Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint John’s,
This Sunday we are celebrating the great Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. Before you say we are a day early and that it is normally celebrated on 29th June, this year it has been transferred to the Sunday by the Bishops. What a beautiful Feast Day of two great Saints to coincide with the re-opening of our parish church for private prayer and reflection! Please God it won’t be too long before we are able to resume Masses but until that day comes, at least we are now able to pay a visit to the Lord in the tabernacle on the sanctuary. (Please read the guidance about coming to visit the church attached below. The main point is that FACE MASKS MUST BE WORN AT ALL TIMES IN THE BUILDING and also to follow the directions of the volunteer stewards who will be on duty while the church is open. I have to say a huge thanks to all those who stepped up to volunteer both now and when we resume the celebration of Holy Masses. In true St John’s style, we have the most volunteers of any parish in the diocese, so well done to you all!)
As I say, this is a beautiful Feast Day for the re-opening of our parish church. Both St Peter and St Paul, spent their lives bringing the Good News of Jesus’ teachings to as many as possible. St Peter, the humble fisherman called by the Lord and first Pope entrusted with leading the Church on earth after the Lord’s return to His Father in Heaven, spent the majority of his life trying to spread the Faith among his fellow members of the Jewish race. St Paul, the great persecutor of the Church who oversaw the martyrdom of St Stephen and who was converted to become a believer on the road to Damascus, spent his life journeying far and wide to bring the Faith to the Gentiles who were not members of the Jewish people. Both men were put to death – martyred – for the Faith in Rome. St Peter was crucified on an inverted cross and buried on the site of what is now St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and St Paul was beheaded just outside the gates of Rome, the great Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls marking his burial spot.
We draw so much inspiration and example from these two great champions of the Faith — their courage, tenacity, fearlessness in doing the right thing; also their simple yet profound love for God and desire to follow and serve Him as best they could every single day. Both men had their human faults and imperfections but both strove to overcome these with the help of God. The message for us is, of course, even in our imperfections and faults, God still loves us! Of course, we always strive to do better and we draw encouragement and guidance from these two great Saints.
So, as our church re-opens for private prayers, let’s make it our intention to pray for certain things—an end to this horrid virus, the resumption of our Holy Mass and the deepening and spread of our Faith in and through us.
May St Peter, St Paul and St John — all close friends of Jesus — inspire and pray for us!