Dear Parishioners and Friends of St John’s,
This Sunday the Church celebrates the great Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, formerly known as Corpus Christi. This is the central sacrament of our faith in which we remember and give thanks for the tremendous gift of God given to us by the Lord himself at the Last Supper and given over and over again at every Mass celebrated throughout the world. He gives us Himself in Holy Communion because He knows we need to be strengthened by Him to face the trials and struggles of this world. We all know only too well how, left to our own devices, it is very easy for us to be drawn away from what is good to follow what can indeed be very damaging for our souls and our relationship with God.
This is why Holy Communion is SO important to us and why the Mass isn’t just something we opt into when we feel like it but something we NEED to at least once per week to help, strengthen and guide us. So many great miracles in the history of our Church have centred around the Holy Eucharist. I encourage you, if you are able, to Google or search on YouTube the ancient “Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano” or the modern “Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires” or many more. Not that we need them but these are proofs of the real presence of God with us in the Eucharist and are really quite awesome in content! I am sure you will be struck by these and many other miracles of our Faith.
This great Feast would normally be marked with processions all around the world, including the annual procession here in St John’s but as we all know so well, the Coronavirus has robbed us not only of our procession but also the very chance to come together to celebrate Holy Mass as those who have gone before us have done since the Last Supper. It hurts! We all feel it! And yet, through everything, we know our God is with us, walking with us, sharing the pains and sorrows as well as the joys and the laughter and we thank Him for that. On this great Feast, let’s renew that thanks as we ask God to bless us and those we love in a spiritual Communion with Him.
I have some great news for you! Firstly, it looks as if we may be able to reopen the Churches for private prayer, beginning next week. This is of course, all dependent on the virus contagion levels remaining as low as possible. Listen to the First Minister’s statement on Thursday to see if we can move into the next Phase of relaxing restrictions. If permission is given, I will put a note on our website immediately. Remember, this is not yet a full return to Holy Mass but if will be a huge step in the right direction. There’s an attachment from the Bishops of Scotland about how things might look which is well worth reading. On that note, please, I am appealing again for volunteers under the age of 70 and not in the “at risk” category (which means qualifying for the winter flu jab) to step up and help with parish stewarding and disinfecting of the church after all Masses. Thanks to those who have responded so generously already but the more, the better!! Please think about it and contact me if you are willing to help.
My second piece of great news is that finally we are hopefully(!) getting cameras fitted in our church this week. This will give us a continuous live stream, meaning you will be able to link into Mass every day and also in the future to join in devotions, novenas and everything else that goes on in the church! This should have been done before lockdown started but everything happened so quickly and then the company itself went into lockdown for two months! That’s why the majority of parishes in the diocese, like ours, don’t have the facility but hopefully this week we are on the list to get our camera fitted! (Keep up the prayers this happens, please!) Also keep an eye on this website. As soon as we’re up and running, I’ll put a note on as to how you join us for Mass. I know so many of you have been commendably linking into other parishes since lockdown began and even touring the world for Mass but finally, please God, you will also be able to come home and link into our own parish to join myself and Father Laurent for the prayers.
So, brothers and sisters and dear friends, we have a lot on this week—between thinking about the marvels of Corpus Christi, Eucharistic Miracles, hopefully reopening for private prayer and cameras being fitted!!
Keep up the prayers and the good work, everyone. Fr Laurent and I are looking forward to seeing you all soon, please God!