This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Our Lord given to us for our spiritual nourishment. It is a great sadness to us all that the Church in this country, the Body of Christ, cannot celebrate this Feast in the way we would wish, by attending the celebration of Mass and receiving Our Lord himself in Holy Communion. We know that we are the Body of Christ, called to do the will of God and the work of our Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As St. Teresa of Avila said: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” But how are we to be the Body of Christ, to do the work of God, without the nourishment of Holy Communion?
We cannot do any of this – unless we trust in God; but if we trust in God, then anything becomes possible. St. Paul reminds us that “by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love him, with those he has called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). St. Augustine commented that God can even turn sin and evil into good for those who love him. The coronavirus is just one reminder to us that our world is not perfect and that we all have to struggle against the bad things; and that struggle is the work of God. We struggle in hope, and our hope is not deceptive, because it is founded on the death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and given life by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:20ff)
We are so used to being able to go to Mass and receive Holy Communion regularly that we forget that there are many places in the world where people can only get to the celebration of Mass once a month or even less often than that – there are so few priests. When we are able to return to public worship in our Churches, perhaps we need to reflect on how lucky we have been in the past, make sure that we don’t take our good fortune for granted ever again, and ask ourselves how we might be able to do more for our brothers and sisters overseas.
Priests and Bishops are celebrating Mass privately every day. Many of you have been able to access these celebrations on YouTube or other means of ‘live streaming’. Having these possibilities now should remind us that at every celebration, the whole Church offers Mass through the celebrating priest, and every Mass is offered for the whole Church and for the salvation of the whole world.
Three of our youngest parishioners were preparing to make their First Holy Communion later this month. We still do not know when we will be able to celebrate this great day for them and for all of us. But as soon as we can, we will make those arrangements.
Meanwhile, some Churches are preparing to open for private prayer. I hope that next week I will be able to publish some arrangements. I know that Holy Cross in Leicester are hoping to open for private prayer next week, and also that Sacred Heart, St. Theresa’s, Birstall, St. Patrick’s, and St. Peter’s are also hoping to open at some stage.
As yet, however, I have no details of days and times of opening of Churches. The regulations which the Government are imposing make it necessary to open only for a restricted time, and I hope I will be able to publish details of times and places when these become available. With members of the Parish committee, I will be looking into the possibility of opening the Church in Lutterworth for private prayer for some time each week; and if we can find ways to do so, I will publish details next weekend.
I am very grateful to all of you who have sent in comments and suggestions about how we could celebrate again once we are permitted to worship in public. Please do continue to send in ideas.
On the door of St. Pius X Church in Narborough I have posted the following prayer for the Holy Spirit: “Heavenly Father, you have taught the hearts of your faithful people by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant, by the same Holy Spirit that we may have right judgement in all things, and rejoice for evermore in your holy comfort, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
This week I will celebrate Mass at approximately 9am each day for the following intentions:
Sunday (Corpus Christi) Monsignor Phelan RIP; Monday Louisa Asplin RIP; Tuesday Gerry Bannister RIP; Wednesday the people of the parish (Mass in time of pandemic);Thursday Intentions of Mrs. T Cooper; Friday (Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) for the people of the parishes; Saturday Canon Colin Taylor RIP; next Sunday Welfare of Sheila Knight.
Please pray for Mary Smith, Elaine Smith, Sheila Knight, Elizabeth Fullerton, Mary Dunne, Ranjit Mann, Juanita Zaman, (all parishioners or relatives of parishioners) and Father Michael Horrax (retired priest of this Diocese) who are seriously ill; and for Sheila Dunn, Joan Lamyman, Sister Breege Leddy, Steven Moger, Anne Foong, Michael Ginnerty, Agnes Hanford, Father Richard Adam (of Mount St. Bernard’s Abbey), Sean O’Neill, and all who have died recently. Please let me know of any others who have died, or anyone who is ill and wishes to ask for prayers, so that I can add them to the list.
Meanwhile, please know that I am thinking of you all and looking forward to meeting you again in person. I pray for you, and ask that you pray for me and for all members of our two communities. I hope you are all keeping well, happy, and virus free. If there is any way that I can help, please do let me know.
I am very grateful to all of you who have been distributing my thoughts and messages to those who may not have been receiving them directly. Do please think of those members of our community who may not be ‘computer-savvy’ or do not have email, or perhaps may not have given me their email address. You are welcome to share these thoughts with anyone else who you feel may benefit from them or would like to read them. Please also continue to pass on to me any messages from them – including email addresses. I would very much like to reach as many members of our communities as possible, and if my thoughts are of any benefit to those who are not in our community, I would be delighted.
With best wishes to you all, and assuring you all of my prayers. Father John
An advert from the Diocese:
The Diocese of Nottingham wishes to appoint a Director of Communications for the Diocese, to work with the Bishop, parishes, chaplaincies, and schools to lead the development and implementation of an effective communications framework across the diocese, promoting the Diocesan Mission and the three themes of Encounter with Christ, Discipleship, and Missionary Discipleship. The post would suit a committed Catholic with a strong track record in communications, and experienced media professional or journalist who has been involved recently in leading communications. Salary £45-50K. For more information and application pack please email [email protected]. Closing date 22nd June 2020.