2nd SUNDAY OF EASTER ‘LOW SUNDAY’

Thomas remained in doubt until he returned to the community of faith:  for the unity of all God’s Church,  that together we will offer to an unbelieving world a convincing sign of faith, proclaiming the Risen Lord of the Church

                            [reader]          JESUS IS RISEN…
                            [response:]   HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Thomas saw and he believed:  for a world that cannot believe because they cannot see;  for a world that cannot believe because they cannot hope;  for a world that cannot believe because they cannot trust – that Christians everywhere and in our Parish will draw many to a renewed faith in the Risen Christ

                            [reader]          JESUS IS RISEN…
                            [response:]   HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Jesus’ wounds were healing for broken disciples:  may we have the courage to face our own brokenness,  walk with others in their brokenness with an unconditional love,  and allow miracles of healing to flow from our community: we pray especially for our refugee and LBGT friends, that the pain of rejection and judgement may be soon healed

                            [reader]          JESUS IS RISEN…
                            [response:]   HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Jesus sent his disciples to touch the wounds of the world, forgiving and reconciling:  that the Church of God will challenge the madness of knife and gun crimes in our cities and towns; will challenge war and terrorism, creating peace and miracles of new beginnings, especially in Ukraine, Ethiopia and Tigray, throughout the Middle East and conflict torn parts of Africa; for all communities of Reconciliation – Corrymeela in Northern Ireland; Taizé in France; Pax Christi throughout the world; may we all be living parables of reconciliation

                            [reader]          JESUS IS RISEN…
                            [response:]   HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Jesus speaks the Easter ‘Peace’:  may we always serve peace in our fractured world:  serve healing for every distressed heart and wounded mind especially those traumatised by refugee journeys; for peace, harmony and justice in the streets and homes of our City of Bristol

                            [reader]          JESUS IS RISEN…
                            [response:]   HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Jesus comes among them and heals:  for the sick of body and mind, and for all who are darkened by depression; we pray in particular for all suffering the trauma and scars of war’s brutality; and for …
May Risen Lord share His Resurrection with all who have died recently, especially…, the victims of Covid-19 and all killed in war and conflict
and for all whose anniversaries are at this time: … Prince Philip, Fr Hans Kung

                            [reader]          JESUS IS RISEN…
                            [response:]   HE IS TRULY RISEN!

Mary,  sharing most fully the Resurrection of Jesus, pray with us and for us…
HAIL MARY…

Let us pray in a moment of the silence of peace…

3rd SUNDAY OF EASTER

PRIEST:  There are many ways of meeting the Risen Christ:  one of the most life-giving encounters is to touch the world in mission.  Today,  we hear how Jesus re-affirms the apostles in their mission, after their experience of failure around the Calvary event.  Strengthened and healed,  we then hear how they find new courage in obeying God’s voice rather than human voices in bearing witness to Jesus. He challenges us with his repeated question to Peter:  ‘do you love me…?’  Do we love him enough to give ourselves to his world and its needs in the mission of the Resurrection?

READER:         When we put obedience to human voices before obedience to God;
                               when we want human acceptance and respect
                                more than Gospel integrity…

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY…

When we do not accept one another’s failures;
                               when we do not give each other a second chance;
                               when we do not affirm each other in our ministries

                                              CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

When our love for the Lord is not enough to give us new priorities;
                               not strong enough to change the way
                               we use our time and energy to serve his world

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:       May the Lord of mercy bring us to new beginnings;
                        may our Redeeming Jesus heal our every failure;
                        may the Spirit of divine love empower us to be moments
                        of Resurrection for our world
                        so that God might bring us all to everlasting life…

                                                AMEN!

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER ‘LOW SUNDAY’

PRIEST:  There are many ways of meeting the Risen Christ:  one of the most life-giving encounters is to touch the world in mission.  Today,  we hear how Jesus re-affirms the apostles in their mission, after their experience of failure around the Calvary event.  Strengthened and healed,  we then hear how they find new courage in obeying God’s voice rather than human voices in bearing witness to Jesus. He challenges us with his repeated question to Peter:  ‘do you love me…?’  Do we love him enough to give ourselves to his world and its needs in the mission of the Resurrection?

READER:         When we put obedience to human voices before obedience to God;
                              when we want human acceptance and respect
                              more than Gospel integrity…

                                                LORD HAVE MERCY…

When we do not accept one another’s failures;
                             when we do not give each other a second chance;
                             when we do not affirm each other in our ministries

                                                CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

When our love for the Lord is not enough to give us new priorities;
                             not strong enough to change the way
                             we use our time and energy to serve his world

                                                LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:        May the Lord of mercy bring us to new beginnings;
                          may our Redeeming Jesus heal our every failure;
                          may the Spirit of divine love empower us to be moments
                         of Resurrection for our world
                         so that God might bring us all to everlasting life…

                                                  AMEN!

GOOD FRIDAY REFLECTION – WHERE JESUS IS CRUCIFIED TODAY!

1.   Jesus is being crucified today when schools and hospitals are targeted, when communities are victims of barbaric bombing and shelling, gas and chemical attacks; when brutal war is waged in Ukraine, Syria and Yemen, in Cameroon and Mali; when in the land of His birth Palestinian rights to freedom and a homeland are violently repressed and walls of division are built between between Palestinian and Israeli.

2.   Jesus is being crucified today when we refuse to change our life-style but continue to abuse our beautiful planet, exploiting the earth rather than living in joyful communion with creation; when 35 million people are on the verge of famine because of climate change, war and corruption and 78 million sisters and brothers are forced to flee their homeland and live as refugees.

3.   Jesus is being crucified today as millions still suffer with the Coronavirus, when poor countries with inadequate health systems can do little to care for the sick or combat the pandemic; when vaccines are not shared with poorer countries, when millions are locked in their homes and fear being infected; when selfishness ignores the need to act safely or be vaccinated in order to protect the whole community. 

4. Jesus is being crucified today when our young people have no hope, no jobs and turn to drugs and alcohol; when addiction drives young and old into the dark world of crime and violence; when the poor of our nation are the greatest victims pf soaring inflation and growing poverty with little or no help from government, as benefits are cut for the poorest and most vulnerable, and essential social services are reduced.

5.   Jesus is being crucified today when, like Jesus, women and men are wrongfully imprisoned; when others are tortured for their religious beliefs or political aspirations; and when developed nations like the United States and China keep thousands on death-row awaiting execution, and when our own nation imprisons in our Detention Centres and now threatens to ‘export like cattle’ the innocent and vulnerable who seek safe asylum among us to Rwanda.

6.  Jesus is being crucified today whenever survivors are haunted by memories of the Holocaust and Genocides in Rwanda, the Darfur, Serbia, Cambodia, China, and Myanmar, knowing this evil continues today in Ukraine; and minds and hearts are scarred as well as their bodies; when millions die unnoticed in the Congo because we want their minerals for our computers, when both Moslems and Christians live in fear of murder and abduction by extremist groups.

7.   Jesus is being crucified today when children and the vulnerable are hurt or abused, especially by members of the Church; when children are deprived of the love they need to grow whole and happy; when adults do not act to protect them from all harm; when people live for decades with inner pain because of past abuse.

8.  Jesus is being crucified today when children are raised in a culture of violence, learning to be violent and aggressive to each other; when children and young people are perpetrators and victims of knife crime on our streets; when they are manipulated into ‘County Lines’ to deal drugs or used as cheap labour or child soldiers, or for sexual exploitation; when the rights of child refugees are not recognised and respected.

9.   Jesus is being crucified today when LBGT+ people are not embraced with love by the Church or are discriminated against and their lives threatened around the world – and blasphemously in the name of God!

10.   Jesus is being crucified today when women and men are abused, trafficked and used for sex or slave labour; when women live in fear of sexual harassment and violence , when their voices are not heard and their gifts not valued, when they are refused equality and dignity,  whether in marriage,  in society or in the Church.

11.  Jesus is being crucified today when parents grieve the loss of their child, when children die in the womb for whatever reason, when hopes for the future lie shattered through separation or bereavement; when in a wealthy country like ours we cannot value and care adequately for our elderly, and the homeless are given no hope of proper shelter and housing in which to build their lives and raise their families with dignity.

  1.     Jesus is crucified today when peaceful change is violently repressed by brutal regimes using terror and massacre as in Hong Kong and Myanmar, and when refugees and asylum-seekers are harshly treated by host countries like our own, detained without trial while innocent of any crime, or perish in the waters of the Mediterranean or the English Channel and crossing mountain ranges or locked out of freedom by razor-wire border fences; when nations build walls of hostility rather than bridges of welcome and drive refugees into the hands of human traffickers and modern slavers; when racism goes unchallenged and the victims of racial violence go unheeded.

PASSION (PALM) SUNDAY YEAR C

May the Church share the humility of our Servant-King, who comes to His world not with the force of power but with the power of love, and so serve the world in its struggles with a humble compassion: we pray both wisdom and courage for Pope Francis as he leads the Church in Reform and renewal through the Global Synod

               [Reader:]               COME CRUCIFIED LORD
               [response:]          GIVE US LIFE!

For the unity of the whole Church gathered at the foot of the Cross this week:  that all Christians in our diverse traditions may move from arrogance to humility, from dogmatism to openness, from division to communion – we pray especially for unity in the service of peace among our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters

               [Reader:]               COME CRUCIFIED LORD
               [response:]          GIVE US LIFE!

For all who hold authority and government in both Church and State, that they may serve the peace of the world, the dignity of every human person, the justice and protection of the innocent and vulnerable, especially refugees and those seeking safe asylum and all victims of human trafficking and modern slavery: we pray with urgency for an end to the brutal war in  Ukraine

               [Reader:]               COME CRUCIFIED LORD
               [response:]          GIVE US LIFE!

We pray for all afflicted with increasing poverty in our rich city and society, that the cries and needs of the poor will be heard and acted upon by the rich and powerful

               [Reader:]               COME CRUCIFIED LORD
               [response:]          GIVE US LIFE!

For all prisoners: that those held unjustly be released soon; that those rightfully convicted be held in conditions worthy of children of God; that our penal system be reformed to serve rehabilitation more than punishment: we pray for all prison chaplains at this time

               [Reader:]               COME CRUCIFIED LORD
               [response:]          GIVE US LIFE!

That this Holy Week may see us renew our commitment to Jesus Christ, to his mission of love, mercy and peace in the world;  for the Church’s elected catechumens, especially Neil and Joanna; that those who have given up their faith may hear again the Good News and return to Christ;  that those who have never believed may find New Life in Christ’s Crucified Love

               [Reader:]               COME CRUCIFIED LORD
               [response:]          GIVE US LIFE!

That the wounds of Christ may be healing for those addicted to drugs and alcohol, and for the sick of body and mind:   we pray especially for those suffering from Covid-19 and for all our health and care workers serving them and for those injured in mind and body in Ukraine;
that the death of Christ will bring eternal life to Joseph Duffy and all who have died recently, especially both Russian and Ukrainian victims of war’s inhumanity in Ukraine;
for all whose anniversaries are at this time:

               [Reader:]               COME CRUCIFIED LORD
               [response:]          GIVE US LIFE!

Let us stand with Mary, before the Cross of a suffering world, and pray in particular for filled with fear because of Coronavirus…
                                                 HAIL MARY…

Let us be still before our Crucified God…

Fifth Sunday in Lent (Cycle A)

PRIEST:     In just two weeks time we shall celebrate the incomparable joy of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus foreshadows his own resurrection by bringing his friend Lazarus from the tomb into life. He reveals to all that he is victorious over death itself.  But the greatest victory Jesus wins is over the death that is sin, which distorts and wounds our world with its oppressive structures, dehumanises our sisters and brothers, destroys our people with war and abuses our beautiful planet. There is so much to ‘unbind and set free’! Let us repent, and invite Jesus to rise victorious over sin and oppression within us, unbinding us, liberating us and sending us to heal and set free in the power of His Love.

READER:       For not setting free those trapped in the tombs
of war and violence, poverty, oppression and modern slavery;
                             for not loving enough to free people from loneliness & depression

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY …

When we bind each other by our criticism and condemnation,
our discriminations and injustices;
                              for entombing others in our un-forgiveness and harshness

                                            CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

Because you call our name and draw us out of death and sin
                              into life, freedom, wholeness, holiness and humanity

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:     You are a God of Life, not of death:
                       may your mercy unbind us and heal us,
                       your word call us into life and reconciliation,
                       and your forgiveness lead us to perfect freedom,
                       drawing us and all creation to everlasting life…

                                  AMEN!

Fifth Sunday of lent (Cycle A)

For our Universal Pastor, Pope Francis, that God will gift him with strength, wisdom and courage as he serves to unbind the Church from all dysfunction and disunity,  leading us  through the Global Synod along the paths of reform and renewal and inspiring us for mission; that we might proclaim Life to a world seeking to discover how to live with renewed humanity: 

                    [READER]          UNBIND US,  LORD…
                    [response:]         SET US FREE!

For a world held bound by poverty, drugs, alcohol, injustice and exploitation; for a world imprisoned in cycles of war, violence and the lust for power that leads to aggression; for a world struggling to be free to live in harmony with creation and in peace with each other: that we may have the courage to be prophets of the Justice and Peace of Christ – we pray especially for the people of Ukraine and those Russians who oppose the war

                    [READER]          UNBIND US,  LORD…
                    [response:]         SET US FREE!

For all held captive and bound by depression and their wounded past, that they experience healing’s freedom; for all who care for or counsel the depressed and emotionally wounded, that wise and compassionate listening might set free from inner darkness; for the healing of all scarred by memories of terror in the countries from which they have fled

                    [READER]          UNBIND US,  LORD…
                    [response:]         SET US FREE!

For all bound up and entombed in poverty and modern forms of slavery, that they will know their dignity; that in the light of the global Coronavirus pandemic, leaders of nations and economies will work together to create greater equality of health care and vaccine provision in the developing nations; for all suffering from famine, racism and class inequality,  and for those enduring life in the world’s refugee camps

                    [READER]          UNBIND US,  LORD…
                    [response:]         SET US FREE!

For those who have neglected their life of faith or been hurt and alienated by the Church, that they might hear and answer the call of Jesus to return to closeness with God;  that in this coming Holy Week many will embrace the Christ who has died for love of them

                    [READER]          UNBIND US,  LORD…
                    [response:]         SET US FREE!

For all health care workers, therapists, counsellors and psychiatric practitioners; for all Christian communities that we will embrace the call to be ’God’s field hospital’, safe places of welcome, listening and caring

                    [READER]          UNBIND US,  LORD…
                    [response:]         SET US FREE!

That the sick be unbound from their suffering by the healing voice of Christ: …;
that the dead may be unbound for eternal glory, in particular … and those killed both Ukrainian and Russian in the brutality of war
and those whose anniversaries are at this time: …

                    [READER]          UNBIND US,  LORD…
                    [response:]         SET US FREE!

Mary, Prophet of the Poor, help us unbind the world of injustice and pray with us for our Elected Catechumens, children and families preparing for Easter Baptism    

HAIL MARY…       

Let us pray for other needs including our new catechumens in a moment of silence…

Consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – Prayer for Peace

O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, in this time of trial we turn to you. As our Mother, you love us and know us: no concern of our hearts is hidden from you. Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence! You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Yet we have strayed from that path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars. We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young. We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns. We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons. We stopped being our neighbour’s keepers and stewards of our common home. We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters. We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves. Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord!

Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life. He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity. By God’s gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.

We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart. We are your beloved children. In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion. At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort. Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?” You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times. In you we place our trust. We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid.

That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs. To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3). Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded. We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace. We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness. How greatly we need your maternal help!

Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.

Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.

Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths of reconciliation.

Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world.

Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness.

Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.

Queen of the Rosary, make us realise our need to pray and to love.

Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.

Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.

O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts. May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew. Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace. May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs. May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land. May your Sorrowful Heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.

Holy Mother of God, as you stood beneath the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: “Behold your son” (Jn 19:26). In this way he entrusted each of us to you. To the disciple, and to each of us, he said: “Behold, your Mother” (v. 27). Mother Mary, we now desire to welcome you into our lives and our history. At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you beneath the cross, needing to entrust itself to you and, through you, to consecrate itself to Christ. The people of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, now turn to you, even as your heart beats with compassion for them and for all those peoples decimated by war, hunger, injustice and poverty.

Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world. The “Fiat” that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more. To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world. Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days. Our Lady of the “Fiat”, on whom the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God. May you, our “living fountain of hope”, water the dryness of our hearts. In your womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion. You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. Amen.

Fourth Sunday in Lent

PRIEST:   Today we rejoice:  it is ‘Laetare Sunday’ – a day to celebrate that the call to Lenten conversion is a call to a deeper joy. We hear the Gospel of the healing of the blind man at the pool of Siloam. Our deepest joy is to grow into Christ; to reflect his light onto our tragically war-torn, poverty-stricken and Covid-afflicted world; to embrace His world with a love that will heal humanity’s blindness to injustice and oppression.  That today is also ‘Mothering Sunday’ gives us added reason to rejoice as we thank God for the gift of the mothers who have given us life and love. But let us not forget the millions of mothers and children fleeing to safety in Ukraine and in other theatres of war. Today we need to ask ourselves – What and who are we blind to? Let us ask forgiveness for so many refusals to recognise the depth of God’s love for us and for every human person…

READER:     When we refuse to see the evil of war
                          when we will not see the suffering or joy of those around us;
when we have closed our eyes and hearts to another’s need
                          for friendship and caring …

                                           LORD HAVE MERCY…

For ignoring the injustices in our world or in our own hearts;
when we take for granted the love of our mothers and families
and fail to give thanks –
                          when we do not tell those to whom we are close that we love them …

                                           CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

When we will not see and trust in God’s deep love for us;
                           when pain or crisis makes us blind to the God who holds us,
to friends who care for us …

                                           LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:      May the God of joy set us free with loving mercy;
                        may Jesus our brother heal us of wilful blindness to love;
                        may the Holy Spirit wash us clean in the pool of God’s compassion  and forgiveness;
                        and bring us all to everlasting life…

                                                 AMEN!

Fourth Sunday in Lent (Cycle A)

That God’s People will reject every darkness and choose the Light of Christ, work for peace and free our world of injustice, discrimination and poverty so that all can live together in joy, freedom and equality

[Reader]            SHINE ON US,  LORD…
             [response]         WITH THE LIGHT OF YOUR LOVE

Before the dark horror of war and violence in Ukraine, Syria and Yemen, before the harsh darkness of the millions in refugee camps yearning for freedom, peace and a place to belong: we stand with their afflicted peoples; we pray the light of peace to come and never be extinguished;

[Reader]            SHINE ON US,  LORD…
             [response]         WITH THE LIGHT OF YOUR LOVE

We pray for all the Church’s catechumens as they journey towards the Light of Christ in Easter Sacraments; for our children journeying towards Jesus’ love in Baptism, Eucharist and Reconciliation: may they each know God’s blessing and may the joy of following Christ touch their hearts

[Reader]            SHINE ON US,  LORD…
             [response]         WITH THE LIGHT OF YOUR LOVE

We pray for all who are suffering from the effects of Global Warming: rising oceans, more extreme weather conditions and pollution of the oceans – may we see the light and change our life-styles so as to heal our planet for future generations; we pray especially on this Mothers’ Day for all mothers who have to watch their children suffer or die of famine and preventable disease, especially in Afghanistan and the Yemen

[Reader]            SHINE ON US,  LORD…
             [response]         WITH THE LIGHT OF YOUR LOVE

We pray for our mothers on this Mothering Sunday, thanking them for choosing to love us; we pray for mothers who know the sorrow of bereavement or separation, especially those mothers who are forcibly separated from their children because of having to seek safe refuge in a foreign land;  for single mothers as they seek to give all the love needed by their children; and for children who do not experience a mother’s love; for all women whose yearnings for a child have not yet been fulfilled

[Reader]            SHINE ON US,  LORD…
             [response]         WITH THE LIGHT OF YOUR LOVE

For all LGBTQ+ people and all young people of the Church that they will speak their voice, their hopes and dreams, and so build a Church where they can belong and flourish, and so use their gifts, building a Church that will respond creatively to their yearnings and challenges  

[Reader]            SHINE ON US,  LORD…
             [response]         WITH THE LIGHT OF YOUR LOVE

For healing for all afflicted with blindness; for light for all trapped in the darkness of depression; for the sick, specially all wounded in body or mind because of discrimination and rejection of their identity; we pray also for…
For all who have died recently, especially for … and all killed in the Ukraine war, both Ukrainian and Russian
and all whose anniversaries are at this time

[Reader]            SHINE ON US,  LORD…
             [response]         WITH THE LIGHT OF YOUR LOVE

Mary,  bring the light of Christ’s love to all mothers and guide the families preparing for a child’s baptism this Easter…
HAIL MARY…

Let us pray in a moment of silence…