30th May 2020
Come Holy Spirit and Renew and Heal the face of the earth!
A video recording of Sunday Mass from St Jeanne Jugan will now on our website from Saturday to Sunday each weekend.
30 years ago, I was a Deacon at St Aelred’s Parish, in Harrogate. It was a most exciting time of my life. Fresh out of college and a wonderful parish to work in. The parishioners decorated the church with the most amazing banners and made a cake to celebrate Pentecost the church’s birthday. We prayed and celebrated in true style for the coming of the Spirit.
This year we are far from each other physically but together more than ever in spirit. I have been praying the Novena to the Holy Spirit from the shrine at Walsingham. It begins with the quote from St John Vianney who preached to the parishioners and pilgrims of Ars: “Without the Holy Spirit all is cold; therefore, when we feel we are losing our fervour, we must instantly make a novena to the Holy Spirit to ask for faith and love... See, when we have made a retreat how we are full of good desires: these good desires are the breath of the Holy Ghost, which has passed over our souls, and has renewed everything like the warm wind which melts the ice and brings back the spring... When we have the Holy Spirit, the heart expands and bathes itself in divine love. And so we should say every morning, ‘O God, send my Thy Spirit to teach me what I am and what Thou art.’” In encouraging us to make a novena in honour of the Holy Spirit, St John Vianney is leading us to the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit. We are invited to “join together with one heart in constant prayer” (Acts 1:14), in imitation of Mary and the disciples in those nine days in the Upper Room between Ascension and Pentecost. With them, we ask Jesus to send afresh his Holy Spirit upon us so that our individual lives, the lives of our families and communities, and the life of the Church may be renewed.
I believe that many people are praying for the coming of the spirit to change their lives. But wonder if they or we are truly awake to the spirits calling. The calling to live and help them/us to grow. But growth is slow and sometimes painful. We don’t easily let go of old habits or old attitudes. The holy Spirit is the facilitator. The holy Spirit can awaken us to the mysterious power within us, bids us live and helps us to grow.
Let us pray together this year for a renewal in the world and church that the Holy Spirit may invigorate each of us to speak eloquently about God’s love and providence in our lives today. Happy Pentecost!
With prayers and blessings for you all,
Fr Gerard Kearney
Mass is celebrated daily in St Urban’s church. This week I will offer Mass for the people of the parish, Eddie Atkin, all suffering as a result of COVID-19 and all who care for them, Holy Souls from the parish November Dead List.
Please consider filling in a parish census form [direct link to pdf file] so that we can keep in touch with you during this lockdown period. Completed forms may be returned to email@example.com
Thank you for your offerings – those posted through my letter box and those who have kindly taken up standing orders to keep the parish going. Feel free to hold onto your envelopes if this is more helpful for you and explore the ways of giving on our donate page on the parish website.
Works on our churches: During the last week work has taken place on St Urban’s Church to repair the damage caused by storm Ciara back in February. Tenders for the refurbishment of Our Lady of Lourdes church will recommence as soon as we are able to accommodate this.
CAFOD Coronavirus appeal: CAFOD launched its coronavirus emergency appeal on 30 April. The effects of coronavirus on developing countries where CAFOD works are likely to be devastating. Families without enough to eat and without access to clean water and healthcare are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. The poorest and most marginalised communities will be pushed further into poverty. Your prayers and gifts are needed now more than ever to help protect the lives of those in poor communities. While we are not able to hold physical collections in our church, you can donate as individuals at https://cafod.org.uk/coronavirusappeal
A petition has also been launched asking the Prime Minister to ensure that the most vulnerable people are the priority in the UK’s international efforts as well as at home. Please consider signing this petition which can be found at https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Latest-campaigns
A prayer from CAFOD
Almighty and merciful Father, who show your love to all your creation. We come before you asking for a quick control of the Coronavirus currently ravaging our world. Hear graciously the prayers we make for those affected by the virus in various parts of the world. Grant healing to the sick, eternal life to the dead and consolation to the bereaved families.
We pray that an effective medicine to combat the sickness be speedily found. We pray for the relevant governments and health authorities that they take appropriate steps for the good of the people. Look upon us in your mercy and forgive us our failings.