Next Thursday we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension which has now been returned to its rightful place with the Holyday being celebrated on the day itself rather than transferred to the Sunday. Masses that day are at the normal daily times.
The period from the Feast of the Ascension until Pentecost (10 to 20 May) is traditionally a period of prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit and we are being encouraged this year by Archbishop Malcolm to make a novena period of prayer in preparation for the Feast of Pentecost and also as part of our preparation for the Eucharistic Congress in September. There are prayer cards available this weekend in the form of a bookmark. We have been asked to say this prayer at all of our celebrations of Mass during this period and you are encouraged to make part of your own daily prayers. In the words of St Paul in his letter to the Galatians ‘The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.’
This Sunday twelve children from St Vincent’s Primary School will be making their First Holy Communion at a special Sunday morning Mass at St Vincent’s Church. The children have been preparing for this over the last six months and we wish to thank Fr Stephen and the team of RE teachers at the school who have been working closely with the children and their families over this time. I hope they have a happy and celebratory day and treasure and partake of the wonderful gift of this Holy Sacrament for the rest of their lives.
Some time ago I received this poem which had been written by a local person Helen Brady, now deceased, which has a very strong Easter message. I offer part of the poem as a reflection for this time of the Easter season. It is entitled ‘Easter Rising’.
It was Maundy Thursday I saw her again, slovenly footed she made her way. Her buttonless jacket held in vain, single handed against the rain. The other clutched a carrier-bag, clinking glass on precarious glass, her sustenance wrapped in rag. A face in which her light has dimmed, eyes unseeing, yet they seek a quiet stop, a corner to lie, to be no bother, just pass her by. No Maundy money crossed her palm. Her feet were washed by blessed balm.
On Good Friday I saw him again. He shuffled from the hostel room to pick his way throughout the day. His eyes the gutters searched for stubs, his vagrant shoes unfit to wear, he stumbled, but was told ’move on’. He found a place on St Luke’s step, tried to hide the precious hoard. Another’s hand about his throat, he gave in without a shout, a cut or two he could afford. A rag he sought to wipe a bloody nose. Then arose to go his weary way. Such scarcity of beds that night, none found. His sore head lay on the ground.
Easter Sunday dawned in shine. The fractured moon gone to rest. Birds sang their chorus calls subdued, and robin’s breast bled rosy. A lonesome air lay about the place. Dew beads glistened along the boughs reflecting diamond fire. Polished buds lay waiting, not quite born into this April morn, while in the city, sweepers garnered evidence of the night before. The crowds had finished jousting. Remnants lay galore, of rich easy pickings, from a raided store. Thirty silver coins spilt on the floor.
Sunburst through on Sunday, unfurling darling buds, to shake awake the day’s eye, turn the bells outwards, into a litany of song, while vernal Earth danced around the Son, and nests made ready for new birth. Soon the moon grew healed and whole, rose star rimmed to take her place at the day’s edge, lighting the way they were to travel to journey’s end, to reach Jordan’s bend, and there waited the boatman. ‘Come, there is no shortage of beds in my Father’s house. You are welcome’.
Canon Anthony O’Brien