I hope that you and your families are all keeping well at this time.
Last Wednesday, Mr. Ricky Davies (Diocese), Tony Hargan and myself, met together in St. Michael and St. John’s church (maintaining social distance) to do a Covid-19 Risk Assessment, and to see what measures need to be put in place so as to allow us to reopen our doors and enable people to come into church for silent and private prayer. As a parish we obviously have a duty of care to protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 to those who enter our church building.
As I said last week, the opening of churches throughout the diocese will be a gradual process. We are among the first group of churches to be asked to open, more will eventually follow, until all churches that are considered safe to open, will do so, with the bishop’s consent.
Our meeting last Wednesday seemed to go well, and we have started the process, no church will be able to open its doors for private prayer unless it has enough ‘volunteer stewards’ with two being present whenever the church is open. I am so grateful to the 13 people who have offered their services in this essential role, more would of course be welcome.
The diocese will provide training and guidance for stewards, and we hope to be in touch with you very soon with all of this as well as all other information that will be needed.
We are moving forward as best we can, and in a way that will protect us all, including the stewards and the people who so much want to come into church to say a quiet prayer, but despite what you have read or heard on the news, we are not open yet!!
I will obviously keep you informed as and when we have any more information. For the time being we all need to be patient!
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or as so many of us know it, Corpus Christi, is the Solemnity that we are celebrating today. Today, for me and I’m sure many others, brings back many wonderful memories of the day we received our First Holy Communion, as for me it was on the feast of Corpus Christi.
For all of us this is a day for us to remember, to give thanks, and to look forward to the time we can again receive Our Lord in Holy Communion.
Grant, O Lord, we pray,
that we may delight for all eternity
in that share in your divine life, which is foreshadowed in the present age
by our reception of your precious Body and Blood.
Who live and reign for ever and ever.
(from today’s Mass)
The Sacred Heart of Jesus. June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart, and next Friday is the feast.
Let us continue to place our trust in the Sacred Heart, and I’m sure we won’t go far wrong if we do!
‘Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in thee’.
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who glory in the heart of your beloved Son
and recall the wonders of his love for us,
may be made worthy to receive
an overflowing measure of grace
from the fount of heavenly gifts.
Through Christ our Lord
(from the Mass)
Lately Dead: We keep in prayer all who have died recently especially:
David (Dave) Bentley, aged 84 years
John Lawton aged 70 years – son of Barbara and the late Bernard Lawton
Take care and keep well, Fr. Paul.
The Act of Spiritual Communion, St Alphonsus
My Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things and I desire Thee in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee come at least spiritually into my heart. As though you were already there, I embrace Thee and unite myself wholly to Thee; permit that I should never be separated from Thee. Amen.
GIFT AID ENVELOPES 2020/21:
We have had some enquiries regarding the new Gift Aid envelopes for the coming twelve months which commenced in April. All the packs of envelopes are ready for distribution. Unfortunately we are unable to issue them until we have had instructions from the diocese to do so in a safe way. Could all of those parishioners who are in touch and are keeping those members of our community who do not have access to the internet with news, please convey this message to them. Also for those of you who are putting their weekly offering aside at home, we ask you to continue doing so until we receive further instructions from the Diocese.
“When we emerge from this pandemic, we can’t just go back to what we have been doing before”
(Bishop John’s homily at the Mass for front line workers on June 5th).
It is absolutely right that we show gratitude in this time of pandemic to all those who are working so hard to alleviate the sufferings of those who are ill. Primarily we are thinking of course of our health workers, people who are showing great courage and put themselves in danger in order to care for the sick. Because of their dedication many lives no doubt have been saved, because we celebrate and rejoice with one of the best systems in the world. So, we are right to give thanks, and to all those others who in this difficult time of exceptional behaviour and needs, have been tending to our needs by keeping supply lines open, and providing emergency services. It is right that we thank them, but I do not think we can stop there, can we?
In that responsorial psalm, the response was very clear, ‘Here I am Lord, I have come to do your will’. Might we dare to imagine what God’s will is in this time. What might he be prompting us to do and say and think about? Because it’s clear isn’t it, that when we emerge from this pandemic, that we can’t just go back to what we have been doing before and we have to face the world as it will be, changed. I think we are being prompted to think globally about so many things.
Pope Francis is very clear about this and I think it is one of the central qualities of what he teaches is that everything is connected, and you cannot see anything in isolation and say there’s a problem we will solve it. No, it is connected to so many other things. He has done wonderful things in prompting us to think globally about the environment, which is the care for our brothers and sisters and our common home, and I believe in this pandemic we are being asked to think globally about health and wellbeing, and the care we have for one another, connected with our environment but connected also with so many other issues.
We have a global problem of human trafficking, we have a global problem of modern slavery, we have a global problem of migration and refugees, and in these recent days we see that we still have a global problem when it comes to racism, that we have still not been able to accord people dignity for being who they are, regardless of their creed, their ethnicity, or their colour.
All these are problems that we need to face, and we will do so much more effectively if we do that globally, if we emerge from this pandemic thinking about the world in which we live and what we can do to make it a better place for all of us to thrive and have wellbeing.
So, let us turn this pandemic around. Yes, it is causing us so much distress, and we remember particularly the family and friends of those who have died in this very difficult time for bereavement. But let us turn it around so that we emerge with that global vision of all that we can do, of the resources that we have, and we see so much good work being done in exceptional circumstances by the volunteering that we see around us, by that care and compassion that people are showing to one another. Yes, we can build on that.
The Catholic Church has made a very big impact on our world in terms of health and wellbeing. There are over 5,000 hospitals around the world founded by the Church, there are 16,000 clinics around the world founded and funded by the Church, there are 16,300 Care Homes where people are cared for that are chronically sick and elderly. So much good work but more to be done. Can we knit those things together, can we connect those problems and difficulties and face them with our own good will and initiative? I believe that we can emerge from this with new priorities and that strength of serving one another. That service that we celebrate today in the life, the ministry, the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ the eternal High Priest, who continues to serve us so that we might serve one another.
FROM THE ARCHIVES – Clitheroe Advertiser and Times
Pakistan Post for Clitheroe Missionary – 6th November 1967
The Rev John Taylor youngest son of Mr & Mrs W Taylor, of 40 King Street, Clitheroe, who was ordained priest by His Eminence Cardinal Heenan in Westminster Cathedral in July, is shortly to take up an appointment as a Mill Hill missionary in the diocese of Rawalpindi, West Pakistan.
He will leave Clitheroe on January 17th to sail from Venice two days later, and next Sunday a short mission service will be held at SS Michael & John’s Church at 3.30pm as a formal farewell to the parish.
Fr Taylor recently completed a course in the Urdu language at the Berlitz Language School, London.
He will arrive in Karachi at the beginning of February. Then will follow a 24 hour train journey inland to Rawalpindi city, where the Bishop, the Rt Rev N Hettinga, lives. The Bishop will show Father Taylor around the diocese and then give him an appointment to one of the mission stations.
John was educated at SS Michael & John’s School, Clitheroe and St Peter’s College, Freshfield and St Joseph’s College, Burn Hall, Durham (both minor seminaries of the mill Hill Missionaries). He then studied philosophy for four years at Mill Hill, London.
The diocese of Rawalpindi has a population of 13 million of whom about 50,000 are Christians. The remainder belong to the Moslem faith.
Apart from the normal parochial work among the Christian communities the work in the diocese is mainly what is called “pre-evangelisation work” preparing the ground for sowing the seed of the Gospel Message. The missionaries try to give a living witness to Christianity by preaching the Gospel by their actions rather than their words. They establish hospitals and schools, small industrial centres in poor villages, try to improve social and economic conditions, and thus show the people in practice what Christianity means.
The social and economic conditions in certain parts of the diocese can be described as a vicious circle. The people are illiterate and very poor and to better themselves they must be educated but they cannot afford to send their children to school.
The missionaries help them to build schools and provide them with teachers and, with financial assistance from Europe and America, are beginning to educate the younger generation and thus break the vicious circle.
Any missionary going to this diocese has, therefore to do educational, social and parochial work.
A number of languages are spoken in the diocese, especially in the rural areas, but Urdu and English are spoken by the literate people.
The climate is extremely hot in summer and quite cold in winder. The rainfall is rather low.
Father Taylor will get a leave in Europe after five years. He will then return for another spell of five years and so on.