Dear friends,

One of the areas in which congregational growth is happily evident is at our weekday Masses: approximately a third of our regular congregation now also comes to one or more weekday services, which see attendance of between two and twenty people. The Masses on Tuesday (6.30pm), Thursday (6pm), Friday (9.30am) and Saturday (9.30am) are celebrated in the intimate surroundings of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, above and behind the high altar – whilst our best-attended weekday Mass on Wednesday morning at 9.30am is celebrated at the high altar, as on Sunday, and usually includes a hymn. This Mass, and the Mass on Friday, is also typically followed by tea, coffee and fellowship. Some of those who come to church during the week also arrive in time for the daily “Offices” of Morning and Evening Prayer: details of these services, as well as the weekly Rosary and half-hour of eucharistic adoration, are printed in the pew sheet. Weekday Masses typically last for around half an hour. If you’ve yet to experience the simple beauty of one of these services, why not put into the diary to come along this week? The Office for Liturgy in the Diocese of Salford explains that Mass on weekdays ‘guarantees that our Churches are places enlivened by a heartbeat of liturgical prayer in union with the whole Church… When one examines the [liturgical] texts the Church has selected for weekdays, it is often easier to enter [prayerfully] into a particular Season. There is a richness in the changing texts of weekdays which should never be underestimated. This is a “treasury” that the Church offers to us, and of which we in parishes and other communities should make full use.’ Each time we hear the tower bell chiming, we know both that we are being prayed for, and that we in turn are called to prayer. Even if we cannot be present on a weekday, let us remember to build into our personal daily routine time to pause to pray – especially by reciting thrice daily the Angelus.

This coming Bank Holiday weekend the Saturday evening Vigil Mass at 6pm will (weather permitting) be celebrated in the Vicarage garden (access via the garden gate in the drive): all are welcome, as also to stay afterwards for drinks and light refreshments. On Bank Holiday Monday, 28 August, Morning Prayer will be celebrated in church at 7.00am:  then, those coming on pilgrimage to Walsingham should make sure to be in church by 7.15am, to board the coach at 7.30am. Please bring a packed lunch, and perhaps a picnic blanket or camping stool. There will be time during the day to explore the village, including the various shops and cafés – but do remember that the Shrine will be busy with other pilgrims from far and wide!

On weekdays, we pray through those names included on our parish prayer list: this list will shortly be revised in its entirety – please add afresh (to the list at the back of church) the names of any who are sick or suffering, for whom prayer is requested. You are also kindly requested to keep us updated on these individuals’ progress, so that their names can be removed from the list as appropriate, in due course.

We are then looking forward to the celebration of our patronal festival in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham, on Sunday, 24 September (poster attached): please put this date in your diaries, and please bring both food and a friend!

On Thursday next week, the Church celebrates the memorial of St Aidan of Lindisfarne: you are welcome to use this prayer composed by St Aidan, as in your own lives you aim to blend peace and prayer with apostolic activity: ‘As the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore, make me an island set apart, alone with you, God, and holy to you. Then, with the turning of the tide, prepare me to carry your presence to the busy world beyond – the world that rushes in on me- until the waters return and enfold me back to you.’

May you be poor in misfortune and rich in blessings, and may God’s peace be with you,

Fr Richard