Dear friends,

Today, the fortieth day after Easter, is Ascension Day – and, on what is therefore a Holy Day of Obligation, all are warmly invited to (Evening Prayer at 5.45pm and) Mass this evening at 6pm, followed by light refreshments.

The higher one climbs up a mountain, the greater the distance below over which one can see: in his Ascension, Christ is raised above the heavens and the earth, so as not only to claim his rightful place as King of all creation, but – unlike in the specificity of his post-Resurrection appearances to his disciples – ever thereafter to be present always to all, through the power of his Holy Spirit. Like the distant satellite wandering amid the stars, which transmits its message between far-separated countries, so the risen and ascended Lord communicates his grace fully across the face of the earth.

We now in our generation likewise enter a period of expectation, as we await the Holy Spirit afresh at Pentecost: we pray, Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful people, and kindle in them the fire of your love.

This Sunday immediately after Mass we will hold our Annual Parish Meetings: these constitute an important opportunity to reflect upon the year past, and to elect your representatives as churchwardens and members of the PCC. Please do stay to these short meetings; better still, please nominate candidates to serve as wardens and PCC members – best above all, please consider standing for election! There are hard copies of the 2023 Annual Report, and the APM papers, in church.

We are also looking forward with great excitement to our May Devotion, on Saturday next week, 18 May: please let Pat know this Sunday if you intend to contribute a dish to the Pentecost world foods party in the Hall afterwards. We will be decorating the processional image with flowers after (the 9.30am) Mass next week on Friday – and setting up the Hall on Friday evening (at 6.30pm): volunteers for both tasks are very welcome. Then, on the day itself, the Hall will be open for you to drop off food from 1pm. We will then gather at All Saints’ RC Church at 2.30pm for the beginning of the Devotion, before processing to St Mary’s by foot. If you would like to help as a steward or reader, please let me know. For those unable to make the walk from All Saints, please be ready here in church from 3.15pm, to greet Our Lady as she arrives, and for the homily (preached by Fr Simon Morris, Chaplain-General of the Society of Mary) and concluding prayers. Please extend an invitation to our May Devotion to your families and friends.

On Sunday next week, 19 May, there will be a short planning meeting after Mass for the Parish Barbecue (on Saturday, 6 July).

God the Father has given to his Son the name above every name: may he strengthen you to proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord; God the Son has, as our great high priest, passed into the heavens: may he plead for you at the right hand of the Father; God the Holy Spirit pours out abundant gifts upon the Church: may he make you faithful servants of Christ our King.

Fr Richard