The Rosary is such a rich prayer, so full of meaning and variety. In the mysteries themselves we can recall to mind the great events of salvation. In the Hail Mary we are reminded of the moment the Word became flesh. We can also commend ourselves in our weakness and vulnerability to the intercession of our Blessed Lady. In the Glory be we praise the Blessed Trinity and in the Our Father we say the prayer that Our Saviour taught us himself. These are just some of the many reasons that I commend and encourage the Rosary on the Coast in the hope that many people from this diocese of Middlesbrough will join with their brothers and sisters throughout the British Isles in asking the intercession of our Blessed Lady for the grace to become once again her dowry, for the peace of our country and respect for life.
There will be a plant sale in the yard on Saturday, 14 April from 10 am. And the Rectory garden will be open from noon for the spring flowers. Plants will be for sale, and there will be light refreshments.
Press reports over the Easter period suggested that the teaching of the Catholic Church on the Last Things may have changed. This is impossible of course. It was strongly denied by the Holy See. But it seems a good opportunity to remind ourselves of a recent restatement of the authentic teaching of the Church in Pope Benedict's Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi published in November 2007. The Pope Emeritus manages to be consoling while remaining faithful to scripture and the constant tradition of the Church....
In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), Jesus admonishes us through the image of a soul destroyed by arrogance and opulence, who has created an impassable chasm between himself and the poor man; the chasm of being trapped within material pleasures; the chasm of forgetting the other, of incapacity to love, which then becomes a burning and unquenchable thirst. We must note that in this parable Jesus is not referring to the final destiny after the Last Judgement, but is taking up a notion found in early Judaism, namely that of an intermediate state between death and resurrection, a state in which the final sentence is yet to be pronounced.
This early Jewish idea of an intermediate state includes the view that these souls are not simply in a sort of temporary custody but, as the parable of the rich man illustrates, are already being punished or are experiencing a provisional form of bliss. There is also the idea that this state can involve purification and healing which mature the soul for communion with God. The early Church took up these concepts, and in the Western Church they gradually developed into the doctrine of Purgatory. We do not need to examine here the complex historical paths of this development; it is enough to ask what it actually means. With death, our life-choice becomes definitive - our life stands before the judge. Our choice, which in the course of an entire life takes on a certain shape, can have a variety of forms. There can be people who have totally destroyed their desire for truth and readiness to love, people for whom everything has become a lie, people who have lived for hatred and have suppressed all love within themselves. This is a terrifying thought, but alarming profiles of this type can be seen in certain figures of our own history. In such people all would be beyond remedy and the destruction of good would be irrevocable: this is what we mean by the word Hell. On the other hand there can be people who are utterly pure, completely permeated by God, and thus fully open to their neighbours - people for whom communion with God even now gives direction to their entire being and whose journey towards God only brings to fulfilment what they already are.
Yet we know from experience that neither case is normal in human life. For the great majority of people - we may suppose - there remains in the depths of their being an ultimate interior openness to truth, to love, to God. In the concrete choices of life, however, it is covered over by ever new compromises with evil - much filth covers purity, but the thirst for purity remains and it still constantly re-emerges from all that is base and remains present in the soul. What happens to such individuals when they appear before the Judge? Will all the impurity they have amassed through life suddenly cease to matter? What else might occur? Saint Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, gives us an idea of the differing impact of God's judgement according to each person's particular circumstances. He does this using images which in some way try to express the invisible, without it being possible for us to conceptualise these images - simply because we can neither see into the world beyond death nor do we have any experience of it. Paul begins by saying that Christian life is built upon a common foundation: Jesus Christ. This foundation endures. If we have stood firm on this foundation and built our life upon it, we know that it cannot be taken away from us even in death. Then Paul continues: “Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw - each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). In this text, it is in any case evident that our salvation can take different forms, that some of what is built may be burned down, that in order to be saved we personally have to pass through “fire” so as to become fully open to receiving God and able to take our place at the table of the eternal marriage-feast.
Congratulations to Sarah Marley, Leo Marley, Laura Muñoz, Ariel Gonzalez, and Deborah Poxton from our Evangelium/RCIA Group who were baptised, confirmed or received into full communion with the Catholic Church at this year's Easter Vigil.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make the church look spectacular once again, and to our musicians and servers.
And thank you to those who sent or posted photos. A selection follows, including the Paschal Candle, beautifully painted by our own parishioner Rad Bolcar; the Altar of Repose; Good Friday; the Vigil - including an interesting time-lapse of the congregation entering with the Paschal Candle; and the Choir and Young Adults' Easter Sunday Buffet.
Divine Mercy Devotion in York take place at St Aelred's Church, Fifth Avenue, Tang Hall.
Sunday, 8 April
Exposition from 11.30am to 4pm
Confessions from 1p to 3pm
Hour of Great Mercy from 3pm to 4.15pm
For details of the service times at St Wilfrid's and St Joseph's for Holy Week and Easter, please click here.
Fr Richard is copying here (with permission!) Canon Alan Sheridan's explanation of the Easter Triduum from the St George's Parish Website:
This celebration commemorates the Last Supper, the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the priesthood and the call to service of all Christians. All of the Triduum Services contain all of the others in embryo as it were. We cannot celebrate the Last Supper without thinking about Good Friday, we cannot think of Eucharist without thinking about the Lord’s body, blood, soul and divinity – glorified and resurrected as well as crucified. The Period of Watching the Blessed Sacrament a er the Mass represents the Agony in the Garden – Can you not watch with me one hour?
Is NEVER a Mass. Mass is a celebration – we commemorate today the Lord’s dying and mourn Him. The Passion is read; we adore a symbol of the True Cross – the crucifix reminds us of the higher reality; we receive Communion consecrated at Mass the previous evening. One of the keynotes of the Service is silence – we enter in silence and we leave in silence. But we cannot ignore the fact that we know He will rise again – our mourning is tempered by our knowledge of our salvation.
This is a day of mourning. The Lord lies silent in the tomb.
The Easter Vigil belongs properly to Easter Sunday, not Holy Saturday – it is supposed to begin after dark. It is a celebration of victory – light over darkness, new life over death. The Vigil is the most important service of the Church’s year. Some people are put off because they fear the length of the Vigil. It involves 4 separate elements: The Service of Light – blessing of fire and proclamation of Christ as our light, the lighting of the Easter Candle and proclamation of the Exultet; the liturgy of the Word – the most important proclamation of the Word – we re-live Salvation history from Creation to Resurrection; the blessing of the Baptismal Waters – and we have adults to be baptised and received into full communion. Please come along and support your new brothers and sisters. Finally there is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It is a most moving and exciting service.
Rosary on the Coast for Faith, Life and Peace takes place at 3pm on Sunday, 29 April. Locally this will take place in Scarborough. A coach will depart from Union Terrace coach park at 1.30pm and return at 5.30pm taking a group from York to participate in this event in Scarborough. Cost £10 per person. To book please contact Sue Whitaker through this link or on 07973 321555. More details of the event are on the poster in the porch. It will also be possible to book by speaking to a volunteer at the back of St Wilfrid's and St Joseph's after Sunday Masses on the weekend of 14/15 April.....
Congratulations to Brother Henry who was admitted as a Triennial of the York Oratory in Formation last Saturday, St Patrick's Day. Oratorians do not take vows so there is no public ceremony, but there is a short private service in church and the community exchanges the sign of peace as a welcome to the new member. Please keep Br Henry in your prayers.