Weekly News & Pew Sheet for 5th April

This is all starting to feel like normal behaviour. We stay at home, we watch the news, we tune into Fr. Edward at the altar and we pray with him. We call our friends; we send emails or write letters and we wonder when this will all end. 
In many ways we are in exile – just as the people of Israel were after they left Egypt. We – like them – stand at the flaps of our tent and watch as Moses, and then Aaron go into the Tent of Meeting to offer prayers on our behalf. We long to enter with them, but we know that when they leave the tent we will be blessed, and the glory of the Lord will appear to us. 
It is much the same when Fr. Edward goes to church, he enters and says mass for us, he prays for us in that special place and when he leaves the glory of the Lord appears for us all and the best thing is, we can watch from home and join him in those prayers. 
The most important thing in exile is to not lose hope, or to create new idols. We must remain faithful and we do that through reading – or listening – to the bible every day. In an earlier email I sent you details of the new Dwell Bible App which you can have for free and which allows you to listen to scripture each day – just click here to register (free) and download the app.
We must also pray each day. We may not be able to use our normal pattern of prayers but each of you now has a rosary that you can pray with and each of you has a phone. Perhaps you can ring a dear friend and pray the rosary together. It’s one of the most powerful prayers in the history of Christianity and takes us to the feet of Jesus each and every time. Over Holy Week I am filming a series of videos on the rosary which you will be able to download and pray with at home.
So how then, do we start to understand Holy Week when all our usual prompts and celebrations are taken away from us? How do we start to connect with Jesus over Easter without flowers, without singing together, without holding hands and shouting for joy? We, just as Christ did, will need to go through the darkness in order to see the light.
We must now enter Holy Week on Palm Sunday and travel with Jesus as He enters, and leaves Jerusalem celebrated as a King. When He is betrayed and arrested. When He is condemned, stripped and forced to carry his own cross. When He is nailed to it and left to die. When He is placed in the tomb. When He is absent on Holy Saturday and when He is with us again on Easter Sunday!
We must share that journey in a way we never have before. In our own homes, separated and lonely. For the first time perhaps, we may understand a little more of the loneliness He must have felt as he walked that final walk. The confusion, disappointment and grief of the disciples as they met in the upper room. For the first time we may feel it in our stomachs in a way we never have before – and perhaps that’s not a bad thing. Perhaps in that physical and emotional pain we may find a new way of loving Jesus… most certainly we will feel the celebration of Easter Sunday in a new way. 
We, like so many of the early Christians will celebrate with our families, or on our own, but knowing – with absolute certainty – that we are loved beyond anything we can possibly understand – that whilst we may be physically on our own – we are united with every Christian in the world, not just now, but through all time because He died for us and HE ROSE AGAIN!
And so will we. We will meet again soon. These restrictions will come to an end and there will be a party to end all parties! 
Have a blessed Holy Week. Know that we continue to pray for you and offer mass for you all every single day. Know that if you need us, we are there for you – any time, day or night. 

I am on 020 3882 0553 /  father@matthewcashmore.com and Fr. Edward is on 07500 557953 /  fr@fredward.org.uk 

Finally we have sent out the Holy Week liturgies to everyone on the Electoral Roll along with blessed palm crosses. If you’d like one of these and you’re not on the Electoral Roll let us know and we’ll post a set out to you.
With all my love & prayer,

Fr. Matthew