News for Sunday 29th March.

This week has been hard for everyone I think. The reality of the situation is finally sinking in and our day-to-day lives have been altered beyond recognition. There is nobody that this evil virus does not touch. But, amongst the darkness is great hope, there is great love and there is great joy.

We have put together a little care package for you all this week and those have started to arrive – it contains a short letter from Fr. Edward, a guide on how to pray the rosary, some prayers from The Society & The Church Union and the re-dedication of England as the Dowry of Mary prayers. I’ve put a link to each of those things at the bottom of this email so you can download them if you’d like to share them with others. We also put a little rosary into each of the envelopes – a small gift which we hope will bring you comfort.

The rosary is one of the greatest and most powerful prayers in the history of Christianity. It reaches out beyond anything we understand and calls on Our Mother to take us to Her Son. So when, inevitably in the coming weeks and months you feel the darkness around you, reach for that rosary and pray the simple prayer:

Hail Mary, 
Full of Grace, 
The Lord is with thee. 
Blessed art thou among women, 
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus. 
Holy Mary, 
Mother of God, 
pray for us sinners now, 
and at the hour of our death.

If you’ve not received a care package, and you’d like one sent out, contact us directly with your address and we’ll arrange it. I’m aware that we also have Sunday Missals to come out and I’m sorry we didn’t get those out in time for today – we’ll get them delivered this week ready for Palm Sunday next week.

The highlight of the week was the amazing blessing and sermon given by Pope Francis on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica on Friday. He prayed for the end of this virus and gave each of us a blessing as we knelt in front of our televisions and radios. You can read the full sermon, his prayers, and watch the whole video on the Vatican News website.

More mundanely we received a second letter from the Archbishops this week reiterating that our churches must remain closed. This is very sensible advice indeed and we must follow it – no sneaking in when nobody is looking! This advice also applies to clergy – even barring us entering the church when empty to pray or offer the mass alone. However, the London College of Bishops have issued permission to those Priests who live within the ‘curtilage’ of their church to enter and offer the mass, daily prayers and to stream these services (following the Government’s advice). Practically this means that Fr. Edward will now be offering Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Daily Mass and Holy Hour live streamed on the live-webcam page from church and I will be offering them privately at home – as indeed you are.

Keeping in touch remains vital in these days. If you know somebody who needs a phone call – call them. If you know somebody who is lonely and would appreciate a call from Fr. Edward or myself – let us know. If you know somebody who may enjoy these emails get them to sign up on the webpage. Make sure you’re all signed up to our Facebook Page (where we’re experimenting with Live Streams and other things) and if you’re on Twitter make sure you follow our account. If you’re on WhatsApp and want to join the St. Mary’s Group click this link on your mobile phone and you’ll be added automatically.  

If you missed today’s mass for Lent V with Fr. Edward it is available to watch again on catch-up on our live-webcam page. 

Most of all, know that you are constantly in our prayers. That we continue to offer the mass for you and continue to hold you all close to our hearts and to the hearts of Jesus and his mother Mary. 

With all my love & prayer,

Fr. Matthew