Firstly I sincerely hope that this finds you in good health and spirits during the unusual scenario that we find ourselves living through.
Despite the enormous change to my own Ministry it continues, albeit in a new and evolving way. Whilst I encourage you to be united to the spiritual life of our churches through ‘spiritual communion’, I can also assure you that our churches are never empty … at every Mass I celebrate I take time to look around and, in my mind’s eye, place our regular congregations on the pews that, through habit, they sit on week by week and, in some cases, day by day.
Candles are lit for your intentions too, prior to each Mass, as I know that collectively and individually we are looked upon as a people to whom others can turn in their need, not least when it comes to wanting prayers to be offered and candles to be lit. So all of this continues, and will, please God, until we are all back together again.
The need for prayer is great, and so I urge you to find time to speak with God during the course of each day, perhaps at traditional times such as 12 noon and 6.00 pm for the Angelus, in addition to Morning and Night Prayers. The Rosary is also a great gift, asking Our Lady to unite her prayers to ours.
Holy Mass is being ‘live-streamed’ from St. Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds, our diocesan Mother Church, at 10.30 am each day and at 11.00 am on a Sunday. The Angelus is also recited at 12 noon each day followed by the Rosary, which on Friday will be replaced by the Stations of the Cross. If it is possible for you to be a part of these events ‘live’ I do encourage it. Other Masses are also available from around the diocese and well beyond, however, some of these are pre-recorded with varying degrees of sound and visual quality. I recommend the Cathedral broadcasts, as we belong to a diocesan family, something which is evidenced in the various pilgrimages that many of us have participated in such as to Lourdes or Walsingham or even World Youth Day. At a very human level when the going gets tough the one place we long to be is home, this is why our churches are so precious to us, and beyond that our Cathedral and Bishop.
Practically, can I please ask that this e-mail is not directly replied to as there are multiple recipients who will all be privy to whatever you write! If you wish to contact me please do so at an individual level.
Keep well, safe, and above all do not feel alone; we are a community, and if anyone stands in need they only have to ask (I remain contactable via ‘phone or e-mail), and hopefully a resolution can be found to assist.
Holding you all, and your intentions in prayer,
With all very best wishes,