Newsletter for Sunday 16 May 2021

14 May

The Ascension and the Sacrament of Confirmation

We welcome Bishop Patrick who this Friday evening will be coming to St Mary’s to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to 28 of our young parishioners. Therefore the Mass on Friday evening, due to the Covid-19 limitation on numbers, may only be attended by the candidates and their two nominated guests.

Confirmation is the completion of our Baptism, and this second anointing with the Holy Spirit (the first is given in Baptism) gives us over completely to Christ to bear witness to Him and the Gospel. Once we are confirmed we are no longer only children of God, but we bear witness to Him in the face of rejection, persecution, and even death. This is the special power of the Sacrament and one we surely need because it’s not easy being a Christian in the world today. This power of the Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles at Pentecost which we will be celebrating next weekend. Before the coming of the Holy Spirit the Apostles were frightened, weak men who had gone into hiding because they were afraid of the Jews. But once they had received the Holy Spirit they became fearless witnesses to the Gospel and Christ’s Resurrection.

Last Thursday we celebrated the Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven. He had told the Apostles at the Last Supper that He would soon have to leave them so as He might be nearer to them. He said,
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:7,13).

By ascending to Heaven Our Lord would then no longer be to us an external person. Now it would be possible for Him to unite Himself to us completely by sending His Spirit to take up His abode within us. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen explains, “It is through the Spirit received in Confirmation that Christ walks the earth again in each obedient Christian; it is through the Spirit that we are sanctified, comforted, and taught to pray.”

When we are confirmed the Bishop marks us with Sign of the Cross on our forehead with the sacred oil of Chrism. This is a very powerful sign. By it may we all be emboldened so that nothing may deter us from publicly confessing Christ. Let us pray especially this week of the Pentecost Novena that this may be so for our young parishioners receiving the Sacrament, and indeed for all of us.

Fr Paul Gillham, IC

Click here to view/download the complete newsletter

Click here to view/download the Liturgy for the Seventh Sunday of Easter