Hello again and greetings to all from your parish priest. Best wishes to everyone, and I trust you are not yet climbing up the wall. By the time you read this it will already be May. The weather and the seasonal growth are doing their best to pretend things are normal. Let’s hope they soon will be, though sadly for some they will never be the same again.
This Sunday, the 4th of Easter, the evangelist seems to be mixing two interpretations of Jesus’ parable about himself and his sheep. But he does let Jesus say how he calls his sheep one by one, and they follow him because they recognise his voice. He has come that they may have life, and have it to the full. St Peter’s letter says you have gone astray like sheep, but now you have come back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
It is one occasion when I don’t really mind being likened to a sheep. How about you? The Church asks everyone to pray this weekend for vocations – beseeching the Lord of the Harvest to supply labourers for his harvest. Perhaps more and more of you are hearing God’s call to serve him in many different ways, and feeling the excitement of being a labourer working for such a worthy cause. May God go on sending his Holy Spirit, showing all of us those ‘gaps in the market’ which perhaps you are the one person called to fill.
Having mentioned that it is the month of May, I am reminded by Pope Francis that we can pray the Rosary together each day, asking our Lady to intercede on our behalf as she has done so many times in the past when there has been a great need for her help. He spells out what he has in mind and what he is asking Our Lady for, and asks us to join him in prayer.
Some good news: Fr Jim McGrath has been able to offer Mass for the first time since his recent illness. We thank God that he has been able to progress so well, and ask that his recovery will continue.
I hear all sorts of reports about individual acts of thoughtfulness and kindness by you. Like Captain Tom Moore, I feel that there are many who deserve to be made honorary colonels! (Can any of you remember street parties 75 years ago at the end of the war?) The local church leaders are talking about ways of working together to augment the ‘Leave No-one Behind’ initiative in the town, which no doubt you have heard about.
Melanie Robson has offered her services as a link person to put those in need in touch with all the amazing volunteers who are willing to help. Ordinarily there would be a house-to house collection for Christian Aid. The organisers are highlighting a project in Kenya to provide fresh water supplies, reminding us how important we have found it to be to wash our hands, and saying that is great if you have any water! There is a ‘Just Giving’ page set up so we can make a little donation and not just ‘wash our hands’ of the underprivileged. You can find the page here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gillian-chiverton.
Keep the phone calls and e-mails coming. Best wishes to you all.
Fr Tony Elder