The Church Speaks
The Church Speaks
CBCEW, Friday, November 19th, 2021 @ 12:00 pm
During the pandemic, public worship was suspended for a time and there have been restrictions on parish life. As a result, people have been exploring other ways to practice their faith including Spiritual Communion via live streaming.
As people begin returning to more regular patterns of parish life and following the first face to face meeting of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales in Leeds, the bishops have issued the following statement about the importance of honouring Sunday:
Honouring SundayAs the Synodal Pathway of listening and discerning unfolds, we the bishops of England and Wales, are paying particular attention to the hopes and fears, the joys and anxieties of all who are sharing their thoughts and feelings with us.
Longing for our LordWe are attentive to the experience of the last year or so, when we have lived our faith through the limitations of the pandemic. We have heard of the longing which some express as a “homesickness”. We want to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. We yearn to celebrate the sacraments together, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We desire to be nourished by our Lord in Holy Communion. The live streaming of the Mass and the remarkable response of our Catholic communities to those in need, have provided comfort, sustenance and resilience.
The Eucharist, source and summitThe Eucharist is the source and summit of our spiritual and pastoral life. Many people have said to us that they have appreciated the noble simplicity of the Mass at this time, which has allowed the mystery and majesty of our Lord’s sacrificial love to shine through.
The central appeal of the Mass, its beauty and its transcendence, raises our minds and hearts to God in an unambiguous and compelling manner. Our Lord Jesus invites us to receive anew the gift of Sunday as the preeminent day, the day of the Resurrection, when the Church gathers to celebrate the Eucharist. Here we stand together before our heavenly Father, offering our thanksgiving and prayer, through our Saviour in the Holy Spirit. Here we receive Christ in his Word. Here we are nourished by Christ in his precious Body and Blood. This is our primary joy, for which there is no substitute, and from which we draw our strength.
The Gift of the Sunday EucharistThe Sunday Eucharist is a gift; as God’s holy people we are called to praise and thank God in the most sublime way possible. When the Church speaks of the Sunday obligation, it reminds us that attending Mass is a personal response to the selfless offering of Christ’s love.
At this time, we recognise that for some people there may be certain factors which hinder attendance at Sunday Mass. The pandemic is clearly not over. The risk of infection is still present. For some, there is legitimate fear in gathering together. As your bishops, we recognise that these prevailing circumstances suggest that not everyone is yet in the position to fulfil the absolute duty to attend freely Sunday Mass.
Responding to the GiftWe now encourage all Catholics to look again at the patterns which they have formed in recent months with regard to going to Mass on Sundays. This would include consideration and reflection about what we might do on Sundays, such as sports or shopping, or other leisure and social activities. This review, and the decisions which arise from it, fall to every Catholic and we trust this will be done with honesty, motivated by a real love for the Lord whom we encounter in the Mass.
The Sunday Mass is the very heartbeat of the Church and of our personal life of faith. We gather on the “first day of the week,” and devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42). The Eucharist sustains us and spurs us on, renewing our gratitude and our hope. When we say “Amen” to Christ in receiving his Body and Blood, we express the love of God which is deep within us, and at the end of Mass, when we are sent forth, we express our love for our neighbour, especially those in need. These two dimensions reveal the full meaning of our faith. We are gathered together and sent out, we pray and are fed, we worship and we adore; these are intrinsic to our lives as those baptised into Christ.
Approved at the Plenary Assembly of Bishops in Leeds.
Thursday 18 November 2021
Harvest Fast Day: on Friday 1st October, you can support people around the world who are dedicating their lives to protecting God’s creation - people like Ivanilde who are on the frontline of the climate crisis.
By donating to the Climate Crisis Appeal you can stand alongside communities like Ivanilde’s as they care for the earth.
Season of Creation
Cardinal Vincent Nicols speaks about the care of creation and the action they are taking in the Westminster Diocese. An example for us all?
Pope Francis, May 2021
Dear brothers and sisters,
With the encyclical Laudato Si’ issued in 2015, I invited all people of good will to take care of the Earth which is our common home. For some time now this home has been suffering the wounds we have caused due to a predatory attitude which makes us feel like masters of the planet and its resources, and authorises us to irresponsibly use the goods God has given us. Today, these wounds are manifesting themselves dramatically in an unprecedented ecological crisis affecting the soil, the air, the water and, in general, the ecosystem the human beings live in.
The current pandemic, then, has brought to light even more strongly the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, who suffer the most from it, highlighting that everything is interconnected and interdependent and that our health is not separated from the health of the environment we live in. We therefore need a new ecological approach, which transforms our way of living in the world, our lifestyles, our relationship with the Earth’s resources and in general the way we look at people and live our life. An integral human ecology, which involves not only environmental issues but people as a whole becomes capable of listening to the cry of the poor and being a leaven for a new society.
We have a great responsibility, especially towards the future generations. What kind of world do we want to leave to our children and our young people? Our selfishness, our indifference and our irresponsible lifestyles are threatening the future of our children.
So, I renew my appeal: let’s talk care of our mother Earth. Let’s overcome the temptation of selfishness that makes us predators of resources. Let’s cultivate respect for the gifts of the Earth and creation. Let’s inaugurate a finally eco-sustainable lifestyle and society we have the opportunity to prepare a better tomorrow for all. From the hands of God we have received a garden, we cannot leave a desert to our children.
In such a context, on the 24th of May 2020 I announced the Laudato Si’ Year, the organization of which has been entrusted to the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. I thank those who have been celebrating this year with many initiatives. Today, I am pleased to announce that the Laudato Si’ Year will lead to a concrete action project, the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, a seven-year journey that will involve our communities in different ways, so that they can become totally sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology. Thus, I would like to invite everyone to tackle this journey together. I’m addressing these seven realities in particular: families - parishes and dioceses - schools and universities – hospitals – businesses and farms – organisations, groups and movements – religious communities, working together. Only in this way will we be able to create the future we want. a more inclusive, fraternal, peaceful and sustainable world. On a journey lasting seven years we will let ourselves be guided by the seven Laudato Si’ Goals that will show us the direction as we pursue the vision of integral ecology: the response to the cry of the Earth, the response to the cry of the poor, the ecological economics, the adoption of a simple lifestyle, the ecological education, the ecological spirituality and the community commitment.
There is hope. We can all cooperate, each one with his/her own culture and experience, each one with his/her own initiatives and abilities, so that our mother Earth returns to its original beauty and creation returns to shine according to God’s plan. God bless each of you and bless our mission to rebuild our common home.
To support and mobilise all in the diocese to become true missionary disciples.
We are called to be a Catholic diocese which is:
faithful to the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ
full of missionary disciples who work together co-responsibly
in vibrant communities of faith,
joyful in their service of God and neighbour.
A Message from Archbishop Bernard Longley
We have a mandate given to us by Our Lord to spread the good news and serve and grow the faith for the coming decade and beyond.
Pope Francis is encouraging us to do something new to help us achieve this.
In Evangelii Gaudium he encourages us, the Christian faithful, “to embark upon a new chapter of evangelisation marked by this joy [of the Gospel] while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.”
Pope Francis urged the entire Church "to embark on a new chapter of evangelism". The Church must understand itself as a "community of missionary disciples", who are "permanently in a state of mission". He says that “’mere administration’ can no longer be enough.”
I have commissioned a number of groups who are looking at how we work in our parishes and in the Archdiocese to increase the opportunities that enable us to do God’s work and to fulfil the promises of our baptism.
I want us to look at how we will individually respond to God’s call to be missionary disciples in the Church and in our local communities, working joyfully together to spread the Word and the work of God. In essence, how will we unfold God’s plan for our diocesan church?
When I look ahead, I envisage a Catholic diocese which is:
· Faithful to the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ
· Full of intentional disciples in vibrant communities of faith, joyful in their service of God and others
· Where many more lay people are engaged in collaborative ministry
How can it happen and what will that look like given the challenges we face?
There are four areas I am asking us all to focus on:
Liturgy and Worship and
In our work on the four themes it is important that young people and families are a particular area of focus for all that we do. The universal call to holiness finds its first expression within families and its first recruits among young people. Catholic education and our diocesan youth services play an important role in serving families and young people. The links between the family, the parish and the school are vital to ensure that the faith is handed on.
I invite you to join me in looking with fresh eyes at our mission. We must take this opportunity to do all we can to make sure the Gospel is seen and heard through the example of our daily Christian lives.
With every blessing
Pastoral Letter 'Our Vision' - 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 12/13 June 2021
Diocesan Vision, Unfolding God's Plan | Birmingham Diocesan Trust (birminghamdiocese.org.uk)
Prayer for the Diocesan Vision
Written by the Liturgy and Worship group:
Spirit of God,
descend on me this day.
Grant me the Spirit of joy, to lift me,
the Spirit of hope to inspire me,
the Spirit of love to surround me and
the Spirit of truth to enlighten my path.
I pray for a new outpouring of your grace,
so that I may grow in worship of your name
in love of you in my prayer
and in my actions towards others.
Come Holy Spirit into my life to guide me.
Strengthen and defend me,
so that I may be drawn ever closer to you.
Help me this day and always
to be a channel of grace
in all I say and do
and invite others into relationship with you.
Pope Francis prayer intention for the month of June, invites everyone to pray for those preparing for marriage, which is “a vocation born from the heart.”
Pope Francis during the Sunday Angelus recalls the feast of the Most Holy Trinity which he said, “makes us contemplate this wonderful mystery of love and light from which we come and to which our earthly journey is guided.”
By Lydia O’Kane [Vatican News]
Pope Francis, during the Angelus from St Peter's Square recalled the feast of the Most Holy Trinity this Sunday, describing it as an immense mystery which “exceeds the capacity of our mind, but which speaks to our heart, because we find it enclosed in that expression of Saint John which sums up all of Revelation: "God is love."
He went on to says that, insofar as God is love, and the one and only one, there is also communion between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Bond of unity
Addressing the faithful, the Pope explained that “it is the Father who gives himself by generating the Son, who in turn gives himself to the Father, and their mutual love is the Holy Spirit, the bond of their unity.”
“This mystery of the Trinity has been revealed to us by Jesus himself,“ emphasized Pope Francis. “He showed us the face of God as the merciful Father; He presented Himself, true man, as the Son of God and the Word of the Father.”
The Pope continued by saying that Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son, the Spirit of Truth, the Paraclete Spirit, that is, our Consoler and Advocate.
Mystery of love and light
The feast of the Holy Trinity, said Pope Francis, “makes us contemplate this wonderful mystery of love and light from which we come and toward which our earthly journey is guided.”
“In the proclamation of the Gospel and in every form of the Christian mission,” Pope Francis underlined, we cannot disregard this unity invoked by Jesus; the beauty of the Gospel demands to be lived and witnessed in harmony among us, who are so different."
He continued by saying that this unity, "is essential to the Christian: it is not an attitude, an expression: no. It is essential, because unity is the only way of life. It is essential, because unity is born of love, of God's mercy, of the justification of Jesus Christ and of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts."
A Pastoral Letter on the environment, from the Bishops of England and Wales, for Pentecost Sunday, 23 May 2021:
The Solemnity of Pentecost reminds us that everything which exists, every person and the whole of creation, is a gift of “God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” God our loving Father creates and continues to give life to the world through His Word, Jesus Christ, in the power of His Holy Spirit. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church, which we celebrate at Pentecost, is not something separate from Creation. God’s revelation of himself in Creation is inseparable from the revelation of his love for us in Christ and in his desire to live in us through his Holy Spirit.
God’s revelation of himself in Creation
God’s Spirit is always and everywhere “the Lord, the Giver of Life”, and the voice of Pentecost is echoed in the voice of creation being transformed into the glorious liberty of God’s children.’ In this liberty, as God’s children, we call on the Spirit to ‘renew the face of the Earth’, and as his children, we are called, in turn, to use this liberty for the good of creation and for the good of all that brings life. Our world, God’s creation, is a precious gift to us. It is our common home entrusted to each generation. But how have we used that glorious liberty? How do we honour this precious gift? Are we really demonstrating love, care and respect for our common home?
Interconnected and interdependent
As we celebrate Pentecost this year, we are acutely aware of the damage that continues to be inflicted on the Earth, and the repercussions for the well-being of our brothers and sisters, both here in our own countries and, more especially, in the poorest countries of our world. Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have both taught us that everything is interconnected and interdependent. The way we live our everyday lives has an impact on everyone and on the earth.
The urgency of the situation, and the enormity of the challenges we face, have spurred us to speak out together this Pentecost Sunday, as bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, about the role that the Catholic Church and our faith must play in our shared care for God’s gift to us.
For all too long we have either been ignorant of, or ignored, the systematic exploitation of our planet and the unsustainable consumption of its resources. While accepting the crucial need and demand for energy for the benefit of the poorest of our brothers and sisters, the provision of our energy must, nonetheless, be by means which radically reduce the use of carbon-based fuels.
In our political thinking, there must be a new global understanding of our world, where nations recognise our common responsibility for the dignity of all people and their rights to sustainable livelihoods, in authentic freedom. Pope Francis speaks of a global politics that looks beyond our own needs to the needs of all, most especially the poor and the marginalised.
Restoring our common home
But we cannot leave the healing of our common home and the wellbeing and care of our brothers and sisters merely to a response from industry and governments. Our own local concern and action is necessary and has far-reaching consequences. We all have a part to play, each and every one of us, in the routines, choices and decisions of our everyday lives and our aspirations for the future. The actions of parishes, families, schools, and individuals will have a significant impact on our efforts to restore our common home. There are now many resources, freely available, to advise us on our choice of food, saving of water and electricity, suggestions about travel, waste, and re-use. These are measures that everyone can employ, in some degree, with minimal inconvenience and change. They are effective ways in which we can each reaffirm our personal vocation to be stewards of creation.
G7 and COP26
This Pentecost comes at a time of remarkable challenge and opportunity. We are gradually emerging from the tragedies and restrictions of the pandemic. We have the ability to make changes. Our countries are also hosting two most important meetings this year, the G7 in June and COP26 in November. These meetings will gather together men and women who have the power to make defining choices and policies which will help us build back better, provide for our brothers and sisters, and take care of our common home.
In all our human endeavours, we need the presence of the Holy Spirit, “the Lord, the Giver of Life”, whose gift to the Church and the world we celebrate again at Pentecost. Let us keep this Feast with that enduring hope that we can begin to repair the damage we have done and provide a healthy home for future generations. Our hope will be strengthened by our prayer. May our constant request be that the Holy Spirit guide us, strengthen our resolve and ‘renew the face of the earth’.
Saturday, 1 May 2021: 5pm and 6pm (UK time)
Pope Francis has invited Catholics and 30 Marian Shrines around the world, including the Shrine at Walsingham, to dedicate the month of May to a marathon of prayer for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic.
[The Catholic Bishops Conference]
The Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham has been selected to start the month of prayer on Saturday 1 May.
In response to the Holy Father's heartfelt wish, the month of May will be dedicated to a "marathon" of prayer, to ask for the end of the pandemic, which has afflicted the world for more than a year now, and to ask for the resumption of social and work activities. Pope Francis wishes to involve all the Shrines around the world in this initiative, so that they may become vehicles of the prayer of the entire Church. The initiative is being conducted in the light of the biblical expression: "Prayer by the Church was fervently being made to God" (Acts 12:5).
Contact the churches
St Peter's & Our Lady's: 01926 423824
St Joseph's: 01926 772712
St Peter | Dormer Place, Leamington Spa, CV32 5AA
Our Lady | Valley Rd, Lillington, Leamington Spa, CV32 7SJ
St Joseph | 47 Murcott Rd East, Whitnash, Leamington Spa, CV31 2JJ