Monday, April 24, 2017

Saint George

St George's feast day is normally celebrated on 23rd April, however, this year because the feast day fell on the second Sunday of Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday it was transferred to the Monday.  So today we celebrate the feast of the patron saint of England. 

As we move through the Easter season our young people preparing for confirmation will be thinking about which saint they will choose for their confirmation.  We will be featuring the lives of saints on our parish blog and on the Cathedral Young People's Facebook page. We'd like to hear from parishioners about the saints they chose for confirmation and why they chose that saint ... so please leave information with one of the priests or use our contact form.
A colouring page of st George for our younger readers ...

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday

In 2000, at the canonisation of St Faustina, St Pope John Paul II  dedicated the first Sunday after Easter, which is the final day of the Octave of Easter, as Divine Mercy Sunday. Since then it is known as the Second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday.  

The readings on Sunday we hear about Jesus' appearance in the upper room, his greetings of 'Peace be with you' and his challenge to Thomas to touch his wounds.  Thomas' famous response of My Lord and My God is the name of our parish sacramental programme.  We'll be sharing more about what the parents and their children are doing during the week ahead.

The image of Jesus used for Divine Mercy Sunday was given to St Faustina in a vision.  To hear more about her life why not watch this short video.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A look back at Holy Week

For the eight days after Easter we celebrate Easter each day it is a time of Alleluia.  Morning and evening prayer the psalms and responses are repeated reminding us that 'This the day which was made by the Lord: let us rejoice and be glad, Alleluia'

The video below shows some of the events of the past week, starting with Palm Sunday, scenes from the Chrism Mass where the Bishop blessed the oils that will be used for sacraments throughout the year and following Jesus through the Triduum services. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

Gaudemus Pascali ... Happy Easter
Easter cross - decorated with flowers from
the children who made their first confession
during Lent

From this week's newsletter, Fr Steve writes: Whether we give the greeting with the Latin word or with its Anglo Saxon equivalent the reality remains the same ... Christ is risen, Alleluia"  With the rigours of holy Lent behind us, now we embrace the central belief of our faith, that the Jesus who was crucified died and was buried, now lives again in the resurrection, and shares the beginnings of that life with us now through Baptism an the sacraments of the faith.  What wonderful hope resurrection promises to us: not simply life after death, but an intimacy of connection to God which sin and death cannot destroy (although they might try!).  This first week of Easter is like Easter Sunday repeated each day (The Octave of Easter) then onward the Easter Mystery unfold to us as we move towards the time of Pentecost.  So much to take in for which we need to be thankful.

Talking of thankfulness, Fr Andrew, Deacon Jim and myself are very grateful for your generosity to us through Holy Week.  Special thanks particularly to all those who helped prepare and deliver Hly Week liturgies with our usual sense of dignity and joy.  Thank you to one and all for all that you have helped to bring about.  It can not be done without good people like you.  May God bless you and your families in this Easter season. Fr Steve.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Vigil

Altar at Easter Vigil
The Easter vigil is a rich and full liturgy, where the Paschal Candle is lit outside and then carried into the darkened church where it is presented to the people three times to the words, Lumen Christi (Christ our light) to which we reply Deo Gratis (Thanks be to God).  Deacon Jim then sang the Exultet, the Easter proclamation and song of praise.  After this we listen in darkness to the story of God's people with readings from the Old Testament ... 
Bishop Michael Campbell blessing the water
An important part of the Easter vigil is when the water is blessed, we renew our Baptismal promises and the holy water fonts emptied on Thursday are refilled with water we can use to bless ourselves as we come in and out of church.

At the end of his Homily Bishop Michael shared the Easter greeting:
He is risen
To which we reply: He is risen indeed

At the end of the Easter vigil, we come to the end of the Triduum and Deacon Jim sings the Easter dismissal.
Go in the peace of Christ Alleluia

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday Arts and Faith

Cross on Good Friday
Our cross is the one used by our confirmandi in the recent reflection on the stations of the cross presented during the reconciliation service when our young people made their first confession. It will appear again on Sunday with signs of new life.

On Friday the only day when there is no Mass, we gather in silence for the Good Friday service where we listen to the Passion from John's gospel which are followed by twelve prayers of intercession for the world.  Then the cross is shown to the people, as the words 'This is the wood of the cross, on which hung the Saviour of the world' are sung, to which we reply 'Come let us worship', following this we process to venerate the cross.  During the third part of the service, the Blessed Sacrament is brought to the altar where we receive Holy Communion and then leave in silence.  

During the service the children attended children's liturgy where we prayed the stations of the cross and then quietly coloured their pictures as we listened to the Taize chant, Jesus remember me ... and then went back to church to join the adults venerate the cross. 

Mass of Last Supper

Parishioners having their feet washed by
Bishop Michael Campbell assisted by Deacon Jim
This evening parishioners gathered to celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper, where the Bishop washes the feet of parishioners, following Jesus' example of service.  This year there were several confirmandi, parents of children who are making their first Holy Communion, readers, children's liturgists, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and members of our school community.  There are so many ways in which we serve one another ...
Washing the feet of those he'll confirm on Trinity
Bishop washing parishioners feet

Parishioners who watched the Bishop and Deacon Jim supported by our parish servers include those who serve as welcomers, members of the choir, St Thomas More's music group, parishioners who help with hospitality, house sit, work in the office, prepare the flowers, catechists of the Confirmation and Holy Communion sacramental preparation programmes, members of the St Vincent de Paul society and the Company of St Ursula. There were also parishioners whose daily lives provide a witness of service as married people, parents, grandparents, family members who care, and others whose paid and voluntary work are examples of service in health, education, caring services and voluntary sector. And watching from behind our priests who have responded to their vocational call to serve. 
Procession to place Blessed Sacrament in the Lady Chapel 
for a time of watching

Emptying holy water font
After Mass as parishioners spent time praying before the Blessed Sacrament which was placed in the Lady Chapel for a time of watching some parishioners emptied the holy water font, which was to remain empty until the new water was blessed at the Easter vigil.  Another hidden act of service.

How are you being called to serve during the coming year?