Our Need of the Sacraments
A limited schedule of public Masses was resumed at St Mary’s last Tuesday after nearly four months of your absence. Around 30 people were present and it was great to have you back because we priests have missed you all. Thanks be to God we were able to put all the strict requirements in place to enable us to open safely for the public celebration of Mass. A number of parishes will not be able to do this so we are truly blessed. A very big thank you to all those who have helped make this possible. If you feel uneasy about coming to church at this time please stay at home. The obligation to hear Mass on Sundays is still suspended until further notice. Also with the limit on numbers not everyone is going to be able to get a place each week. We hope to have an online booking system in place soon, so for the time being places are on a “first come first served” basis. The church will open 15 minutes before Mass is scheduled to begin. We could still do with a few more volunteers under 70 years of age for stewarding and cleaning. Please let me know if you are able to help.
For Catholics the Sacraments are very important. Many of you have told me you have come to a greater realisation of this during lockdown, and they must be important because Christ instituted them all for our benefit. Due to Original Sin we are all sinners and the Sacraments help to make us holy, they help us to become saints and win Heaven. The Sacrament to which all the others point is, of course, the Holy Eucharist because the Holy Eucharist is Christ Himself, and so we must always receive Him reverently and worthily. So to increase our worthiness we go to Confession even if we’re not in serious sin. God loves us so much He gives us Himself in spite of our unworthiness. So let’s sweep the house clean! If we are aware of any unconfessed serious sin, we ought not to receive Holy Communion until we have a made a Sacramental Confession and received Absolution. Make a Spiritual Communion instead. We are only obliged to receive Holy Communion once a year. A priest is available for Confessions in the church on Saturday mornings between 10.30 and 11.30am and on request. If you’re in a state of grace the devil can’t harm you, but if you’re not, you’re fodder for him. Give yourself the protection. It has been hard in recent months with Confession not being so easily available, so I would encourage you now to make use of it.
We are trying hard to ensure Holy Communion is distributed as safely as possible, but if anyone is apprehensive about the risk of contagion at Holy Communion, you are advised not to receive until the present danger has subsided, and then again, make a Spiritual Communion instead.“Sweet Sacrament! we Thee adore! O, make us love Thee more and more!”
Fr Paul Gillham, IC