Dear Parishioners of Woodlane, Haunton and Barton,
Greetings in this final week of Eastertide! I pray this newsletter finds you in good form. This weekend people from across the Archdiocese of Birmingham would have been making their pilgrimage to Lourdes. Owing to the Covid-19 crisis the 2020 spiritual journey to the French town at the foot of the Pyrenees was cancelled. To make up in some way for the disappointment a ‘virtual pilgrimage’ will start with Mass on Sunday 24th May at 3pm at St Chad’s Cathedral celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley. A full programme for the Lourdes week can be followed by going to the St Chad’s Cathedral website.
Our Lady appeared to St Bernadette at a challenging time in French history. The country had been broken by the French Revolution of the late eighteenth century and the rise of ‘modernism’ the following century questioned core beliefs of our supernatural Catholic faith. In 1858, St Bernadette heard Our Lady pronounce: ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’ in the dialect of the area, a doctrine which had only been defined by the Church four years earlier. In his book The Challenge of Bernadette, Hugh Ross Williamson notes the test of a Christian, separating him or her from all others is the willingness to recite with conviction the bible rooted Hail Mary prayer (Luke 1:28). For the Hail Mary announces the Incarnation – God humbled himself to become one of us, suffered for us, rose from the dead for us and returned home (by His Ascension) to His Heavenly Father where He is forever praying for us and introducing us (if we allow Him to) to the depth of God’s love.
The Archbishop has asked for a message from the Friends of the Holy Land FHL to be made known to you:
As a Patron of FHL, I am kept informed of the wonderful work they are undertaking with a very small team of paid staff and many volunteers both over here and in the Holy Land. Coronavirus is changing the lives of all of us but for so many Christians, especially in the West Bank but also Gaza, Israel and Jordan, it is devastating. So many are dependent for their income on pilgrimages and tourism which disappeared overnight in early March. For many they have no government support nor even a health service which can handle this crisis. So, FHL launched an appeal in March for those impacted in Bethlehem and widened it on 3 April as a Pentecost Challenge to cover the whole of region. They secured match funding for the first £100,000 and, with a few days to go to Pentecost, are close to reaching the target but are seeking help from your parishioners to get over the line. www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk/pentecost-challenge will direct you to the FHL website where more information is available. You may also wish to view the news story on our diocesan website. www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/news/fhl-lanch-pentecost-challenge. Thank you for your support to help those worse off than ourselves, as FHL strive to maintain a Christian presence in the Holy Land and please keep the FHL staff and volunteers in your prayers.
A Prayer of Spiritual Communion for the Year of the Word: “Lord Jesus Christ, I have come before you at this Mass, as at every Mass seeking your blessing and offering you my life. I am not able to receive you in this Sacrament of your Body and Blood but I have received the grace of being called into your presence. May my present hunger for the Eucharist, my longing to be reunited with you, Lord, and your holy people, lead me to a deeper appreciation of my faith and its place in my life.
During these days, in particular, and during this year of the Word, may I draw strength and nourishment from the Scriptures: the Gospels which speak directly of you, and those passages with which you opened the minds of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. AMEN.
The Sunday and daily celebration of Holy Mass during the Easter season shall continue and Mass intentions shall be honoured. Although the inner glass doors of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Barton are closed, the porch area is open all day and every day until late. If you are passing the Church do know you are most welcome into the porch area where you shall be able to view the Blessed Sacrament Sanctuary, pray and have some quiet moments of reflection.
The Barton Volunteer Network have stationed a post box in the porch for children to post letters to members of the local community who are isolating. There are prayer cards, Christian magazines and some snacks that you are free to take following your visit. If there should be another person present, please observe social distancing. There are hand sanitisers available.
Many thanks for your ongoing financial support to the parishes in these difficult times. I am conscious that there are many who contribute regularly by direct debit and standing order (and have done so for a number of years), thank you for your ongoing generosity. I realise too there are those who give when they attend and many use Gift Aid envelopes. I have your Gift Aid boxes here for 2020/2021 (Barton and Woodlane), you can collect your boxes from BARTON CHURCH PORCH during the day or you can collect when life returns to a ‘new normal’. Thank you for your generosity to the parishes, to several charities and to each other, Fr Eamonn.
‘My family escaped the virus, I still feel I’ve lost someone during the pandemic,’ the words of a woman mourning the loss of her child as published with permission by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (21/05/20). DIY home abortion regulations were implemented by the Government in response to the Coronavirus lockdown. This involves women being left to obtain chemical abortion drugs over video call and then having to perform their own abortions at home with no medical supervision or support. The women will not be required to meet a doctor in person and the abortion drugs will be delivered through the post. Please prayerfully consider writing to your M.P. (email, phone or letter) to express your deep concern at these regulations and asking him or her to vote for life in all debates as they occur. Let us continue to stand for the beauty of life! Many thanks for all your acts of kindness to those near, dear and far in these trying times, Fr Eamonn
May God bless you all,
Fr Eamonn Corduff – Parish Priest
ONE PRIVATE MASS WITHOUT A CONGREGATION SHALL BE OFFERED EACH DAY AT THREE LOCATIONS: WOODLANE, BARTON and HAUNTON: SEVENTH SUNDAY of Easter 17th May 2020 to SEVENTH SUNDAY of Easter 17th May 2020
SEVENTH SUNDAY of EASTER, 24th MAY: 11am, BARTON, Mass intention: People of Parishes
MONDAY, 25th MAY: 10am, WOODLANE, St Bede, Mass intention: Healy family.
TUESDAY, 26th MAY: 9:30am, BARTON, St Philip Neri, Mass intention: Johnson Fund
WEDNESDAY, 27th MAY: 9:30am, BARTON, St Augustine of Canterbury, Mass intention: A. Magee.
THURSDAY, 28th MAY: 6:00pm, WOODLANE, Mass intention: A.Magee
FRIDAY, 29th MAY: 11am, HAUNTON, Mass intention: In Perpetuity
SATURDAY, 30th MAY: 10:00am, BARTON, Mass intention: Holy Souls
PENTECOST SUNDAY, 31st May, BARTON, 11am: Mass intention: People of the Parishes.