Parish Priest : Father Lijo Jose
Telephone Number : 01844 345 578
E-mail Address :
Parish Secretary Hours
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9.30 to 2.30pm
Help needed - If you feel you are able to help our elderly or vulnerable parishioners with shopping or collecting medication please give your details to one of the welcomers as you leave the church.
My Dear Parishioners
We have now been living in lockdown for 11 days. It is really painful to be separated from our families and friends and not to be able to come to daily or weekly mass and receive the sacraments. These are indeed challenging and distressing times. But as I write this newsletter on Friday evening 3rd April, there are more than one million confirmed cases of coronavirus in 181 countries and at least 53, 000 people have died. Number of dead in Great Britain from Covid-19 up by 684 in last 24 hours to 3,605 and with over 2,300 new cases. Difficult though it is, we must obey the orders of the Government. We must be good citizens, think of others and do all we can to stop the spread of the virus. The instructions are very clear:
• Stay at home
• Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (only if you cannot work from home)
• Stay at least 6 feet away from other people if we do have to go out
• Do not meet others, even friends or family.
• Remember that we can spread the virus even if we do not have symptoms.
I want you to know that I celebrate my daily mass for all your intentions and that even if the church is empty, I hold you all in my heart. You are very much with me every day. The daily celebration of mass and other liturgies continues in all Catholic churches in Great Britain and you can join in those celebrations through live-streaming. If you click on the following link, you will find a complete daily schedule of all the services. You can also check if and at what time your favourite church has a mass. https://www.churchservices.tv/churches/
We will soon be approaching Holy Week- the most sacred week in the church’s year when we celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, we will not be able to come together to celebrate, but let us use the means at our disposal to walk with our Blessed Lord through these days. There is a beautiful resource from a school in Darlington – Celebrating Holy Week at Home. It is a resource to help families mark the key liturgical events of Holy Week, with ideas of how we can witness to our faith at home. I hope you will find it helpful. Please click on the following link. https://liturgy.carmel.org.uk/celebrating-holy-week-at-home/
Many of you will be familiar with obligation we have to fulfil our Easter duties at this time of year. The church asks us to receive Holy Communion around this time and to also go to Confession, especially if we feel we have committed a serious sin. Obviously, given the circumstances, it will not be possible this year. Cardinal Vincent Nicholls, on behalf of the Conference of Bishops of England and Wales, has removed the obligation to fulfil our Easter Duties for the year 2020.
Cardinal Nicholls reminds us that if we cannot physically go to confession, we can make a Perfect Act of Contrition. This is very much part of our Catholic Tradition. What does this mean? Using our own words or the words of the Act of Contrition *, we can turn to God and tell him how sorry we are for everything we have done wrong. We focus on his tender love and great mercy for us. We can be absolutely certain that he will hear us and forgive us. We are just asked to mention our more serious sins the next time we are able to go to confession.
By making this perfect Act of Contrition, we can approach Easter with a clear conscience.
*Act of Contrition
O my God, because you are so good, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you and with the help of your grace I will not sin again. Amen.
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.
Cardinal Nicholls also reminds us of the traditional Catholic practice of making an Act of Spiritual Communion when we are unable to receive Holy Communion.
Indeed, Our Holy Father Pope Francis also encourages us to make this act of Spiritual Communion. After reciting a livestreamed Angelus prayer on March 15, he told people, “United to Christ we are never alone, but instead form one body, of which he is the head. It is a union that is nourished with prayer and also with spiritual communion in the Eucharist, a practice that is recommended when it isn’t possible to receive the sacrament.” There are different acts of Spiritual Communion but my own favourite is from St Alphonsus Ligouri (1696-1787). I do hope you will find it as beautiful and as meaningful as I do.
Spiritual Act of Communion
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now 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. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
Two of our parishioners died recently.
May Campbell (23rd March) and Sheila Watson (2nd April) Please pray for the repose of their souls and please pray for their families that the Lord might comfort them in their loss.
Be very sure that I pray for you all every day and ask God to bless you and protect you. I will be united with you in a very special way during the Holy Week services. Jesus gives his life out of love for each one of us. May that knowledge fill us with comfort, courage and strength as we journey through these difficult days.
May God bless us all. Fr Lijo