We have received notification from the diocesan authorities that, in light of Nicola Sturgeon’s most recent remarks, it is likely that we should be able to open for Holy Week (Palm/Passion Sunday being 28th March, Holy Thursday 1st April, Good Friday 2nd April, Holy Saturday 3rd April, Easter Sunday 4th April). The Scottish Government envisages that places of worship will be open for the Jewish community to celebrate Passover on the 27th March, which means that our churches should also be open from that same time – all things being equal, but you will be aware, of course, how things may change depending on how the current crisis moves forward.
Naturally, I will not yet be taking booking for Masses or Services in Holy Week at the present time, but I will be keeping you updated. Inevitably numbers will be very much restricted, therefore I would ask for your patience and for understanding as we try to “get back on our feet” so-to-speak. At the moment I imagine that attendance will be limited to 20 individuals – but this needs to be confirmed closer to the time (for this reason, if no other, I am unable to make bookings at present). We now, however, have the advantage of the facility to live-stream certain liturgical celebrations for those unable to attend (albeit that this is no substitute for personal attendance).
As soon as I know more I will inform you.
I hope you are all having a fruitful Lent. Please pray that we will be back to normal as soon as possible.
My dear parishioners, I hope you are all keeping well in these times. It seems so long since we were able to gather together for Holy Mass. You are missed, but are remembered of course in my Masses and prayers each day. Today we celebrate the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, and interestingly this occurs at exactly the same time as the first apparition of Our Lady to St. Bernadette – by this I mean on the Thursday of the week before Ash Wednesday.
We are fast approaching the holy season of Lent, next Wednesday (17th) being Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstinence when normally we would be marked with an outward sign of penitence indicative of our interior desire to put off the old man and put on the new – to be transformed in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Despite not being able to come together for this celebration to mark the beginning of Lent we should now be considering with seriousness and resolve what penitential practices we are going to undertake so as to free our hearts and consciences from the burdens of sin, to purify our intentions, and to grow in faithfulness to the Lord and what He asks of us in His Gospel.
Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the keys to a fruitful Lent and to spiritual growth and development, and although the great means of our conversion and sanctification (the holy Sacraments) are somewhat at a distance for us in our current circumstances, sadly, we can make use of the combined means of intensified prayer, self-denial and sacrifice, and works of practical charity, to grow in holiness with the help of God’s grace.
I also encourage you to delve more into spiritual reading, especially the lives of the Saints, which provide inspiration and instruction for us in our own pilgrimage of faith. There are many works available through online retailers and also a good number of spiritual classics free online if we search for them. I have listed one website which provides many such links on our parish Facebook page. You might also think of daily making a good examination of conscience and a firm purpose of amendment to overcome your sins with God’s help, you might choose to pray the Holy Rosary every day if you’re not doing that already – highly recommended by Our Blessed Lady Herself, you may decide to read through the Gospels, and if you don’t have them already at home to purchase a good Catholic Bible (e.g. Knox Version, Douai Rheims, etc.) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There are many things that we can do to establish better habits of prayer and faithfulness in this season which will continue on in our lives. One very good thing may even be, in this Year of St. Joseph, to purchase Fr. Donald Calloway’s book, Consecration to St. Joseph, and engage in that exercise over thirty-three days.
Whatever you decide to do, I pray that you will have a blessed and fruitful Lent. Try to observe days of fasting (Fridays for example) and try to give your hearts over more to the Lord by spending good quality time with Him in prayer, really making the effort to put other things aside so that you can be with Him – this sacrifice will not go unrewarded, as the Lord is very generous to those who are willing to spend time at His feet like St. Mary, sister of St. Martha.
Let us pray for each other too, remembering the Mystical Body of Christ, asking God’s blessing upon His Holy Catholic Church and its members, asking that this be a time of spiritual transformation for us all.
I hope to have the live-streaming service up and running again next week, God willing, so that I may be able to livestream Stations of the Cross or other devotions and reflections, and you can always join me on the Facebook page for the Divine Office and the Holy Rosary, and check out the informative videos that are posted there now and again.
The brothers and sisters of SSVP have to again thank you on behalf of those whom we serve for your generous support. Through your continued support we are still, despite not being able to do visits, supporting those in need within our community.
We have to thank all of you who have continued to support us with donation and very much appreciate that a number of you have set up standing orders while others have handed in donations at the church. In January these donations came to the amazing total of £471. This has allowed us to support those in need within the community to the tune of just over £300 while still maintaining a good reserve for those needs which are still coming to us during these difficult times.
Despite the fact that visits are severely restricted we have been able to continued to support Broke not Broken with food donations either from the donations of food that you have brought to the church hall on Sunday mornings, through those of you who have informed us through Father Martin that you are providing this support by putting food directly in the BnB box at Sainsbury’s and also the Glen Lomond community who through the work of a member have collected an delivered to us an amazing amount of food each month. We also again have to thank those members have helped with the shopping.
In the past we have had parishioners deliver to the Church at any time. However, to make this easier in this weather and while the church is closed for worship; a member will be present at St James’ church hall from 10:00 to 12:00 a.m. each Sunday morning to receive any donations of food etc. Please bring them to the door and the member will take them from you.
Despite the restrictions we face, with a little bit of lateral thinking, we have also been able to help a number of those in need with specific requests. These have included help with fitting a new kitchen appliance, to having a new bed delivered to a family in need. With careful planning and precautions we have been able to help a number of people who have been referred to us. We have also been able to work with other conferences and church organisation to provide help to those in need.
As I have said in the above, a member will be available every Sunday morning at the Church Hall to receive donations.
10:00 -12:00 a.m.
St James Church Hall.
On behalf of all those whom we serve, thank you all for your generous support.
Bob Corrieri (President St James’ and St Matthew’s SSVP.)