Thank you for the responses I got from last week’s newsletter. I find them extremely encouraging. Now I team happy to report that subject to the crossing of a few ‘T’s and dotting the odd ‘I’ we can go ahead with Mass next weekend, August 8 and 9. Please find below the list of ‘terms and conditions’, which seem formidable but basically you have to phone on Wednesday afternoon to book your place, attendance is very strictly limited so no extras will be admitted, and you are asked not to touch anything, and to wear a mask.
The times are as usual for weekend Mass. It will all feel very strange because your chairs are placed at 2 metres apart, and the rest have been removed. We have often marvelled together at the different circumstances under which the millions of Masses have been offered through the centuries. None have been quite like this. The latest new rules introduced for Greater Manchester are a warning. Strangely they don’t forbid attendance at religious services.
Please continue to pray to Our Lady of Lourdes for any sick parishioners. You don’t need prompting to think of other intentions. There are so many at the moment. I hope the ‘virtual pilgrimage’ has been interesting. Mass Intentions requested include Kath Buckley and the repose of the soul of Stan Dobson. I pray very hard that you will all be kept safe. Perhaps there are some of you who are lucky enough to have found a way to get a holiday. If only we could have more of that lovely weather we had in May. At the time, I for one was able to make the most of it.
NHS and other key workers certainly deserve some time off. It is a virtue to look after your own physical and mental well-being – but like other virtues it is a bit hard to practise, especially at the moment.
At the first weekend in August, the eighteenth Sunday, the readings are tantalisingly lavish in their descriptions of God’s goodness. Jesus took pity on the large crowds gathered by the sea shore, and healed their sick – then he worked the miracle of the loaves and the fishes to feed their hunger. We continue to ask him to take pity on us and rid us of the pestilence that is causing so much disruption and suffering worldwide.
Romans Chapter 8 finishes with the repeated phrase that ‘nothing can come between us and the love of Christ’, and the trials we have to face are those ‘through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us’. On Tuesday it is the feast of St John Vianney, patron of priests. We can beg God to call more priests – now almost half our own diocesan priests are retired! (One of them is Fr John Joyce in Knutsford. We wish him all the best, and welcome Fr David Long who will succeed him in the autumn.) On Thursday we celebrate the Transfiguration of our Lord, that gift of hope and reassurance given to Jesus’ three closest followers.
Special thanks are due to the nine people who have agreed to help with the servicing of our re-opening church and came to the meeting. I am so grateful to Martin Roberts who has done the paper work and most of the labouring. He deserves a medal. I hope after all this we don’t get locked (up?) down again in Warrington.
TO DO: Please tell everyone about the website, and especially about phoning me on Wednesday afternoon to book a place in church next weekend.
God bless you all.
Fr Tony Elder