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Our Holy Father has invited us to a penitential exercise and the Archbishop has called on us to observe a day of fasting and penance on the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (15 September) to beg forgiveness for our sins and those of others and in so doing to show our profound solidarity with all the victims of the sexual abuse case in our Church.
We are asked to abstain from food or something enjoyable on that day – and for those below 60, or healthy, to fast or reduce our food on that day to show our hunger and thirst for justice and truth.
Why Our Lady of Sorrows
The title, Our Lady of Sorrows, given to our Blessed Mother focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord. Traditionally, this suffering was not limited to the passion and death event; rather, it comprised the seven dolors or seven sorrows of Mary, which were foretold by the Priest Simeon.
The seven sorrows of our Blessed Mother are
- The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
- The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
- Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)
- Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)
- Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
- The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130: Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37)
- The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42;Mark 15:40-47)
In all the sorrows, the prophesy of Simeon that a sword would pierce our Blessed Mother’s heart was fulfilled in these events. Each suffering was received with the courage, love, and trust that echoed her fiat, let it be done unto me according to Thy word, first uttered at the Annunciation. Our Lady stood at the foot of the cross in keeping with the divine plan, suffering grievously with her only-begotten Son. There she united herself, with a maternal heart, to His sacrifice, and lovingly consented to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth. St. Bernard (d. 1153) wrote, Truly, O Blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart…. He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since His (De duodecim praerogatativs BVM).
Focusing on the compassion of our Blessed Mother, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, reminded the faithful, Mary Most Holy goes on being the loving consoler of those touched by physical and moral sorrows which afflict and torment humanity. She knows our sorrows and our pains, because she too suffered, from Bethlehem to Calvary. Mary is our Spiritual Mother, and the mother always understands her children and consoles them in their troubles. Then, she has that specific mission to love us, received from Jesus on the Cross, to love us.
Therefore, as we honour our Blessed Mother, our Lady of Sorrows, we honour her as the faithful disciple and exemplar of faith. Let us pray as we do in the opening prayer of the Mass for this feast day: Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to new life. Looking to the example of Mary, may we too unite our sufferings to our Lord, facing them with courage, love, and trust.
Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows
Most holy Virgin and Mother,
whose soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow
in the Passion of thy Divine Son,
and who in His glorious Resurrection was filled with
never ending joy at His triumph,
obtain for us who call upon thee,
so to be partakers in the adversities of Holy Church
and the Sorrows of the Sovereign Pontiff,
as to be found worthy to rejoice with them
in the consolations for which we pray,
in the charity and peace of the same Christ our Lord.
FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF OUR BLESSED MOTHER
September is dedicated to Our Lady and on September 8 it is Our Blessed Mother’s Birthday!
The feast day of the Nativity of Our Lady induces us to ask: What advantage did her birth bring for mankind? And why should mankind celebrate her nativity in a special way? Her birth represents the entrance into the world of a new grace, a new blessing, a new presence that was an incomparable presage of the presence, blessing and grace that would come with the Saviour.
Saint Augustine connects Mary’s birth with Jesus’ saving work. He tells the earth to rejoice and shine forth in the light of her birth. “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.”
The birth of Mary’s Son was the dawn of our salvation. Let us offer her our fervent prayers on her birthday and ask her to help us follow her example and with God’s grace make the world new again and to bring about peace in our lives and the world around us.
Here is a beautiful Novena to celebrate the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady
With the recent reports of the sexual abuse crisis that is rocking the Catholic Church, we have received a pastoral letter from Archbishop Stephen Brislin and a letter from Our Holy Father where they denounce the inexcusable past recognising that no pardon for the harm done will ever be sufficient but looking forward with resolve and uncompromising resolve to prevent this from ever happening again.
Our Church is in crisis but it is in these times that we look to Jesus to keep our faith strong.
In line with Pope Frances’ letter to the faithful, in which he invites the entire holy faithful to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, the pastoral letter from Archbishop Brislin calls for a day of prayer and fasting on 15th September, the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.
ARCHBISHOP’S PASTORAL LETTER – A CALL TO FASTING – 29 August
“My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
In recent days we heard with great sadness and remorse the report from the United State known as the “Pensylvania Report”. Detailed experiences of at least a thousand survivors over approximately 70 years – victims of sexual abuse by clergy – were made public. The wounds of the survivors who have suffered the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests never fully heal. As church we continue to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics and all those entrusted with caring for the most vulnerable, our children.” Read full letter – Pastoral Letter – 28 August 2018
LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD – 20 August
” ‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it’ (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike. Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent the we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.” Read full letter – Pope Francis letter
“THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!”
The Jesuit Institute’s weekly letter this week is entitled ‘Sex Abuse in the Church – “This is not who we are!” ‘ give us some meaning that this is not the Church Jesus founded. Our faith resides in Him and what He desires for us. Read the letter from the Jesuit Institute here
The Church has designated the next few weeks for focus on marriage and family, to underline their importance and to encourage our ongoing efforts to strengthen them. For the next four week ends there will be a leaflet inside the bulletin with suggestions on how couples can strengthen their marriages. They are in two broad categories: Love and Communication in Intimate Relationships will cover weeks 1 & 2. Hurt & Forgiveness in Intimate will cover weeks 3 & 4.
If you would like more information, please contact Brian and Francoise Robertson.
Fr Robert, his parents and four of our parishioners will be going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in September.
Please be aware Fr Robert will be away from the parish from 8th – 29th September. All Masses on Wednesdays and Weekends will be celebrated by visiting priests.
Fr Emmanuel Siljeur will be staying in the presbytery from the 8th-19th September and will celebrate all other weekday Masses.
Our Parish Flower Group is looking for some help. If you’d like to join, we’d love to welcome you along, even if you’ve never tried flower arranging before. Please call or text Pat Danford on 082 781 1708
Congratulations to Michael Brooks who was installed into the Ministry of the Acolyte by Archbishop Brislin during Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians on Thursday, 14th June 2018. Thank you for your hard work and dedication Mike!
Thank you, also, to the many parishioners who turned out on a very stormy night to attend the installation.
If you are interested in participating in this project to renew the mission of the parish, please contact Barry Smith at email@example.com or 071 360 9969.
Angela Pinder thanks everyone who brought in Sunflower bandanas – greatly appreciated!
As this year our Patronal feast falls on a Thursday, we will be celebrating it on the weekend 9/10 June.
To mark the actual feast date, the Mass on Thursday 31 May at 18:30 will be followed by tea and coffee and a talk by Fr Zane Godwin on ‘Mary as the first disciple’. This will end just after 19:30.
Baptisms are celebrated at our Church on the 3rd Sunday of the month.
Families not registered in our Parish must supply a letter from their Parish Priest.
Please contact the office for an appointment with the Parish Priest
Our Prayerful Condolences to the family and friends of John Vianney Rogers who passed away on Sunday, 2nd September. The funeral service was held in the chapel at Sivermine Village on Tuesday, 11th September, at 11am.
Our prayerful condolences to Jill Bowden and family on the passing of her mother, Shirley Beyleveldt, on Tuesday, 19th June.
This year we have our Parish Mortuary List for remembering our dear deceased family and friends.