Friday, 26 May 2017

Parish Outing to Coughton Court

We had a wonderful sunny day for our outing to Coughton Court yesterday.

Here are a few photos:

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Newsletter for 27/28 May - Ascension of the Lord

Click here to read the latest newsletter.

This weekend the Church keeps "World Communications Day" - second collection for this at the weekend. Cardinal Nichols tells us more about it in this short video:

Also this weekend, you will find a message from our bishops about the General Election at the back of both Churches. You can read it here.

In the wake of the terrorist incident in Manchester, we keep those who died, the injured, the grieving and the emergency services in our prayers.  A number of people have told me that they have found my reflection here helpful.  Above all, please keep praying.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Where do we begin... make any sense of the atrocity at Manchester this last 24 hours. I don't know. I can't explain. I can't understand. All I can do is pray. Maybe I can share some of my confused thoughts and prayers through this sad day.

As I heard the news this morning, I remembered at once that I would be at St Charles School later in the day for our May Procession. It became clear that some of the children injured and killed in the blast were of a similar age to the precious children in our school. For a brief moment I wondered whether I could face the children this afternoon. Should we cancel the procession? No. Of course not. Our prayers, our love were more necessary than ever.

I prepared for the usual morning Mass. The first reading had noise and violence: a flogging, an earthquake, someone wanting to kill himself. This was not what I needed. Lord give me something more peaceful, more hopeful, more comforting on this awful morning. But wait. Faith in the risen Lord changes hearts. The gaoler who locked up Paul and Silas, still bleeding from their beating, washes their wounds even though it was late at night. He takes them home and feeds them. It was just like the only hopeful bit of news - the kindness and generosity of the people of Manchester. And the gaoler receives baptism from his erstwhile prisoners, and enters the risen life of the one who died, praying for his enemies, refusing to give into hatred.

And so a few hours later I made my way to school. I heard that the community had already prayed and reflected on the horrors of the night during morning assembly.

We gathered in the sunshine for the procession. I invited the children to offer their prayers, their rosary for those killed, wounded, grieving, and for the emergency services. I suggested that we asked Mary our Mother to hold them all in her arms.

We set off praying the Sorrowful Mysteries on this sorrowful Tuesday. I tried to plead the suffering and sorrows of Jesus and Mary for the suffering, sorrowful ones of Manchester. Between the mysteries we sang the very familiar processional hymn to Our Lady. The words, so, so familiar seemed to have a new relevance today:

...bless, sweetest lady,
the land of our birth.

For poor, sick, afflicted
thy mercy we crave;
and comfort the dying
thou light of the grave.

There is no need, Mary,
nor ever has been,
which thou canst not succour,
Immaculate Queen. 

And the hope, the faith, the uplift of this verse as we approached the end of the procession:

And crown thy sweet mercy
with this special grace,
to behold soon in heaven
God’s ravishing face.

May this be granted to those who have died in such an untimely and violent way today.

So the May Queen crowned the image of Mary in our school grounds, and it was almost time for tea and cakes. We don't sing Fr Faber's hymns much these days, but one line of his kept coming into my mind this afternoon: "victory remains with love." So we sang of the victory of that love as our Chant Club led us in the Easter Anthem to Our Lady, Regina caeli, laetare, Queen of heaven, rejoice...

Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia,
 Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

He has risen as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God. Alleluia

As we ended, our Aves, our Alleluias seemed stronger, more powerful than the noise of any bomb. Victory remains with love. That's what I am trying to hold in my heart tonight.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Change to Mass schedule this week.

By kind invitation of the parish priest we shall be having Mass at Coughton as part of our outing on Thursday this week. Consequently, there will be no Mass at OLOL on Thursday 25th May.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Newsletter for 20/21 May - Easter 6(A)

Click here to read the latest newsletter.

As I have reflected on this weekend's Gospel Reading, I have kept thinking of a lovely motet by the sixteenth century English composer, Thomas Tallis. You might like to use it for prayerful reflection and preparation for Sunday.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Ashby Arts Festival - 26th May to 2nd June

You can find details of Ashby Arts Festival 2017 here.

Our Lady of Lourdes is pleased to be hosting some of the events:

  • Cryptic Art: this exhibition has taken place in the atmospheric surroundings of our Crypt for a number of years and we are please to welcome our local artists again over the bank holiday weekend. Any donations will be given to the Retired Priests' fund this year. More details here.
  • Gresley Male Voice Choir Concert: in Church, Saturday, 27th May, 7.30pm. More details here.
  • Music Night at the Crypt: 29th May 2017, 7.30pm. More details here.

Thursday, 11 May 2017