5th September 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Writing to you this morning I am noticing a few seasonal changes provided by Mother Nature. The leaves on a large tree are beginning to turn a yellow colour, moving from the striking green they have displayed from the early months of the year, the roses are now far from abundant but the remaining blooms still manage to add a bright array of welcoming colour to any visitor, and even the magnolia is boldly displaying a late show of second blooms. Perhaps for most of us our own gardens, or even those of our neighbours, as well as open spaces and the fields round and about our locality, have meant more to us this year than for many a year. Let us hope that they will continue to do so for a long time to come, perhaps less as the perimeter of our world and more the welcoming familiar as we return from ventures into the dawning ‘new world’ of school, work, recreation and the necessary tasks such as a foray to the shops.

Enclosing this weekend’s Newsletter and the Readings for Holy Mass I am very conscious that as a community a new phase of life resumes this week with the re-opening of our schools at both primary and secondary level. Please remember all those who form our school communities in your prayers – staff at all levels, our pupils, parents and carers, Governors. Spiritual support for all of us is not only important but vital. Having seen at first hand all the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm that went into providing our young people with an education during Lockdown in (and from) Holy Spirit School, I cannot praise our staff enough ! These same gifts will be there to greet and welcome our children this week, as they will be at St. John Fisher’s for our older pupils.

Having recently increased the number of Masses celebrated in our churches I continue to encourage parishioners to come along to a celebration of Mass, possibly during the week, just to see what provisions we have in place to ensure that everyone is kept safe and feels comfortable. The Obligation to attend Holy Mass on a Sunday remains suspended so weekday Masses are a viable option. Under guidance, our Masses are somewhat shorter than they were before the arrival of Covid-10, and both of our churches have been given clearance to open by the Diocesan Health and Safety Officer because we meet the demands expected of us and continue to maintain the necessary on-going high standards. A number of churches in the Diocese are unable to open because of the health or age of their clergy, but for us this weekend with be our tenth of being open for the celebration of Holy Mass. The doors are open, and you’re very welcome !

With a certain bird ‘s arrival in the garden, I am getting a look to tell me that the water in the birdbath needs replenishing … so I had better attend to the needs of nature’s gift to me – a noisy tree-dwelling lodger !

Be assured of continued remembrance in the prayer, and above all in the celebration of Holy Mass, together with affection.

As ever, Fr. Nicholas

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