Parish News

Cardinal: Obligation to Easter Duties removed this year
Easter message from Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Useful links for these times

Mass Live Video Links
If you would like to see a live stream of Mass, please click here, and follow the link to your preferred service.

Streamed Masses
Click here for a list of live streaming Masses on the Diocesan website.

Spiritual Communion
A Prayer for Spiritual Communion

Prayer
Prayer Resource

Resources during Mass suspension
Prayers and Other Resources

Church at Home Resources
Children, Teenagers and Young Adults

Ss Alban and Stephen Catholic Church Facebook group
Additional resources and information


Message from Fr. Michael on Palm Sunday 5th April 2020

Dear Parishioners

Like so many of you no doubt I have begun or ended too many messages with the words ‘strange times’. These are ‘strange times’ but they are nonetheless times that we are being called to live in and witness to our faith and our hope. We could spend a lot of energy trying to get around or over the situation we find ourselves in, but what we are fast learning, is that there is no way of avoiding it. The temptation is to run after ‘normal life’ – to try and live life as things were, or how we would want them to be, rather than accepting life as it has to be for the time being.

In all of this, in all that I have been asked to give up and to do differently, I am conscious of those of whom so much more has been asked; of the sick and suffering, of the dead, of those who have lost loved ones, and of the doctors, nurses, auxiliary staff, care workers, chaplains and armies of workers who don’t have the luxury of staying at home. First and foremost, hold these in your hearts and prayer.

Holy Week Services
With the Coronavirus and the current restrictions in place the usual Sunday obligation and Easter duties have been suspended. The Holy Week liturgies here at St Alban and St Stephen these will take place behind closed doors as follows: 6 pm Maundy Thursday, 3pm Good Friday, 8.30 pm Holy Saturday. An interactive Order of Service for each of the principal liturgies of Holy Week which can be followed at home, and which draws on and will link you to the liturgy taking place in the Church, can be found under the ‘Easter’ tab on our homepage at www.albanstephen.org. I am grateful to the readers, singers, musicians who have contributed their time and talents, and in particular to those whose organization and technical know-how has made this possible.

Another possibility is to join one of the many services being live streamed on the internet and I know that the Easter Vigil celebrated in the Cathedral will be live-streamed at 8.30 pm on Holy Saturday. A good place to start a search is Church Services TV

Virtual Prayer Group
On Wednesday of this week we held our first ‘virtual’ meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council. One of the learning curves I have been on these past couple of weeks is coming to grips with Skype, Zoom and the whole concept of meeting with others over the internet. Mindful of the opportunities which facilities like Zoom present for bringing people together, we are looking to establish a time of shared prayer Monday-Saturday of Holy Week, beginning this Monday 6th April at 7.30 pm, for about thirty – forty minutes. We are still in the process of sorting out how the meeting is to be structured, and I imagine things will evolve, but if you would like to join please email Brendan Roche at bkroche@me.com saying so.

Cardinal Vincent
You may like to know that a few days ago a video was released of the Cardinal in conversation with Archbishop Justin Welby and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis on the effect of the pandemic on the closure of places of worship, how this is affecting our prayer life and ending by praying Psalm 23 together. Here is a link YouTube discussion.

The Cardinal was due to feature in The Times Credo column yesterday 4th April and will feature in The Telegraph opinion column on Good Friday. On Easter Sunday he is due on BBC Radio 2 at 7.30am, on Sunday Service on BBC Local Radio stations at 8am, on BBC Radio London at 9.30am

And on BBC Radio 4 The World This Weekend at 1pm.

Sick
Please pray for those suffering with the Coronavirus and for all the Sick: Bernadette Witchard, Mary Miskell, Nancy Falloon, Jeff Tan, Johnny Doran, Eileen Cleary, Mary Malloney, Richard Sumner, Sue Gavin, Jim Moss, Catherine Mannion and Ana Isabel Paz and Veronica Smith.

Recently Departed
Please pray for those who have recently died and for those who mourn them. We remember in particular the following and their families. Renee Luca, Joao Paulo Martins, Jean Yves Theanne, Eileen Drurie, Philomena Lines, Anne Lynch, Mary Jozwiaka, Margaret Sweeney and John Taylor.

Anniversaries
Please pray for all those whose anniversaries occur at this time: Helena Cuneen, Richard Richardson, Angela Kent, Stan Phillips, Mary Bergin, Andrew Fernandez, Milly Yarwood, Elizabeth Eley and Patrick McCarthy.

Offertory
As mentioned in the newsletter, several people who usually contribute to the offertory either in cash or by using the offertory promise envelopes have contacted us to ask how they might continue their weekly giving. We do not know how long the current situation will continue for and I am conscious that with the uncertainty many will be concerned about their jobs and livelihoods. If you are able to – and I genuinely mean ‘if’ – and you wish to continue with your regular pattern of giving you may like to consider giving by standing order. This seems the most sensible way forward as it avoids the weekly handling of both envelopes and cash. If so, please email the parish office at stalbans@rcdow.org.uk and ask for details of how you might give by standing order.

With my prayers for you and those dear to you

Fr Michael


Novena to Our Lady of Walsingham

Before the Coronavirus these days around the feast of the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary asking her to become the Mother of Jesus, would have focused on the re-dedication of England to Mary on Sunday 29 March. King Richard II first dedicated England to Mary in 1381 in thanksgiving for his kingdom being saved at the time of the Peasants’ Revolt. Thereafter England received the title ‘Mary’s Dowry’, meaning that England was ‘set aside’ as a gift – a dowry – for Our Lady under her guidance and protection. On the 29th March you are invited to participate in this act of rededication by making the ‘Angelus Promise’ and joining in an act of ‘Communal Entrustment’.

Click here for Behold 2020

Our intention, here at St Alban & St Stephen, was to prepare for this rededication with a three day novena, to be said after the morning Masses. At the centre of the Novena, which would have included the recitation of the rosary, would have been the Litany of the Saints and Martyrs of England. Why not pray this Litany as we prepare to rededicate ourselves to Mary, calling on the Saints and Martyrs of England and Wales, that in these testing times, with them and with Mary, we will remain steadfast in both faith, hope and witness, and not least the witness of loving our neighbour.

Click here for the Litany of the Saints and Martyrs of England