Dear friends,

Huge thanks to those who supported last Saturday’s parish barbecue – and especially to all whose hard work and generosity made the afternoon such a success!

At the start of the school summer holidays, it is worth remembering the importance of rest in the practice of our faith as Christians – particularly following such an energetic previous weekend!

But rest is not simply the absence of activity – those times of peace and quiet we carve out in otherwise busy lives. Rest is, after the example of God Himself at the conclusion of Creation, a prerequisite for contemplation – rest is the condition needed to remind ourselves to rejoice in what is good.

While resting, resting in Christ, we find the new energy needed for gratitude, that means by which we cast open the doors of our hearts. In rest we are able to rejoice in God’s gifts in themselves, rather than just as means to further objectives – rest allows us to exist in the present moment; rest brings us face to face with God.

I have just returned from a few days away on retreat – attempting to give back the priority to communion and prayer. Such time on retreat can also provide new clarity and perspective as we review the rest of our lives, and the direction in which our lives are headed: a retreat can provide a lens through which to assess where currently we are spiritually, and a time for us to seek out those resources which will sustain us through the busyness of daily life.

Even if we are unable to set aside a prolonged period to make a retreat, it is definitely to be encouraged to take a Quiet Day once in a while, switching off electronic distractions, and – ideally – removing ourselves physically from the context of everyday responsibilities and routines. Many religious houses and retreat houses will welcome guests for a Quiet Day: please ask if you would like to know how to get in touch.

Please note that the only service this Saturday (22 July) will be the Vigil Mass at 6pm. Please also return any remaining “Sea Sunday” donations this weekend; and, if you have signed up to come to St Alban’s on 5 August, please now give me payment (£10/£5) for the coach.

Wishing you health, rest and God’s peace,

Fr Richard