For more information on World Youth Day 2019 – and past Days – click here.
This year’s Day for Life will remember all those who are suffering or have survived human trafficking and modern slavery. The following message has been sent by the Secretariat of State of His Holiness via the Apostolic Nuncio:
‘Informed of this observance, Pope Francis invokes the intercession of St Josephine Bakhita, the patron of victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, praying that she might intercede on their behalf with the God of Mercy so that the chains of their captivity will be broken. He prays that God might free all those who have been threatened, wounded or mistreated by the trade and trafficking of human beings and bring comfort to those who have survived such inhumanity.
‘The Holy Father appeals to us all: that we may open our eyes and be able to see the misery of those so deprived of their dignity and their freedom, and hear their cry for help. In giving assurance of his prayers, His Holiness imparts to the organizers and participants of the Day for Life his Apostolic Blessing.’
A Day for Life is celebrated yearly by the Catholic Church in Ireland, Scotland, and England and Wales. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition.
- There will be a Day for Life retiring collection for this Sunday, that as always is used for the promotion of the dignity of the human person. Money collected for Day for Life will be used to fund projects that support work in this area by organisations which further this objective.
Graphic sourced here
Today the Church celebrates a new festive day in honour of our Lady. Later this week we celebrate, also for the first time, the new feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest.
Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
This celebration was instituted this year and added to the General Roman (Universal) Calendar.
The Decree states: ‘This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed, the Virgin who makes her offering to God.’
The Lord be with you. And with your spirit.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right and just.
- It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
and to proclaim your greatness with due praise,
as we honour the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Receiving your Word in her Immaculate Heart,
she was found worthy to conceive him in her virgin’s womb
and, giving birth to the Creator,
she nurtured the beginnings of the Church.
Standing beside the Cross,
she received the testament of divine love
and took to herself as sons and daughters
all those who by the Death of Christ
are born to heavenly life.
As the Apostles awaited the Spirit you had promised,
she joined her supplication to the prayers of the disciples
and so became the pattern of the Church at prayer.
Raised to the glory of heaven,
she accompanies your pilgrim Church with a mother’s love
and watches in kindness over the Church’s homeward steps,
until the Lord’s Day shall come in glorious splendour.
And so, with all the Angels and Saints,
we praise you, as without end we acclaim:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts…
Preface of Mary, Model and Mother of the Church
Image from Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth. (c) 2017, Allen Morris
This Sunday is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
On this day, we tend to pray in particular for vocations to the ministries of priesthood or diaconate or to religious life. We should pray for these vocations, gifts from the Church to the Church. But more fundamental yet is the vocation of all Christians, and the vocation of our communities, that helps the Church to be truly a gift of God to the world.
A priority for us here at St Nick’s has to be praying for a deeper sense for the vocation of our parish, and the vocation of the communities, the families, that are so significant a part of the parish. Parents have the double challenge of living faithfully themselves, and of helping establish patterns for faithful life in their families.
Do please take and and use one of the prayer cards available today. Take several, share them around, and invite others to pray with us too for our faithful and fruitful life as Church.
Pray for England and the United Kingdom and for all the other countries and regions who have the saint as their Patron. These include Georgia, Malta and Gozo, Romania, Aragon and Catalonia.
Pray too for all those others who hold the Saint in high regard, including the Orthodox, Catholics, Anglicans, the Syro-Malabar Church and Copts. George is honoured also by many Muslims and Jews, not least in the shrine of Beit Jala.
Pray that under his inspiration there may be peace between nations and communities: pray that we may all seek to live true to God, and at the service of our neighbour.
Pray and – who knows – next year, today may be a Bank Holiday!
God of hosts,
who so kindled the fire of charity
in the heart of St George your martyr
that he bore witness to the risen Lord
both by his life and by his death,
grant us through his intercession, we pray,
The same faith and power or love,
that we who rejoice in his triumph
may be led to share with him
in the fullness of the Resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.
Figure from war memorial, Lichfield Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.
Prayer from the Roman Missal.
Sadly our First Communion Group trip to St Chad’s planned for today has had to be cancelled because of the weather and state of the roads etc.
Hopefully it will be rearranged for during the Easter break or shortly afterwards.
In the meantime please pray for better weather next Saturday, 10th March, when we are due to visit Lichfield Cathedral, the site of the Cathedral established around the former shrine of St Chad.
The visit to Lichfield is open to all parishioners. Meet outside the great West Door (unless it is raining when we will meet inside) at 2pm.
In our Lenten half hours of prayerful listening we listen to the parables again, open to hear them anew and so they might help us to know ourselves afresh, and hear challenge and comfort as it is needed.
If you want to listen to this week’s parable alone, read it quietly and then set the text aside.
Sit quietly for five minutes or so, and let the words you have heard echo in your heart and mind.
After five minutes the parable will be read again. You might find it helpful to ‘let go’ of what you have already reflected on, and listen afresh.
After another five minutes end your time of prayer by giving thanks to God and placing in his hands what ever thoughts and feelings have touched you…
And then have a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. It is Sunday after all – no fasting today!
Next Sunday, why not come and join us at 5pm in St Nicholas church as we listen to and reflect on another parable…
Today’s parish outing to Harvington Hall was a happy occasion.
Tucked away in a peaceful corner of Worcestershire, Harvington Hall is a beautiful moated manor house with the largest surviving series of priest hides in the country and a rare collection of original Elizabethan wall paintings.
Originally built in the 1300s and developed magnificently in the late 1500s, Harvington Hall brings to life the fascinating history of the survival of Roman Catholic families and clergymen during the Reformation of the late sixteenth century.
Visitors will discover the Hall’s many ingenious secret priest hides, many of which were designed by Saint Nicholas Owen, and marvel at the outstanding and rare wall paintings of the late 1500s.
The moated island is home to a variety of wildlife, not least the highly-esteemed ducks. The moat harbours sizeable carp, and the occasional Kingfisher has been known to hunt there.
The Hall’s beautiful gardens offer a peaceful retreat, with a stunning display of colour and a variety of styles. Boasting a formal knot garden and courtyard, a wildflower garden and cottage-style floral borders, the Hall’s gardens are lovingly tended by dedicated volunteers.
For more information visit the Hall’s website
Photographs (c) 2017, Allen Morris