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Letters from Fr John

1 April

Dear Friends,

THE REOPENING OF OUR CHURCHES

This weekend, two of our three churches will reopen for public worship. On Holy Saturday, St Jerome’s church will reopen at 6.00pm for a simple Vigil Mass of Easter. On Easter morning, Our Lady’s church will reopen for Mass at 9.00am and 11.00 am. St Anne’s will remain closed.

The churches will be opened on a first come, first served basis. We are by no means back to a normal situation and the usual track and trace, hand sanitiser and social distancing will be required to keep everyone safe. Everyone will be shown to their seat by the stewards.

As ever, I am very grateful to our stewards for their generous service, which makes it possible for our churches to reopen.  

Going forward, we will return to our pre- lockdown Mass schedule;

  • Saturday: Vigil Mass at St Jerome’s at 6.00pm.
  • Sunday: Mass at Our Lady’s at 9.00am and 11.00am.
  • Wednesday: Mass at Our Lady’s at 12 Noon.

God bless

Father John

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Letters from Fr John

28 March

Dear Friends,

Accompaniment’ is a word which Pope Francis uses often. He wants to see more accompaniment and more listening in our journey with our brothers and sisters, particularly those of little or no faith. It is a beautiful teaching and a necessary counterbalance in a culture that is drowning in words!

The days of Holy Week are upon us. How are we going to journey through them? Perhaps we can accompany Jesus. Watch, listen, enter into the events we know so well. We will be overwhelmed if we open our hearts. Such extreme suffering and sadness is too much for us to think about for long. We are staring into the face of pure love!

We may begin by accompanying Jesus. We will gradually find ourselves being accompanied by him. He has much he wants to teach us. Are we able to listen, to ponder, to be silent? There is no other way of entering into these days.

Let us listen carefully to the accounts of the Passion of Jesus in our live-streamed services. Allow our hearts to be opened a little more. There is no better preparation, surely, for the reopening of our churches and our celebration of the great Easter Feast next weekend. 

May God bless you and those you love

Father John

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Letters from Fr John

20 March

Dear Friends,

It is not often that the media gives us only good news. Over the past few days we have enjoyed shining reports of the speed of the vaccination programme, only then to be concerned about a shortage of vaccines next month. This has been compounded by news of a growing third wave of the virus across parts of continental Europe, and all that could mean for us. One step forward, two steps backwards?

And yet, we cannot deny that where the news has been good, it has been very good. We can be grateful that half the adult population of our country have now received their first jab. I mention this impressive fact because our tendency as humans is to dwell on the negative, on the bad news. To focus on the good news and remain with it is surely more helpful.

Remaining with the good news is what the Church is for. Certainly, the Church as the community of human beings who want to follow Jesus encompasses the whole of human life with all its ups and downs. But at the heart of its message is the certainty that the end of our story, whether as a community or as individuals, is a happy one. In fact perfect happiness, which we can hardly imagine this side of eternity, is the gift awaiting each one of us.

We are all prone to sadness, anxiety and negativity. These are regular visitors to the human heart. But Jesus, the light bearer and the joy bearer, makes his home with us and reassures us that these visitors are only temporary. Our journey through the forty days is hopefully building our confidence that we are ultimately safe and sound under the watchful eye of our Father God, and that our birthright is not slavery to bad news, darkness and anxiety, but a place specifically prepared for us in the light of eternity.

May God bless you and those you love

Father John

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Letters from Fr John

14 March

Dear Friends,

‘I feel I’ve lost my faith.. everything seems to be getting darker’. ‘All the things I used to believe in seem to have disappeared, evaporated’. These are just two examples of conversations I have had with people in the past few weeks. They have been quite brief and usually take place during my daily walks. Honest, open, sad and confused, I think these conversations are taking place among many in different places. 

We are hearing more and more often of an epidemic of mental health. This surprises none of us, because it comes close to home. All of us have struggled in the past year. It will take time before the full effects of this epidemic become clear. Every part of our lives are affected, but I wanted to focus in this letter on the question of faith. Our faith.

Not surprisingly, the pandemic has laid bare all the ‘working parts’ of our lives; who we are, what we are and how we relate to people and things around us. In other words, the fundamental building blocks of our lives have been put under the spotlight. We are now able to see, in a way that was not possible before, where we have invested our time, energies, hopes and yes, faith. When investments fail and disappear, bitter disappointment awaits. We can spend a long time kicking around in the ashes, wondering how we could have been so foolish, so easily hoodwinked, so mistaken. 

But what happens when we realise that faith is slipping away, evaporating? Previous faith habits, ways of seeing things, a sense of belonging, all seem to be fading away? Some find this a liberating moment, freed from habits of a lifetime, to find a new perspective, a new approach. Others struggle with guilt and anger, blaming themselves and others. Others ask ‘what now?’.

You might expect me to say at this point that this is all regrettable and sad. On one level it is. When the ground under our feet, at one time so solid, seems to have given way, we are left confused and struggling. But on the other hand, I am convinced that this is one of the greatest moments in our faith journey that any of us will experience. Here is an opportunity that involves both pain and the promise of a fresh, liberating joy. 

So, let us begin by asking in what or in whom have we been investing in our faith life? It could simply be the force of habit that has carried us through all these years. It could be faith in the institution of the Church, or indeed particular priests or fellow believers. Once we see that our investment has not brought the yields we expected and that we have been left with very little, we reach what seems to be a point of no return. Is walking through the door and closing it firmly behind us the only option? I don’t think so.

My own experience over this past year has surprised me in many ways. My own prejudices and assumptions have been laid bare and I have had to spend uncomfortable times reflecting on my own piles of ashes! There have been moments of darkness too as I have struggled to make sense of the ‘where now?’ question. So many things that I had invested in over past years now seemed brittle and sad. There have been moments when I have realised that I don’t have all the answers, when at one time I presumed that I did!

Like many, I reached my own fork in the road when, having kicked around in the ashes for a while, I was presented with a choice. To rescue what I could from what now seemed to be no more than ash and rubble, or to choose to walk in the direction of a growing light, a growing realisation. This light leads us away from a pit of despair and disappointment, and gently invites us to realise that we are part of a greater whole, a bigger reality. That all our attempts to live a transactional faith; I do something for God, He does something for me, comes to nothing. Perhaps for the first time, our true identity as sons and daughters, created, cherished, loved by our Father God becomes a little clearer. We do not worship a tyrant, a dictator who keeps careful note of every bad word and action, to imagine greater punishments for us. We are loved in our worst moments as well as our best. We do not have to snatch God’s attention to say; ‘look at me, see how good I am!’

This might all sound familiar to us, but as I have discovered in this past year, there is a vast gulf between hearing and speaking these words and actually making them our own and believing them. So when we think we are losing our faith, maybe we are actually losing a distorted understanding of God and my relationship with Him, the seeds of which were sown long ago.

So where is the path of this pandemic leading each one of us? Have we struggled with faith, with personal darkness, with doubt? Have we felt guilt or anxiety? Have we asked ‘where now?’ If so, then we are receiving a gift, not misery. Faith is not as fragile as we might think. When it is broken open, it reveals new lights, new possibilities and the opportunity to let go of all that had become unhelpful.

God is at work in each one of us; deep within us. He will not let all His work go to waste. He has invested nothing less than His whole self in each one of us. So maybe it is time to let go of what worked for yesterday and look forward to something new, something fresh that speaks to our time and our experience.

As we move forward, let us be wary of the temptation to settle back into what we think is ‘normal’, to seek the comfortable. How easy it would be to return to old prejudices, old stereotypes and old ways of seeing the world around us. God is not thrown off beam by the pandemic. He works through it for our good. He wants us to take the opportunities he offers. He wants us to find richness and depth in our Christian life. He wants us to be happy. All that is holding us back are those old ways of doing things, old and tired ideas. 

‘See, I make all things new’. These words from the Book of Revelation show us God’s intention. New days lie ahead, born out of the hard days of the pandemic. Rich blessings lie ahead for us all!

A very happy and blessed Mother’s Day to all our wonderful mothers!

May God bless you and your loved ones,

Father John

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Letters from Fr John

7 March

Dear Friends,

We are so familiar with the texts of the Gospels, that we run the risk of becoming over familiar. As we hear a particular text we recognise it immediately, know the story and it’s ending, and perhaps stop listening. It’s a temptation for us all. Our media driven culture has formed us to look for the sound bite, the latest news, the interesting story, the gossip. Familiar stories can become dull, and we look elsewhere for something more interesting.

The Gospel text we hear this Sunday is anything but dull however. Even a quick listen to this passage grabs our attention. Jesus is approaching the moment of his death and has gone up to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. Entering the precincts of the Temple, he is met by a scene of chaos, noise, and frenzied selling of animals for sacrifice. He forms a whip out of some cords and drives all the sellers out, overturning their tables and scattering their money. An impressive feat for just one man!

What is interesting about this story is our reaction to it. Jesus has been identified as a man of love, compassion and kindness. This story shows a very different man. Have we thought this through? What emotions are at play here? Was Jesus angry, or was he simply indignant and frustrated. There’s a difference. What motivated him? Why the sudden outburst? How do we reconcile this event in the life of Jesus with his miracles, healings and preaching?

I suspect that for most of us, this is just one more story from the Gospels with which we are very familiar. It takes our attention for a moment, then it is gone until the next time. That’s a pity, because engaging deeply with the Gospel texts is the lifeblood of our faith and the key way in which we come to know and understand Jesus better. To put ourselves inside the story is a great help. To read it slowly, to notice every detail, to breathe in the atmosphere and listen carefully.

Jesus was as human as we are. We can identify with him, with his emotions, his passions, his joys, his tears. He comes to restore all things to their original purpose; human beings, religion, worship, and creation itself. He knew that the Temple in Jerusalem was the privileged meeting place between God and His people. It was a place of worship and prayer. But that purpose, as with many things in human life, had slipped from view, had become more obscure. It was selling, money, business that now took centre stage. Upon seeing it, Jesus reacted immediately and strongly; stop this! Return this sacred place to its original purpose! Stop turning my Father’s House into a market!

This story finds its way into the Gospel readings of Lent as both a reminder and an inspiration to us. The Forty days are an opportunity for us to reflect on this return of things to their original purpose. Our relationship with God belongs at the centre of our lives. We are called to worship and pray. The path God has laid out for us in the Ten Commandments of the first reading still hold true. As we seek to return these things in our lives to their original purpose, we help to restore that purpose to the whole of creation around us.

The loving Jesus, the healing Jesus, the compassionate Jesus, the indignant and frustrated Jesus. Truly human like us. But each of these aspects of his life speaks to ours. God makes use of every emotion, every mood, every facet of our life to remind us of our original purpose; to love, to heal, to reach out, to worship and to pray. To be fully human and therefore pleasing to Him.

May God bless you and your loved ones,

Father John

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Letters from Fr John

20 February

LENT BEGINS

Dear Friends,

Like every opportunity that is given to us to move forward and to grow, time passes quickly and the opportunity passes. Forty days may sound like a long period of time. But it too passes and before we know it, Easter is upon us.

Have you made any resolutions for Lent this year? Perhaps you have returned to the same resolutions as in previous years, perhaps something new. Maybe you have decided to give up giving things up and taken on something extra instead. Perhaps we are doing nothing specific for Lent this year, maybe a little tired, discouraged or even a little cynical! 

It is good to make an effort, to show willing. But if we are trying too hard, then something is not right. Perhaps it is time to pause and reflect. During my homily at Mass on Ash Wednesday, I wanted to impress on us all that God who is love is at the heart, not only of our Lenten journey, but of our Faith and life itself. To believe that we are truly loved and cherished by God can be the hardest thing of all. Yet it is essential to everything we do as Christians.

Could this be the best Lenten resolution of all? The simplest, yet the hardest? To open ourselves to this amazing truth that we are loved and cherished by God! It may sound very unusual, a little too generalised, too little. After all, what benefit will it bring me? Less alcohol, tobacco, sweets will make me healthier. There is a clear benefit. But this sounds a little too vague, a little distant. Therein lies the problem. How quickly we buy into the idea that we have to somehow prove ourselves to God, obtain His favour, catch His attention. The harder the resolution, the greater the benefit. In the end we achieve next to nothing, at least in our relationship with the God who is our Father.

If we want to take Lent seriously, then simple is best. If we really want to move closer to God, or more accurately, allow Him to draw closer to us, then we have to begin by asking what God wants. What pleases Him? The first reading on Ash Wednesday gives us an indication; ‘let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn’. In other words, grand gestures and bold resolutions mean little to God if they are empty of love for Him, if they treat Him as an afterthought. It is love that matters.

God takes delight in the simplest act of love. Giving to the poor, welcoming the stranger, denying myself a particular pleasure to help me say ‘no’ to myself, spending more time in prayer, reading the Scriptures, striving to be more charitable to my neighbour. Whatever I choose to do in these Forty days, if done with love and a real desire to draw closer to God, then we please Him. But let it be simple and straightforward. 

Love calls for love. Earlier today I recorded the Way of the Cross at St Jerome’s church where our live streaming cameras can pick up each individual Station. It was recorded so that, at any time during this Lenten journey, you can return to it as often as you wish and follow it closely. To reflect often on this last sorrowful journey of Jesus is a powerful help to focus our minds on what it means to be loved by him. Just a small understanding of his sufferings for us is enough to make us realise that when God tells us that He loves us, He really means it!

Another opportunity has been given to each one of us this Lent. Time is passing. Let’s keep it simple and get straight down to it. I want to grow, move forward, improve. Why? So that my love becomes more genuine, more sincere, focussed completely on the One who loved us first and who invites us to consider the price of that love; Jesus. May these Forty days be a time of joyful growth for us all.

May God bless you and your loved ones,

Father John

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Letters from Fr John

13 February

Dear Friends,

I heard it said recently that the past year of the pandemic has been ‘the longest Lent in living memory’. I understand the remark. But if we have been living through the longest Lent in living memory, perhaps we can expect the greatest resurrection experience too!

The Christian season of Lent is about to begin. I have found that it is a poorly understood period of time. No matter how hard we try, we cannot shake off all those negative thoughts about punishing ourselves, giving things up, embarking on an endurance race, or anxiously counting down the days until it is all over. No wonder we shiver as Lent approaches year after year. 

Not that I want to reduce Lent to an irrelevant, innocuous time with little meaning. I would be talking myself out of a job! No. Lent is not an end in itself, a chance to get a little more religious, a time for uncomfortable consciences, to make things difficult for myself. It is a huge opportunity that is often missed and too quickly passes us by. So how can we understand Lent a little better?

It is, first and foremost, a time of preparation for the celebration of the great Easter Festival. At the heart of Easter is the deep conviction and belief that Christ rose from the dead and is alive. Life overcomes death. Light overcomes darkness. But, as nature teaches us, new life is always preceded by dying. Dying is a preparation, a door, a promise. 

The most difficult dying is not the moment of our death, but the dying to all that seeks to place me at the centre of my own life and keep me there. It is the slow and difficult shedding of those habits, ways of life and attitudes that trap me in the delusion that it is only me that matters. My comfort, my life, my needs. Dying to self is quite simply necessary for new life, the life that never ends.

This is why the Church chooses the desert experience of Jesus that we find in the Gospels. We are told he spent forty days in the wilderness. Hence the forty days of Lent. He was tempted to put himself first, to make himself the centre of attention. But he emerges with one clear focus; to carry out the mission entrusted to him by his Father; to preach the Good News, to heal the sick, to die that all may be reconciled to his Father who now becomes our Father, to rise again.

What has all that to do with me? It all sounds a bit lofty perhaps, or somewhat remote. Well, I hope it may be a little clearer now. Lent is about Jesus. Easter is about Jesus. The Christian faith is about Jesus. Without him, Lent, Easter and Christianity make no sense at all. There are hundreds of great self improvement programmes out there that will be of greater help to us than forty days of self punishment and growing frustration! But Lent is about a person. One who knows me, who draws near to me and calls me by my name. One who walks with me through my own very real wilderness. One who makes sense of everything. Lent is simply the opportunity to look at my faith again, find a new understanding, a new way to engage. 

If we have learned anything during this dreadful pandemic, it is surely that life is fragile and short. Our priorities have moved into sharper focus and having learned our limitations, we want to look at the new reality around us. So many previous certainties have gone. Now we have an opportunity to reassess and regroup. 

The forty days of Lent are inviting us to ask ourselves; am I prepared to meet Jesus, to speak with him, to listen to him. Am I prepared to be honest about my doubts and my struggles with faith? Am I prepared to begin again, to grow, to trust, to let go? The wilderness is not just some exotic place we read of in the Gospel or watch on TV. It’s a place we all know very well. It is within every human being and we have been wandering in it for the past year!

This year, we have the opportunity to live the best Lent of our lives. If we are not ready for it now, we never will be! Sadly, we will not be in church on Ash Wednesday. But we will be in our domestic church, the church of our family, the church of our home. Each one of us. There will be blessed ashes available for us to collect from a container outside St Jerome’s church or Our Lady’s Presbytery this Tuesday. Collect them. Take them home. Watch the live stream of Mass on Ash Wednesday at 12 noon and we can place the ashes on ourselves and our loved ones. Or simply have a little moment at home with a prayer and the placing of ashes. If you cannot obtain ashes, a simple sign of the cross on the forehead will do.

Let us begin the Forty days together on Wednesday. Let’s make it real, sincere, a moment to meet Jesus and stay with him. Let this be our one, simple resolution for Lent. To walk with Jesus and to come to know him better. Then those things which need to die, that need to change will become clear. With his help, new life is possible. And that great resurrection that I spoke of at the beginning of this letter will become a reality for each one of us. 

I wish you all a truly blessed, fruitful Lent.

May God bless you and your loved ones,

Father John

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Letters from Fr John

4 February

Dear Friends,

Job makes his appearance this Sunday. He is our friend in these days of pandemic. Does that sound strange? A careful reading of the Book of Job convinces us that his words are poorly understood. He is not simply a moaner, a miserable man. Why? Because after the unbelievable calamity that falls on him and his family, and the long conversation he has with his friends, seemingly descending further into a spiral of despair, Job finally understands. He sees his life, his tragedies, in the bigger picture. He realises that he is not God. He does not have the answers. He recovers a better life, a deeper happiness.

How, then, is Job a friend to us in these difficult days? His words will surely resonate with us; bewilderment, astonishment, shock. What did I do to deserve this? Why has this happened? What have I done wrong? As the roller coaster of this pandemic has carried us with it; the shock of the first lockdown, the apparent liberation of the summer, the gathering gloom of the autumn and the grim days of this cold winter, our emotions have surely been all over the place!

But what actually causes Job to go into an emotional meltdown? It is his loss of control. He has lost control of his life. Everything has been taken away from him. He cannot even save his own family from the tragedies that befall them. He arrives at desperation point and stays there. How many of us are there with him? So much that is familiar has been taken away. Our freedoms are severely limited. We have all had our Job moments. Where will it all end?

But it ends well. Job recovers. How on earth does anyone recover from that depth of personal tragedy? He does not mince his words to God. He gives full rein to his frustration and anger. He leaves God in no doubt about how he feels. He demands answers. Here is a way forward for our conversations with God in these days. Job teaches us to be honest, open and straightforward in our prayer. Frustration? Anger? Fear? Let it find a voice when we speak to God, to empty it out before Him.

Only when God finally speaks does Job begin to see, to understand. God wants us to step out of our small world, to see the bigger picture. God is God. I am not. My struggles may be heavy going, but look over there, or over here; others crushed and struggling as well. In the middle of it all is God. Suffering. Part of every life. 

The happy ending to Job’s life is not that he makes up with God. It is not that he sees the error of his ways. It is that he has finally learned to let go. He has learned to open his hands and say with complete sincerity; ‘I came into this world with nothing. I shall leave it with nothing.’ In other words, in the things that really matter, it is God who guides, controls, directs. Not me. To see this and to begin to accept it is truly the first step to lasting happiness. We cannot reach this point on our own. But when God gives us a helping hand towards true and lasting happiness, our hope must be that our bewilderment and frustration will eventually give way to surrender and humility.

May God bless you and your loved ones,

Father John

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Letters from Fr John

31 January

‘O that today you would listen to his voice; harden not your hearts’

Dear Friends,

These words are taken from the response in the Responsorial Psalm of our Sunday Mass. They are worth reflecting on. The Scripture readings of the last two Sundays have spoken of the call of God. God calls. He waits for a response. He wants our response to be free and generous. Samuel, Simon and Andrew, James and John all heard the call and responded. What about us?

Well, we might begin by asking why God is calling me in the first place. It is easy for us, after many years of going to church to settle into a routine. Everything becomes very familiar after a time and we get used to the liturgy with its readings and prayers. Before we know it, we have become spectators who watch and listen from a distance. This has not been helped by having to participate in live streamed Masses, helpful though they are!

All of this is understandable. But there comes a point when we look for something more; a greater depth, a greater engagement, a greater understanding. I think that this is a moment of calling; a call to enter into the Mass more deeply, to listen more carefully and to watch more intently. What is unfolding during the Mass is our story, the story of each one of us, the gathering up of all our concerns, anxieties and sufferings which are then offered to God.

The pandemic has had a major impact on our church life. We have not been able to attend Mass regularly. We have come to something of a crossroads. It would be tragic if we simply got used to not going to Mass. Instead, now is the moment to ask for a greater appreciation, a greater understanding, a hunger for the Mass, for God’s word and for the Eucharist. I am convinced that God is calling us to meet Him on a deeper level, to learn to listen again and so find peace. Our Mass will return. Will we be ready to enter into it again?

So God is calling us for one simple reason. To make us happy. To draw us into His story and to unite our stories with His. This is what the Scriptures are about. The Mass is the place where God’s story meets our stories and makes profound sense of them. Once we realise this, it is not possible to remain as a spectator at Mass. We begin to understand that we are not being spoken at, we are being spoken to. Each of us. Personally. By name. 

So what can we do now? We can begin by being aware of the words at the beginning of this letter; ‘harden not your hearts’. To find that joy, that happiness promised to us, we need to remain open to God. Let us ask Him to open our hearts to Him. To listen to His voice, to learn to be quiet and to trust. God speaks with a whisper, but His words are full of comfort and light. Taking part in the Mass through live streaming is not the same as being in church. But even through a screen, God can work! Ask Him to let the light of His Mass flood through your heart and your home. For only when we learn to be at home with God, united to Him and not spectators, can we truly be at home with ourselves and those around us.

May God bless you and your loved ones,

Father John

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Letters from Fr John

25 January

Dear Friends

We all feel the need to be as connected as possible in these difficult days. Isolation is not good or healthy for any of us, so we are thankful for a TV, a phone or a computer to help us realise that we are not completely alone. But when it comes to watching TV, I am realising that there is so much negativity and prophecies of doom around that we can get dragged down very quickly without realising it.

Last week, a parishioner suggested that I might want to watch ‘Winterwatch’ on the BBC. It broadcast every weekday evening last week and will broadcast again for one more week. I was told it is ‘healing for the soul’ and after watching it I totally agree! It is simply a programme which observes the day and night time activity of animals at this time of year. It is striking to see how nature just continues its course as normal, despite the global health emergency. It is such a beautiful and reassuring programme, and very ‘healing’ too. I recommend it!

There has been much written about the disconnection between humans and nature. The technology revolution has certainly benefited us all, particularly now. But with it has come a certain blindness to the beauty of nature around us. And not just that. We are learning again about our deep connectedness to nature, our essential place in it, our responsibility to nurture, protect and care for what has been entrusted to us. This has been one of the great lessons of the pandemic. Here in Formby, we are incredibly fortunate to live in such a beautiful natural environment. Judging by the numbers that continue to visit even now, many seem to agree.

It is not just a question of appreciating nature, of being thankful for it, but of realising our essential place as part of it. We need it. It needs us. We are aware of our responsibility to respect the countryside and look after it. But perhaps we also have a responsibility to get into it, to walk, to see, to take it all in, to realise our sense of belonging. Surely, this is the best way to raise our spirits, encourage us to greater hope and positivity, and to help us to pray!

It is true that we need each other. We realise this more than ever. Thankfully we have more means than ever to connect. But we also need nature, the animals, all created things. If we can walk, maybe we should start to get out there and be a greater part of it all. If we cannot walk, maybe we can watch programmes that give us an insight into nature and it’s incredible beauty. I realise that I am probably preaching to the converted here! Many of you probably walk already, and judging by the beautiful gardens I have seen and experienced in our parish, many of you already live and appreciate nature. But we can always do a little more, appreciate a little more deeply.

Everything I am saying to you in this letter is expressed much better in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. There, we read that God created everything and that the crown of His creation was the human being. We are also told that He saw that all He had made and found that it was ‘good’ and entrusted its care to us. Let us offer thanks to our Father God who has made this incredible world in all it’s wonder and beauty to reflect His glory. Let us resolve to take greater care of nature, and indeed of one another. All has come from the hand of God. May His Name be glorified in all His Creation, now and for ever! 

May God bless you and your loved ones,

Father John