The Bishop’s Blog: With Lancaster Polish Community and St. Patrick’s School, Heysham

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Welcome to this week’s Bishop’s Blog!
Officially Christmastide ends this Sunday with the Baptism of the Lord. I understand that some of you keep on up to the Feast of the Presentation, 2nd Feb. Why stop there? The gift of Christ’s Nativity is for the whole year and need not be ‘put away’ with the decorations. Even so, it is good to move on through the seasons. It keeps our faith and devotions fresh.  Last week I accepted an invitation to join the Lancaster Polish community for a Nativity play (performed by the Carlisle Polish Community) and Carols. To conclude I was invited to bless a beautiful icon of the Black Madonna of Czestochova hanging above the sanctuary. May Our Blessed Lady watch lovingly over her Polish communities throughout this year.
Later in the week I visited St.Patrick’s Primary School, Heysham, my first time ever to set foot in it. I was given a whistle-stop tour of the classes before we celebrated Mass. These children are outstanding singers, the best I have come across in all my years visiting Primary Schools. Following the Mass the whole school left the building for a quiet corner of the school grounds where a purpose built chapel awaited its first blessing. This place will become a sanctuary for staff and children, set apart from the busy-ness of the school day as a place to pray and reflect on God’s love for His children. Once it has heating I’m sure it will become a very popular part of the school life. Well done St.Patrick’s.
There was no mad rush to contact me after last week’s suggestion about blessing mobile phones. Having said that, perhaps the most significant call came from BBC Radio Cumbria who would like me to speak briefly about the idea on their Sunday morning slot. Thank-you BBC!
My prayers are with you and your families for the week ahead,
+ Paul

Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster

 

 

 

The Bishop’s Blog: Blessing of Mobiles and PCs

Dear friends in Christ,

Welcome back to this the first post of the Bishop’s Blog in 2019!Happy New Year to any faithful souls who have been waiting patiently in case this Blog revived. Take it as a prophetic sign of a very distant spring.
It has been an eventful and interesting hiatus. More recently we have become caught up in celebrations marking Christmas. Perhaps some of the photos will capture something of the rich variety I experienced. Thank-you to so many who sent greetings, invitations and gifts – especially prayer – to nourish me. Anyone who knows me will know of my poor relationship with modern technology. The chances of it improving are slim. At this point I have to acknowledge the dedication and saintly patience of those who have the misfortune to work alongside me as secretaries, assistants etc. They have a thankless task.Such marvellous means of communication are at our disposal if only we can master them. Get the relationship wrong and they become mill-stones. Perhaps we can all recognise that such things as mobile phones, i-pads, laptops etc can be a mixed blessing for all of us. We depend on them so completely. So much of our life is contained in them. If they fail we are seriously affected. If we let them they can dominate us to an unhealthy degree.I’d like to float a simple idea that we might organise an occasional simple service to bless our mobiles and PCs. It is just an idea at this stage. I get the sense that some of these items need more exorcising than simply blessing! A good dollop of Holy Water on them may be just what they need! But perhaps they need more than that if they are to be put at our service and the service of the Gospel.If we could dedicate them to the work of Our Lord, in the hope that they will keep us safe and do good to others perhaps something essential in our lives would be improved. Just a thought. Does anyone know if this is already done anywhere? Would it be something helpful to people? I look forward to your responses.With every good wishes and prayer for the week ahead,

+Paul

Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster