Welcome to St Patrick Catholic Church Langley Moor Durham
The Body and Blood of Christ 23 June 2019
“It is wonderful to see you here at my church in Langley Moor along with your family and friends who love you so much. I know that they have helped bring you to this very important day of your First Communion. I hope that what you receive today you will receive on many more occasions in the future.
Your faith journey began with your baptism – which you probably don’t remember! When you had the waters of baptism poured over you, the priest said your Christian names and then said “I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” At that moment you became a part of my body, the Church. Your parents and godparents promised to do everything they could to help you know me as a friend, and as your God. The Holy Spirit came down upon you and has given you strength to be like me: loving, caring, kind, helpful and someone who likes to share with others and not fight or squabble or hold grudges against other.
“I know it is not always easy living like me. Sometimes you have made bad choices and you will do so again, even after today. You know that you can always come to me in the sacrament of Reconciliation, tell me what you have done (though I already know!), say that you are truly sorry, promise to try not to sin again, and be forgiven. It is just as though I have forgotten your sin and you are once again as innocent as you were when you were baptised! Isn’t that wonderful? You have already celebrated Reconciliation a couple of times and I hope that you will continue to do so whenever the need arises.
“And now, here you are, receiving my Body and Blood for the first time! Even though you have done a lot of preparation for this day, I don’t believe you know what a precious gift you are receiving today. I’m sure that even a lot of the adults here at church don’t know this either – perhaps even Fr Robert can’t comprehend this gift fully! It is beyond anyone to really understand the sacrifice I made on the cross so that everyone who believes in me, eats my Body and drinks my Blood, may spend eternity with God. Just as you need food every day to have a healthy body so that you can do what you need to do, so too you need my Body and Blood to nourish you spiritually so that you can love others the way I do. You can’t “do things” to get into heaven but the more you live and love like me the happier you will be and you will get a glimpse of heaven while you are here on earth.
“I hope that in the years ahead you will come to know more and more how much I love you. One way to understand this is to know that I love you as though you were the only person on earth to love. My love is greater than you can possibly imagine and I hope you will start to see that this evening when you receive my Body and Blood for the first time. “Know that I am always watching over you, not to judge you, but because I love you.”
Your loving friend and your God,
The Body and Blood of Christ
The Most Holy Trinity 16 June 2019
OUR ENTRY INTO THE family of the Church, our baptism, is marked by the invocation of God as trinity: “N., I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” As this invocation is made, blessed water is poured onto the head of the one being baptised, or they are immersed in it, and then the one baptised is reborn as a member of the Church. When we enter a church building, we remind ourselves of our initial entry into the church via baptism, by making the sign of the cross on ourselves with holy water, the same water used in baptism, and, once again, we invoke the trinitarian God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
These elements, actions and words are an attempt by us as people of faith to “put some flesh” onto God who is otherwise intangible, invisible and incomprehensible to us mortals here on earth. The most common way to refer to God is as “mystery”, not able to be explained or understood. In an age in which people are loath to invest belief in something unless it can be analysed, systematised, tabulated and proven to their satisfaction, God, as a mystery, is given an aura of the medieval, belonging to an age of superstition and ignorance. Some people may explain others’ belief in God as a means of coping with life’s harsh realities. Others may even see faith in God and faith in science as incompatible. How can science and mystery possibly co-exist?
Yet there are many things we value in daily living that cannot be explained but only experienced. In that sense they too, like God, are mysteries; we think, for example, of friendship, forgiveness, love, trust, kindness, cooperation, and so on. We value these aspects of human experience, (and likewise detest their negative counterparts), but they are also intangible, invisible and incomprehensible, unable to be systematised or tabulated. Yet we value them because we can experience them: we know when we are forgiven, loved, trusted, treated kindly, and so on. Despite an inability to measure these qualities, we know that our lives would be poorer without them.
Likewise, as people of faith, we can know something of an experience of God. This may be a mystical experience or it may be something more concrete via the agency of another person through whom we believe God has made Godself known to us. Again, we cannot systematise or measure an experience of God but the experience is no less valid than any of the other experiences already mentioned. As a trinitarian God, we can get a small understanding of the nature of the God we experience. As Father, we know God to be our Creator but also a loving and caring Father. As Son, we can appreciate that just as God shared in our human nature, God wants us to share in the divine. As Spirit, we know God to pervade all of existence as a loving, unifying force. Though God is mystery, let that not prevent us from seeking to understand God in a deeper, more meaningful way. Theology and philosophy can take us so far but as human beings we need to experience God enfleshed and the best way to do that is to live out the command of the Son: to love others as he loves us.
Wishing you a blessed Easter season,
Saturday 22 June Vigil Mass for Body & Blood of Christ, 5:00pm
Sunday 23 June The Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ, NO MASS
Monday 24 June The Nativity of John the Baptist, 9:30 am
Tuesday 25 June Tuesday of Week 12, 6:30 pm
Wednesday 26 June Wednesday of Week 12, 9:30 am
Thursday 27 June Thursday of Week 12, 9:30 am
Friday 28 June The Sacred Heart of Jesus, 7:00 am
Saturday 29 June Vigil Mass SS Peter & Paul, Apostles, 5:00pm