Spring has brought new life to the garden and Brother Adam and Brother Henry back from their studies in Oxford. It has also brought work for idle hands as we use the weeks before Easter to redecorate the hallway of Petergate House. Look out for the Open Garden on Saturday, 22 April in the afternoon for the tulip display.
Please click here for details of the Service Times at St Joseph's and St Wilfrid's for Holy Week and Easter.
So far 2017 has been a year of many painful losses. There have been ten funerals in our two parishes alone. Stanbrook Abbey, The Bar Convent, Thicket Priory and Ampleforth Abbey have all lost members of their communities with the deaths of Dame Cecilia, Sr Cecilia, Sr Ursula and Fr Bonaventure.
In the Oratory we lost Fr David Hutton on 1 March. Fr David was to have been a founder member of the new Oratory in Bournemouth. He discovered his Oratorian vocation here in York when returning to the county to visit his family. The Fathers in the Oxford Oratory clothed him in the habit of St Philip in the hospice when it became clear he was not likely to live very much longer. The most recent member to join our community becomes the first to pass to his eternal reward.
Fr Peter Edwards (with our own Fr Dominic one of the founding members of the proposed new Oratory) wrote: "Fr David was convinced that his deep love of St Philip, which developed just over three years ago via the York Oratory-in-Formation, blossomed to sustain him in his present journey, keeping him in trusting faith and serene confidence, with Blessed John Henry Newman and other Saints, joyfully accompanying him in this vale of tears, and waiting to welcome him to Life eternal."
To read about Fr David and his connection with the Oratory please click here.
Please pray for Fr David and all these faithful souls who have devoted their lives to the service of God and his Church. Fr Richard will celebrate a Requiem Mass for Fr David at 8am on Tuesday, 7 March.
And please keep in your prayers all our communities who have lost much loved members this year.
Lent is now here with a little more prayer and a little more thought for others. But after two pancake parties organised by the Choir and the Young Adults' Group some of us were quite ready for a bit of fasting on Ash Wednesday....
On Ash Wednesday, 1 March, there will be Masses at St Wilfrid's at 12.10pm and 6pm (Latin Extraordinary Form). At St Joseph's there will be Mass at 9.15am. There will be the blessing and imposition of ashes at all Masses.
Pope Francis has been calling again and again in recent months for an end to the war in Syria. An Aid to the Church in Need delegate, visiting the country last year, wrote: The need is especially acute for Christians who have fled persecution at the hands of extremists bent on destroying the Church whose roots date back to St Paul and the first flowering of our Faith.
We must do all we can to help our suffering brothers and sisters in Christian communities across the Middle East who have been largely forgotten and are often ignored by the media.
For that reason all our charitable giving this Lent from St Wilfrid's and St Joseph's will be directed to the Aid to the Church in Need's Syria Project.
After the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel while celebrating Mass at Rouen in France the government introduced grants for security improvements in churches.
Br Adam went through the application process for St Wilfrid's and we are one of relatively few churches so far to have been successful. There are now cameras outside and inside the church which record the daily comings and goings. It is sad that this is necessary but it does make us safer. Of course it does not replace the need for vigilance.
It should also be said that a frequented church is a secure church, often visited for the purpose it was built for, prayer and the worship of God. Please pop into church often. We keep it open all day!
You can get an idea of the quality of the pictures from this still taken during the St Wilfrid's School Candlemas Mass.