Bishop Michael has written an ‘extra’ letter, that is, one that wasn’t included in his annual plan, which he sends to all of his priests. As Fr Bernard said, in what turned out to be his last homily, “. . . because it wasn’t in his plan, it must be about something that he thinks is important”.
Please make time to read it. It isn’t very long, just 2 small pages of text, but it contains some vital messages for all of us who live and worship in our combined parishes of Sacred Heart and Saint Columba with Saint Patrick. This link will take you directly to the letter.
This headline, taken from the Lancaster Diocese website, tells us that the Bishop is looking ahead to visualise the challenges that we must face; not on our own, but with the support of the Holy Spirit, just like the early Christians did.
We could not have imagined, as we listened to Fr Bernard reading this letter that he would become, on that very day, another of what the Bishop refers to as the “numerous recent clergy deaths”.
Fr Bernard’s unexpected and sudden death is a change that no-one expected. It leaves us shocked, stunned, and facing an even bigger challenge in forging a path for our Fit for Mission journey without his guidance and leadership. Just like the Apostles, at the Ascension, our sense of loss and uncertainty may make us numb and concerned for what the future holds. But we, like them, must put our trust in the Lord, receive the Holy Spirit and use our lives and our energies to do the Father’s will and rebuild the Kingdom here in our communities in Barrow. What we achieve will be our tribute to Fr Bernard and the legacy of the wisdom and leadership he gave us during his all too short time with us.
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen
We must remember Bishop Michael and our senior clergy in our prayers too as they face yet more difficult decisions on re-shaping and re-grouping the Church in Lancaster Diocese.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful
And kindle in them the fire of Your love
V: Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created
R: And You shall renew the face of the earth
Let us Pray:
O God, Who instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, Grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen