Dear Parishioners and Friends

Holy Week

This Holy Week is going to be different from any other Holy Week I have experienced - from the 'cubby hole' celebration of the Easter Vigil in the church porch on Holy Saturday morning when the fire was lit in a metal biscuit tin and I was a nine year old altar server, through the Latin liturgies of my first years in the monastery, to our great parish celebrations which have been a central part of my life. Different, but a new and wonderful experience lies ahead of us. We can walk personally with the Lord through his dark days knowing that his light is shining on us this April and lighting up paths before us. Here is a link to the archdiocese webpage with links to Masses that are being live streamed in various churches.


I am including the times we would be celebrating this week's services in church (on pages 2 and 3 of this week's bulletin) in case you wish to pray yourselves at those times.

Reporting from the Priory

It would be dead easy to be introspective at this time when my physical world is more constrained than usual, but how are you? I am delighted that within the past couple of weeks so many people in our parish communities have rallied round in support of those who feel stranded or isolated. Please don't hesitate to contact them if you need help. There are strong arms, and legs, and voices around just waiting to be used. And if you wish to ring me for a chat my number is 01695 572168 Ext2. If I am not at my desk you can always leave a message and I shall phone you back.

For myself, I can't help feeling I am living at two levels: doing the practical things to see me through the day, and trying to grasp new opportunities. On the first count, getting up a little later than usual and not feeling too guilty about it; breakfast followed by prayer time in our house chapel; some housework and catching up on mail before Mass about midday; simple lunch; bit of a rest; an hour or so exercising and praying around the church grounds; reading, working at my desk before evening prayer and main meal; and then the pace of the day winds down! Not time to do all the things I have planned.

Then the other side: trying to make sense of where we are and picking up threads which elevate my spirit and give me life. Forgive me for sharing one or two pearls, though they may not glint for you! In which case, it's a great time to discover what gives life and light to every one of us.

I was in Lourdes on an all-night pilgrimage in March 1975, as was a group of Catholics from Vietnam, three days after Saigon had fallen to the North Vietnamese. The anguish of these people was palpable, especially when they celebrated Mass at the grotto. I spoke to one of the priests who asked me to pray for his nation, 'particularly when the world has forgotten us'. I gather that the Church in Vietnam, though not all that numerous, is now quite strong. What made me remember this was reading in last week's The Tablet' an article about Cardinal Xavier Nguyan Van Thuan, bishop of Saigon. On the feast of the Assumption (15 August), 1975, he was arrested and spent the next 13 years in prison, 9 years of which were in solitary confinement, in a cell without windows. His persecution was intense. He used to speak about his feeling of being abandoned by God and a personal failure, about being unable to pray and feeling totally isolated - 'I experienced the depth of my physical and mental weakness', he said; but he realised that he was not alone; he was a member of the Church, in communion with fellow Christians throughout the world; and the Lord was with him always. By loving his captors he was able to recognize he was with Jesus in his dungeon. Let us thank God for the light of longer days, the advent of spring and new life, and the opportunities for our own personal growth.

Over the past two weeks I have been writing about my 'enforced isolation' - until another article in The Tablet drew the distinction between 'isolation' and 'solitude'. The writer pointed out that isolation sounds bleak and connected with loneliness; while solitude conjures up images of spiritual growth and creativity. Jesus, for example, may have been solitary during his days in the wilderness but he wasn't isolated. And solitude is very good for prayer and reading the Scriptures... Just a thought!

Godric OSB


Here are a some other examples of Live-streaming of the celebration of Mass: The National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham will continue its full liturgical programme www.walsingham.org.uk. Masses will also be live-streamed via the Facebook page of the Parish of St Catherine of Alexandria, Lydiate, and YouTube channel www.youtube.com/channel/UCCCLyIXr6LiConW6RVdSoSA which the parish is in the process of developing; and via St Gregory's webcam (mcnmedia.tv). Weekday masses will be live-streamed at 9.30 am on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and on Wednesday and Saturday at 9 am at St Gregory's church, but this is subject to change. Some helpful links: www.st-annes-ormskirk.org.uk; www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk; www.cbcew.org.uk. Please see bulletin for further details.

Queries / Advice

For queries or advice about the ongoing situation about the Coronavirus, parishes may contact Kevin Harvey, our Health & Safety Officer, at the Archdiocesan Office. His contact details are k.harvey@rcaol.org.uk or telephone 0151 522 1025.

Let us pray for all those already affected by the virus, and that ways of combatting the virus will soon be found.

Click here to view video links regarding Synod 2020

This week's Bulletin

Archdiocese of Liverpool Pastoral Letter

Homilies from the Hermitage

St Anne's Church
St Anne's Priory
23 Prescot Road, Ormskirk, Lancs, L39 4TG
Telephone: 01695 572168
e-mail: paxorm@btconnect.com
(for general enquiries)

St Elizabeth's Church
St Elizabeth’s Presbytery,
10 Hall Road, Scarisbrick, L40 9QE
Tel: 01704 880226
e-mail: scarisbrickcatholic@outlook.com