St Teresa & St John Southworth Churches, Cleveleys
Fr Chris Cousens—Phone: 853340
Rev Bernard Ward (Deacon) (Tel: 858346)
Enquiries for St John Southworth: Phone: 853340
25 April 2021
Lancaster Roman Catholic Diocesan Trustees Registered Charity Number 23433
Sunday : Fourth Sunday of Easter
Contents: Gospel Reflection
Notices (including a letter to us all from Bishop Paul)
Reflections for the coming week
‘I am the good shepherd:
The good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; This is because he is only a hired man
And has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,
Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; And I lay down my life for my sheep,
And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well.
They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock and one shepherd.
The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will,
And as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again;
And this is the command I have been given by my Father.
Gospel Reflection : Welcome To The Flock – But Don’t Automatically Shut The Gate.
Some of us believe that we have minds that can understand things, and hands that can make things, and yet why can’t we all believe that we have hearts which can give life to our fellow human beings?
“I can’t do much for you. All I can do is be your friend.” The person who can put those two sentences together, and mean them has what may be the greatest contribution of all to make.
Today, Good Shepherd Sunday, is also Vocations Sunday. All Vocations are vocations to love, to love like the Good Shepherd.
We Remember In Our Prayers Betty Bright and Betty Clarke whose Funerals were last week, and Constance Roberts whose Funeral Service is at St. Teresa’s on Monday 26th April. We remember them and their families, and all those whose anniversaries are at this time. May they be in God’s peace.
This Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday, Is Also The World Day Of Prayer For Vocations. This weekend we also traditionally support those preparing for Ministry in the annual special collection for the Ecclesiastical Education Fund. The basket for that collection is at the back of church as you arrive and leave today.
CAFOD Sue Ward, our parish rep. for CAFOD (The Catholic Agency For Overseas Development) writes this weekend “On behalf of CAFOD, a Big Thank You for all your contributions during Lent. Due to the Covid pandemic we didn’t have the usual Lenten Family Fast Day as we normally do, but that hasn’t prevented people from giving generously – online, by post direct, or by leaving your donations at church. The generosity shown has been amazing, enabling us to send a cheque for £700 to CAFOD. In addition to that, many of you sponsored Sharon Jones as she did the ‘Walk For Water’ in solidarity with Abdella who, you may remember, is a young boy who has to walk a huge journey each day to get essential water for his family. He was the focus of CAFOD’S Lenten Campaign this year. As a result, Sharon has been able to send a further £535 to CAFOD. Thank you so much Sharon for the time and effort you gave to this, and to everyone who supported you.”
A PASTORAL LETTER
FROM THE BISHOP OF LANCASTER
for Good Shepherd Sunday, 25 April 2021
APPOINTED TO BE READ AT ALL PUBLIC MASSES IN ALL CHURCHES
AND CHAPELS IN THE DIOCESE OF LANCASTER ON THE WEEKEND
OF 24/25 April 2021 (or shared in whatever way is possible).
My dear people,
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. Each year on this Fourth Sunday of Eastertide the
Church prays for Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. Our heavenly Father
knows well what is needed even before we pray, but Christ tells us we must pray
always. We are very familiar with prayer of asking, prayer of intercession, the prayer
that is a cry for help. We learn it easily whenever we have a problem or a fear or
sickness, or whenever there is conflict.
Other forms of prayer can take more effort. A very important one is listening. Asking
for vocations is important, but it must lead us to listen for vocations because a vocation
is a response to the voice of the Good Shepherd’s call. Creating an outer-silence helps
us to listen with the heart, and can help others to hear too. Our silence will help them
to recognise the Lord’s reassuring voice. A noisy church can prevent someone hearing
the call of the Good Shepherd.
The pandemic brought a profound change to our lives, much of that change has been
unwelcome. However, one observation made by many has been how much they
noticed the world growing quieter. As traffic and activity reduced, we have been able
to notice the quiet of the natural world around us, enabling us to hear more birdsong
We are people of Faith. Appreciation of creation is good but is not an end in itself. A
work of art, a beautiful building, or a moving piece of music draws us towards the
artist, the architect and inspired composer of whatever has captured our attention and
wonder. Such beauty and awe become places of meeting with the Lord of Creation, the
person of Jesus Christ.
Over the years, you have had many fine homilies and Pastoral Letters on vocations.
Please God, many more are still to come. Sadly, the only point we often take from them
is how long they are! Each of us needs to grow and try to become more attentive to the
voice of the Good Shepherd. This will not only help us individually; it will help others
to become attentive too, and allow them to know the voice of Jesus. Perhaps the
Samaritan woman our Lord once met by a well had come to draw water at a time when
no one else was about partly because that was when the water was at its purest, when
the silt had had time to settle after everyone else had finished stirring it up with their
buckets. She wanted the best water for her family and for herself. Prayerful silence in
our churches can be like that. We have the rest of the week for chatting.
Our Lord criticises the hired men. Their loyalty was not to the sheep but to their own
needs and their own agenda. When they had got what they wanted they went. Good
shepherds, good priests and religious, good parents, good teachers are prepared to stay
with the sheep, even during the hardest times and most disturbing circumstances.
They are prepared to stay even when there is suffering. We must be like that if we are
to be like the Good Shepherd.
Our prayer for vocations must focus on our love for the gift that is the Most Holy
Eucharist. The pandemic has threatened our appreciation of this gift. Online Masses
can help us, but can never replace being physically present at Mass in our parishes. I
know we have many who are unable to come to Mass because of sickness and frailty.
But I strongly encourage you who can travel to make every effort to get back to Mass
as restrictions ease. Make our churches places of strong silent prayer where people can
sense the presence of our Lord and hear His voice. Be certain that some of those who
will come are being called to the priesthood and the religious life. This matters because
it is their way to heaven. Helping them to hear the Lord’s call and to answer can be
your way to heaven.
Pray for Deacon Stuart Chapple, to be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese on
June 26th, and for Philip Wrigley to be ordained Deacon at Oscott on the 6th June. Pray
for Simon Marley in his first year at the Beda College, Rome, and for James Knight in
his propaedeutic year at Valladolid, Spain
Finally, I wish to express my gratitude to those priests and religious who have come
from overseas to serve in our Diocese. It can be a great sacrifice to serve far from home,
from loved ones and one’s own culture, with years between visits home. It is a sacrifice
for your Bishops, your communities and your families too. This becomes even more of
a sacrifice during times of crisis. You are truly listening to the voice of the Good
Shepherd. We are grateful for your presence and for your generosity, and ask the Lord
to pour His blessings upon you.
With my blessing upon all who hear and read this Pastoral Letter,
Rt Rev Paul Swarbrick
Bishop of Lancaster
Daily Reflections for this week
Monday (Thomas Merton)
To live “in Christ” is to live in a mystery equal to that of the Incarnation and similar to it. For as Christ unites in His one person the two natures of God and man, so too in making us His friends He dwells in us, uniting us intimately to Himself. From the moment we have responded by faith and charity to His love for us, a supernatural union of our souls with His indwelling Divine Person gives us a participation in His Divine sonship and nature. A “new being” is brought into existence. I become a “new man” and this new man, spiritually and mystically one identity, is at once Christ and myself.
Scripture (Romans 8:14-17)
All who are guided by the Spirit of God are children of God; for what you received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you received the spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God. And if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, providing that we share his suffering, so as to share his glory.
Tuesday (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
The first disciples lived in the bodily presence and communion of Jesus. In what manner is that communion and fellowship still possible for us today? St. Paul tells us that we are made members of the Body of Christ through Baptism. The baptised can still live in bodily presence and enjoy communion with him. So far from impoverishing them his departure brings a new gift. Our communion with him is richer and more assured than it was for the first disciples, for the communion and presence we have is with the glorified Lord. In the Body of Christ we are caught up into eternity by the act of God.
Scripture (Eph. 2:19-22)
So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors; you are fellow-citizens with the holy people of God and part of God’s household. You are built upon the foundations of the apostles and the prophets, and Christ Jesus himself is the cornerstone. Every structure knit together in Him grows into a holy temple in the Lord; and you, too, in him, are being built up into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Wednesday (Fr. Richard Rohr)
To be able to experience ourselves as givers of energy, we have somehow to know ourselves as God (here you find a thin line between truth and illusion!). We have to know who we belong to, we have to believe in the divine indwelling. Prayer itself is God. It is not something I do for God; prayer is God in me loving God outside of me, and God outside of me loving God inside me.
Scripture (1John 4:16-18)
We have recognised for ourselves, and put our faith in, the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. Love comes to perfection in us when we face the Day of Judgement
fearlessly, because even in this world we have become as he is.
Thursday (Brother Lawrence)
As Brother Lawrence had found such comfort and blessing in walking in the presence of God, it was natural for him to recommend it earnestly to others; but his example was a stronger inducement than any arguments he could use. It was noticed that in the greatest hurry of business in the kitchen, he still preserved his recollection and heavenly-mindedness. “The time of business” he said “does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.
Scripture (John 14:16-20)
I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth whom the world can never accept since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you. I shall not leave you orphans; I shall come to you. In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see that I live and you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.
Friday (A New Catechism)
God’s omnipresence is not the homogenous filling of the height and width of the universe, but fellowship with our love and suffering. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” When we try to penetrate this mystery prayerfully, we begin to realise that our whole life is in the hands of an eternal love. Being brought to the Father by Jesus and filled with their Holy Spirit, we are perpetually involved in a mystery of love. Since we are privileged to be the family of God, the most magnificent glory is revealed to us.
Scripture (John 10:11-18)
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and I must lead these too. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, one shepherd. The Father loves me because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as I have the power to lay it down, so I have the power to take it up again; and this is the command I have received from my Father.