Letter from Fr Paul – 29 March 2020

30 Mar

29th March 2020 

Dear All,

Today, the Fifth Sunday of Lent is also known as the First Sunday of the Passion when we veil all the crosses, statues and images in the church. As you can see from the photo below, in spite of the present situation the veiling was still done yesterday morning at St Mary’s. It’s important the liturgical life of the Church doesn’t collapse. Your homes now need to become churches. I know the idea of a home altar is really catching on. So why not now veil your crosses and statues at home? Imagine if we all now turn our homes into churches how much stronger we will be as a parish and as a Church when we all come back together again. It will be tremendous! So if you haven’t done so already, I really encourage you to set up a little altar with a cross, a candle, a statue of Our Lady or of a saint or with whatever helps you to pray, and then go there when you pray. When you read the Bible or a spiritual book, go there. When you say the Rosary or the Divine Mercy chaplet, go there. It will really change things.

But to explain the veiling: the idea of the veil is in the Letter to the Hebrews, where St Paul talks about the veil as being a type of the flesh of Christ, and so Christ veiled His glory, His divinity from the Jews. His humanity veiled His divinity. Similarly the veil of the Temple in Jerusalem hid God’s glory in the Holy of Holies. The veiling is also symbolic of Our Lord going into hiding because the Jews wanted to stone Him (John 8:59). He went into hiding because “His hour had not yet come.” When His hour did come He was crucified and poured out His Blood on the altar of the cross to redeem us. He is the true Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. 

Then today, most importantly, was the day of rededicating England as the ‘Dowry of Mary’. Fr David joined me as I made the rededication in the church at 11am this morning before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima (which wasn’t veiled!), and I know many of you made the dedication yourselves in your homes and families with us at the same hour.

Then I celebrated Mass, and after Mass I did something I have been wanting to do for the past couple of weeks – I blessed the whole of Loughborough with the Blessed Sacrament on the steps of the entrance to the church. Ashby Road was totally silent and empty as I did so. I felt as Parish Priest of Loughborough this was something I had an obligation to do. So may God give us all His grace and protection.

Right now practically the whole world is in fear of dying of this virus. But let us not be afraid because we believe in Christ. God gave us His only Son so as we wouldn’t have to fear death. St Paul says in Thessalonians 4 we’re not like those other people who have no hope. If you’re a friend of Our Lord and His Mother you have nothing to fear. JESUS died on the cross so as death would be no more, and we are all destined to be citizens of Heaven. So let us all keep faith and trust in God and remember that we now, more than ever, are called to live in a different way from the rest of the world.

In JESUS and Mary,

Fr Paul

The Pope’s Blessing and the Sacrament of Penance while the Church is closed

28 Mar
Dear All,
I’m sure lots of you tuned in to the Pope’s extraordinary “Urbi et Orbi” Blessing yesterday evening to the city of Rome and to the world with prayers to end the pandemic. It must be the first time in history a Pope has given this blessing to an empty St Peter’s Square.  The most moving moment for me was at the end when the Pope stood at the door of St Peter’s Basilica and blessed the world with the Blessed Sacrament as the bells of St Peter’s rang out joyously. 
It was a totally unique event. Normally the Pope only gives the Urbi et Orbi at his election and at Christmas and Easter. But the blessing yesterday was the Holy Father’s way of making himself present in all of our lives in this time of crisis. While he is live-streaming Mass daily on the internet, Mass on TV or the computer can’t replace your actually being present at the Eucharistic Sacrifice. But the Urbi et Orbi, which only the Pope does, does transmit over the TV, radio or internet. You receive all the blessings as if you were actually there in St Peter’s Square and a Plenary Indulgence was attached to all those tuning in.
Inline image

Moving on to Confessions. During the present situation it is going to be very difficult for people to receive the Sacrament of Penance. Under these circumstances you may make an act of Perfect Contrition which when the Sacrament itself is not available can forgive even mortal sins, provided you resolve to go to Confession as soon as the opportunity arises. There is a really good explanation of this and also of a Spiritual Communion in the article below. Just click on the link below.
A reminder that there is Holy Water available outside the front door of the church for you to take and sprinkle in your homes and to bless yourselves with. Bring a bottle and fill it up. I see people have already been taking from it. Holy Water used with faith forgives venial sins and can give protection against evil and sickness. I have also put some printed newsletters along with the text for tomorrow’s Rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary outside the front door on a table. Don’t forget to join me in spirit tomorrow at 11am and make the Rededication yourselves. 
Please remember you may subscribe to the weekly newsletter online by signing up from any page of the website (right-hand column).  The homepage is updated daily with lots of new information.
And finally, let us continue to pray for an end to the pandemic and for all the sick, particularly those infected with the virus, for the needy, for the dying and those who have died. 
May Our Lord, Our Lady and St Joseph protect us all.
Fr Paul

Rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary

27 Mar
27 March 2020
Dear All,
I attach below the Prayer of Rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary which the Catholic Church in England will be making this Sunday. I would invite you to join me at 11am when I shall make it myself in the church before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and then I shall offer Mass. I have explained the rededication more fully in this week’s newsletter which will be posted on the website by tomorrow.
Just in case you are unaware, we now sadly have to keep the church locked throughout the day. So presently the church is not available for private prayer. 
Have a good day and let us keep praying for each other.
Fr Paul

Letter from Fr Paul – 26 March 2020

26 Mar

26th March 2020 

Dear All,

I felt very sad yesterday at having to lock the church on our Patronal Feast of the Annunciation. But from now on the church has to be closed until further notice and therefore will not be available for private prayer. Come the weekend I will leave copies of the newsletter outside the front door of the church in a box for you to take. You may also subscribe to the newsletter on the parish website. And from today I will also leave the Holy Water urn and small jug outside the front door of the church for you to take Holy Water home. You might just be walking past the church on your permitted daily exercise?! Particularly now as the church is closed, I would recommend if you haven’t already done so, you set up a small altar in your homes with a crucifix, a candle and perhaps a picture or statue of the Sacred Heart or of Our Lady or a saint or a Rosary. It provides a focal point for prayer.

This Sunday 29th March is the day of Rededicating England as the Dowry of Mary and it will still go ahead. I had intended to have a Marian Procession around the church on Sunday morning. This is no longer possible but I will still make the dedication in the church at 11am on Sunday before celebrating Mass. I would invite you all to join me in making the rededication at that time. I will send out the text over the next couple of days.

Picture blessed by Pope Francis ahead of the Rededication

Meanwhile, here is a prayer a priest friend of mine sent:

Let us pray.

God our Father, each person is precious to You. You are the giver of life. Have mercy on us and protect us at this time. As the Coronavirus threatens health and life, You are an ever present helper in time of trouble. Watch over those who are suffering, give strength to those who are aiding the sick, and give courage to all in this time of anxiety. We ask You this in the Name of Your Son JESUS Christ. Amen.

Keep praying and may God and His Immaculate Mother keep you all safe and deliver us from this affliction.

Fr Paul

How to Gain a Plenary Indulgence During Time of Pandemic

26 Mar

The Vatican has issued a new decree which allows us to gain a daily Plenary Indulgence even in this time in which most are unable to receive Holy Communion or make their Confession. It really is very generous. Make the most of it. You could gain one every day by any of the following:

  1. Those who have Coronavirus or who are in quarantine by uniting yourself spiritually through communications media to Mass, Rosary, Stations of the Cross or other form of devotion.
  2. Those who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes by praying the Creed, Our Father and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin (eg. Hail Mary, Memorare, Hail Holy Queen), offering this trial in the spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters.
  3. Making a visit to the Blessed Sacrament or time in Adoration (no length is specified, generally understood to be 30 minutes), reading Scripture for 30 minutes, praying 5 decades of the Rosary (anywhere) The Stations of the Cross (apparently even outside of a church, anywhere) or the Divine Mercy Chaplet (anywhere) all for the intention of the end of the epidemic, relief for those afflicted, and eternal rest for those who have died.
  4. Health Care Workers or family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, expose themselves to the risk of contagion and care for the sick of Coronavirus.

In addition to these things, you must be willing to fulfil the normal conditions (Confession, Holy Communion as soon as is possible) and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father (Our Father, Hail Mary).

Here is the link to the Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary.