Dear friends in Christ
In the Gospel of this weekend Our Lord speaks to us about the new commandment of love. This is especially highlighted each Maundy Thursday when Jesus bends to wash the feet of His Disciples, manifesting that His Kingship is one of service. Last weekend I spoke about the two Sacraments of Christian vocation which are at the service of the Church: Priesthood and Marriage. Each of these exist to support the other. I gave the example of Fr Thomas Byles on board the Titanic who, even though offered a place on the lifeboats chose to remain on board and help those who had no chance of escape. He was truly a heroic priest who gave his life for the sheep. Fr Byles was Parish Priest of Ongar at the time the Titanic made its fatal voyage. It is the hope of our Diocese that he may one day be recognised as a Saint. Pope St Pius X at that time described him as a martyr of the Church. We have produced some prayer cards which you will find at the back of church which can be used to obtain his intercession, and any favours obtained through him should be reported to the present Parish Priest of Ongar - Fr Graham Smith - so that they may be recorded as evidence of his holiness and intercession in Heaven.
May I remind you of a couple important forthcoming events over the next weeks: the Visitation of our Bishop on Wednesday18th May; Mass with Confirmation at 7.30pm. Also the Pilgrimage to Lourdes 14th-20th August to co-incide with the rest of the Diocese and the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady; booking forms can be obtained from the Parish Office.
Over the next few weeks you will find here Chapter summaries of the recent Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis on The Joy Of Love - Amoris Laetitia. Because the text is so lengthy (60,000words) I hope these short summaries will help give a flavour of this work which is the fruit of two recent Synods on the matter of Marriage and Family.
With every good wish and blessing for this coming week. May God bless you all! Msgr Kevin Hale