Fr. P and I celebrated Ascension on Thursday 21st. May and it so reminded me of my childhood days. If I remember correctly, it was one of those great feastdays when we had a day off school, thereby breaking up the school week nicely, with a return on the Friday and then, hooray; weekend at home!! The little cartoon that Fr. P found for our children, and has the little boy character in it is sourced every day (do you remember? We christened him Dave ) to see what he is up to and more to the point, where is he? For Ascension, he was looking up at Jesus with the disciples in awe and wonder, which brought me to think of my annual fun lessson with the children, and especially in Lower School. If Jesus was here today, how would he return to the Father? In a balloon, in a rocket, in a helicopter??!! Perhaps even a hang-glider!! I will never forget one lively little soul saying, “Why not a flying carpet like Aladdin? They must have been watching a Disney film of the same name, and why not?
“Arise Captain Sir Tom More.”
That was the spectacular for last week for a grief-stricken country. Think back to my letter of 3rd. May. We celebrated that lovely gentleman's 100th. Birthday, saw the Spitfire fly over, the thousands of cards and shared family time; a great privilege for our Nation. Fr. P muttered, “He should have a Knighthood,” and behold Fr. P's wish has come true. As usual, Captain Tom had a lively, witty, yet humble, commentary when interviewed and was showing a wicked sense of humour when addressing Sir Ian Botham over the love of Cricket which they both share. Fancy having a Grandad like that! Unique! I know those grandchildren adore him by their very manner and approach. The family is an example to us all, and I know that there are many, many more like them. Of course Fr. P was over the moon,and that is an understatement. However, in his inimitable style he mused, “That's two Sir Thomas More's in our history.” The first was martyred by Henry VIII. No more history lessons!
My slow efforts at cleaning the church rockery are at long last showing results. A rockery now, and not a massive weed patch. The Heathers are getting established, and some beautiful bulbs with star-like flowers which only open in the sunshine are in full bloom as are the tall Granny's Bonnets. Now they need watching because they can seed like a weed, and before you know it you are over-run by the blighters. As a cottage garden plant perfect; and much loved by the bees. My brother Patrick was testing me about bees the other day, as there are visitors of such kind in my bungalow garden, which means, if I assume corrrectly, my wild-flower patch is in full strength. The Starlings have left the nest from under the Presbytery gutters, so it is uncannily quiet when sitting in the back garden; no more gurglings, shrieks, whoops and chirps.
It is now the official Half-term Break, and all teachers are either having a well-earned rest or are preparing for the projected June return, and the last part of the academic year. Nobody has known anything like we are all experiencing, and somehow I cannot see life ever being the same again. It must be very difficult to know when to send the children back to school and it will probably end up with different schools deciding different dates so as to protect Staff and children, unless the Government decides to accept a full September return as the other countries in the UK are doing.
It is blowing a howling gale outside and leaves and branches are being ripped off relentlessly as if it were Autumn. Another Event I have never witnessed in my life-time as the fresh young leaves have only burst forth in the last eight weeks. During the Lockdown, the leaf burst of our trees gave hope and inspiring trust of new life and fresh start. The Estate looks like devestation. The clean-up will be another time-consuming task interrupting my weed clearance project. Fr. P and I have thrashed out a Risk Assessment for the eventual opening of our little church and Services; another venture into New Times. As I walk up and down the aisle I virtually see our Parishioners like “ghosts” and ponder with the good Lord in the silence of empty benches, what is going to be the future. There is a Psalm which I think says:
“Trust in the Lord
always trust in the Lord.”
May you all have a safe Bank holiday. Do not travel unless necessary. We need to protect and respect the people who live in the beauty spots permanently. They want visitors, but they should be left to decide.
Keep praying to Our Lady and especially in these uncertain days of unlock. Remember the NHS and the Care Homes. Look out for others, even at a distance.
Most weekends we have our young people helping with the Collection, collecting Missalettes at the end of Mass and taking part in the Offertory Procession. We try to alter our front of church Tableau each week to fit in with the Gospel of the Day, and a short explanation is given to the Congregation.
People show great interest in what the Catechist does each week!. Our parish is a small country one, and through the Sunday Mass our little ones get to know each other before entering our school.
Fr. Peter Charles Crowther obl. sbso | The Presbytery, Bury Lane, Withnell, Chorley, PR6 8SD | Tel 01254 830 995 | Reg Charity: 232709