Dear parishioners, friends,
I know you may be facing the time of Lockdown with some trepidation, like me also.
We are in uncharted waters and the waves are a bit choppy already.
I wish to tell you more of what the Cardinal wishes andof some ways we can support each other and how we can come through this time.
Cardinal John has issued us priests with further instructions today. From today all churches must be closed to the public and to parishioners. I had hoped we may use some Churches for Holy Hour, but this too is not permitted as people may pass on the Covid-19 by using the same door knobs, handles as the person before them and so infection may pass on to one another. So I have to tell you that we may not use the Churches during this month even for private prayer.
Also the priests may not take Communion to the sick. People in the parish who normally take Communion to the sick and elderly may not take Communion to them during the time of the Lock down – this coming month. Priests may not give the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick may not bring to those in hospital or others, unless they are special chaplains to Hospitals and have been designated for this work. Neither Fr Jacob nor I really fit that category.
Do not be disheartened by the prohibitions. This time of Lent is a special time when Christ Our Lord is inviting us to go into the desert with him. It may seem a grim time, having to hang out with him or her and my darling children ALL THE TIME!! But see it as a beautiful opportunity for us to grow together in our family life.
Let’s listen to what Jacinda Ardern said: ‘Be kind to one another. Be patient with one another. Care for the person next door or the one who is elderly”
This is a beautiful opportunity where we can let Christ lead us in ways of naked faith. God is everywhere, and most of all he is in your own heart – let us go within to meet Christ within and take time to meditate and pray during this month. We must let life slow right down and notice the little things around us. The birds that come pecking in the morning on the lawn, the last flowers that still smile in our gardens before the onset of winter, the friendly words spoken to us by our loved ones, and the uninhibited joy of children playing. We have so much to give thanks to God – this time is a very special time that Christ can lead us closer to him along the way of the Cross. Have your Bible handy. Christ speaks to you through the Words of Scripture. Love to read just a small passage from the Gospels or from the Book of Psalms (you find the Book of Psalms slap bang in the middle of your Bible). They are beautiful ways to pray – using God’s Word to praise and thank God, or to plead with him in our times of trial and sadness.
I would like our Stewardship Teams to help their area to assist the older people, those who are new to the area,and those who are not well by reaching out to one another through a phone tree so that people will contact one another. Kaikoura Sacred Heart Stewardship Team have already set one up. Congratulations, folks at Kaikoura!
The Stewardship Groups can help mightily by planning things together, by shared emails or over the phone, to find strategies to support the people of our Communities.
I know this is already happening. Let’s let it flower even more. Fr John set up some excellent structures for us. Let’s use them – and in creative ways.
We will continue to make up a Newsletter each weekend. I hope we can put some things that can assist us in our spiritual life each week in the Newsletter. You can find it on the Facebook page if you have a computer. The Facebook ID (address) is at the top of your Newsletter - ‘Star of the Sea Marlborough’.
If you don’t have a Computer, then come past and pick one up (sorry, not a computer, but a newsletter) on Monday morning at the dedicated place near the Office door. Give Ginetta a friendly wave as you do so. If Picton or Havelock or Seddon wish for Newsletters in a packet, let Ginetta know and she will have them ready to pick up. Or if you would like one emailed, again let Ginetta or myself know. Her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Things are going to be a bit strange and sometimes we will make mistakes, but let us be patient and understanding, and we can grow more in our Christian life and support for one another.
Cardinal John also said that the Holy Father has asked us all to stop at midday on Wednesday (today), being the 25th March, the Feast of Our Lady’s Annunciation, and we all join together with people all around the world to pray the Lord’s Prayer.
The Holy Father asks us to do this to ask God to deliver us from the Coronavirus.
So look at your watch and plan to do this if possible together in the family or with a friend to pray today at midday. Say the word slowly and meaningfully – not in a rushed way! God does listen to his children when we speak out of our need.
Again on Friday at 6pm, the Holy Father will have a Prayer Service from the Vatican, again to pray for the end of the pandemic. You may be able to tune in on You tube or look up some channel which shows this. Or you may plan your own simple prayer Service in your home this Friday at 6pm. Let us join Pope Francis in a great chorus of prayer to ask the Heavenly Father to heal us and save us in our bodily and spiritual needs.
Fr Jacob and I are looking at other ways we can reach out and help you.
In the meantime, look at the two attachments which Fr. Tom McDonough shared with us.
God bless you. Each day Jacob and I remember you and pray for you and your loved ones in our Prayer Room that Fr Allan Roberts left to us. Also,Cardinal John says he prays constantly for you all. This is going to be a Lent with a difference but let us use our wisdom and kindness to negotiate the days ahead.
Fr Pat CP