My dear friends in Christ,

This weekend we begin the most important week in the Church’s year, Holy Week. It’ll be a Holy Week that many of us have never had before – and quite frankly, I never want again! It will be very strange being on my own in church celebrating the various liturgies of the week. However, I’ll be bringing you with me in spirit as I take the journey through these special days.

The whole church worldwide will be taking the journey too, and we can all join together in a spiritual communion of reflection and offering by engaging with the readings of the day, prayer and thoughts of one another. Let’s remind ourselves again of the different stages of Holy Week. First off, we have Palm Sunday, which starts with a joyful and celebratory tone, but as we move on the air of celebration soon dissipates and things turn ugly as we enter into the Passion and death of Jesus. This swift and brief turn of events is unpacked throughout Holy week.

Palm Sunday is the headline, and Holy Week is where we are invited to unpack and enter the drama of it all and journey with Jesus. From a liturgical perspective the first few days of Holy Week (Monday through to Wednesday) are uneventful. This, however, is the calm before the storm as the liturgical pace picks up on Holy Thursday evening. Here we commemorate not only Jesus’ last supper with his disciples but also the inauguration of the Eucharist; ‘this is my body given for you…this is my blood poured out for you’. Jesus’ self-gift in the Eucharist becomes our gift of service to others as Jesus models true discipleship when he serves his disciples by washing their feet. The twists and turns of the drama ensue. Jesus faces betrayal. His friends snore through his loneliness and suffering in the garden. He is arrested by a friend’s kiss. And so we enter into Good Friday and the ‘kangaroo court’ of Jesus’ trial where he is flogged to placate a politician’s conscience. He is handed over to a mob because of political cowardice. He makes the way of the cross alone because his friends deserted Him. He exercises forgiveness to the bitter end. He draws his last breath while his ‘close’ disciples remain at a safe distance. He is laid in a borrowed tomb…and so we reach Holy Saturday and wait.

We wait in hope, we wait for the light to pierce and dispel the darkness; we wait for life to triumph over death!

The events of Holy Week invite us to deepen our trust in the sacrificial love of a God who goes all out for us, and to walk with Jesus our brother, friend and our saviour. Don’t forget, you can always stream Masses/Services, and a list of those various parishes has been emailed out to you.

Let us continue to pray for each other asking the Lord to fill our hearts with light, hope and peace.

God bless you all.

Take care and keep safe,

Fr Brett

PS:

Also below an updated list of Live-streamed Masses and other useful links:

  • Walsingham Shrine, Norfolk
  • Westminster Cathedral
  • Our Lady of Lourdes, Leigh-on-Sea
  • St Peter and St Paul, Ilford
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel, Wickford
  • Via Utube:

  • Chelmsford (Our Lady Immaculate)
  • Basildon (Our Lady and All Saints)
  • Leigh-on-Sea (Our Lady of Lourdes)
  • Manor Park (St Stephen & St Nicholas)
  • East Ham (St Michael’s)
  • Forest Gate (St Anthony's)
  • A 'live' link to the Vatican:

  • The Vatican - 'Live Feed'
  • Via Instagram:

  • Walsingham House at Abbotswick
  • Online Mass Readings:

  • Daily Mass Readings
  • Some prayers:

  • 'Sacred Space' (Irish Jesuits)