A letter from Bishop Jonathan

A letter from Bishop Jonathan

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Alleluia! Christ is Risen

This is an Easter season which none of us could have expected, and the like of which none of us has seen before. You are all so much in my prayers. I pray for health and wellbeing for you and your loved ones, and that you may find joy and hope in the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ even in  this time of trial.

The second reading at Mass last Sunday was taken from the First Letter of St Peter. St Peter is writing to young Christians, to those newly baptised, fresh in the faith but also it seems facing the threat of persecution and uncertainty. St Peter encourages these new-born disciples of Jesus Christ with these ringing and resonant words:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light

A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation – these are all words and phrases which were once applied to the people of Israel. But what was once true of God’s first people, the Jews, is now true of us, because we have been called into the fellowship and communion of Christ’s universal Church. We who were once (as St Peter continues) no people are now the people of God.

What a cause for rejoicing! Even in times of trial – especially in times of trial – we know that we are God’s people and that Jesus Christ is our shepherd, teacher, Saviour, and friend. And what are God’s people to do? At all times, in every circumstance, we are to sing the praises of God. We are called to worship. In the well known phrase of St Augustine, we are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song!

As we travel through lockdown we look forward to the restoration of public worship in our churches, including of course at St Anselm’s. That is still some way off, though it may be that the church building may at least be open again for prayer after a few more weeks have passed. Meanwhile, I am grateful for all that you are doing to maintain a sense of being together as God’s people in Hayes Town. I am very grateful indeed that Fr Matthew Cashmore, your parish-priest designate, is now offering valuable help to you in doing just that. 

On the 22nd July, Fr Matthew will be licensed as your new Priest-in-Charge. Whether that can happen in church we must wait and see. But whatever the circumstances of his licensing, the day will mark an exciting moment in the life and mission of the parish. I am convinced that God has great things in store for you, and that, through your witness, the power of the risen Christ will be made known to many.

Brothers and sisters, I long to be able to celebrate the Mass with you and for you. Until that time, in these strange days, please keep singing the praises of God. Keep hopeful and keep faithful, and may the love of God warm your hearts and nourish your souls.

May Our Blessed Lady, Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for you.

May St Anselm and all the saints of God pray for you.

May His holy angels watch over you and keep you safe.

Thank you for your witness and your courage

With every blessing