To those of you who are able and willing to attend Mass in person from Monday, welcome back. To those still remaining apart for the moment thank you for your perseverance and strength. To everyone else let’s rejoice that the Covid 19 virus is steadily being made less threatening by vaccination and determined public effort. Even to hear our politicians and medical experts suggest that by August we will be doing many things without restrictions is so uplifting. There is more than light at the end of the tunnel!
The expression ‘Building back better’ invites us all to think about how we did things in the past, to reflect on what helped us get through the past 15 months and to dream about how we will be in the near future. I don’t know what the lasting effect of the pandemic will be on the parish community and the wider church. With everyone else I am so conscious of those who suffered through the loss of a loved one during this time. While we all did our best with funerals they were so different to our normal way of marking the end of life that there surely will be some need to address grief and bereavement and to gather and remember.
Catching up on sacraments that have been deferred will keep many of us busy in the later part of the summer and into the autumn. As we’ve mentioned before it is planned to finish the Confirmations from last year, then celebrate with this year’s 6th Class and when that’s done move onto the 1st Communions. The timing and planning can only begin when we are given the green light by the health and diocesan authorities and we will keep you posted.
There is also the possibility that Covid and all its consequences will have challenged some people’s faith in God and relationship with the church and parish. I don’t know how we can best listen to the experience of people and respond to it, but I know we would like to try. There is a special priority in addressing the needs of young people at this time, more than any other sector of society this period of ‘strange living’ has impacted them profoundly. If there is any way we can contribute to enriching their lives in the coming months and the year ahead we would really like to do that too.
I’ve always believed in a God who journeys with us, who is present in our joys and sorrows, who carries us through the darkest hours. To this God of closeness and care we entrust our parish and each other, praying for guidance, support and inspiration.