Mgr Gerard’s reflection – 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mgr. Gerard writes: Whether you are a brand new catholic, a “cradle catholic”, new to the area and parish, young or not so young, now is the time to get involved with your church. Members of the parishes who are actively involved often feel more at home and find joy in serving the Lord and others. Many also say they grow in their spiritual life. Do you want to be an usher, altar server, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, minister to the sick and housebound? Do you have experience in work relating to health and safety or finance? Are you willing to get involved in flower arranging, helping with tea and coffee, fund raising for the parish and being a welcomer, joining the choir, the offertory procession rota? In all our parishes I am extremely grateful for everyone that is currently involved, and I don’t take the support and help for granted but I am also aware that many things that happen in a parish revolve around the same people. At every parish this weekend I am distributing a form that I would like you to take and fill in a form and tick a box what you could on a regular basis become involved with in the parish. I know we all lead very busy lives and have many family commitments but over this past year since taking over the admin of St. Francis’ and St. Clare’s as well as the Shrine and the Cathedral I am asking for more help and support. Sadly, particularly at St. Francis’, our deacon Ray Hall will be stepping down from ministry from 6th October and Ray has been a great help and support to me and the priests in opening the church and setting things up for Mass etc. and I need to rely on people to come forward and take those duties on. Once you have filled these forms in please return them to each of the sacristies where I will personally collect them over the next few weeks. It takes one easy step to volunteer and become part of what are already great teams of people that really look after our churches and our Shrine. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be starting to put the heating back on in all our churches. Recently there have been fairly big bills coming in with all the heating costs and we have also at all our churches had some fire risk assessments and this has resulted in a number of recommendations that must be adhered to and some of those incur costs, in particular the lighting for all of the churches which will be a major cost. But the big change will be when we light the candles. First, we are not allowed to have the seven-day candles at St. Clare’s and the Shrine because I am not allowed to have a church that is not manned while candles are lit and therefore I am having to remove the seven-day candles. I would recommend if you want to light a tea light at any of our churches I would recommend that you do that before Mass begins and not at the end as all candles need to be extinguished when we lock the church. In order to comply with our insurance I have to comply with the fire regulations. Obviously, the recent fire at Notre Dame in Paris is still under investigation as to how the fire started and has brought in stricter controls over the use of candles. Finally, may I thank you for your patience and help over the past year trying to juggle between three churches has been an interesting experience for all the priests but I think we are all slowly getting there.