It has been a strange few weeks. We have been moving out of the restrictions slowly at Church and I think things have gone reasonably well. There is still some space for those who wish to social distance, but the body of the Church is now back to normal use. Durning the week, numbers have gone down as people become busier with other things. Sundays we are seeing new faces – but still have plenty of space…
It is going to take a while for us to get used to being around one another again – let’s give it some time – and some effort. Will try another experiment next week. We will be celebrating the Requiem for Joan Thomas, and we are going to try singing (with masks) and see if this is an improvement on humming (I love the humming).
September and October will see some more developments. We will have all our weekday Masses both live and online. When I am not around I am re-introducing Eucharistic Services led by our Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.
As many of you are aware, in October there are two key moments for me. Firstly, I will be celebrating my Silver Jubilee of Ordination. Celebrating in the Parish on Sunday 3rd October, also with a Mass on the day of the Jubilee in the Church I was ordained, Mount Carmel, Blackley. To round things up, there is a celebration at the Shrine on the 16th October. Details will be circulated in due course. Thanks for all the well-wishes and greetings.
Secondly, I am heading back to University. I begin a course in Clinical Counselling in October. It is a part-time course that does not mean I will be leaving St Vincent’s. It does, however, mean I will need to make a few adjustments, one of which is that there will be no services from October on a Wednesday. Keep your eye on the Newsletter and on our Website.
As we move forward, we do so in faith. Let’s keep on asking for guidance from God. I am sure you have got many ideas moving forward – but let’s make sure we take time to stop and listen…
As we move out of lockdown, we are looking to make sure we do not lose the many people who have been helping us out through lockdown. We have learnt a lot about communication and building teams to look after the different aspects of our community life. Of course, we have our Masses and services, but our Church is about so much more.
Looking at the pandemic, we were a lifeline to many. If I think of those who were isolated or sick. If I think of the grieving. If I think of those who had no one to help, A big lesson learnt from the pandemic – community is important. I am looking at our young people and wondering how we can support their journey. I am thinking of our knowledge of our faith and how that can grow.
Over the last couple of weeks, people have been returning to the Hall, including our Dramatics Society as well as our coffee mornings. Soon fish and chips will be on the menu. Our volunteers are still taking out newsletters and info to those who don’t have access to the internet.
A key element of sustaining our community in the long term is enabling the community to manage itself and grow. We have worked on the traditional model of the priest being available at the heart of the community. Decisions can be made quickly, and it is a model that makes things “easy” (depending on who the priest is of course). But as we know, both from a theological and a practical point of view – the Parish is much more than the priest!
There is a lot to be done – and the only way we can build a self-sustaining community is if we have enough people to make things not only work – but thrive. People can be confident that when they volunteer, they can make a difference. It is not enough just to turn up on Sunday – it is not enough just to say “give me a call if you need anything” – get involved. I am asking everyone to give one hour of their time to our community each week…
Over the coming weeks, there will be more info on how to get involved…
Over the past couple of years, I have really enjoyed being able to sit out in the garden when the weather allows. Last year at the beginning of the first lockdown this was a real blessing (I really feel for those who don’t have an outdoor space to call their own and use in these circumstances). This year is a little different – the weather has not been brilliant till the last couple of weeks – on the other hand work had been done to “upgrade” the space.
There is one issue though – the noise from Newbrook Road – and no – I don’t mean the neighbours – but the cars and lorries that are constantly on the move both on Newbrook Road and the motorway when the wind is blowing in the right direction. You will know that when you come to Church, there is rarely a service goes by when you don’t have at least one siren heading up or down the road.
I found a good solution for concentrating on the work I was doing whilst out – noise-cancelling headphones. A really great asset that does not shut the world out completely – but tones down everything around me so that I can actually focus on what I am doing. It can be a bit of a problem when someone walks up to me in the garden and I haven’t noticed them….
As the world opens up – with all the changes, challenges, and news reports in between. It’s good to think of how we can reduce the noise around and about us. Not shutting out the world – but reducing the noise so that we can get on with what we are called to do – love God and love our neighbour…
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