with love and compassion, who fills your life with good things, renewing your youth like an eagle’s.
Give thanks to the Lord, all his hosts, his servants who do his will.
Give thanks to the Lord, all his works, in every place where he rules.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord!

LITANY OF PRAISE:

Response after each of our prayers of praise and thanks:

My soul, give thanks to the Lord!

SCRIPTURE READING:  1 John 4:7-11

My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love. God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God but God’s love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away. My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another.  The word of the Lord.

REFLECTION:  Dorothea Eastwood

Once as I lay thinking of God’s love and wishing that I might feel it more strongly and surely, it struck me very forcibly that I had never yet asked that I should . . . and even as I thought this I seemed to understand something of his love for all people, seeing it as warm beams of light that glowed alike for sinners and the pure in heart. And because to the pure in heart all things are pure, so to these the beams were not darkened nor deflected, for the saints burned with their own radiance and their light mingled with the light of God and the two united together, clear and brilliant.
Yet there are not many who received the light in its first purity, for most moved in a dark mist which they shed about them as the pure shed their glow. Upon this darkness the beams of God’s love beat ceaselessly; they fell with the same force, warmth and brilliance as upon the saint, but because of the sinner’s own darkness, they could not penetrate and illumine him. Instead they encircled him so that he sat within the little black or grey cocoon of his own spinning, unaware of the glory by which he was encompassed. And I saw, too, that by my own love for a fellow creature I could assist God’s love to penetrate this darkness. His love is infinitely, unmeasurably greater than mine, yet my narrow beam might act as a needle-point to prick the way for this vast radiance to enter. I saw that it was even more vital to love the sinner than the saint, for the saint was already himself the light of God’s love, but without human love, the sinner’s darkness grew denser and spread further.
And suddenly I saw that I, a sinner too, was surrounded by this power and this glory. I had to look and to know what I needed and the light came rushing in. If I would ask, I too would receive it in all its purity and if I received it, there was nothing I could not do.
But I had grown used to my dark mist; and I was afraid the light might blind me, afraid I might be lost in its vastness; I saw that, like all the other roads to truth and beauty, it required not only the sudden vision of arrival but much trudging on the long journey and much study of maps and help from fellow travellers – patience, too, and strength and an inextinguishable hope and faith. And yet this love of God’s was the source of all those things.

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

CLOSING PRAYER:
Lord, make me a means of your peace.
Where there’s sadness here, let me sow your joy.
When the darkness nears, may your light dispel our fears.
Lord, make me a means of your peace.

PREPARING FOR THE RE-OPENING OF THE CHURCHES

I am grateful to all the parish priests who have indicated that their parishes wish to be part of the
first phase of the re-opening of our churches. It is good to see the readiness and generosity of
volunteers and some 47 churches expressing interest in being part of this initial phase. I appreciate that local conditions – including the situation of clergy – won’t allow the re-opening of all of the churches. However, I hope the
experience of the first parishes will be a source of encouragement for everyone.
I note that parish priests are most often seeking to begin this phase by opening churches for a specific number of hours on weekdays and especially on Sundays. In conversation with the Vicars General, everyone seems to appreciate this is very much a pioneering stage as we emerge into changed circumstances and in some ways a changed world. The recent re-opening of schools, businesses and other facilities indicate elements of ‘covid security’ that will be expected of the churches in the months ahead. I am grateful to Julie Tinsley, our Health and Safety Officer, for
her availability to assist parish priests and parishioners during this first phase and beyond.
OFFICIAL GUIDANCE FOR THE REOPENING OF THE CHURCHES
As we await the final word from the Government on the timescale for the re-opening of churches, I
am pleased to be able to send you the official guidance from the Bishops of England and Wales
which has been agreed by the Government Task Force and peer reviewed by Public Health England. As I warned in my last letter, the requirements for public safety are certainly demanding. However, once we have these
provisions in place and demonstrate that we can act safely and responsibly we will have the basis to move towards the public celebration of Mass and the sacraments. It is important to note that we are awaiting from the Government the Risk Assessment Template which will be required to be completed before any church can be opened.
However, I have been assured that the guidance document attached contains all of the points to
complete this risk assessment correctly.

From Bishop Mark.

WEDNESDAY PRAYER 3RD JUNE, 2020

Psalm 136  (From ‘Psalms Now’)
Thank you, God, for all these things that reveal your love.
Thank you for the heavens that cover us, for the earth beneath our feet, for the sun in the day and the stars of the night, for the snow and the rains and the rivers and the lakes, for mountains and valleys and trees and flowers.
Thank you, God, for those people who demonstrate your love.
Thank you for those great people who followed you throughout history, for the priests and prophets and apostles and ministers, for doctors and teachers and mothers and fathers,
and painters and musicians and writers and farmers and labourers and clerks,
for those men and women who accepted your love and dedicated their lives to loving their neighbours.
Thank you, God, for choosing me to be one of Your people,
for calling me and equipping me to communicate Your love to the world about me.
Thank you, God.

LITANY OF PRAISE: Response to each of your prayers of praise:

Thank you, God!

SCRIPTURE READING:  Ephesians 3:14-21

This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, in heaven or on earth, takes its name. In the abundance of his glory, may he, through His Spirit, enable you to grow firm in power with regard to your inner self, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith and then, planted in love and built on love, with all God’s holy people, you will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; so that, knowing the love of Christ which is beyond knowledge, you may be filled with the utter fullness of God. Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.  Amen.

REFLECTION:  (Louis Evely)

                Lay persons, by and large, underestimate their vocation. They don’t understand that God needs them right where they are to carry on His work among men, that He’s counting on them to perfect and sanctify the world; they don’t realise that He’s committed this task, this business, these children, this man and this woman to them, and that we’re all like the wise and prudent manager who’s been put in charge of some of his Master’s goods and servants in order to give each one what he needs, when he needs it.

                Let’s look at it this way: God needed someone where we are now, to guide this child, to comfort this man or woman, to perform this job, to prove His love. Couldn’t He have done that Himself, without relying on us? Yes, God could’ve done everything all by Himself but He so made the world that things wouldn’t be as good that way. He’s chosen to need men and women; He’s willed that we be necessary to Him for the fulfilment of His designs. “You’ll do greater deeds than I”. He’s permanently set up the universe in such a way that God with man can accomplish more than God alone. He became flesh and forever bound Himself to being incarnate. “As the Father has sent me, so now I send you.”

                He’s relying on us: He’s entrusted His work to us and He’s waiting for us to do it. He needs us to make this man or woman happy, to do this particular task, to manifest His tenderness and His fidelity, His joy and goodness, His patience and trust and courage. If only we realised that!

If only we took a little more pride in it and felt that, wherever we are, we’re God’s lieutenants. The word lieutenant means “one who takes another’s place,” and it suggests that we have to take God’s place with regard to those He’s confided to us, that we have to substitute for Him and, in His stead, do the job He’s left in our hands.

INTERCESSIONSLord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER: (Huub Oosterhuis)

Lord God, your kingdom is here, hidden and close to us – someone to care for and people to live for. Your will is done on earth everywhere where people live and die for each other. We pray, therefore, that we may gradually accomplish this from day to day, and thus come to know your name and find you, our Father, for ever.  Amen.

NOVENA IN PREPARATION FOR PENTECOST -2020- DAY 9

Saturday, May 30th

OPENING  PRAYER: Father, pour out your Spirit upon all your children,
especially on all the members of our parish family.
Grant us all a new vision of Your glory, a new experience of Your power,
a new faithfulness to Your word, and a new consecration to Your service,
that Your love may grow among us and your Kingdom come.
We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

REFLECTION: My Church
My Church is composed of people like me. I help make it what it is.
It will be friendly, if I am. Its pews will be filled, if I help fill them.
It will do great work, if I work.
It will make generous gifts to many causes, if I am a generous giver.
It will bring other people into its worship and fellowship, if I invite and bring them.
It will be a Church of loyalty and love, of fearlessness and faith, and a Church with a noble spirit, if I, who make it what it is, am filled with these same things.
Therefore, with the help of God, and through the power of His Spirit,
I shall dedicate myself to the task of being all the things that I want my Church to be.
Amen.

CLOSING LITANY: Response: Spirit of God, come into our hearts: make us your new creation.
Spirit of light, let the fire of your wisdom burn brightly within us. R.
Spirit of silence, in the still moment may we be open to God’s presence. R.
Spirit of courage, dispel the fear that lingers in our hearts. R.
Spirit of fire, engulf us with the passion of Christ’s love.  R.
Spirit of peace, help us to be attentive to God’s word in the world.  R.
Spirit of joy, enthuse us to proclaim aloud the Good News. R.
Spirit of love, compel us to open ourselves to the needs of others.  R.
Spirit of power, bestow the gift of your strength upon us.  R
Spirit of truth, guide us to walk in the way of Christ.  R.

NOVENA I PREPARATION FOR PENTECOST -2020- DAY 8

Friday, May 29th

OPENING  PRAYER: Father, pour out your Spirit upon all your children,
especially on all the members of our parish family.
Grant us all a new vision of Your glory, a new experience of Your power,
a new faithfulness to Your word, and a new consecration to Your service,
that Your love may grow among us and your Kingdom come.
We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

REFLECTION:  Silvester O’Flynn – Born of the Spirit
The ending of one period is always the beginning of another. When the grain is harvested, the work of the reaper is completed but the task of the miller has just begun. As Jesus completed his mission, the task of the church was just beginning. He set the wheels in motion. He breathed on the disciples and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’     On that day, the words of the psalmist attained a new meaning: ‘You send forth your spirit; they are created; and you renew the face of the earth.’ (Psalm 103)
How does this new breathing of the Spirit change and renew? What are the fruits of the new life? Paul tells us that it is not the spirit of slavery and fear. ‘The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again’; it is the spirit of children who recognise God as the loving Father. Nor is it the spirit of timidity and weakness, but ‘the spirit of power, and love, and self-control.’(2 Timothy 1:7)
When the fiery tongue of the Spirit ignites a soul, the interior fire will be manifested in many ways. Religion will be no half-hearted affair dominated by servile fear but a full, joyful celebration of God who is good and loving. The Spirit of power and divine energy moves even gentle, little people to astonishing initiatives and even more astonishing courage in perseverance. The presence of the Spirit is always marked with joy, even in the midst of suffering. There is none of the sadness of sin nor lives of ‘quiet desperation’. God is praised, goodness is observed and life is celebrated. The coming of the Spirit cannot be tied down: for the work of the Spirit is as free as the wind. ‘The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’ (John 3:8)

CLOSING LITANY:
Response: Spirit of God, come into our hearts: make us your new creation.
Spirit of light, let the fire of your wisdom burn brightly within us. R.
Spirit of silence, in the still moment may we be open to God’s presence. R.
Spirit of courage, dispel the fear that lingers in our hearts. R.
Spirit of fire, engulf us with the passion of Christ’s love.  R.
Spirit of peace, help us to be attentive to God’s word in the world.  R.
Spirit of joy, enthuse us to proclaim aloud the Good News. R.
Spirit of love, compel us to open ourselves to the needs of others.  R.
Spirit of power, bestow the gift of your strength upon us.  R
Spirit of truth, guide us to walk in the way of Christ.  R.

NOVENA IN PREPARATION FOR PENTECOST -2020- DAY 7

Thursday, May 28th

OPENING  PRAYER: Father, pour out your Spirit upon all your children,
especially on all the members of our parish family.
Grant us all a new vision of Your glory, a new experience of Your power,
a new faithfulness to Your word, and a new consecration to Your service,
that Your love may grow among us and your Kingdom come.
We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

REFLECTION: Pope Francis – The Joy of Discipleship – Newness
The Church shows her fidelity to the Holy Spirit in as much as she does not try to control or tame him. And the Church shows herself also when she rejects the temptation to look only inward. We Christians become true missionary disciples, able to challenge consciences, when we throw off our defensiveness and allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit. He is freshness, imagination, and newness.
Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, program, and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences. This is also the case when it comes to God. Often we follow him, we accept him, but only up to a certain point. It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision. We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, he brings newness – God always brings newness – and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel.

CLOSING LITANY:
Response: Spirit of God, come into our hearts: make us your new creation.
Spirit of light, let the fire of your wisdom burn brightly within us. R.
Spirit of silence, in the still moment may we be open to God’s presence. R.
Spirit of courage, dispel the fear that lingers in our hearts. R.
Spirit of fire, engulf us with the passion of Christ’s love.  R.
Spirit of peace, help us to be attentive to God’s word in the world.  R.
Spirit of joy, enthuse us to proclaim aloud the Good News. R.
Spirit of love, compel us to open ourselves to the needs of others.  R.
Spirit of power, bestow the gift of your strength upon us.  R
Spirit of truth, guide us to walk in the way of Christ.  R.

NOVENA IN PREPARATION FOR PENTECOST -2020- DAY 6

Wednesday, May 27th

OPENING  PRAYER: Father, pour out your Spirit upon all your children,
especially on all the members of our parish family.
Grant us all a new vision of Your glory, a new experience of Your power,
a new faithfulness to Your word, and a new consecration to Your service,
that Your love may grow among us and your Kingdom come.
We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

REFLECTION:  Richard Rohr – The Risen Jesus: God’s hidden plan
You cannot see Jesus until you have believed in him (John 20:16,28). If you accept that there was a Resurrection, that will not necessarily lead to faith. But if you receive the gift of faith, you will necessarily experience the Resurrection. “And that joy no one shall take from you” (John 16:22).
We cannot see love itself, but we can see what happens to those who have been loved. We can see the power and gentleness of those who let themselves be loved by Jesus. We know that there is endless life welling up within us. We know that when we dare to look at others with “unveiled” faces, they begin “reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord and all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit – and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17,18).

CLOSING LITANY:

Response: Spirit of God, come into our hearts: make us your new creation.
Spirit of light, let the fire of your wisdom burn brightly within us. R.
Spirit of silence, in the still moment may we be open to God’s presence. R.
Spirit of courage, dispel the fear that lingers in our hearts. R.
Spirit of fire, engulf us with the passion of Christ’s love.  R.
Spirit of peace, help us to be attentive to God’s word in the world.  R.
Spirit of joy, enthuse us to proclaim aloud the Good News. R.
Spirit of love, compel us to open ourselves to the needs of others.  R.
Spirit of power, bestow the gift of your strength upon us.  R
Spirit of truth, guide us to walk in the way of Christ.  R.

NOVENA IN PREPARATION FOR PENTECOST -2020- DAY 5

Tuesday, May 26th

OPENING  PRAYER: Father, pour out your Spirit upon all your children,
especially on all the members of our parish family.
Grant us all a new vision of Your glory, a new experience of Your power,
a new faithfulness to Your word, and a new consecration to Your service,
that Your love may grow among us and your Kingdom come.
We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

REFLECTION: Pope Francis – The Joy of Discipleship – Astonishment
A fundamental element of Pentecost is astonishment. Our God is a God of astonishment, this we know. No-one expected anything more from the disciples: after Jesus’ death, they were a small insignificant group of defeated orphans of their master. There occurred instead an unexpected event that astounded: the people were astonished because each of them heard the disciples speaking in their own tongues, telling of the great works of God (Acts 2:6-7,11). The Church born at Pentecost is an astounding community because, with the force of her arrival from God, a new message is proclaimed – the resurrection of Christ – with a new language, the universal one of love. A new proclamation: Christ lives; he is risen. A new language: the language of love. The disciples are adorned with power from above and speak with courage. Only minutes before, they all were cowardly; but now they speak with courage and candour, with the freedom of the Holy Spirit.

CLOSING LITANY:

Response: Spirit of God, come into our hearts: make us your new creation.
Spirit of light, let the fire of your wisdom burn brightly within us. R.
Spirit of silence, in the still moment may we be open to God’s presence. R.
Spirit of courage, dispel the fear that lingers in our hearts. R.
Spirit of fire, engulf us with the passion of Christ’s love.  R.
Spirit of peace, help us to be attentive to God’s word in the world.  R.
Spirit of joy, enthuse us to proclaim aloud the Good News. R.
Spirit of love, compel us to open ourselves to the needs of others.  R.
Spirit of power, bestow the gift of your strength upon us.  R
Spirit of truth, guide us to walk in the way of Christ.  R.