Greetings to all once more.
I noticed that last Sunday was when the children were to make their first Holy Communion. So many things are on hold. The Liturgy forges ahead with the changing season. This Sunday the readings remind us that being a disciple of Jesus needs courage and faith to persevere, aware that we can be weak and sinful but having faith in Him who has overcome sin and death.
The Pope and the Bishops ask us to keep this Sunday as a Day of Prayer for Life. We count the number of deaths from Covid19. Sadly in England and Wales there are on average 567 abortions every day – one in every four pregnancies is terminated. That number is increasing, and the number of live births gets lower each year. It seems impossible to change the attitude of our lawmakers. We must pray that Christians will not succumb to the trend – thinking that everyone does it so it must be all right. For so many women, their whole nature has changed. We pray that they will find God’s mercy.
A few churches opened their doors this week, at least for an hour or two. Six people responded to last week’s request for stewards – thank you. We do also need people to do the sanitizing job, wiping surfaces which people have probably touched. Please contact me if you can help, but remember volunteers mustn’t be 70 or shielding.
Twenty-three years ago today saw the death of our last but one parish priest, Fr William Doyle. I am emboldened to think we can ask his prayers for us. On Tuesday it was the golden jubilee of Fr Danny McGill, who for some years helped at St Winefride’s during Fr O’Neill’s time. Many of the older parishioners will remember him with affection – we congratulate him and wish him ad multos annos. On Friday as you read this, it is the feast in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which has the most inspiring scripture passages in the Mass of the day. We recall the vision of the French nun Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque, who saw Jesus with his heart burning with love for us, and ‘so little loved in return’. The hymns to the Sacred Heart vividly express this devotion, encouraging us to have confidence at all times in God’s love for us human beings.
I have offered Mass alone again this week – for Fr McGill, for Dennis McAllister’s intentions, for the repose of the souls of Patrick Lowes, Barbara Neafsy, and Mrs Timson, Julie’s mother who died recently, and of course for all you the parishioners. This morning I had a phone call from Mrs Mary Staddon, a stalwart member of our worshipping community, who rang to tell me that she is leaving the wilderness of Grappenhall Heys and going to join her family in Bournemouth on Saturday. We shall miss her prayerful presence at daily Mass and the ‘noisy table’ at our Thursday coffee mornings, and wish her every happiness in her new life on the south coast.
Please do be mindful on Sunday and pray that all will respect human life. Monday sees the feast of those two courageous and lonely Englishmen St John Fisher and St Thomas More, who bravely swam against the tide in 1535 and were martyred. On Wednesday especially in Spain is kept the fiesta of San Juan, the birth of John the Baptist. Do please pray for me, as I continue to do for you.
Fr Tony Elder