Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B)
Sunday 2 May 2021
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Message from Canon Kristian
Dear brothers and sisters
Having passed the midpoint of Eastertide, our gaze turns towards the coming Solemnities of the Ascension of the Lord and of Pentecost – feasts which proclaim the abiding presence of the Risen Christ, filling the whole of God’s creation through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. That same transforming power courses through each one of us too as our life’s blood, just as the sap courses through the vine to its branches, to use the vivid image employed by Jesus during his Farewell Discourse at the Last Supper: “I am the vine, you are the branches”. Let us always remember with both confidence and joy that it is Christ who is our life-source and our life-force, especially in those times when the circumstances that we are facing are challenging, costly or painful.
Prayer must always be at the centre of our relationship to Christ, as branches to the Vine, feeding and nurturing our growth to spiritual maturity. This week the Newsletter contains two important calls to prayer. Firstly, throughout the whole month of May, the month during which traditionally Catholics renew their deep devotion to Mary, the Mother of Christ and acknowledge the power of her intercession, we are being asked to join in a worldwide chain of prayer for the ending of the Pandemic. Each day prayers will be said at a Marian Sanctuary somewhere in the world, including the recitation of the Holy Rosary, for a particular intention, starting at our own National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham today – Saturday 1 May. So that we can unite ourselves in spirit with these prayers each day throughout the month with the universal Catholic family, a schedule giving the name of each Sanctuary and the intention for that day is available to download here. If it is not already part of your regular prayer life, perhaps this month and the call to prayer might be an opportunity to discover or rediscover the spiritual riches which come from meditation on the Mysteries of the Rosary.
The second call to prayer is the Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse this Tuesday 4 May. Again, this is something which, with the support of the Pope Francis, is a worldwide initiative. Both the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the Elliot Review have highlighted the central importance of safeguarding in the Church being victim and survivor focussed, and the strong emphasis of this Day of Prayer is one of really listening to the voice of victims and survivors of abuse within the context of prayer, so as to gain a deeper insight into the devastating impact of abuse both on the one who has been abused and on the Church community as a whole. This impact has major consequences both spiritually and at the level of the Church’s mission. A rich resource of seven sessions has been produced for parishes and other groups to aid this reflection. It has been prepared by survivors themselves, who identified the themes and led conversations in which the voice of the survivor could be heard. Using scripture and recorded conversations, each session reflects upon an aspect of the impact of abuse. Once the restrictions of group work in parishes have been lifted, it will be important for us to do this together as a parish community, but it is also well worth listening and reflecting on these sessions as individuals, using the link given in the Newsletter.
The same day, 4 May, is also the Feast of the English Martyrs. Our devotion towards – and recognition of the huge debt of gratitude we owe to – those men and women from all walks of life who stood up for the Catholic faith in the face of terrible persecution in this country and who gave their lives out of fidelity to the Faith, has somewhat “faded” in recent decades. However, without their courage and sacrifice, the Catholic Community would not have endured in this country and we would not have had the religious freedoms and the Sacraments of the Church which we so often take for granted today. I invite you to renew your knowledge and spiritual relationship with the martyrs of our country, and to familiarise yourself with at least one or two of their life stories; they were real people like you and me! For example, in our diocese St Cuthbert Mayne was martyred in Launceston in Cornwall and St Richard Reynolds, although martyred in London, was born in Exeter, so they might be a good place to start, but there are many, many others to choose from. They are members of our family and form part of our roots, so it is important that we acknowledge that relationship and that our identity is thereby enriched.
To keep us up-to-date on two important areas of mission, there are newsletters from the Catholic Children’s Society Plymouth and CAFOD attached to this weekend’s Newsletter. Monika Manser offers her weekly help to contemplative imaginative prayer on the Sunday Gospel and the access details for this week’s Zoom Coffee Morning on Thursday are available from the parish office as usual.
Finally, although there is no Mass on Monday, 3 May is the Feast of St Philip and St James and so it is the Title Feast of our church in Tiverton. So that day is a special day for us to give thanks to God for the spiritual and human gifts that have been, are and will be received and shared within that humble building, and to pray for the well-being of our parish community. Saint James, pray for us!
I end with the Prayer for Healing taken from the resources offered from the Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse:
God of endless love,
ever caring, ever strong,
always present, always just:
you gave your only Son
to save us by the blood of his cross.
Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace,
join to your own suffering
the pain of all who have been hurt
in body, mind and spirit
by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.
Hear the cries of our brothers and sisters
who have been harmed,
and the cries of those who love them.
Soothe their restless hearts with hope,
steady their shaken spirits with faith.
Grant them justice for their cause,
enlightened by your truth.
Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts,
heal your people’s wounds
and transform brokenness into wholeness.
Grant us the courage and wisdom,
humility and grace to act with justice.
Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labours.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
With the assurance of my prayers as always
May God bless you all
Coming to Church – “Hands/Face/Space”
When coming to church for services, please observe the social distancing rules, wear a face covering (unless you are exempt) and sanitise your hands frequently. Please also maintain an appropriate distance from others at all times, both inside the church and outside in the carpark.
If you would like to come to Mass at the weekends, please contact the Parish Office to book a place, either by telephone on weekdays between 10.00am-1.00pm, or by email. There is no need to book a place at a weekday Mass but, on arrival at church, please give your details to one of the stewards.
“The Whole Church Prayed Unceasingly to God” (Acts 12:5)
Under the direction of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation based in Rome and following the custom of dedicating the month of May to deepening our prayer and devotion to Our Lady, on each day throughout the month a different Marian Shrine around the world will lead prayers for an end of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Prayer will begin each morning with the symbolic gesture of the lighting of a lamp in front of a statue of Our Lady, followed by a reading from Acts 12, from which this initiative takes its name. The time of prayer will finish with probably the oldest extant Marian prayer Sub tuum praesidium. At Midday, the Holy Rosary will be recited for the particular intention that Pope Francis has assigned for that day. Evening prayer consists of the Memorare prayer and the handing on the witness of prayer to the next Marian Shrine.
Unfortunately, since this information only reached us on Friday, it was too late to let everyone know that the month of prayer started off at our very own National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, with a special intention for those who have died. The schedule of Shrines and Prayer Intentions is available here so that we can unite ourselves in prayer each day the Catholics worldwide for the ending of the Pandemic. The two Marian prayers can be found at the end of the Newsletter.
Catholic Children’s Society Newsletter
The latest edition of the Catholic Children’s Society Plymouth Newsletter “Children First” is available to download from their website here. A paper version is also available in church this weekend. The newsletter gives a good summary of what the CCSP was able to achieve in 2020, in what was a particularly challenging year. Despite everything, the CCSP was able to support 195 families in financial hardship, and this was down to the generosity of all the parishes and donors across the diocese, as well as to some additional coronavirus funding. Thank you for your continued support of the work of the Society.
Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, based in Rome, has highlighted the importance of prayer in the whole area of safeguarding and, with Pope Francis’ blessing, has suggested that the worldwide Catholic Church should join together in prayer for victims and the survivors of abuse. In England and Wales, the Bishops have chosen Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter as that day, which falls on 4 May this year. The Mass will be celebrated for the healing and intentions of all victims and survivors of abuse and do please remember them in your own prayers. A moving and challenging resource has been prepared called Listening in Love to the Word, a series of conversations by survivors through hurting, healing and hope, reflecting on the impact of abuse on individuals and on the Church. It is well worth taking a look and, when circumstances permit, it will be important for us to reflect on this together.
First Holy Communion Masses
At long last those children based in Tiverton, who started preparing for their First Holy Communion at the end of 2019, will finally be celebrating their First Communion Masses next Sunday and the Sunday afterwards.
Due to the need to maintain social distancing rules and to the fact that it will be impossible to accommodate the number of extra people at the 10.00am Mass, which is already full, a dedicated First Communion Mass will be celebrated each Sunday at 4.00pm.
It would, of course, be far more appropriate for our children to receive the Holy Eucharist within a celebration of the wider parish family, but present restrictions do not permit this. However, it is important that we all remember these children and their families in our prayers in a special way at this spiritually significant moment in their lives.
Diocesan Environmental Policy
Last week Bishop Mark shared with the parishes the first Environmental Policy for our Diocese. In the Pastoral Message that accompanied it, he reflected on Pope Francis’ teaching set out in Laudato si’ and Fratelli tutti, as well as on the reflection document produced by the Bishops of England and Wales The Call of Creation. The Policy sets out the overarching principles which should underpin the approach of the communities and individuals of our Diocese in caring for God’s creation, our Common Home.
This Policy is intended to serve as a starting point for prayer and discernment, and you are invited to send your thoughts and reflections on it to Caritas Plymouth (firstname.lastname@example.org), which is co-ordinating the on-going development and implementation of the Policy.
Parish Services and Events This Week
Saturday 1 May – St Joseph the Worker
- Vigil Mass at 6.00pm
Sunday 2 May – Fifth Sunday of Easter
- Holy Mass at 10.00am
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface, Cullompton) Pro Populo
Tuesday 4 May – Feast of the English Martyrs
Day of Prayer for Survivors of Abuse
- Holy Mass at 10.00am
Wednesday 5 May – St Richard Reynolds, Priest and Martyr
- Service of the Word at 12noon (at St Boniface, Cullompton)
Thursday 6 May – Easter Weekday
- Coffee Morning on Zoom at 11.00am
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm
Friday 7 May– Easter Weekday
- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 11.30am
- Holy Mass at 12noon, Kazimiera Gorlo and Dorota Gorlo, Amelia and Julia – Entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Saturday 8 May – Easter Weekday
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)
Sunday 9 May – Sixth Sunday of Easter
- Holy Mass at 10.00am Pro Populo
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface, Cullompton)
- First Holy Communion Mass at 4.00pm
Sub tuum praesidium
We fly to thy protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Despite not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.