Please remember in your prayers our Bishop-Elect Canon Paul Swarbrick who will be Consecrated as the Seventh Bishop of Lancaster today at 11:30am in Lancaster Cathedral!
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday
Divine Mercy devotions took place at St Peter’s Cathedral in Lancaster this afternoon!
Our Parish Priest was invited to help hear Confessions and one of our Parish Organists was called in to provide the organ music for the devotions.
The devotions started with the Divine Mercy Image Procession to the Sanctuary where the image was then blessed.
The congregation were then invited to venerate the Divine Mercy image and relic of St Faustina. Canon Luiz Ruscillo who was presiding then proclaimed the Gospel and preached.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was prayed during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Adoration then took place whilst priests were available to hear individual Confessions.
The Blessed Sacrament remained exposed for the Parish Rosary which started at 4:00pm.
‘On this day the very depths of my tender mercy are open’
‘Jesus I trust in you’
Baskets containing a sampling of Easter foods are brought to church to be blessed on Holy Saturday. The basket is traditionally lined with a white linen or lace napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood (bukszpan), the typical Easter evergreen. Poles take special pride in preparing a decorative and tasteful basket with crisp linens, occasionally embroidered for the occasion, and boxwood and ribbon woven through the handle. Observing the creativity of other parishioners is one of the special joys of the event.
Some children with baskets of food who gathered at St Patrick’s on Saturday afternoon for the service.
More traditional Polish churches use a straw brush for aspersing the water; others use the more modern metal holy water sprinkling wand. In some parishes, the baskets are lined up on long tables; in others, parishioners process to the front of the altar carrying their baskets, as if in a Communion line. Older generations of Polish Americans, descended from early 19th century immigrants, tend to bless whole meal quantities, often brought to church halls or cafeterias in large hampers and picnic baskets.
The foods in the baskets have a symbolic meaning:
Holy Saturday. Emptiness, desolation, absence. Jesus lies in the tomb, dead. He descends into the underworld, uniting himself totally with our mortality. This is a day to spend with Our Lady who waited in grief, and in hope.
The Easter Vigil. This vigil is the mother of all holy vigils, quite unlike anything else. The darkness of the night is broken by the light of the paschal candle which is lit from a bonfire. The Mass begins in candlelight, includes readings which take us through the whole history of salvation, and then the renewal of our baptismal vows. The Church will be filled with joy, light, and life after the length of Lent.
‘Maundy’ comes from the Latin word, ‘mandatum’ and it relates to Christ washing the feet of the disciples and his ‘command’to love as He has loved. In this celebration, we celebrate three things: the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the Priesthood, and Christ’s command of brotherly love.
Maundy Thursday evening Mass includes the ceremony of the washing of feet. At the end, you are invited to journey to the side altar which becomes the Garden of Gethsemane, and remain there with the Lord in silence and adoration.
We are now in Holy Week!
On Palm Sunday we entered into the holiest week of the year. Holy Week is the heart of our faith. Attending all the different events – Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, the Passion on Good Friday, the emptiness of Holy Saturday, and finally the celebration of Easter breaking into our world at the Easter Vigil – is what makes our faith make sense.
Holy Week is what makes us Christian, and we need it every year. Through the ages countless martyrs have died for this faith, even here close by in Lancaster. Now, it is our turn to walk together to Jerusalem to share in Christ’s Hour.
From the newsletter: (excuse the old photo!)
“The total donated has reached £3,895 – including the Soup Day contribution of £706. This is a very generous response, so thanks to all who contributed in any way.
The government will match our contribution £1 for £1 and Gift Aid will add a further £501. We now continue with the Refugee project….
Canon Paul Swarbrick a priest of our Diocese has been named as the next Bishop of Lancaster by Pope Francis! His ordination as Bishop will take place at Lancaster Cathedral on Monday 9th April 11:30am. Each Church has been given 2 tickets – so we have 6 tickets available. If you would like to go, please hand in your name which will go in a draw.
The Blessing of Throats took place after Mass on Saturday at The Good Shepherd. A traditional custom on the Feast of St Blaise, Bishop and Martyr.
Saint Blase was the bishop of Sebaste in Armenia during the fourth century. Very little is known about his life. According to various accounts he was a physician before becoming a bishop. His cult spread throughout the entire Church in the Middle Ages because he was reputed to have miraculously cured a little boy who nearly died because of a fishbone in his throat. From the eighth century he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with illnesses of the throat.
Details regarding the miraculous healing of the boy vary. One account relates that the miracle occurred during the journey to take Blaise to prison when he placed his hand on the boy’s head and prayed; another that the miracle happened while Blaise was in prison when he picked up two candles provided to him and formed a cross around the boy’s throat.
The use of candles for the blessing of throats stems from the candles that Blaise used while in prison. When an old woman’s pig had been miraculously rescued from a wolf by Saint Blaise, she would visit him in prison, bringing him food and candles to bring him light in his dark cell.