Welcome to S. Michael’s as we reach Passion Sunday. Today marks the beginning of Passiontide, the time when we enter even more deeply into the passion of our Lord, which has its climax on Good Friday. Entering into and, in some way, experiencing the anguish of another is never an easy thing to do. Our natural inclination would be to avoid this, because we have enough worries of our own without taking on someone else’s trouble. It is only in the presence of great love that a person will take on the pain of another. The Gospel reading today provides us with one such example in the tenderness and generosity of Mary of Bethany.
In the reading from the Letter to the Philippians we hear Paul saying that if you are like him and want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, then it is necessary to share with Christ in his sufferings and become like him in his death. As much as it would be good if it were so, there is no bypass route round the cross. Whether it be in our theology, our pastoral practice, or in our life experience, we know that sharing in the sufferings of Christ is integral for those who seek to attain the resurrection from the dead.
The sufferings of Jesus were particular to him and located in history. However, our meditating on them opens the door for us to gain a greater spiritual insight into suffering in its many forms in the present time. The Stations of the Cross and the liturgies of Passiontide lead us to a deepening of understanding and empathy, so that we may be as Christ to those we meet who are suffering. Today, both the liturgy and the Lent talk—Fr Peter Williams on the Passion—will give us much to reflect on, I am sure, as we prepare for Holy Week.
Holy Week: Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and our High Mass begins at 9:30 am in the school atrium with the procession of palms. Can anyone help the school children make Palm Crosses for half an hour on Wednesday, 9:30 am in the Year 4/5 classroom? Or can you come on Saturday at 10:00 am to help make crosses for Sunday? (Some flax is available but more is always appreciated.) Next week there will be other opportunities to help prepare for Easter, details are on the back page.
During Holy Week Morning Prayer will be said at 8:00 am Monday–Thursday and there will be no 10:00 am Masses. (Please see the programme details on your bookmark.)
Yours in Christ,
Fr Andrew Starky
• Easter Flowers: donations are now being accepted by Jill Woodside (Sundays) and Louise Glossop (office hours).
• Bible Study Group meets tomorrow at 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
• Women’s Group meets on Tuesday in the Old Library after the 10:00 am Mass (approximately 10:45 am). Please bring any gifts for Walsh House for preparing and wrapping. Parking off Durham Street. All welcome. Details Pat Evans (358 0127).
• Meditation Group meets on Tuesday, 5:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
• Volunteers to make palm crosses Wednesday or Saturday: details Kathryn Starky.
• Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
• Concert Les Bons Vivants: Christopher’s Classics Thursday 7:30 pm at S. Michael’s. Details on notice board.
• Launch of Youth Group: Friday 3:30 pm in the lounge. Details Shaun Graveston.
• Volunteers for Maundy Thursday: names for foot-washing to John De la Bere.
• Maundy Thursday Watch: after the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament remains on the Altar of Repose until the next day. Members of the congregation keep watch for an hour during the night. If you can do this, please sign the list in the porch so that we can ensure that at least two people are present at all times.
• Working Bee for brass cleaning etc: Saturday 26 March from 10:00 am.
• Regatta on Avon: lunch on Easter Day at 12:15 pm. Details Kathryn Starky.
• Reports for the Parish AGM on 17 April: to Louise by 31 March please.
• Diocesan Educational Evening: Professor Chris Marshall on the theological foundations of reading and learning from Scripture. S. Christopher’s, 1 April 7:00 pm.
• Invitation to a Garden Tea Party honouring bride-to-be, Cassandra Johnson. 2 April, written invitation available from Jill Woodside after Sunday Mass.
• Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
• Needlework Group meets monthly, details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
• Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.
• Final Lent Studies: today- The Passion- Fr Peter Williams, next Sunday- Holy Baptism- Fr Andrew Starky.