A Pastoral Letter from Fr Andrew
Well things have changed and are changing so rapidly aren’t they*. Only a few hours after I posted my last letter to you the ‘Lockdown’ was announced and our churches closed completely, except for the Priest to enter alone and to pray and offer Mass alone, on behalf of the whole community. This I have done regularly each day. Holy Week and Easter will certainly be very different than anything I have ever experienced. To be absent from the worshipping community in the ‘Week of Weeks’ is heart-breaking. There are some plans I have to help to some small degree. I have racked my brain to think How I might get Palm Crosses to you for Palm Sunday – but I cant. But here are my suggestions for Palm Sunday and Holy Week to Easter.
Palm Sunday. The Gospels tell us that the people took ‘branches’, not necessarily palms. Many of you will take a walk in your garden or else-where each day. If you can, take a small branch or twig home. If not, even a dried flower will do. At 10.30, read the Palm Gospel (Luke 19 28-40) then hold your branch and say this prayer: God our Saviour, whose Son Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem as Messiah to suffer and to die; let this branch be for us signs of his victory and grant that we who bear it in his name may ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
When we are once again together, you will receive the Palm Cross I will have blessed for you.
On Maundy Thursday & Good Friday, take some time to read the Gospel accounts of the actions of Jesus. Take some time to meditate and pray before a cross or crucifix in your home. Look at the different accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John – each will give you a different perspective for your prayers. They are easy to find in the Prayer Book, Lectionary, Bible – or online. At each of the liturgies, I will take some photos. These will be published on our website and Facebook page for those who can access them.
At the Easter Vigil I will bless the Easter Candle. Again, once we are all together again, you will be given a new candle to light from the Easter Candle.
On Easter Day, read the accounts of the Resurrection and offer this prayer: Risen Christ, you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope: strengthen us to proclaim your risen life and fill us with your peace, to the glory of God the Father. Amen
How strange this all seems to write. I include with this letter a little meditation written by an old friend, Martin Warner, the Bishop of Chichester. Please pray for one another and for me as I do for each one of you – by name – over the course of each week. If you would like me to pray for any particular need or person, then please just drop me a line – by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me on 01253 351484 With the assurance of my love and prayers, Fr Andrew