Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am delighted to welcome the first publication of our Diocesan newspaper since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a sign that, even if we have not quite returned to ‘normal’, nevertheless we are now able to resume, with the proper precautions, many of the usual activities of our Diocese. Thanks be to God for his abundant mercies!
During this month we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It aptly reminds us of the mystery of suffering and victory in our Lord’s Passion. The Collect at Mass tells us that God has placed the salvation of the human race on the wood of the Cross, ‘so that where death arose, life might again spring forth.’
This promise, of the springing forth of new life after the tragedy of suffering and death, is embodied in the Church and in our Diocese. Many have suffered terribly during the Covid-19 pandemic. We pray for the repose of the souls of those who have died, and for those who mourn them; for those who have been gravely ill, and for those who care for them. We pray too for those who have suffered through loneliness or isolation and financially.
We also give thanks for the extraordinary acts of faith and charity by so many parishes and people throughout our Diocese in their care for and service of those in great need. I thank our priests who never ceased to offer the sacrifice of the Mass for their people and, wherever possible to bring succour to the sick and dying.
We have also seen wonderful outreach through the live-streaming of services from so many of our churches: never empty, never abandoned. This challenging time has also been an opportunity for people to re-evaluate their priorities, and to discern what is really important in their lives.
I now encourage every one of our parishioners to come back to the Mass in person. Our communities need you! Every precaution has been taken to make our churches safe. But above all, it is the Lord Himself who awaits us, to share with us, in the Eucharist, the divine life of His resurrection and His victory over suffering and death.
Let us renew our trust in Him ‘in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection; through whom we are saved and delivered.’
With all good wishes & the assurance of my prayers,
Bishop Alan Hopes