A Beautiful Weekend!

Dear Friends in Christ,

Welcome to this week’s Blog.

It will never tell the whole story, but it does give a brief insight into some of the events in the life of your Bishop.The past weekend was beautiful. On Saturday we held the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Ladyewell, beginning with Holy Mass in the parish church of St.Mary before processing down the lane to the Shrine. much organisation goes into this annual event. Thanks to Father Ernest and Father Mario together with all their volunteers. A copy of my homily will – in time – find its way onto the Diocesan website.On Sunday morning I was off to the Convent of Our Lady of Lourdes , Boarbank Hall, for a very special occasion. Sister Silvana Gianota was to make her Final Profession as a member of the Canonesses of St. Augustine.

It was a day of great joy, and not a little emotion. The chapel was full with family and friends of sister Silvana, together with invited guests, members of our Religious in the Diocese and beyond. We also welcomed a good number of visiting clergy The witness of Religious women has served the Church well over the years. It is an aspect of the Church’s life that we must value and promote. I wonder if anyone reading this might sense the stirrings of a Religious Vocation. Do have the courage to speak to someone about it.What a privilege this day has been. When we see a beautiful rose bush, so often only the flower is noticed. Of course, the rest of the plant is essential and must be healthy to produce a beautiful bloom. So it is with a vocation. What we see so easily is only part of the story, only part of the life. But the Lord knows and sees it all.As I write this I am conscious that at an un-earthly hour tomorrow morning we set off for our Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes. I pray that all pilgrims will travel safely and draw immense grace and goodness from our time in Lourdes. We take the petitions of the Diocese with us, especially those of the sick, house-bound and disabled as well as all who help care for us when we are unwell. We travel on the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, their ‘little lass’! May they keep a watchful eye on us all as they did over Mary.

As ever in Christ,

+Paul

Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster

 

So Much To Celebrate!

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Welcome back to the Bishop’s Blog!
After a very long hibernation here is a tentative effort to resurrect the Bishop’s Blog. People here have been extremely patient with me, but even extremes have their limit. So, I present snapshots of where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to recently. Obviously, it is by no means the whole story..
Last Sunday took me to the most northerly of our parishes, St. Augustine of Hyppo, Carlisle. They were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the church building. This is a part of the diocese relatively unknown to me until recently. I was made to feel at home. They are a lively, active community, and very generous hospitality.On the 6th July the Diocese gathered in St.Peter’s Cathedral for the priestly ordination of Fr.Stephen Talbutt. A day of immense joy for us all. (Fr.Stephen traces the beginnings of his vocation to the visit of the relics of St.Therese to the Cathedral some years ago.) This is my first ordination since becoming Bishop of Lancaster.It was a profoundly humbling occasion for me. Amongst so many thoughts I am aware of it being an inheritance for me, the work of so many others. All I have done is collect the ripened fruit. Please pray for Fr.Stephen as he begins his life as a priest. I am grateful to his mother for her influence of Stephen.  Fr. Stephen’s first MassSaturday 13th July we celebrated Holy Mass at the Cathedral with the Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre. Followed by light refreshments. They have an apostolate to help safeguard the holy places in the Holy Land. So much we take for granted and yet here are people dedicated to quietly getting on with work so closely associated with Our Blessed Lord. I was touched by their sociability and practical dedication. This is a group within the Church I look forward to getting to know better.What must also be mentioned is our loss of two elderly priests, Father Terry Rogers and Father Michael Lakeland. Both had been in poor health for some time. I am grateful to the community at St.Winifride’s, Bispham, the Sisters and staff at Nazareth House, Lancaster and Stella Matutina, Ansdell for their dedicated care of both these priests.On Thursday 18th July we celebrated the annual Mass for Blessed Edward Bamber at St.Winifride’s. This is my second occasion. It is encouraging to see such a healthy crowd attending. And of course Barbara and staff and volunteers are so welcoming. Thank-you to you all.Deacon Chris Barwise invited us to join him and Sue at Sacred Heart church, Ashton-on-Ribble, to celebrate his 25years since being ordained deacon. The ‘End-of-Year’ school Mass at Our Lady’s Catholic High School, Fulwood, was a memorable occasion. The youngsters were immaculately well behaved. Wonderful to see so many of the students receiving Holy Communion so respectfully.I notice that at the end of next week I’m off to Lourdes with the Diocesan Pilgrimage. I wonder if I’ll manage to do my Blog before I go . . . .

As ever in Christ,

+Paul

Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster