Weekly message from Fr. Eamonn

PENTECOST SUNDAY – 31st May 2020

Dear Parishioners & Friends,

I hope this message finds you keeping well and safe and hopefully enjoying the lovely weather we have had for a few days  –  albeit, in a restricted way!

Baby Sophia Update
Baby Sophia continues on her journey to recovery. The latest I heard is that the surgeons have now closed her chest after her surgery a couple of weeks ago. This is a good sign as it envisages no more surgery. She was taken off the ventilator but was struggling to breath unaided. So for now, she remains on the ventilator. Please keep her in your prayers and her family. But our little fighter is still fighting! God bless her!

Re-opening of our Churches
As you can imagine, I have received a number of enquiries about when our churches will re-open. I will be honest, at the moment, we just do not know. The initial re-opening will be for private prayer  –  with strict ‘social distancing’ rules in place.

Our Bishops are following Government guidelines and also working with the Government to decide when it is safe for our churches to re-open. The Bishops are as anxious to re-open our churches as we are, but obviously they want to do so as safely as possible for all concerned.

There is, in this week’s bulletin, a detailed discussion about re-opening our churches which is aimed specifically at St Mary’s and St Patrick’s. It details what will need to be in place and what help will be needed from you the parish to make re-opening our churches possible. To see this article in the bulletin, please click here.

I for one, will be very glad when we are back in church again celebrating our faith. I have missed the contact with you all and look forward to seeing you again.

Thank you for your Generosity
Once again, I must say a heart-felt ‘thank you’ to those who have maintained their weekly offering for their parish. You really have been both generous and organised.

I know a number of people are now switching to using the ‘standing order’ facility to pay their weekly offering. This is something I welcome and indeed encourage, 

It is a reminder to me, not that I needed it, of how much you love your parish and your church. It makes me very proud to be your Parish Priest.

Sadly our funerals continue to come in  –  this is difficult at any time, but I think especially so at the moment with all the restrictions around them.

Forthcoming Funerals:

Peggy Walker – Monday 1st June – 2.00pm – Batley Cemetery
Teresa Kelly – Wednesday 3rd June – 12.00noon – Dewsbury Crematorium
Terence Leach – Thursday 4th June – 10.30am – Dewsbury Crematorium
Angie Ellis – Tuesday 9th June – 10.30am – Dewsbury Crematorium

Please keep all our Parish Faithful Departed in your prayers at this time and their families too.

Learning from the Online Masses
One very interesting part of this current situation is watching Masses from all over the country and indeed the world. It has been good for me as a priest, to watch and learn from fellow priests both in the Diocese and further afield. There are so many good, faithful and creative priests who use all their gifts and talents to reach out to their parishioners.

Over this period of ‘lockdown’ I have had the opportunity to watch and more importantly for me, to listen to myself celebrate Mass. Although, like most people, I don’t like seeing or hearing myself, it has been a positive experience, as a way of learning;

  • where my speech needs to be articulated more carefully
  • where I could be more careful in how I celebrate Mass

In my nearly 21 years as a priest, with the struggles I have with my speech, I can honestly say, not one parishioner has ever complained about my speech  – all I have ever received is support and encouragement  –  this is true especially here in Batley and Birstall. For this I am truly grateful. However, I do continue to try and improve and become more fluent in my speech and hopefully more reverent in the way I celebrate Mass. Like us all in life, there is always room for improvement.

As always thank you to Michelle and Patrick Anderson who enable me to celebrate the recorded Masses each week. They are very generous with their time and skills.

Keep Safe
As always, if there is anything I can do to help at this time, I am only a call away. I am around and available. Even if you just want a chat or need some shopping, I am more than happy to help.

For more information about what is happening in the parishes, please see the weekly bulletin here

Take care and God bless.

Fr Eamonn