Dear friends in Christ
From the very beginnings of the Church the followers of Christ have loved and venerated Peter in the person of the Pope. The Gospel of the Mass of this Sunday reminds us why this is: Peter is constituted the head of the Apostles and is everywhere mentioned before the others, and makes frequent use of his special primacy and authority over the rest. He proposes the election of a new Apostle to replace Judas; he is the one who speaks to the crowd on Pentecost and makes the first converts, he replies to the Sanhedrin on behalf of the others; he punishes Ananias and Sapphira with full authority; he admits Cornelius, the first non-Jew into the Church; and he presides at the Council of Jerusalem and rejects the attempts of the Jewish Christians to impose their law on the Gentile converts, laying down that salvation is to be had through faith in Christ.
These great spiritual powers are given to Peter for the good of the Church, and since the Church has to last until the end of time, these powers are handed down throughout history to those who take Peter’s place. Our love for the People, therefore, is not just a natural affection based on his holiness, his likeableness and so on, but because he speaks with the voice of Christ and is the closest person on earth to the voice of Jesus Himself. St Catherine of Siena liked to refer to him as the sweet Christ on earth. All of this reminds us to pray for the Pope, that God may continue to give him the courage and strength to be for us, and for the world, the mainstay of Truth and the voice of the Good Shepherd.
Please pray for the eternal repose of the soul of Father Andrew Hurley who died in Nazareth House on Tuesday morning. Many of you will know him and his family as he is a native of Leigh, and was Ordained in our church. I had a special affection for him since he was the one of the Curates in my home Parish of Wanstead when I was at Primary School. We offer his family the assurance of our prayers at this time, for him and for them. His Requiem Mass will be offered in Brentwood Cathedral on Wednesday, 3rd September at noon.
God bless you!
Fr Kevin Hale