Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Priests!

On Saturday 27th June at 1.30pm, Fr Miguel will be Ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Tony in All Saints, and, the following day, Sunday 28th June, he will celebrate his First Mass, presiding at the Eucharist for the first time, at 10am in All Saints. We look forward to a great weekend of celebration, a significant time for all of us in both of our Parishes.

It is good for all of us to ponder some words that Bishop Tony will read at the Ordination, a charge not just to Fr Miguel, and to all priests present, but words for all of us, a summary of the priestly ministry that he will offer for the people of God, on behalf of Christ, our Great High Priest:


Priests are called to be servants and shepherds among the people to whom they are sent.  With their Bishop and fellow ministers, they are to proclaim the word of the Lord and to watch for the signs of God’s new creation. They are to be messengers, watchmen and stewards of the Lord; they are to teach and to admonish, to feed and provide for his family, to search for his children in the wilderness of this world’s temptations, and to guide them through its confusions, that they may be saved through Christ for ever. Formed by the word, they are to call their hearers to repentance and to declare in Christ's name the absolution and forgiveness of their sins.

With all God’s people, they are to tell the story of God’s love.  They are to baptize new disciples in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and to walk with them in the way of Christ, nurturing them in the faith. They are to unfold the Scriptures, to preach the word in season and out of season, and to declare the mighty acts of God. They are to preside at the Lord's table and lead his people in worship, offering with them a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. They are to bless the people in God’s name.  They are to resist evil, support the weak, defend the poor, and intercede for all in need.  They are to minister to the sick and prepare the dying for their death. Guided by the Spirit, they are to discern and foster the gifts of all God’s people, that the whole Church may be built up in unity and faith.



If I was to pick two words to describe my own experience of being ordained all those years ago, I would have to say I was both humbled and affirmed. Despite my own inadequacies, I was called forth to serve as a minister of God and his Church. Despite my unworthiness, I was judged to be worthy and chosen as a candidate for ordination, ordained and commissioned to proclaim the Gospel and to serve at the altar during the Sacred Liturgy. It was truly humbling to be called to such a ministry, as it was also humbling to receive so much support and encouragement from all those who prayed with and for me, and who continue to do so.

As a successor of the Apostles, Bishop Tony will lay hands on Fr Miguel, ordaining him to assist the people of God in that same apostolic mission and calling. Please pray for Fr Miguel, and for Yaneth, Samuel and Xavier, as he approaches this great time. This prayer will be used in the Liturgy on June 27th:

Bishop: Let us pray for Miguel, and for the ministry of the whole people of God.

God our Father, Lord of all the world,
through your Son you have called us
into the fellowship of your universal Church:
hear our prayer for your faithful people that in their vocation and ministry
each may be an instrument of your love, and give to your servant Miguel
now to be ordained the needful gifts of grace;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.



Fr Miguel as Deacon at the Easter Vigil, as Fr David lights the Paschal Candle



The Most Holy Trinity

The Most Holy Trinity: Sunday 31st May 2015
Masses 8am & 11am, St Mary's
9.30am, All Saints

THE PRAISES OF THE DIVINE TRINITY
(The Praises Before the Office) 
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
who was, and who is, and who is coming:
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Worthy are you, O Lord our God,
to receive glory and honour and power.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and blessing.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Let us bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Praise our God, all you his servants,
and you who fear him, the small and the great.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Praise him in his glory, heaven and earth,
and every creature that is in heaven and on the earth
and under the earth and such as are on the seas,
and all that are in them.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

As it was in the beginning, is now,
and shall be for ever. Amen.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

St Francis of Assisi , The Praises before the Divine Office

St Mary's & All Saints Elland's photo.



(The Praises Before the Office) 
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
who was, and who is, and who is coming:
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Worthy are you, O Lord our God,
to receive glory and honour and power.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and blessing.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Let us bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Praise our God, all you his servants,
and you who fear him, the small and the great.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Praise him in his glory, heaven and earth,
and every creature that is in heaven and on the earth
and under the earth and such as are on the seas,
and all that are in them.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
As it was in the beginning, is now,
and shall be for ever. Amen.

(The Praises Before the Office)
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
who was, and who is, and who is coming:
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Worthy are you, O Lord our God,
to receive glory and honour and power.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and blessing.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Let us bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Praise our God, all you his servants,
and you who fear him, the small and the great.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Praise him in his glory, heaven and earth,
and every creature that is in heaven and on the earth
and under the earth and such as are on the seas,
and all that are in them.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
As it was in the beginning, is now,
and shall be for ever. Amen.



Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise

A little late posting this month, but here is my (now slightly out of date) Pastoral Letter for May:

Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise!

Dear Friends in Christ,

Christian Aid Week falls this month, from 10th-17th May. Christian Aid Week is the single biggest act of Christian witness in these Islands. This year Christian Aid Week confronts one of the greatest injustices of all time: discrimination against women, especially in some of the poorest countries in our world. The good news is that individuals, communities and churches can make a real difference this Christian Aid Week. Last year, a magnificent 20,000 churches across the country helped raise £12m (€14.3m) for Christian Aid Week. Thanks to your efforts, many more people can look forward to a future free from poverty. As Archbishop Justin writes, ‘Jesus calls us to love our neighbour, and challenges any limit we put on who that neighbour might be.’

Easter is a 50 day long Alleluia of praise. In our Sunday Liturgies, as we think and pray about what it means to be an Easter People, we concentrate this month on the Resurrection appearances of Jesus, leading up to our celebration of the Ascension on the 40th day, Thursday 14th May. Jesus leaves the apostles with a promise of his abiding presence, made real through the Holy Spirit. Constantly he tells them, as he tells us, ‘Do not be afraid’.

Looking forward, we begin this month with the All Saints Art Exhibition, and a number of us will then  make the Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.  We are always aware of taking the prayers and hopes of our Parishes with us to Walsingham, to offer them in ‘a place where prayer has been valid’; please do pass on any prayer requests if you would like them to be remembered there in the Holy House.  May is often called Mary’s month, as the Church rejoices to join with her and the Apostles, praying to her Risen Son, and reflecting the picture of the early Church gathered together in Acts 1.14, in praying for the Gift of the Holy Spirit, a prayer that will come to its fruition on the Feast of Pentecost. How wonderful, and awe-inspiring, to think that God wants you and I to share in that offering of prayer with Mary and the Saints!

I write these words as I am preparing for Parishes’ Annual Meetings. My thanks to all who have held, and to all who will hold office, as Wardens and Church Council members. Thank you also to all who contributed to our Easter worship, and all who helped to clean and prepare our Church buildings.

May the Risen Christ grant us his peace. Alleluia!

Pax et Bonum (Peace and All Good to you)

Father David