Fifth Sunday of Lent - Year A - 29th March 2020 - God breathes his Living Spirit into us

We open ourselves up to Christ's life giving Spirit today.

We pray for those who are to be given the new life of the Spirit in Baptism at Easter.

Coronavirus and Public Liturgies

Holy Mass and all public liturgies are currently suspended along with the obligation

to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. Mass is offered every day but without a congregation.

Mass intentions already booked will be offered.

Knowing Mass is being celebrated, joining in spiritually in that celebration; watching the

live-streaming of Mass; following the prayers at home; making an act of spiritual communion are ways we can share now in the Sacrifice of Christ - ways in which we will sanctify Sunday, and every day.

Contact for Live Streaming of Mass - www.northamptondiocese.org/live

Mass is offered every day, the Rosary, Angelus and Stations of the Cross are also prayed.

Scripture Readings 5th Sunday in Lent Year A

Ezekiel37:12-14; Psalm 129(130); Rom 8:8-11; John 11:1-45

For the Jews after 597 BC, exiled in Babylon without their king, land, Temple, all seemed lost as a nation. Ezekiel's encouraging messages gave them hope that the nation would rise and live again, like a field full of dry bones coming to life. But this will be the Lord's doing, for the sake of his name, which they have profaned by their idolatry.



In deep sorrow the psalm cries to the Lord, begging pardon for our sins, trusting in God's mercy and awaiting redemption in hope.



Writing to the Jewish Christians in Rome, Paul has been puzzling over our human condition: "I do not do the good that I want, but I do the evil that I hate". Mortal flesh is weak. "But God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh" so that the Son's Spirit might give us the strength to live according to His Spirit. Paul's conclusion: with Christ's Spirit in us we are given life reconciled with God both now and in bodily resurrection after death.



These foretastes of resurrection prepare us for John's description of the raising of Lazarus, the third of the three beautiful Lenten readings from John. Perhaps we should ponder how difficult it is to believe, and how difficult it was for Martha to open the tomb?


Psalm Response: With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.



SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

It is a good practice and encouraged by the Church to make a Spiritual Communion when we are unable to receive Holy Communion sacramentally. A Spiritual Communion is simply the Heartfelt desire to be united with Christ, even though we are unable to receive him in the Blessed Sacrament. This desire for Christ draws us closer to him, for as St Thomas Aquinas teaches 'The effects of a sacrament can be received by desire.' We can use our own words - or those used by the saints.

 

Prayer of St Alphonsus LIGUORI FOR Spiritual Communion

My Jesus, I believe that you are most truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.

I love you above all things, and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot receive you sacramentally at the moment, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as being already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.

Contact for Live Streaming of Mass - www.northamptondiocese.org/live

To receive the divine gifts, Jesus wants us to roll away the stone of separation. Absence of true love results in separation; separation from God and separation from others. God is always with us irrespective of what we do and what we are. Jesus revealed to us that God is love because of this inseparable presence God with us always. At a personal level, very subjectively, we can speak of separating ourselves from God but God never can and will separate Himself from us, for he is love.

Let us come to life in Jesus by rolling way the stony sins of separations and unbind and let go our self-centredness. Jesus said: "Love one another as I have loved you". In essence that is our spiritual life.

New Weekly Collection Envelopes

They will not be available until we gather again.
However, if you wish, you can set up a standing order for donations to the parish using either your on line bank account or in branch.

The following information is required

Bank; NatWest - Sort Code; 60-06-11
Account Number 46898093
Account Name; Northampton Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust
Payment Ref : St Patrick's Duston

Keeping the Our Church Open

Regrettably this is no longer possible.

We have been advised that keeping them open is inconsistent with the government's recent message so that they must be closed for the benefit of others and stopping the spread of infection.

The housebound - those in care - those in hospital

1. Routine pastoral home visits will not be made to those in the 'vulnerable' category. They will, however be contacted and kept in touch with what is happening.

2. Visits to care homes or hospitals can only be made after advice from the staff responsible for infection control.

3. The Sacrament of the Sick is available when necessary.

4. These duties must not be conducted by ministers over age 70 and/or those with health issues.

Missio Red Boxes - Well Done!

We have had a letter for thanks from Missio acknowledging receipt of £1302 for 2019.

Please Pray For The Sick

Ann Wilson, Sara Fox, Mary Ellis, Chris Brady,

Joe Taitt, Jean House, Kitty McKenna, Phil Jacobs, Bridie Weir, Richard Foster, Margaret Dunne, Maureen Bicknell, Sinead McDonall, Glenda Smith, Dominico Piro, James Coutinho, Sharon Botterill, Anne Thompson, Margaret, Kevin & Mark McKeown, Daniel Butcher, Henry McAteer, Catherine Vince, Catherine Watts, Linda Lane, Babies Ricardo & Michael, Sara Quartermaine, Annie Jacobs, Enzina D'Eramo, Margaret Giltrap,Camillus McGill, Nora McLoughlin, Jenina Skippen, Michael Folan, Andrea Hughes, Kath Craven, Nancy Hughes, Jeremy Wilcox, Phyl Thorley,Bess Priestnall, Maureen Sims.

The Holy Father's Prayer Intention for March

May the Church in China persevere in

faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis called for all Christians to respond to the coronavirus pandemic "with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness", adding, "Let us remain united. Let us make our closeness felt toward those persons who are the most lonely and tried". Speaking after the traditional recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father called on all Christians to join together in prayer. "In these trying days, while humanity trembles due to the threat of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians that together we lift our voices towards Heaven."

Having followed the rules and self-isolated, I have tuned into the Cathedrals live-streaming of Mass. If you can join the link I would urge you to do so - in the present circumstances it is so fulfilling. As well as praying for the sick, please also pray for the children awaiting Baptism and especially those awaiting First Communion & Confirmation - they have been working hard in preparation. God Bless - Deacon Michael

For those affected by the Coronavirus

Merciful father - come to the help of your people. Be our shelter in this time of peril and strengthen the bonds of our community. Bring healing to all who suffer the ravages of disease and assist those whose skill and knowledge can put an end to this affliction.

In these trying times - Have absolute faith in the love of God, and none in yourself. Also, pray for whatever God wants you to pray for, whether for yourself or for others; and make up your mind that you will get it (not because you deserve it, but because God is good. Abbot Chapman

Food Bank

The URC has been advised that the Food Bank has to be closed to conform with government guidelines. They have complied with great regret. They hope to re-open when allowed. Their message thanked us for our generous support.

DIOCESE OF NORTHAMPTON REGISTERED CHARITY NUMBER 234091

Pastoral Letter - From Bishop David

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. These words of the Apostle Paul root us firmly where we belong, in the grace and peace of God. Things are not turning out as we may have imagined, even a few weeks ago now, and this is not the letter I had hoped to send you as my first communication with you! It is unfortunate that the episcopal ordination took place as it were, behind closed doors. That very image speaks to us of the Easter Gospels, and the disciples gathered together in fear and anxiety within a locked room. But the coronavirus is certainly affecting every aspect of our society. We have heard so much about what it can do, how it attacks the respiratory system and can cause damage, even fatalities. Those who have political responsibility are obliged to offer sound advice to us in this state of crisis, and we must be prudent in our response to this advice.

However, we should not allow this virus to rob us of the breath of the Spirit. The Holy Father encourages us to deal with this viral threat in these encouraging words, 'with the strength of faith, the certitude of hope and the fervour of charity' (Pope Francis, March 8, 2020).

Unfortunately, the coronavirus means the need to make some drastic changes to the way we live and celebrate the mysteries of faith. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales have said that the most responsible thing for us to do, is to suspend public worship from the evening of Friday 20th March. This is an action which needs to be taken in the face of a potentially deadly virus. As you may have heard, this decision has already been made and enacted in other parts of Europe and the rest of the world. Many of our priests and faithful parishioners are over 70 and others have underlying health conditions. We have a duty of care towards them. It is an act of charity to seek their protection from this deadly thing. Of course, nothing attacks the priestly heart more than being told he is unable to serve his people and to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with them. Nothing is more painful for our faithful people, than not being able to receive the sacraments. This is a sacrifice we must reluctantly take during these weeks of a deadly epidemic. Our priests will continue to offer Mass every day, but without a public congregation. Some are able to stream their celebration of Mass, especially on Sundays. Masses and other services and devotions will be streamed from the Cathedral. I will celebrate the 11.00am Sunday Mass at the Cathedral and it will be offered for every community and individual in our Diocese.

We had hoped to be able to keep our churches open. Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament would have given much solace to thirsting souls. Since the Prime Minister's announcements on the evening of Monday, 23rd March, this is unfortunately no longer possible.

The situation is changing daily as we all seek to heed the advice of the medical and public health professionals. Again, it has to be said, we must be prudent in our response to their advice. Those responsible for advising us about liturgical matters, and especially as Holy Week and Easter approaches, will soon be able to share some guidelines with us to guide our response to this pandemic.

During these days of the Season of Lent, we have sought to join with our Saviour in His fast in the wilderness. Let's remind ourselves of the Gospel of the temptations we heard on the First Sunday of Lent. Jesus put His trust in His Father and the Word of God in the Scriptures. In Jesus' fasting from food, our Saviour learnt how to trust in God's mercy and compassionate presence. Our Lord's time in the desert echoes the earlier time that Israel spent in the Exodus journey to the Promised Land. We know how they struggled in these forty years, turning away from the Lord on occasions, entering into repentance and experiencing God's powerful forgiveness. In all of this, I love the image of God walking with His people, a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. May we know that the Lord is walking with us, His pilgrim people. Let us pray that the Lord will strengthen us all in faith and hope, and help us to see how we can live our faith and hope with fresh charity towards others.

Yours devotedly in Christ. David J Oakley, Bishop of Northampton