Highlights of the Week

Below are a few interesting news items from this week’s Bulletin.  To download the full version of our latest Bulletin,  please go to our Bulletin pageThank you.

THOUGHT FOR FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A 

                                   RESURRECTION AND LIFE!

When Jesus called his first disciples, He said, ‘Come and see’ – see my life and discover new Life! Now shortly before His Passion, the people say to Jesus, ‘Come and See’ – not just the tomb of Lazarus, but come and see your coming death, by which we will receive your New Life!
Jesus wept at the grave, wept for the death of his friend, wept with Martha and Mary in their bereavement – and also wept for His own coming suffering and death. We need the courage to help those we love who are dying to weep, to grieve, for their own deaths. Help speak of death for that will help them come to live their death well, to welcome ‘sister death’ with faith and courage, knowing death is the friend who ushers us into the fulness of our life and the final liberation of our love.
Already we live the Resurrection and the Life, already we have ‘died with Christ that we might rise with Him’. That is why we can live with the Holy Spirit’s courage, and die with the same courage and tranquillity. Let us ‘come and see’ behold the Cross and the Tomb that holds the beloved and gaze into the mystery of our eternity, our Life!

SUSPENSION OF PUBLIC GATHERINGS FOR WORSHIP AND LITURGY The Conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, listening to the strong advice of the Government and its medical and scientific advisers, have taken certain, measures to support the efforts to limit and delay the spread of the COVID-19 for the sake of Public Health during this emergency.
[1] Mass and other services are to be celebrated privately, without a congregation. We are arranging for Sunday and weekday Mass to be live streamed on the Parish Face Book
[2] The Sacrament of Reconciliation to be celebrated by appointment
[3] All are encouraged to take part in Mass through the internet (daily Mass broadcast from St Nicks daily, except Mondays) and make a ‘spiritual communion’
[4] Hold the Sunday Holy by prayer and reflecting upon the Scriptures of the Day (made available on our Parish Website) – the Rosary or the Stations of the Cross recommended
[5] Baptisms to be deferred (except for extreme pastoral need) until Public Worship resumes, and celebrations of First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation likewise postponed.
[6] Weddings also to be postponed until gatherings are resumed: except in exceptional circumstances and with only priest, bride and groom and immediate family present.
[7] Funerals to take place only at Crematorium or graveside with immediate family, with Memorial Mass postponed until public gatherings resume. 

DAILY MASS AND SOME TIMES OF REFLECTION BROADCAST ON FACEBOOK You can see the times of live-streaming for Mass at the beginning of the Weekly Newsletter. Try to join your community in Spiritual Communion, reflecting on the Scriptures, praising God and interceding for our world in these crisis days. In these times of severely restricted movement and activity, use some of that time to deepen your faith and your understanding of the Scriptures. Resources will be posted on our Parish Website: www.tolentino.org.uk  and Mass and other prayer and reflections will be broadcast on the parish facebook page:  St Nicholas of Tolentino RC Church Bristol. Please excuse the temporary varied quality (we are using Richard’s iPhone), but we expect better broadcasting as we acquire better equipment this week. We had 650 viewings of last Sunday’s broadcast Mass and between 150 and 250 for our weekday Masses! It is gratifying that we can reach out to so many people during this time of isolation.

PARISH MINISTRY CONTINUES
[1]  The Parish Office will be open from 10am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday so that our ministry of care and support, especially for the poorest who need our Food Bank and Caritas Fund, can continue. Please phone the parish office (0117-9090419) during these times or myself at the presbytery (0117-9098810 – at any reasonable time) with your questions, concerns or need for any kind of support.
[2] The Parish Office and members of the Parish Pastoral Council will co-ordinate care and support for those who are in isolation or are vulnerable in any way. Volunteers to help from those able to do so  are very welcome. We must care for one another as well as pray for each other.
[3] Apologies, but a word about Parish Finance! We are anticipating a marked increase of calls on our Caritas Fund and Foodbank as the health crisis increases and many more people will find themselves with little or no income. We are committed to meet this need as far as we possibly can – as Pope Francis says ‘we are the Church of the Poor, the Church for the Poor’. But we need your continued help and generosity! We are dependent upon our weekly collections but if no Public Mass there is problem! We ask you to continue your weekly offering: either by making a standing order to the parish account or filling in the Diocesan Standing Order and Gift Aid Form (email for details); or by giving you money offering  and donations to the Food Bank to the Parish Office during Office hours.
[4] Finally, this is a Lent like no other – a call to walk with Jesus in the wilderness and in the emptiness and loss of the desert of this crisis to grow in love and deeper faith. This is a call to prayer and care to a new sacrificial level. May the Holy Spirit lead us and empower our prayer and care for one another.

CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC – A CALL TO PRAYER AND CARE Please take a copy of the prayers issues by our Bishops and use it daily in your own homes – support the sick, all medical staff caring for them, those caring in our nursing and elderly people’s homes and countries without our sophisticated health service. Let us all care for the vulnerable in our neighbourhoods, especially those who are self-isolating? Prayer and Care.

40th ANNIVERSARY OF ST OSCAR ROMERO’S MARTYRDOM   We were unable to broadcast this very special Mass last Tuesday, so we will celebrate the Mass of St Oscar Romero this coming Tuesday 31st March at 6.00pm – please join us. On the 24th March, eve of the Feast of the Annunciation (celebrating the Word made Flesh in the womb of Mary), Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot by a government death squad while he was celebrating Mass. Immediately hailed by his stricken people (and all the poor of Latin America) as a Saint and Martyr, he was recognised as such and canonised by Pope Francis in 2018. This Prophet of the Poor and tireless servant of Peace and Liberation is undoubtedly the Patron Saint of the Church’s core Mission of promoting Justice, Peace and Freedom and calls us all to live with courage God’s Option for the Poor..

FOODBANK – URGENT REQUEST Thank you for such consistent support – our parish foodbank (and the Parish Office Team who service all who come in need) does so much good, helping people who are often desperate and under-nourished. We need urgently jars of coffee, kilo bags of sugar, tins of meat and fish (as many as possible), long-life milk, tins of vegetables, 1 litre bottles of cooking oil, tins of rice pudding and fruit, cereals. Thank you!

CAFOD LENTEN FAST DAY Please support CAFOD’s work in solidarity and sacred communion with the hungry of the world by making every Friday in Lent a CAFOD Fast Day; bring more justice & equality to our world!  Place your contributions in the CAFOD envelopes, and bring them to the Parish Office or the Presbytery letter box along with your normal parish offering. Thanks!

BAPTISM POSTPONED   Sadly, we will not be able to celebrate Baptism at Easter and so the parents preparation sessions are also postponed until Public worship and gatherings are resumed.

COMBATTING HATE CRIME AND HATE SPEECH  On this Racial Justice Sunday it is important that we address issues of Hate Crime and Hate Speech. It is so easy to use abusive and denigrating language to individuals or about groups of people, but as Christians we are to treat every human person as our sister of brother, with dignity and respect. Holocaust and Genocide begin with hate speech, dehumanising language that then escalates into physical violence and ultimately genocide. Whether it is about race, religion, tribe, sexuality, mental illness or disability it must be challenged everywhere especially in our Catholic communities

INVITE TO SHARE THE ‘PEACE ROSE PROJECT’    Parishioners, family and friends are invited to join in a woolly venture, a Peace Rose Project. The idea is to crochet (or knit) roses for an exhibition in 2021. We are interested in seeing if we can use the project to make grassroots connections between St Nicks parishioners and people in other faith and non- faith groups by inviting them to join with us. We hope it will be an opportunity for some relaxed,  peaceful and fun creativity.   Crochet lessons are available for those who would like to learn – and the patterns we are using are very simple and suitable for beginners. Anyone interested please speak to  Eva Achoche (07475654032) or Maggie Mathews (07714 701218) or leave your contact details on the sheet on the notice board by the church doors.

YOGA FOR ALL AGES Cathie Waithe is offering Yoga classes in the Assisi Centre, each Friday 10.30-11.30am in the Assisi Centre. Yoga – its discipline and practice can enable us to become stronger in both mind and body. Young or old – this is for you! These classes are suitable for those new to Yoga as well as those more experienced. Fee: £6.00, £3.00 (concessionary) (less or free to anyone who cannot afford the fee). Please see Cathy, or just turn up! Profits donated to the parish 170 Project.

OUR PARISH COVENANT WITH THE POOR – OUR FOOD BANK AND ‘CARITAS FUND’ We are a parish to be ‘in covenant with the poor’. This is expressed now very especially the Borderlands Charity and our Caritas Fund and Food Bank helping those being punished by government decreed destitution, and benefit cuts. Our Monthly Covenant with the Poor (First Sunday of the month) helps us be ‘Good News to the Poor’. Thank you. Please continue to support with money (Caritas Fund) and gifts of non-perishable food and appropriate toiletries (Food Bank). At the moment we are in need of :  cereals, tins of meat and fish (esp tuna), tins and packets of soup, tinned vegetables (eg peas, carrots, potatoes etc) and chopped tomatoes, 1 kilo bags of sugar, small/medium jars of coffee and hot chocolate, tea bags, tins of fruit and packets of biscuits and 1 litre bottles of cooking oil etc etc. MANY THANKS! 

CALL TO ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
The teenager Greta Thunberg said: “It is still not too late to act. It will take a far-reaching vision, it will take courage, it will take fierce, fierce determination to act now, to lay the foundations where we may not know all the details about how to shape the ceiling. In other words, it will take cathedral thinking. I ask you to please wake up and make change possible.”
David Attenborough said “ We need to fall in love again with the earth”
Pope Francis said “ God of Love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth” and “teach us to care for our common home.”
Our children and young people took to the streets of Bristol to demonstrate and challenge our generation to not just speak, BUT ALSO TO ACT – DECISIVELY – NOW!

ARE YOU STRUGGLING AFTER AN ABORTION EXPERIENCE?  Do you know where to turn – who could help you? I hope as a parish community we are open and caring and healing in a way that you could entrust your pain to us. But also (and very importantly) there is an organisation that could help you – British Victims of Abortion. Call them on their helpline 0845-603-8501 between 7pm and 10pm seven evenings a week.