Spirituality Centre: News

The U.K. Government, in England, is lifting most coronavirus restrictions on July 19th. We have been expecting this announcement for some time, given the timetable set out earlier in the year. However, as stated in our last communication in May, we are not planning any changes to this until September. We are looking at meeting and chatting with various users and groups in the coming weeks to see what options lie ahead.

We hope and pray that this lifting of restrictions allows communities, groups, families and individuals to reconnect and rebuild. However, we note that the Bishops of England and Wales are adopting a more cautious approach and we will be following their guidance. So far they have not issued any new guidance since May 17th.

Please stay safe and we all pray for better news!

Spirituality Centre: News

With the good news of vaccine coverage and the hope that restrictions will be lifted towards the end of June, I thought it would be a good idea to update you on the Centre here on Sharoe Green Lane. So far, most of the community have received doth doses of a Covid vaccine and we are in good physical and mental health. However, with regard to the opening of the Centre, the community have some hesitancy, at this moment.

As you know, at present The Centre is closed to groups and currently there have been a few enquiries for bookings. From a financial point of view, the past year has been a challenge, with no income from the Centre and our other usual sources, but on going costs for maintenance and upkeep have had to be covered.

If The Centre re-opens in the near future, it is the fear of the community that we will not have enough bookings to cover the cost of bringing staff back from furlough. There is also the uncertainty about guidance for groups and how this will impact on the various groups that use the Centre. The summer is also a time when our bookings are fewest.

As a community, we feel that it would be prudent to remain closed while the furlough scheme is in place until September. We are taking a cautious approach both here in Preston and in Coatbridge and hope to have further news at the end of this summer.

I realise that this is not the news you wished to read, and it is not the news that we Xaverians wished to share. Our hope is that you keep us in your prayers as we reflect on the presence here in Preston as we pray for those who have been our supporters and friends in these past years. We also hope to take this opportunity to visit friends now that restrictions have been eased.

Yours

Patrick Duffy, sx on behalf of the Community

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to you all. I decided that rather than a written reflection, I would send a link to a video.

It is by an artist Si Smith and it portrays the resurrection if it had taken place in Leeds!

Paddy

Thoughts for Holy Week

A year like no other!

It has been just about a year since I closed the car park gates on 169 Sharoe Green Lane. They have been opened, but most often they are closed. I did not think that the gates would remain closed for so long! However, on a positive note: it is the first birthday of many groups moving on-line. Who would have thought that you could do Lectio Divina on a computer screen? It is amazing how many things have moved to the on-line world: you can be at mass in almost any country from the comfort of your favourite chair!

However, not everyone has access to these modern miracles, leaving many feeling isolated or left behind. Many families have struggled throughout the various lockdowns for a huge variety of reasons. Loved ones have passed from this world and we have not been able to grieve them as we would like. The issues and problems and divisions of our modern way of life have been highlighted and have challenged us to seek new ways of living as the lockdown is eased.

I have been amazed at how we have adapted to these challenges and have found ways to make things better for all people. The Pandemic of 2020-21 has been a re-set for our world. The heroes of the pandemic have worked quietly caring for those in the ICUs, delivering essential items to the shops, teachings kids via screens, emptying bins, keeping the power flowing and countless other jobs that are not regarded as glamorous, well paid or even respected!

As we enter Jerusalem, prepare for the Last Supper, walk the way of the Cross, stand at Calvary, see the blood and water flow from his side, take him to the tomb and hear the gentle call of our name outside an empty tomb, we can take with us the journey of the past year as well. The celebrations and birthdays that have been missed, the meals not shared, the visits that have not taken place and many other routines missed, changed, cancelled for part of our Holy Week this year. Last year Holy Week was on-line, this year we can gather in limited numbers. We have all made sacrifices this past year and this can help us understand the mysteries of Holy Week better.

I hope and pray, that this time next year our celebrations will be more joyful, full of life and people! As we prepare to leave lockdown, again, let us reflect on the world we are re-entering and be prepared to work for justice for all, for economies that care for the poorest, for an ecology that seeks to nurture no exploit our world.

May we all have a reflective and inspiring Holy Week as we journey with Jesus from the gates of Jerusalem to the garden of the Resurrection!

Preston: News

Preston Windrush has once again made the news, this time with the New York based Associated Press! Here is the link to the article and there are some good photos of what happens on a Friday!

It was good to see familiar faces last weekend and this weekend in Blessed Sacrament Parish! Hopefully, we’ll get more opportunities to see each other as the lockdown begins to open! The promise of Easter joy and hope seems more pertinent this year!

On a sadder note: Anthony Finnerty passed on Thursday evening (March 4th). His struggle with a brain tumour, for the past few years, came to a peaceful end. He was not alone in his final hours with family in Royal Preston Hospital. May he rest in peace and be assured of our prayers for him and those close to him.

The Lenten readings

Sunday readings

The Sunday gospel readings during Lent are arranged as follows:

The first and second Sundays retain the accounts of the Lord’s temptations and transfiguration, with readings from all three Synoptics.

On the next three Sundays, the gospels about the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, and the raising of Lazarus, have been restored in Year A. Because these gospels are of major importance in regard to Christian initiation, they may also be read in Year B and Year C, especially in places where there are catechumens.

Other texts, however, are provided for Year B and Year C:

  • for Year B, a text from John about Christ’s coming glorification through his cross and resurrection
  • for Year C, a text from Luke about conversion.

On Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) the texts for the procession are selections from the Synoptic Gospels concerning the Lord’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. For the Mass the reading is the account of the Lord’s passion.

The Old Testament readings are about the history of salvation, which is one of the themes proper to the catechesis of Lent. The series of texts for each year presents the main elements of salvation history from its beginning until the promise of the New Covenant.
The readings from the letters of the apostles have been selected to fit the gospel and the Old Testament readings and, to the extent possible, to provide a connection between them.

Weekday readings

The Weekdays of Lent follow differing themes:

The readings from the gospels and the Old Testament were selected because they are related to each other. They treat various themes of the Lenten catechesis that are suited to the spiritual significance of this season. Beginning with Monday of the fourth week of Lent, there is a semi continuous reading of the Gospel of John, made up of texts that correspond more closely to the themes proper to Lent.

Because the readings about the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, and the raising of Lazarus are now assigned to Sundays, but only for Year A (in Year B and Year C they are optional), provision has been made for their use on weekdays. Thus at the beginning of the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Weeks of Lent optional Masses with these texts for the gospel have been inserted and may be used in place of the readings of the day on any weekday of the respective week.

In the first half of Holy Week the readings are about the mystery of Christ’s passion. For the chrism Mass the readings bring out both Christ’s messianic mission and its continuation in the Church by means of the sacraments.

Further reading

For more information on the readings follow these links.

Lent 2021

Lent 2021 begins next Wednesday. Ash Wednesday begins our Lenten journey and gives us time to prepare for the Paschal Mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. We call this period of time Lent, from to derive from the old English for lengthen, because the daylight gets longer as we enter springtime.

Lent was a time when people wore sackcloth and ashes, to show that they were sorry for their sins. Today, we will wear Ashes, to show that we recognise our sinfulness and our willingness to change. Although, this year the symbol of our ashes will not be as usual! Many of us will asked or be asked “what are you giving up for Lent?” and this is a good starting point, but we should remember that Lent is more than giving something up, it is about change and there are three pillars of Lent to help us:

  1. Prayer (justice towards God)
  2. Fasting (justice towards self)
  3. Almsgiving (justice towards neighbour)

Lent gives us a focus, a period to step back from our routines (whatever they are given the past year!) and see what our values and priorities are. What we need to remember is that these three Lenten pillars have in common is that we should be doing them already! They are not something special that we do only for Lent. We only increase these virtues during Lent, and hopefully it carries over for the rest of the year.

Here are some further suggestions to help with our Lenten journey this year:

Lenten Calendars

Lenten Saints:

Lenten reflections/ideas

Lent 2021

Lent begins on Wednesday February 17th this year! It is always good to take time to prepare for these 40 days before we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, his Passion, death and Resurrection. So here are some places to visit (virtually this year!) to get suggestions and help for this time of Prayer, Fasting and Alms Giving.

I’ll have more suggestions for next week – looking at retreats, Stations of the Cross and prayers! Jesus spent four days and nights in the desert preparing for his public ministry. It would be good if we too, could take time to prepare ourselves as well!

January 2021

We may have left 2020 behind, but many socially distanced measures are still in place. This has meant that some of the events that we normally take part in have been curtailed. One of those was the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity. We may not have been able to meet together in the one place, but we can still pray for Unity and not just for one week. Although I am late in getting this to you, hopefully, we still have time to unite our voices and pray for unity among Christians.

Many resources have been made available for this and here are some of the links:

And don’t forget that on Monday January 25th, as well as the Conversion of St. Paul, it is also the time for haggis, neeps, taties and a wee dram of Whisky! We cannot have our usual Burns Supper, but I hope that this time 2022 we can all be seated for some good food, good company and good whisky!