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
2 May 2021
Lancaster Roman Catholic Diocesan Trustees Registered Charity Number 23433
Sunday : Fifth Sunday of Easter
Contents: Gospel Reflection
Reflections for the coming week
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I am the true vine,
And my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
He cuts away,
And every branch that does bear fruit he prunes,
To make it bear even more.
You are pruned already,
By means of the word that I have spoken to you
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
But must remain part of the vine,
Neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine,
You are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
Bears fruit in plenty;
For cut off from me you can do nothing,
Anyone who does not remain in me
Is like a branch that has been thrown away
– He withers;
These branches are collected and thown on the fire,
And they are burnt.
If you remain in me
And my words remain in you,
You may ask what you will
And you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.’
Gospel Reflection : “I am the vine. You are the branches.”
Sometimes we have a good conversation. After it, and during it, we feel uplifted, alive. Sometimes we have a good laugh, or a good cry. Different people or groups we meet can give us this lift of the spirit. In the Gospel today Jesus speaks about branches that don’t remain part of the vine. They wither, and they are thrown away. He is referring to himself and our relationship with him. Our relationship with Jesus can bring us to life because he is that sort of person. He appeals to the best in us, and the real Jesus brings out the best in us. If the Jesus we experience is one who disapproves of us, keeps us down, contributes to our poor self-esteem, then this is not the real Jesus!
If we want to grow into a good relationship with him, we notice how we feel with him and share that with him. But also, our relationship with him should reach out to others. “Whoever remains in me bears fruit in plenty.” Someone once asked, ‘how do I know that I am praying right?’ The answer is not to get new methods of prayer, though these can help, but ask what is your life like? Are you growing in compassion, justice, faith, good humour, and all those things that go to make up wholeness, which is also holiness?
The invitation is to stay close to Jesus as branches are to the vine. We can do this by living the beautiful words of the Old Testament Prophet, Micah : “Act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6 : 8) That is what following Jesus is – staying close to His way
We Remember In Our Prayers Constance Roberts whose Funeral was last week, Shirley Mahood whose Funeral Mass is at St. Teresa’s on Friday 7th May, and Audrey Jordan, formerly of Cleveleys, whose Funeral is at Grange-over-Sands on Wednesday, 12th May. We remember them and their families, and all those whose anniversaries are at this time. May they be in God’s peace.
Eucharistic Ministers : The new Rota for Eucharistic Ministers at St. Teresa’s is now available on the notice board at the back of church. Please take a copy with you.
The Oxfam Shop : The manager of the Oxfam shop in Cleveleys is very grateful that we advertised their need for more volunteers. There has been an increase in people interested – and in shoppers! If there is further interest please pop into the shop on Victoria Road West, or phone 01253 860144
At The.Moment The Times Of Masses At Our Two Churches Are :
Sundays : St. Teresa’s : Saturday Vigil Mass 6.30 pm, Sunday 9.00 am and 10.30am (live streamed)
St. John Southworth : 5 pm
Weekdays : St. Teresa’s : Mondays and Fridays 9.30 am
St. John Southworth : Wednesdays 9.30 am
CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF ENGLAND AND WALES
Reflection by the Bishops of England and Wales
The Day of Lord
Gathering as Bishops in Conference this week, we wish to pay tribute to all in the Catholic
community who have shown such courage, generosity and understanding in the face of adversity
this past year. Across England and Wales, families and parish communities have risen to the
challenge of sustaining one another through times of great isolation, loneliness and grief in an
impressive variety of ways, spiritual, emotional and practical. We thank all who have worked
tirelessly in prisons, in hospitals, care-homes and across the medical profession for giving of
themselves so generously. We thank all who have worked valiantly in our schools, facing unforeseen
demands and meeting them with characteristic professionalism and dedication.
We wish also to pay tribute to those who have given of their time and energy to keep open our
churches as havens of peace and prayer. Churches up and down the land have realised the vision
of Pope Francis that they be like village-wells where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their
journey; and centres of “constant missionary outreach.” We thank all who have developed diverse
new patterns of outreach – of prayer, catechesis, study and spiritual solidarity; all who have made
participation in the Mass possible through the internet.
Also prominent in this tribute should be thanks to all who have contributed to the immense effort
of providing food for those most in need. The generosity shown in the distribution of so very many
meals has given eloquent expression to the mercy, love and compassion which are at the very heart
of God. Many have been touched by the joy of meeting Christ in the poor; and many of the poor by
the joy of meeting Christ in selfless parishioners. The provision of food is often the first step into a
deeper relationship of help and accompaniment, including the sharing of the gift of faith in our
‘Vibrant’ is a word which seems to have characterised so many of our parishes throughout the
pandemic. We wish to salute our priests in particular for the leadership they have shown in this
time of crisis. We thank them for their deep devotion to both the liturgy and to their parishioners.
We commend every priest who made of his parish “a ‘sanctuary’ open to all” and with a particular
care for the poor; and the many Deacons who have exercised with such generosity their mission of
What will be the pace of our emerging from this pandemic remains as yet unclear. What is clear is
the challenge we face of bringing our communities and the practice of the faith to a still greater
expression and strength. As your bishops, we are aware of a threefold pattern to this challenge.
a) There are the fearful and weary, anxious about coming into the enclosed spaces of our
churches; those who have simply lost the habit of coming to church. Personal contact, clear
reassurance, and sensitive invitations will all be needed.
b) There are those who will have reassessed their pattern of life and priorities. The practice of
faith within the community of the Catholic Church may not be among those priorities. A
gap may have opened up, or widened, between the spiritual dimension of their lives and any
communal expression of that spiritual quest. They represent a particular focus and concern
for our outreach.
c) There are those whom we might describe as the ‘Covid curious’, those who have come into
contact with the Catholic Church through our presence on the internet – a contact we may
be able to develop through our continuing presence across diverse media platforms.
In facing these challenges, we are endowed with veritable treasures which serve to resource and
enrich us. Among them are our schools, in which so many are regaining confidence to come together
with others. We believe our schools can indeed be bridges back to church. There is also the
remarkable work of social outreach which has grown exponentially during these long months of
pandemic. On this, too, we must build. But the greatest treasure is, of course, the sacramental life of
the Church, and, pre-eminently, the Eucharist.
It is the Eucharist, the celebration of the Mass, that makes the Church; and it is the Church, in the
gift of the Holy Spirit, which makes the Eucharist. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the lifeblood of
the Church. It requires our active participation and, to be fully celebrated, our physical presence.
At this moment, then, we need to have in our sights the need to restore to its rightful centrality in
our lives the Sunday Mass, encouraging each to take his or her place once again in the assembly of
our brothers and sisters. We face the task of seeking to nurture the sense of Sunday as “a weekly gift
from God to his people” , and something we cannot do without; to see Sunday as the soul of the
week, as giving light and meaning to all the responsibilities we live out each day; to see the Sunday
Eucharist as food for the unique mission with which we have been endowed.
In the time to come we can do no better than to rekindle in our hearts, foster and encourage, a
yearning for the Real Presence of the Lord and the practice of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament,
a gift so deeply appreciated in these times of lockdown. We need to begin by fostering this in
ourselves. For the Eucharist should be the cause of our deepest joy, our highest manner of offering
thanks to God and for seeking his mercy and love. We need to make it the foundation stone of our
The invitation to Sunday Mass resonates all the more deeply when we consider, as Pope St John Paul
II reminds us in the Encyclical Letter Dies Domini, that the Sabbath rest is nothing if not a call to
remember the gift of God’s Creation. The Eucharist is indeed a celebration of the created world,
called into life by the Eternal Word, for the bread and wine of the earth becomes the Body and Blood
of Christ who is that same Lord of all life. The Christ to whom we come so close in the Eucharist
must be the foundation of our strivings, not least in the urgent task we face of caring for creation
and our environment.
Pope St John Paul II spoke of our amazement at the gift of the Mass and the abiding Presence of our
Blessed Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar. Herein lies our treasure, enriching our relationship with
Jesus and bringing together every aspect of our life and mission. This is such an important focus for
our task in the coming months.
Daily Reflections for this week
Monday (Bede Griffiths)
The church was originally a community of the Spirit. People who received the gift of the Spirit, of which contemplation is a type, dedicated their lives to prayer. Neither serving nor preaching is good if you are not praying. If you have not got Christ within you, you cannot give him to others. You can put words and doctrines before people, but this is not preaching the gospel. It is only when you have the gospel and Christ within that you can
communicate it to others.
Scripture (1 Thessalonians 2:12-13)
We urge you and appeal to you to live a life worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and his glory. Another reason why we continually thank God for you is that as soon as you heard the word that we brought to you as God’s message, you welcomed it for what it really is, not the word of any human being, but God’s word, a power that is working among you
Tuesday (Jean Vanier)
The more a community grows and gives life, the deeper its roots must grow into its own soil. Expansion has to be accompanied by deepening. The more a tree grows, the stronger its roots must be, otherwise it will be uprooted by the first storm. Jesus speaks of a house built on sand. A community’s solid foundation is in the heart of God. It is God who is at the source of the community and the more it grows and expands, the more it needs people who stay close to this source.
Scripture (1 John 3: 18,21-24)
Our love must not be just words or mere talk, but something active and genuine. If our own feelings do not condemn us, we can be fearless before God, and whatever we ask we shall receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what is acceptable to him. His commandment is this, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and that we should love each other as he commands us. Whoever keeps his commandments remains in God, nd God in them. We know that God lives in us by the Spirit that he has given us
Wednesday (Carlo Carretto)
We must eliminate, or at least reduce, the tensions between action and contemplation, apostolate and prayer. People say, ‘I’m too busy with work to find time for prayer.’ This betrays a very serious shortcoming: it radically underestimates the value of human activity. It gives the impression that professional, social and family life is totally separate from prayer and the life of the soul. This betrays a sad confusion and is the product of an age with no proper theology of the laity. Furthermore, it is based on a ‘disincarnate’ piety. The first thing I must understand and believe is that my work is of enormous value, that the duties incumbent on me as a human being are holy because they are willed by God and I fulfil them in obedience to his Law.
Scripture (Ephesians 4:1-13, 15-16)
To some, his ‘gift’ was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; to knit God’s holy people together for the work of service to build up the Body of Christ, until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the prefect Man fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself. If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow completely into Christ, who is the head by whom the whole body Is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength for each individual part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up in love.
Thursday (Fr. Michael Ivens, SJ)
Humility, generosity and spiritual poverty are often sought in relation to an individualistic concept of perfection. In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, on the contrary, they are sought in relation to the call made to every Christian to the service of the kingdom, a service which is a sharing in Christ’s own continuing mission in the world. To imitate Christ, to lead the true life, and to grow in its qualities, one must be associated in this mission, not only by sharing Christ’s work, but, at least as a desired ideal, by being involved in the very pattern of vulnerability and powerlessness which embodied his self-emptying.
Scripture (1Peter 1:15-17,21-22,25)
As obedient children be holy in all your activity, after the model of the Holy One who calls us. And if you address as Father him who judges without favouritism according to each individual’s deeds, live out your time in reverent awe. Since by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves so that you can experience the genuine love of brothers, love each other intensely from the heart, for your new birth was not from any perishable seed but from imperishable seed, the living and enduring Word of God. And this Word is the Good News that has been brought to you.
Friday (Pope Francis, Gaudete et Exsultate. Rejoice and be Glad)
the lack of a heartfelt and prayerful acknowledgment of our limitations prevents grace from working more effectively within us, for no room is left for bringing about the potential good that is part of a sincere and genuine journey of growth. … we need to live humbly in his presence, cloaked in his glory; we need to walk in union with him, recognizing his constant love in our lives. We need to lose our fear before that presence which can only be for our good. God is the Father who gave us life and loves us greatly. Once we accept him, and stop trying to live our lives without him, the anguish of loneliness will disappear (cf. Ps 139:23-24). In this way we will know the pleasing and perfect will of the Lord (cf. Rom 12:1-2) …So often we say that God dwells in us, but it is better to say that we dwell in him, that he enables us to dwell in his light and love.
Scripture (John 15, 1-5,7-8)
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more. You are pruned already by means of the word that I have spoken to you. Remain in me as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in them, bears fruit in plenty. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it. It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit and be my disciples.