On the Feast of Pope St John Paul II here is a small reminder of that great Pope's visit to York on 31 May 1982. After paying tribute to our northern saints he preached a beautiful homily on Marriage and the Family, as timely now as it was then, if not more so....
Along with all churches in the Middlesbrough Diocese with a Door of Mercy we have welcomed the Lampedusa Cross for a month this year. Here at St Wilfrid's we have the cross for the whole of October. The cross is made from wood from a boat which brought migrants across the Mediterranean in very dangerous conditions. It is an invitation from Pope Francis to keep refugees and migrants in our prayers. Last Saturday we had Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for this intention. From now until the end of the month the cross will be displayed on the Sacred Heart Altar in the Baptistery together with prayer cards and the opportunity to light candles. At the end of the visit the cross will feature in the All Saints' School Mass at 9:30am on Tuesday, 1 November in York Minster.
Words of Pope Benedict XVI
Asylum seekers, who fled from persecution, violence and situations that put their life at risk, stand in need of our understanding and welcome, of respect for their human dignity and rights, as well as awareness of their duties. Their suffering pleads with individual states and the international community to adopt attitudes of reciprocal acceptance, overcoming fears and avoiding forms of discrimination, and to make provisions for concrete solidarity also through appropriate structures for hospitality and resettlement programmes. All this entails mutual help between the suffering regions and those which, already for years, have accepted a large number of fleeing people, as well as a greater sharing of responsibilities among States.
The press and the other media have an important role in making known, correctly, objectively and honestly, the situation of those who have been forced to leave their homeland and their loved ones and want to start building a new life.
Christian communities are to pay special attention to migrant workers and their families by accompanying them with prayer, solidarity and Christian charity, by enhancing what is reciprocally enriching, as well as by fostering new political, economic and social planning that promotes respect for the dignity of every human person, the safeguarding of the family, access to dignified housing, to work and to welfare.
Priests, men and women religious, lay people, and most of all young men and women are to be sensitive in offering support to their many sisters and brothers who, having fled from violence, have to face new lifestyles and the difficulty of integration. The proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ will be a source of relief, hope and “full joy”.
A Prayer of Pope Francis
Merciful God, we pray to you for all the men, women and children who have died after leaving their homelands in search of a better life. Though many of their graves bear no name, to you each one is known, loved and cherished. May we never forget them, but honour their sacrifice with deeds more than words.
We entrust to you all those who have made this journey, enduring fear, uncertainty and humiliation, in order to reach a place of safety and hope. Just as you never abandoned your Son as he was brought to a safe place by Mary and Joseph, so now be close to these, your sons and daughters, through our tenderness and protection. In caring for them may we seek a world where none are forced to leave their home and where all can live in freedom, dignity and peace.
Merciful God and Father of all, wake us from the slumber of indifference, open our eyes to their suffering, and free us from the insensitivity born of worldly comfort and self-centredness. Inspire us, as nations, communities and individuals, to see that those who come to our shores are our brothers and sisters. May we share with them the blessings we have received from your hand, and recognize that together, as one human family, we are all migrants, journeying in hope to you, our true home, where every tear will be wiped away, where we will be at peace and safe in your embrace.
From this week beginning Monday, 3 October, there will no longer be an 8am Mass at St Wilfrid's on Monday, nor any Masses at St Joseph's on Tuesday and Thursday. On Saturday the only Mass at St Joseph's will be the 5.15pm Vigil Mass of Sunday. We are sorry for any inconvenience these necessary changes will cause.
It is a privilege for the Oratory Fathers and Brothers to have been asked by Bishop Terence to have the care of St Joseph's Parish in addition to St Wilfrid's. Fr Richard has written a letter to parishioners at both parishes with some ideas about how the two parishes might work together and inviting people's comments. You can download the letter here.
Music for the 12 Noon Mass and for Benediction
Thanks to everyone who helped the York District Society of St Vincent de Paul celebrate his feast day on 27th September. We had adoration followed by Mass and a party in the Upper Room. Members came from all over the city and beyond. We also welcomed Annie from Hong Kong, a devotee of St Vincent, who just happened to be passing and who took some photos.
We were delighted to welcome Sr Ann Stafford CJ of the Bar Convent to speak after Mass about the life cause for the canonisation of the foundress of the Congregation of Jesus, Mary Ward. She encouraged us to pray for the cause. Prayer leaflets are still available at the back of the church. Sr Ann also urged us to visit the Living Heritage Project at the Bar Convent and reminded us that volunteers are always needed to welcome the many visitors who come.
The biographical details below are taken from the Living Heritage Website and can be read in full here.
Mary Ward was born in 1585 at Mulwith, near Ripon, of staunchly Catholic stock. Her two maternal uncles were Gunpowder Plotters. Mary herself possessed all the qualities of a true Yorkshire woman: courage, tenacity, deep faith, cheerfulness and a forthright common sense. Much of her childhood was spent with relatives, where her spirituality matured in these devout Catholic households.
In 1609 Mary dared to found an order of religious women modelled on the Society of Jesus, with a freedom from religious enclosure and a readiness for apostolic works which would put them at the direct service of the Church. She set up communities and schools in many cities on the European continent, and her members were sent under cover on the English Mission to support the priests.
After her many journeys and struggles in support of her Institute, Mary Ward returned to her native Yorkshire, and lived with a few of the original companions at Heworth. She died on January 30th 1645, and was buried in the churchyard at Osbaldwick where her tombstone, now in a place of honour inside the church, can still be seen.
Our next Evangelium Course begins with an introductory session on Monday, 19 September starting at 7:30pm in the Upper Room at St Wilfrid's. Refreshments are available from 7:15pm. The course is offered for anyone interested in finding out more about the Catholic Faith. It is suitable for those curious to find out about Catholicism, those who may be considering joining the Church through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) and also for Catholics who would like to learn a little more about their faith. Everyone is welcome.