Parish Priest Fr James Edward Caulfield
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The radiance of the risen Lord shines upon us. At a time when so many shadows are cast into our lives, and upon our world, the light of the resurrection shines forever to renew and restore our hope. In the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis: ‘
The impact of Covid-19, both nationally and internationally, has been immense. So much of what we take for granted has changed. Our health and physical interaction, our capacity to travel and gather, have all been affected. There is uncertainty in our future, especially with work and the country’s economy. As we know, very sadly, large numbers of people have died because of the coronavirus, and others have been or remain seriously ill. Keyworkers, not least in the National Health Service and care sectors, are serving selflessly to sustain the life of our nation. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone who is suffering because of Covid-19, and to all those battling to overcome its effects. May those who have died rest in peace and those who are bereaved find comfort.
When the Prime Minister announced the lockdown, this included places of worship and therefore Catholic churches. These measures were put in place to stem the general transmission of the virus. It is right that the Catholic community fulfils its role in contributing to the preservation of life and the common good of society. This must continue until the restrictions applied by the Government are lifted.
None of us would want to be in the situation in which we find ourselves. While the live-streaming of the Mass and other devotions is playing an important part in maintaining the life of faith, there is no substitute for Catholics being able to physically attend and participate in the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments. Our faith is expressed powerfully and beautifully though ‘seeing, touching, and tasting.’ We know that every bishop and every priest recognises the pain of Catholics who, at present, cannot pray in church or receive the sacraments. This weighs heavily on our hearts. We are deeply moved by the Eucharistic yearning expressed by so many members of the faithful. We thank you sincerely for your love for the Lord Jesus, present in the sacraments and supremely so in the Holy Sacrifice
In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side.’ (27 March 2020)
1 of the Mass. The bishops and priests of every diocese are remembering you and your loved ones at Mass each day in our churches as we pray ‘in hope of health and well- being.’ We thank our priests for this faithfulness to their calling.
As the Government’s restrictions are relaxed step by step, we look forward to opening our churches and resuming our liturgical, spiritual, catechetical and pastoral life step by step. This will also be of service to those beyond the Catholic Church who depend on our charitable activity and outreach through which much goodness is shared by so many volunteers from our communities.
None of us knows, as yet, how or when the lockdown will end. There is likely to be a phased return to travelling and gathering.
As a church, we are now planning for this time and our discussions with the statutory public health agencies and Government representatives are ongoing. Together with Catholics across England and Wales we desire the opening of our churches and access to the sacraments. Until then, we are continuing to pray and prepare.
We want to acknowledge with gratitude the service of our fellow bishops and priests, our deacons and religious, our families and lay faithful, together with all our parish and school communities, for the wonderful ways the life of the faith is being nourished at this time, especially in the home. We also pay tribute to the Catholic organisations and networks that are working to support the vulnerable and needy.
On that first Easter day, the disciples were in lockdown and the doors were closed. In their isolation the Lord Jesus came among them and said ‘Peace be with you.’ May the peace of the risen Lord reign in our hearts and homes as we look forward to the day we can enter church again and gather around the altar to offer together the Sacrifice of Praise.
We unite in asking the intercession of Our Blessed Lady and assure you of our prayers and blessing
Yours devotedly in Christ,
✠ Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
✠ Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool
✠ Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham
✠ George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff
✠ John Wilson, Archbishop of Southwark
This Letter is to be read at all Masses that are live streamed in the Diocese during the weekend May 2/3. Please assure that the Letter is also made available on the parish website.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today is commonly known as Good Shepherd Sunday because in today’s Gospel, Jesus claims to be the Good Shepherd who looks after his sheep.
How important it is for us to remember this truth! Our God is not the clockmaker god of the post-Enlightenment philosophers who winds up the world and then leaves it to its own devices. Nor is he the capricious despot of the ancient Greek and Roman gods. Nor is he some impersonal force of nature that directs this universe to no apparent end. No, he is a shepherd - someone who sees us and cares personally about us, someone who guides us with an unfailing hand, if we are willing to follow Him.
Today we pray particularly for vocations to the priesthood – for those who will become images of the Good Shepherd for us in our parishes.We pray for men who will be willing to look after the flock of God, not for their own gain, nor for their own convenience, but selflessly, with the love of the Master himself.
That is a tall order! That is why we need to pray for our priests, for those in formation for the priesthood, for those who are discerning a call to be a priest, those who are afraid to follow the call, those who have not yet heard the call which is already in their heart. Our prayer is essential!
It is also important for us to actively encourage anyone who is showing the signs and the gifts that are needed for today’s priests.
John Vianney, a saintly French Parish Priest who lived two hundred years ago, preached these words:
A good shepherd, a pastor after God’s own heart, is the greatest treasure which the good Lord can grant a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of divine mercy.
The priest is a precious gift for the People of God. It is the priest who is the Lord’s instrument, in bringing about His Presence in the Eucharist. It is the priest who brings the Lord’s loving mercy and forgiveness into the messes we make of our lives. It is the priest who helps us find purpose and meaning and direction in our lives as they guide us in God’s teachings. It is the priest who cares for us as at all the special moments of our lives and who shares in all our joys and sorrows.
As your Bishop I am concerned about the future of our Diocese of East Anglia. Those priests who now serve in our parishes have given up their whole lives in faithful service of God’s people, many of them above and beyond the years expected of them. Pray for them at this challenging time. Know that every day in this lockdown they offer the Holy Mass and the Prayer of the Church for each one of the Parish community and for all whose lives have been affected by the pandemic, and for all those who have died. And as we pray for them, we pray today that future generations of Catholics may also be served and loved and guided by true shepherds.
On this Good Shepherd Sunday, we also remind ourselves of the women and men who serve the Church through their Religious Orders and Congregations. We are blessed in our Diocese. We have a contemplative community who offers its life in prayer and worship on behalf of the whole world. We also have active communities who lovingly serve God through a variety of gifts. Pray for them in thanksgiving and pray that they may continue to be blessed with vocations.
Finally, as St John Henry Newman reminds us, each of us has been called into being by God to carry out a specific service. Through our Baptism we are all members of the Body of Christ, whatever our state in life – and we are called to serve God and one another. That is our Baptismal vocation. We must pray for the ability to abandon our own plans, our own safe calculations and to learn to ask the Lord:
What are your plans, and calculations for me, what do you desire for me and my life?
We should be ready with a generous and open heart to respond to whatever God replies.
May the Lord grant us more vocations both for the priesthood and the religious life. May he help us all to discover how we might strengthen the witness and the service of the Church in the world.
May the Risen Christ continue to fill you with hope and peace in these uncertain days. And may the Holy Spirit of Pentecost renew and strengthen us all in the Lord’s service and in the service of one another.
With all good wishes and prayers for you to stay safe and well,
Yours devotedly in Christ,
The Right Revd Alan S Hopes
Bishop of East Anglia
I believe that you are present in this Holy Sacrament of the altar.
I love you above all things
and I passionately desire to receive you into my soul.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
come spiritually into my soul so that I may unite myself wholly to you
now and forever.
The Angelus Promise is currently available as a recording as are all the Masses said so far.
Over the coming days I shall add Recordings of the Rosary, The Stations of the Cross and a penitential meditation/examination of conscience.
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The Ministry of the Teacup
Welcome, Whether your an old stalwart; new to the area or
have been away from the Catholic Church for some time please be assured
that you will find a warm welcome. Introduce yourself,, or at least don't dash off after the Mass and let us get to know you. You may have skills or talents to offer and we will be happy to make use of them. The most important and often over looked skill is 'The Ministry of the Teacup'. Take the weight of your feet and sit and chat with folk and share a mug of tea, or coffee. Share the burdens and ideas if how ti cope with the vagaries of life in a warm and confidential environment. Loneliness is a common state for many but here in the parish you will always find a listening ear and friendly folk to give you a hand.
After the 10.15 am Sunday Mass you are most welcome to join us in the Rosmini Centre next to the Church for refreshments and a chance to meet and share in the Ministry of the Teacup.
Saint Borromeo Wisbech UK
The parish includes the following towns, villages and their hinterland.