Dear Members of our Parish Community     

        

Standing next to my granddaughter as she received the Holy Spirit at her Confirmation was a special moment.   Fiona’s Confirmation in Solihull was a wonderful celebration and cause for rejoicing.

Please keep all young people in your prayers as they grow in wisdom and experience the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  All of us, irrespective of our vintage, continue to experience the love of God and the Gifts a loving God has given to us.  We pray that God will help us use these gifts for the benefit of others.

The readings for Sunday tell us that God really cares about His people, and that He invites us to share our blessings.

The first reading is from the Second Book of Kings.  We hear the story of God, working through the prophet Elisha, to feed over a hundred people with twenty barley loaves.  For the second reading we continue to listen to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.  This week Paul encourages us to live the life of unity through our Baptism in the Lord.  We are members of one Body, joined together through our participation in and sharing of the Eucharist.

This Sunday we hear John’s account of the feeding of the 5,000.  A young boy offers to share his food, and Jesus accepts the boy’s gift, and feeds the people.  Both this account and the story from the Book of Kings remind us that God can satisfy all our needs, if only we trust Him.  He expects us to do the same with the gifts he has given us.  

Although the Government has lifted most of the lockdown restrictions we have a duty of care to all who come to Our Lady Help of Christians, especially the vulnerable.  For the time being, we are continuing with the measures we have in place for maintaining a safe environment for all members of our Parish Community. 

We are asking everyone who comes to Our Lady Help of Christians to wear a face covering (nose and mouth); use the hand sanitiser provided; use the NHS app and the associated QR code or the Track & Trace Sheets provided; continue to observe safe- distancing; and to leave one seat between the next person or family.  We will continue to keep these measures under review.  In the meantime, our Church doors are open and we look forward to welcoming all members of our Parish Community.

Pope Francis has declared this Sunday as a day to honour the elderly in our society, especially grandparents.  My faith and my practice of my faith, I owe to the love and example of my parents and grandparents.  As a parent and grandparent myself, I recognise the importance of these people in my life.  Please pray that we can continue to provide an example for our young people as they come to make difficult life choices. 

In announcing the First World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, Pope Francis commented:  “It makes no difference how old you are, whether you still work or not, whether you are alone or have a family, whether you became a grandmother or grandfather at a young age or later, whether you are still independent or need assistance.  Because there is no retirement age from the work of proclaiming the Gospel and handing down traditions to your grandchildren.  You just need to set out and undertake something new”. 

Pope Francis also quoted Pope Benedict who wrote:  “the prayers of the elderly can protect the world, helping it perhaps more effectively than the frenetic action of many others”. 

Finally the holiday season is with us.  May God bless all our young people and their families as they begin the school holidays.  May they be kept safe through the summer.

Keep safe.  Keep smiling.  God bless you.

David