Message from Father Pat
20 March 2020
As I begin to write this note, in these strange and unprecedented times, the words of St. Paul to the Romans are apt.
“Can anything separate us from the love of Christ – can hardship or distress, or persecution, or lack of food or clothing, or danger or the sword? As it is written: For your sake we are being put to death all day long, reckoned as sheep to be slaughtered. No, through him who loved us, we are more than conquerors in all these things. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come nor any power, nor any height or depths, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
We are catholic people and because of our faith we must respond to this pandemic in a spiritual way – as well as of course, a human and practical way. It is a time to come together, to stick together and to pray together.
For the first time in living memory, we will not celebrate Sunday Mass in Our Lady of Lourdes church. The Eucharist, which is the source and summit of our lives as Catholics, sustains us in good and bad times. The next best thing we can do is to keep our church open for prayer and the celebration of daily Mass (which will be celebrated privately with nobody in attendance). We pray for a quick solution to this enormous problem, which is affecting the whole world.
Lent is a time of prayer and penance. We will remember this Lent for many years to come. I shall celebrate Mass each day alone but will be united with all parishioners in prayer as I remember you at the Altar. The following arrangements will apply in this parish until further notice.
MONDAY–THURSDAY : The church will be open 9am-10am and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will take place. Please come and pray but keep a good distance away from your neighbour. Candles may be lit and prayer leaflets will be available.
FRIDAYS : The Church will be open all day from 9am-9pm for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Please put your name on the list for an hour of prayer.
SATURDAYS : The church will be open from 9am to 10.30am and from 5.30pm-7pm. Come and pray during these times.
SUNDAYS : The church will be open on Sundays from 9am to 12noon and from 5.30pm-7pm. Come and pray during these times.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confessions) will be available on request and in the Church on Saturdays at 10am and 5.30pm. You are free to come and pray the Stations of the Cross at any time during the aforementioned opening hours. Booklets available. No public Friday Stations of the Cross.
I am making arrangements at the present time to install technology in the church so that Mass can be live-streamed. This will take a little while ~ more information later. Meanwhile Mass will be live-streamed from SS Peter and Paul Church Ilford at 9.30am on Sundays, Our Lady’s Shrine Walsingham, Our Lady’s Shrine in Knock Ireland and from the Vatican. I am sure from other places if you wish to google.
Parishioners are encouraged to pray each day with children and to say the rosary, maybe one decade with the family. In so far as possible the pastoral work of the parish will continue. I shall be available every day to assist in any way possible.
Please comply with the law and requests made by the Government – take care to ensure social distancing (that is keep a clear distance from others with minimal social contact).
Above all at this time do not lose heart or hope, trust in God and Our Lady, say your prayers and get your children to pray with you. It is to the gracious intercession of our Blessed Lady of Lourdes that I commend our parish as we say goodbye for a while but keep together at the same time.
PRAY, HOPE AND DON’T WORRY.
“I saw Satan fall like lightening from Heaven. Yes, I have given you power to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy, NOTHING SHALL EVER HURT YOU (Luke 10, 18-19).
With my love, blessing and assurance of prayers.