Thursday, 28 February 2013

Rite of Election

The First Sunday of Lent saw St Wilfrid's taking part in the Rite of Election at the Cathedral as usual. We look forward to welcoming Les into the Church at Easter.

Newsletter for 2/3 March - Lent 3(C)

Click here to read this week's newsletter.

Monday, 25 February 2013


Our Confirmation just over a fortnight ago was a very happy occasion. The bishop has written to say how much he appreciated it. Thanks to all involved, Deacon John and the catechists, all involved in the liturgy, and those who produced a lavish pre-Lent spread afterwards.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Bishop Malcolm's Pastoral Letter.

Click here to read Bishop Malcolm's Pastoral Letter on the Our Father which we hear at Mass this weekend.

You are Living Stones update

On Monday 18th February, Bishop Malcolm met with the priests of the Diocese in Nottingham. This meeting is the latest stage in the 'You are Living Stones' consultation. The Bishop has asked priests to publish four documents from that meeting:
Bishop's presentation - Slideshow
Bishop's presentation - Script
Parish Statistics
Proposed Parochial Structures
With regard to the last document the word 'proposed' is important.  No decisions have yet been made about linking parishes or retaining their current formation. The Bishop’s Council’s proposal which Bishop Malcolm presented last Monday is only one stage in a longer period of discernment.

We will hear more about this at Mass on the 3rd weekend of Lent, 2nd/3rd March. Then there will be specific questions that the Bishop will address to each parish: I am planning to seek your response by means of a questionnaire. There will also be a special Deanery Meeting at De Lisle College, Loughborough, on Wednesday 13th March at 7.00pm. The Bishop has asked that all priests, deacons, religious, chairs of parish pastoral councils and head teachers of Catholic schools in the deanery should be invited, and that a further open invitation should be issued to all parishioners in the deanery so that any who wish to attend may do so.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Newsletter for 23/24 February - Lent 2(C)

Click here to read this weekend's newsletter.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Prayer for Pope Benedict

Lenten Retreat

I know that a number of you use Sacred Space and/or pray-as-you-go to help you reflect prayerfully on Sacred Scripture.

The two sites have collaborated to produce a Lenten Retreat which is available both in text and in audio.

Pope Benedict's Message for Lent 2013

Pope Benedict left us three encyclical letters, two on love and one on hope. A further one on faith was expected during this Year of Faith. I don't know whether the Pope's reflections on faith will appear in some other form after his resignation. Whether or not this happens, his Message for Lent 2013 contains some interesting thoughts on the links between faith and love. Even if you don't read the whole message, you might like to reflect on this passage:
Essentially, everything proceeds from Love and tends towards Love. God’s gratuitous love is made known to us through the proclamation of the Gospel. If we welcome it with faith, we receive the first and indispensable contact with the Divine, capable of making us “fall in love with Love”, and then we dwell within this Love, we grow in it and we joyfully communicate it to others.
Concerning the relationship between faith and works of charity, there is a passage in the Letter to the Ephesians which provides perhaps the best account of the link between the two: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God; not because of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (2:8-10). It can be seen here that the entire redemptive initiative comes from God, from his grace, from his forgiveness received in faith; but this initiative, far from limiting our freedom and our responsibility, is actually what makes them authentic and directs them towards works of charity. These are not primarily the result of human effort, in which to take pride, but they are born of faith and they flow from the grace that God gives in abundance. Faith without works is like a tree without fruit: the two virtues imply one another. Lent invites us, through the traditional practices of the Christian life, to nourish our faith by careful and extended listening to the word of God and by receiving the sacraments, and at the same time to grow in charity and in love for God and neighbour, not least through the specific practices of fasting, penance and almsgiving.

Our Holy Father - a Personal Reflection

While I have been away from the parish, recovering from my op, Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will be stepping down from his office as successor of St Peter as from the evening of February 28th February. This has caused much shock and comment.

A lot of comment in the media has been unhelpful, to say the least. A pope, like any other pastor, is not called to be 'liberal' or 'conservative.' The election of his successor cannot, therefore, be thought of in political terms of this kind. He is called to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the faith of the people of God, which is both eternally the same and eternally new.

One of the great themes of Benedict XVI's ministry has been our friendship, our relationship with Jesus Christ:
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. The task of the shepherd, the task of the fisher of men, can often seem wearisome. But it is beautiful and wonderful, because it is truly a service to joy, to God’s joy which longs to break into the world. Inauguration Homily, April 2005
I ask you to look into your hearts, each day, to find the source of all true love. Jesus is always there. Quietly waiting for us to be still with him and to hear his voice. Deep within your heart, he is calling you to spend time with him in prayer, but this kind of prayer, real prayer, requires discipline. Message to young people, Westminster Cathedral, September 2010
His Encyclicals show his concern to work out the implications of that love in human relationships, within the body of the Church, and in the promotion of justice and peace throughout the world:
In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, this message is both timely and significant. For this reason, I wish in my first Encyclical to speak of the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others. That, in essence, is what the two main parts of this Letter are about, and they are profoundly interconnected. The first part is more speculative, since I wanted here—at the beginning of my Pontificate—to clarify some essential facts concerning the love which God mysteriously and gratuitously offers to man, together with the intrinsic link between that Love and the reality of human love. The second part is more concrete, since it treats the ecclesial exercise of the commandment of love of neighbour. Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) 2005
Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.  Caritas in Veritate (Love in truth) 2009 
This latter encyclical continues with a searching analysis of numerous issues concerned with justice and peace, human development and the environment.

The Pope has constantly urged the faithful, and particularly the clergy, to use modern means of communication to proclaim the eternal Good News of Jesus Christ:
The challenge facing social networks is how to be truly inclusive: thus they will benefit from the full participation of believers who desire to share the message of Jesus and the values of human dignity which his teaching promotes. Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important. The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young. Message already written for World Communications Day in May 2013.
Interestingly, it is often those of us who are middle-aged and older (!) who have sometimes misunderstood and misrepresented him. Young Catholics often seem to find it easier to appreciate the truths which the Pope proclaims. You may like to follow the GenerationBenedict blog during Lent. It features 40 days, 40 reflections, 40 young people on how Pope Benedict has touched their hearts and why they are proud to be part of Generation Benedict.

The American theologian, Scott Hahn sums up my feelings, and maybe yours, very well:
It's a hard thing to explain to outsiders, the mystery of a family bond that we Catholics all share, and how deeply we feel it. But here is a man who is a father figure to us all, and not just in a symbolic way; for we really are united by a new birth, in the flesh-and-blood of the Eucharist. And this man, we know him to be our spiritual father, in a very real and mysterious way....  I'm sure the Holy Spirit will keep steering the barque of Peter in a good direction. And yet it's unsettling, precisely because the Church is our family, and he is our holy father. But there comes a time when a father becomes so old and infirm, that one of the most profound gestures of love might be to hand things over to the next one in line....
And finally, what of the task of the new Pope?
This is the task of all Peter's Successors: to be the guide in the profession of faith in Christ, Son of the living God.... The Chair of Peter obliges all who hold it to say, as Peter said during a crisis time among the disciples when so many wanted to leave him: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe; we are convinced that you are God's holy one" .... The One who sits on the Chair of Peter must remember the Lord's words to Simon Peter at the Last Supper: "...You in turn must strengthen your brothers". The one who holds the office of the Petrine ministry must be aware that he is a frail and weak human being - just as his own powers are frail and weak - and is constantly in need of purification and conversion... But he can also be aware that the power to strengthen his brethren in the faith and keep them united in the confession of the Crucified and Risen Christ comes from the Lord.... Thus, the importance of the mandate conferred upon Peter to the end of time is summed up: being a witness of the Risen Christ. Homily on taking possession of the Lateran Basilica, May 2005
What a task! Let us pray with thanksgiving for the one who lays down such a task, and for the one whom the Lord will call to serve the Church as Peter's successor.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Thank you...

...for all your good wishes and prayers for my operation and convalescence. I am glad to say that the operation seems to have been very successful and has given me great relief from the symptoms which had been troubling me. I am still a little tender and tire quickly, but have every confidence that I shall be fit to be back on duty for next weekend's Masses.
God bless you all.
Fr Colin

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Bishop Malcolm speaks about Richard III

Bishop Malcolm has made the following statement about the burial of Richard III:
The Bishop is pleased that the body of King Richard III has been found under the site of Greyfriars Church in Leicester, in which it was buried following the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and that it will be reinterred with dignity in the city where he has lain for over five hundred years. Richard III was one of the last Catholic monarchs of England and his death was a decisive moment in British history, but the ultimate decision as to what form the interment takes lies with the Government and the Church of England, since he will be buried in Leicester Cathedral.
In accordance with long-established ecumenical practice, Bishop Malcolm will be happy to take part in any form of ceremony which takes place to mark his final burial.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The touch of the Lord

Yesterday I made my confession and received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick in preparation for my operation next Friday. It is especially good for priests to receive the Sacraments they administer to others so often. There are a number of alternative prayers at different points in the rite of the Sacrament of the Sick. The priest who anointed me chose the prayer after anointing that I most often choose when I celebrate this Sacrament for others:

Father in heaven,
through this holy anointing
grant your servant comfort in his suffering.
When he is afraid, give him courage,
when afflicted, give him patience,
when dejected, afford him hope,
and when alone, assure him of the support of your holy people.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
I always feel an enormous sense of privilege when I anoint sick parishioners. Yesterday it seemed a great privilege to receive the Sacrament of the Sick myself.  Thanks be to God.

This weekend...

...I am going to spend a little time thinking about the Bishop's Statement on Marriage. This is published in all the Churches of the Diocese this weekend, and it is perhaps particularly important for us all to reflect on at this time.