24th October 2020

Dear Parishioners,

At the cusp of another weekend, I am pleased be able to deliver another Newsletter and the readings for Holy Mass this weekend. The delivery comes with the hope and wish that you and yours are well and looking after one another.

Monday is bin day at Holy Spirit, and Wednesday at St. Paul’s. Dependent upon the amount of items in the respective grey or green bin I dutiful put it out for collection. If there is little in the bin, I let it wait for the next collection day. This was one such week. So on Wednesday I was stunned to see a bin collector in a high-viz jacket striding up the path of the Presbytery at Cleckheaton to take the bin and empty it ! A random act of kindness, which was much appreciated. Although I have yet to train the bin operatives not to leave the emptied bin – almost with measured accuracy – in the middle of the driveway, as I need to get a car in and out. Maybe extra Council Tax needs to be paid for that service !

Looking through the Diocesan Year Book and acknowledging the statistics attached to the Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Silsden, it is noticeably one of the smaller Catholic communities of the diocese, set in a relatively rural location, and, in addition to his parochial duties, my colleague there also takes care of the spiritual needs of patients in the Airedale Hospital. Yet in my eyes it punches far beyond its weight, as at least twice a year, I receive a card from parishioners there under their “Daily Adoption covering a Priest, Deacon or Student for the Priesthood in Prayer.” The card, depicting the parish’s patroness, informs me that the Faith community of Silsden “have decided that [they] would continue to cover a priest, deacon or student for the priesthood from the Diocese of Leeds with prayer for a day.” The prayers being offered include a Decade of the Rosary, a Private Holy Half Hour, the Reading Sacred Scripture, Offering Half an hour of suffering during sickness etc. I am always incredibly touched and moved to receive this Spiritual Bouquet. The card arrived this week, letting me know that the day on which I shall benefit from this great spiritual blessing will be the beautiful Feast of All Saints. The prayers and thoughts of others keep me going on the pathway of life, as they do us all.

Not just thinking about others, but actually letting them know you are doing so is a wonderful gift.

This weekend we change our clocks, gaining an hour extra in bed, but also shorter hours of daylight. In the initial Lockdown the days were lengthening and we were blessed with good weather, allowing many to enjoy outdoor exercise and their gardens. Even queuing at the supermarket was done beneath blue skies and not umbrellas. This change in our seasonal clock will bring its own challenges for many of our parishioners, relatives and friends, not least in time spent alone. A random act of kindness taking the form of a telephone call, card, letter or even a doorstep delivery of something home-baked may be the very thing that makes a huge difference to someone else’s day and quality of life. Perhaps you could even pray together over the telephone, a decade of the Rosary, for the intentions and loved ones of each other. With the creative ingenuity of our parish communities there is no end to what could be done to reflect a faith lived in love for neighbour.

The earlier mention of Airedale Hospital reminds me of the week or so my Dad spent in the Coronary Care Unit there after suffering a heart attack. The return journey from Dewsbury, where I was at the time, to the hospital was in the region of 70 miles per day. A junior nurse on the ward told her colleague that Dad must be very unwell as a Priest comes to see him every day. To which her fellow nurse replied that I was his son ! This second nurse, my parents had seen grow up as her family sat behind my parents at Mass week by week. It was a connection that provided her with some useful inside information.

Holding you in prayerful remembrance and affection.

As ever, Fr. Nicholas

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