25th July 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Please find the Newsletter and Readings for our weekend Masses attached to this e-mail. It is good to see increasing numbers of parishioners crossing our church thresholds, and, even with our numerical restrictions, there is still room for more! This process of return is a personal one, based on when you feel comfortable and able to join us in body as well as in spirit. In the meantime at each celebration of Mass we recall in prayer those united through Spiritual Communion with us, remembering not only our parishioners but also their loved ones and intentions. This unity of prayer and intention is what binds us together as a family of Faith. A number of people who have returned to Mass over the last couple of weeks have simply said that the experience was like “coming home.” What a wonderful expression to use !

Wherever, and however, we participate in Holy Mass this weekend let it be an experience that continues to unit our community in faith, hope and love.

With my prayerful remembrance and affection,
Fr. Nicholas

18th July 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Please find attached this weekend’s Newsletter, on which I’ve included a couple of internet addresses allowing for participation in Holy Mass and the Rosary from Lourdes which are being live-streamed each day (in English at stated times on the menu). The Readings for our weekend Masses are also enclosed for your use.

It is good to welcome parishioners back to our churches, and we are reliant upon each other to spread the word that we are open! The Newsletter is sent out to a very large number of homes, but sometimes word of mouth is the best means of communication. For those who have attended Mass, I think it is important to share with others, who have not, the measures we have in place to keep us safe and well, as there is a general and understandable, nervousness about meeting together after such a prolonged period where distancing from others has been the norm. There are a good number of our parishioners continuing to ‘Shield’ until the beginning of next month too. Acknowledging that our seating capacity is hugely reduced, and whilst most seats are being booked on-line at the weekend, I do reserve some seats in each church for telephone bookings, to assist those who do not have access to the internet.

In closing I wish you a safe, healthy and good week ahead. A card received during the week from a friend, living alone and rich in years, carried the following message: “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts, I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” With each day as a gift, let us live it wisely.

With continued prayerful remembrance and affection,
Fr. Nicholas

11th July 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Please find enclosed this weekend’s Newsletter, together with the Readings for Holy Mass and a very helpful guide offering step-by-step assistance for who wish to book on-line for a seat in church.

On the Newsletter may I draw your attention to our need for more people to act as Stewards; both churches need volunteers to act in this capacity in order for us to function as we are currently. Whilst there are some restrictions about who can fulfil this role, it is important that the numbers increase.

We continue to be grateful to all who are supporting our churches financially through the use of envelopes and standing orders. For those do not use either of these methods and who contribute to the ‘loose’ collection, please be aware that on a small fraction of this financial resource is coming. The figures mentioned on the Newsletter under the title “Text Giving” give a stark indication of our loses in this regard. Maybe you could think of giving in this way.

Wishing you continued good health,
and with an assurance of constant prayerful support and affection,
Fr. Nicholas

From web-admin:
text CHURCH HEC to 70500 to donate £5 through your phone
Click the donate button to make a one-off or recurring payment of any other amountFor more details, see the Offertory Donations page

9th July Online Booking for Attendance at Mass

Dear Parishioners,

As mentioned in the last Newsletter we are about to launch an on-line booking service for attending weekend Masses.

By tomorrow (Friday) there will be a live link on both of our websites through which you will be able to book a seat in church.

Appreciative that not all have on-line access, I have reserved some seats for those who are only able to book by telephone.

N.B. If you have volunteered to be a Minister of the Word at a particular Mass, a seat (for you and those who come to Mass with you) will be already reserved on the Sanctuary; the reason that I ask those who are accompanying you to sit with you is to maximise our space.

All best wishes,

Fr. Nicholas

13 June 2020: Reopening of churches for Private Prayer

From Monday, 15th June 2020, Catholic Churches in England are being allowed to open for individual private prayer. The conditions for this are that social distancing, stewarding and sanitizing arrangements have been put in place and agreed. This does not mean that every church in our Diocese will be able to open immediately, and it may be that some churches will not be able to open for some time. Please, do be patient and understanding; there may be a number of very good reasons why individual churches will not be able to re-open straightaway.

Individual parishes will publish the opening times and days of when the church will be open. This will depend very much on the availability of volunteer stewards and with social distancing arrangements having been put in place. Please continue to check the websites of your local Catholic churches and the Diocesan website for further information.

8th June: Re: Reopening of Churches for Private Prayer

Dear Parishioners,

I am sure that like myself you delighted to hear some good news from the Government this weekend in regard to the gradual opening up of elements of our culture and society which were so hastily, but rightly and necessarily, closed at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. One aspect of this, dear of our hearts, was the announcement that from next week Places of Worship will be allowed to open for Private Prayer. Cardinal Vincent Nichols said, on behalf of us all, that he was “grateful for this development.” He went on to say that “Not every Catholic church will reopen on 15th June” and local decisions and provision will be necessary to lead this process. These final comments were in line with his earlier statement: “It is important that every care is taken to ensure that the guidance given for this limited opening is fully observed, not least by those entering our churches. Our preparation is taking place with thoroughness [allowing visits to] a church for individual prayer, benefiting from the sacredness of that space, [to be] done safely and confidently.”

It would be my hope that our churches could open their doors for Private Prayer possibly as early as sometime next week. In order for this to be done, in accordance with guidance already given, and more yet to come, help will be needed. Hence a Monday e-mail, in an attempt to throw wide the net and invite parishioners to let me know if they would be interested / able to assist in the role of Steward.

At this time I am just seeking names and a contact number, as I am awaiting the full guidance which will be given by the Diocese later this week. However there are known limits on who can act as a Steward. The initial two are (a) age (you must be under-70 years of age, and not live with anyone over-70) and (b) not be in a vulnerable category or live with someone in a vulnerable category. ‘Vulnerable’ categories include age, but also various underlying health conditions. So if you are in either of these categories, sadly you will not be able to fulfil this role.

If you can help, please let me know in a separate e-mail.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

All very best wishes,

Fr. Nicholas


Fr Michael Sullivan R.I.P. 21/5/2020

Dear Parishioners ,

It is with sadness that I write to let you know of the death of Fr Michael Sullivan, one of my predecessors as Parish Priest of Holy Spirit. He died earlier today (Thursday 21st May) at home in his flat at Otley, following a short but aggressive illness. Please pray for the repose of his soul.

Following Ordination to the Priesthood on 10th March 1973, Fr Michael served at St Mary’s, Maltby from 1973 to 1980, St Mary’s, Halifax from 1980 to 1982, St Walburga’s, Shipley from 1982 to 1986, St Mary’s, Cottingley from 1986 to 1991, St Aelred’s, Harrogate from 1991 to 1997, St Austin’s, Wakefield from 1997 to 1998, St Mary’s, Bradford from 1998 to 2002, Holy Spirit, Heckmondwike from 2002 to 2006, St Clare’s, Bradford from 2006 to 2007 and lastly for a few months at Leeds Cathedral before his retirement from holding parochial office.

There are no details of any funeral arrangements at this early stage, but when these are known I shall publish them on the Newsletter. It is more than likely that the Funeral, like that of other priests who have died recently, will be held under our current restrictions.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.