Thursday 24th September 2020 - Our Lady of Walsingham -

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Thursday 24th September 2020
Our Lady of Walsingham
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

There is a wonderful verse found in the Letter to the Hebrews that begins:

‘Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended.’
(Heb 11:1-2)

In our current fragile world, both globally and locally, there seems little to celebrate. However, as the writer of Hebrews reminds us it is only through faith that we can see hidden realities. Here as St. Mary’s our living faith continues to reveal the reality of hope, that can sometimes seem hidden, yet through the eyes of faith is very much alive and active. I’ll prove it in the following pieces of good news:-
Over the last two weeks we have we have received Bernadette Smith and Andrew Price into the Church. This is wonderful and hope giving news! Bernadette and Andrew, over the last two Saturday’s, have been both baptised, Confirmed and received Holy Communion for the first time. We also have a number of more youthful parishioners (All who have had to contend with my poor teaching skills since last October and faithfully stuck with it) who will be baptised over the next few weeks and receive the Eucharist for the first time. Laswon was baptised and received Holy Communion for the first time last Sunday and over the next few weeks Carson and Shay will follow suit.  May the Lord Bless our new brothers and sister and may Our Lady of Oswaldtwistle always pray for them. Amen
About Becoming Catholic (ABC)
Over lockdown many people have emailed to ask about our Catholic Faith with the intention of wanting to both explore and learn more about it. Obviously with government restrictions this is a little more challenging but not impossible. The Holy Spirit is always bestowing wisdom and creativity so if you or somebody you know would like to contact me in regards to knowing more about the Faith then please feel free to do so.               
Sacramental Programme 2019/20
Normally First Confessions and Holy Communion would have taken place for those who first began preparation for these Sacraments last autumn. Despite Covid-19 these children will be blessed over the course of the next few weeks when they begin to receive the real and true presence of Jesus’ forgiveness and mercy in Confession and His life giving grace in the Blessed Sacrament. Let us pray for these young people as they continue their journey of faith.
Volunteer Stewards
I am now celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass publicly six times a week because of those parishioners who have come forward as stewards. It is also because of these parishioners that funeral liturgies can once again commence at St.  Mary’s which is helping people with their grief. I know the parish is very grateful for what they are doing as without their voluntary service our church doors would have to close. The stewards are there to see that the conditions issued by the Government and Diocese are followed. They did not make these rules and if we wish to remain open for worship we must comply. It is not pleasant for stewards to have to insist on the rules. If everyone could follow what they have been asked to do then it makes life easier and safer for everyone. This should come naturally to us as Christians – not to put ourselves first but to think of the good of others. Next time you come to church say a prayer of thanks for those people who have given up their time to afford us the blessing of being in the presence of the Lord in the Tabernacle. If you would like to volunteer as a steward then please contact Jennifer Pickles at      
Parish Grounds
As has been commented by numerous people returning to church, St. Mary’s grounds are looking well and being ‘...devotedly taken care of.’ The upper car park is moss free (for the time being), the paths are clear, the lawns are mowed, the flower beds are pruned and tided and the hedges are trimmed. But! Autumn is coming and in a few weeks there will be leaf fall – a lot of leaf fall! As always if people could come forward their help would be very much welcomed and appreciated. It’s fresh air, exercise and the great open doors, all good for body, mind and soul. Contact Navada Keenan for more information at:
As you can see brothers and sisters our parish is not stagnant but living, breathing and continuing to witness to the presence of Jesus Christ in the world. On Wednesday 16th September we celebrated the Memoria of the two early martyrs Ss. Cornelius and Cyprian. The first reading was from St. Paul to the Corinthians and I think his words are a good way of ending this letter.

‘We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us.
We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body.’  (2 Cor 4:7-10)
With many people and families suffering from the effects of Covid-19 both psychologically, emotionally, financially and practically we only have one sure and certain anchor to hold fast on to – Our Lord. Let’s continue to hold each other in prayer and never loose sight that of the blessings and hope we see in our lives of faith.
God Bless and keep praying
Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.
Fr. O’Brien
All rights Reserved © St Mary’s Oswaldtwistle July 2020
St Mary's RC Parish
Catlow Hall Street
Parish Priest: Fr S D O'Brien
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