It is good to return to the parish after my break, and I thank especially Fr Tony Spierings for his assistance with weekend Masses, and our many parishioner volunteers.
In the Year of Youth we have set out as a parish to establish a broadly based youth ministry in our parish. In particular I wish to acknowledge the young people who have accepted a role as youth leaders within our parish, and also those adult mentors in the parish who are contributing to their formation as leaders. We continue to give thanks to God for the blessings our young people bring to our parish and its mission.
In the past two weeks 50 children in our parish have begun to prepare to receive their First Holy Communion. To participate fully at Mass by receiving Holy Communion is the very summit of our Catholic life, and also its source. Pope St John Paul II and Pope Francis have both stressed how important it is to renew our encounter with Jesus and to live our lives deeply in relationship with him. Both have reminded us that when this encounter and relationship is absent our Catholic Christian life and the sacraments can quickly become meaningless. So, for the parents of our First Communion children and for all our parishioners the most important gift for these children is to share with them what our relationship with Jesus means to us; and also to share how important the Mass is because this is the most important place where we encounter Jesus. In the Mass Jesus is the sacrament; Jesus is the Word made flesh who dwells among us; it is Jesus that we receive when we receive Holy Communion.
May God bless you all, Fr Denis