Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the early 90’s I attended a course at Seton Hall University, Newark, U.S.A., with priests from thirty-six countries. Late in the evening, with the help of lemonade, the stories of the pastoral issues dealt with by the priests were shared.
There was a guy from South Africa who had spent time in gaol because of his opposition to apartheid. A Jesuit from South America lived in a community where three priests and a housekeeper were shot dead by the ‘Shining Path’. Many stories were told of the extraordinary faith of people living under oppression from corrupt regimes. In our lockdown, I rejoice at the faith of our people in these difficult times. One family have set up a prayer space in their home, others have set times to pray for those families affected by the coronavirus, some watch Mass each day on line. The stories are of hope in suffering.
This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. Holy Week begins with a famous song of the Suffering Servant from Isaiah, a reminder of the courage of Jesus as he takes the path that leads to our salvation. The hymn from Philippians, a favourite scripture passage of mine, reminds us that Jesus’ mission is not about failure but is the embodiment of love, self-sacrifice and humility. The Passion of Matthew moves from abandonment and despair to trust. As people of faith and disciples of Jesus, this Holy Week we are challenged to unite our own sufferings with the Saviour, living in hope, moving from darkness to light as an Easter people.
Our hearts go out to the doctors and nurses, many dying as a result of their healing commitment, who are attempting to treat the suffering. I’m proud of a nephew of mine who founded and is CEO of 3DMedi.Tech, now producing respirators and all involved, including our Governments, working long hours for the good of humanity.
I won’t be moving this August and the Archbishop understands my desire to be with you for at least eighteen months until we all recover and life returns to a more normal situation.
If you have your own stories which can help us all, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pass them on to Paul our wonderful webmaster.