Seventh Sunday of Easter

Dear Friends,

One of the things I am enjoying about Sundays at the moment is the opportunity to “visit” friends around the country as they say mass.

Last Sunday, I visited a friend of mine from this Diocese who in his homily preached about change. He remarked that things have certainly changed in recent weeks but, as we start to ease some of the lockdown restrictions, suggested that we might start to think about the future.

The words, “The new normal” is a phrase which is bandied about a lot these days, but what does it mean?

I’d say it’s about taking the learning from what we’ve been through to help guide us into whatever the “new normal” turns out to be; and to help us do this, we have a key word to use as our lodestar: Love.

Jesus gave us two great Commandments, “love God and love your neighbour as yourself”; and last Sunday my friend of mine used the word “Love” as a mnemonic to provide a framework in which to start thinking about a more positive future. He suggested:

L – We need to listen and learn from one another about what we might want to keep from these past weeks – maybe to continue to offer care and support to one another via phone-calls, or WhatsApp groups.

O – To observe what is happening around us; and to discover those things which bind us together, as a worshipping community and more widely with the community in which we are set.

V – To value the community we serve, thinking about what is the best thing we can do for others in our context.

E – To enable one another to show God’s love to those around us.

Let us use this time to start to think about how our lives, both individually and as church communities, can bear witness to the hope that is in us, so that we can draw those outside our churches into a deeper understanding of God’s love for all people.

My thanks go to Fr Alan Swanborough, former Priest in charge at St Blasius, Shanklin, for providing this week’s gospel reflection.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

7th-Sunday-of-Easter-Readings

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A Reflection

7th-Sunday-of-Easter-Reflection

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The image is “Ascension” by Giotto di Bondone (–1337) – From the Scrovegni Chapel collection, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Giotto_di_Bondone_-_No._38_Scenes_from_the_Life_of_Christ_-_22._Ascension_-_WGA09226.jpg

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Dear Friends,

Many people are living with loss at the moment: the death of loved-ones, whether through Covid 19 or some other reason; the loss of physical contact with family and friends; the loss of our freedom to come and go as we choose…..all of which make Ascension Day, which falls on Thursday, particularly relevant for us this year.

The disciples had to adjust to loss twice-over. The pain of the loss of Jesus on the cross led to the joy of the resurrection appearances; only to be followed now by seemingly losing him again. But, in fact, Jesus’ Ascension is the culmination of his redemptive work on earth and the means by which we can know he is with us still even, and maybe particularly, in these currently very challenging times.

Normally, Ascension Day is a day of great celebration in the Church but, sadly, we can’t go to mass this year. Instead, I urge you to spend some time reading the scripture passages set for the mass of the day and to ponder the relevance of the Ascension for your life. (Acts 1: 1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Mt28:19,20)

We know that, following the crucifixion, when the world couldn’t get any darker, Jesus rose from the dead. For the next 40 days Jesus appeared to many witnesses, and continued to teach and prepare the apostles for their ministry.

The doubt, pain and confusion of the disciples gave way to hope and joy….and then Jesus told them he must now return to Heaven. He would not be with them in the same way he’d been previously….but he also told them he would not abandon them.

I am grateful to Fr Gregory for providing our reflection on this Sunday’s Gospel reading, which is about Jesus preparing his disciples for the fact that he would be going away again; but also telling them that they won’t be left on their own, because the Spirit of truth would come to help steer them through what lay ahead for them.

Although the Ascension marks Jesus’ return to heaven, we can take comfort from the fact that through Christ we have become God’s children. We can therefore have confidence in him as our strength and our consoler, knowing that he is always within our hearing, as we call on him to intercede for us this during these difficult days; and that he will also strengthen us to live out our own discipleship, according to our gifts and circumstances.

With my love and prayers,
Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

6th-Sunday-of-Easter-Readings

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A Reflection

6th-Sunday-of-Easter-Reflection

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The image is “Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles” by Duccio di Buoninsegna – From the Museo dell’Opera metropolitana del Duomo collection painted between 1308 and 1311, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christ_Taking_Leave_of_the_Apostles.jpg

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Dear Friends,

I hope you are keeping well and finding ways to cope with the current restrictions on life.

Now we are nearly two months into lockdown, we are all having to find ways of filling our days, coping with anxiety and fulfilling our practical needs.

For some, who were essentially already living life under “lockdown” through illness or frailty, maybe life hasn’t changed very much at all. For others, used to being out and about, it can be more challenging.

It is not putting it too strongly to describe what we are going through as a “trauma”. All the familiar routines and assumptions about how we live our lives have been shattered; and we’ve found ourselves in an unfamiliar landscape, where shops are closed, public worship has been suspended, and we can no longer see our friends and loved-ones face to face.

A study being done at Oxford has identified three phases which humans go through at times of trauma; and you may recognise them in yourself.

the first phase is marked by energy and heroism, as people start baking sour-dough bread, sorting out cupboards, or getting involved in volunteering.

As this phase burns itself out, it is replaced by disillusionment, as people start to be suspicious about how accurate the information is that they are receiving, or to blame eg the government for their handling of the crisis.

This then, eventually, gives way to hopeful rebuilding, as the number of cases reduce and we begin to talk about coming out of lockdown.

It is normal to feel any or all of these things! Some days you may feel “Yes, I can do this”, but on others you can hardly drag yourself out of bed.

The important thing is to be kind to yourself. Rest, eat well, take exercise insofar as you can, and keep in touch with people you trust and can share with.

Above all, keep in touch with God. Our theme for this Sunday is “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life”. If we keep close to him, he will see us through this; and my reflection on today’s gospel has more to say about that.

My love and prayers,
Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

5th-Sunday-of-Easter-Readings

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A Reflection

5th-Sunday-of-Easter-Reflection

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The image is by Anonimous – From Ruwiki, Public Domain, https://Commons.Wikimedia.Org/W/Index.Php?Curid=5720443

Fourth Sunday of Easter

lily cross

Dear Friends,

As we move into the month of May, this is traditionally the month when Christians from across the world give thanks to God for our Holy Mother, Mary.

At All Saints’, we have a particular place in our hearts for Mary. We are very blessed to have the Lily Crucifix wall painting in the Blessed Sacrament chapel, depicting Christ crucified on a lily; and you can read more about our lily crucifix by clicking this link.

The symbolism of the lily crucifix is based on the belief that the Annunciation of Christ occurred on the same day of the year, 25th March, as the crucifixion, thereby linking the birth and death of Christ inextricably with his mother Mary and her part in God’s purposes.

At All Saints’ we also have an altar dedicated to Our Lady of Walsingham, where, every month until the recent (temporary) closure of our building, our cell of Our Lady of Walsingham would meet to say the rosary and to pray through the various prayer requests which had been left on the altar by visitors to the church.

Although we cannot come together to pray as we used to, if you have any prayer requests please let me know. Every day I join the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham for live-streamed Shrine prayers to pray for those from our churches with whom I have spoken that day, or include particular intentions which people have told me about.

We are also fortunate that the Chaplain General of the Society of Mary has supplied resources for us. These can be downloaded and printed from this website as a booklet for you to use at home. In this way, we can have Mary at our side during the month of May.

As it says in the introduction to the booklet, “Our Lady knew very well so much of what we are now experiencing and still trusted God would bring good out of evil. She supports us with her prayers; she renews our faith in God’s love and care; she shares our anxiety and our sorrows”.

We may also choose to pray the rosary more this month, or even to start saying it for the first time. Again, on this website, you will find instructions for how to do this.

The theme of this Sunday’s worship is Jesus the Good Shepherd. The gospel reading, John 10:1-10 is available on the website, together with the reflection on the Gospel, which this week has been written by Jenny Hopkins-Holder, Reader at St Alban’s, Ventnor.

With my love and prayers, Dcn Corinne

Scripture Readings

4th-Sunday-of-Easter-Readings

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A Homily by Jenny Hopkins-Holder

4th-Sunday-of-Easter-Homily

(Download the Homily)

As May is the month when the Church pays particular devotion to Our Lady, you may find the following leaflet and booklet supplied by the Society of Mary containing prayers useful at home. Click/Tap each to access.

Praying at Home with THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

How To Pray The Rosary

 

Third Sunday of Easter

Supper at Emmaus

Alleluia, Christ is risen. He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

Dear friends, what a very strange Easter it has been. I hope those of you who have access to the internet have managed to access the materials which have been posted on the St Alban’s or other websites, or have used the written material which I have provided.

Some of you may have preferred to return to using prayer books which have perhaps sat on a shelf for many years – I know I have found great solace and comfort in doing this, as I have searched for the reassurance to be found through something familiar during these very discomforting times.

We will all be reacting to the current lockdown in different ways. For some, the spring flowers and birdsong have brought joy in a renewed sense of gratitude for the beauty of God’s creation, and an appreciation of living in such a beautiful part of the country.

For others, especially for those who live alone, it has brought an increased sense of isolation and loneliness. In spite of organisations such as Age UK, or local volunteers bringing groceries to those who have to stay at home, it’s not the same as having a potter round the shops yourself.

Although we can’t meet for worship at the moment, please know that I continue to hold you all in my prayers and am here for you if you would like to have a chat (07775628593)

I am trying to ring a few people every day, just to say “hello”, starting with those who live alone, or who I know have extra challenges to deal with at the moment.

Each week there will be on the website a copy of the Gospel reading for the coming Sunday and a short reflection, written by various people. I will also write a short piece introducing the themes for each Sunday.

This Sunday’s theme is how Jesus explains the scriptures and is recognised in the breaking of the bread; and Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith will be providing the reflection on the Gospel the week.

May the joy of Easter be with you to sustain and guide you at this challenging time.

Blessings,
Dcn Corinne

Gospel Reading – Luke 24:13-35
They recognised him at the breaking of bread

Gospel-Reading-Easter-3

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A Reflection by Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith

Fr-Gregory-Easter-3

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[Painting is the Supper at Emmaus, by workshop of Lambert Jacobsz circa 1630 (Kadriorg Art Museum)]