Dear Friends in Christ
We begin this week in Year A cycle of Readings, the Gospel of St Matthew. He introduces Jesus at the start of his public ministry with the call of the Apostles. We are familiar with their names since they are spoken when we pray the Roman Canon at Mass and also we keep their images before our eyes as we gaze upwards in our church. They said Yes immediately when they were called: either because they were attracted by the teaching of the Master, or because they were simply captivated by his persona. Either way, they could never have envisaged what lay ahead for them. Following Christ, in every age, means inevitably misunderstanding, rejection and suffering. I mentioned for instance in my Homily last weekend that, during 2016, 90,000 Christians were put to death for their Faith; that’s one every six seconds! It’s always easy to start an enterprise; it was easy for the Apostles to say Yes at the beginning; to remain steadfast in faith requires the grace of final perseverance, a grace that we should beg from God every day.
Phase One of the redecoration of the Church, which is long overdue and which I flagged-up last year, will begin later this month. Inevitably this will entail some disruption to the daily schedule. Consequently, on weekdays Holy Mass will be celebrated in the St Clement Room of the Parish Centre. I know you will be very tolerant of any inconvenience but the end result will be a restored and a cleaner-looking House of God. Phase Two, the restoration of the Reredos and the Rood, will happen a little further down the line.
I ask you to make a note of some forthcoming events, such as the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on Saturday 11th February; this is also the inauguration of the Diocesan Centenary Year. There will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament that morning from 10-11am, with the Sung Mass at noon, followed by a Parish lunch (further details in the notices). Also, the Parish and Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes at the end of July. Reserve places for both of these events through the Parish Office.
I wish you all a blessed week ahead!
Msgr Kevin Hale