Faith for Life!

My dear Friends,

Welcome to the Bishop’s Blog!I am surprised and encouraged by the number of our churches opened for private prayer. Moving at a slower pace, I am also encouraged by the number of parishes where the clergy and parishioners have started public worship, Holy Mass.Given the long list of necessary things to have in place, it is an indication of our devotion to Our Lord. There is no doubt, it would have been easier – a lot easier – not to bother. But you have bothered. I am very aware that we are not out of the woods yet, and there is the constant threat of a ‘second spike’, We must do all we can to manage the risk whilst also taking advantage of the Government’s gradual relaxing of restrictions.‘Protect life’ was and remains one of the duties we have. Added to that, we exist as a Church to also protect eternal life, won for us by Our Lord, Jesus Christ. May the Lord keep us and our families safe. May prayer in the home deepen our desire to meet Him in the Eucharist, and ultimately in eternity.A number of parishes have been able to offer live streaming and I know this has been very much appreciated across the Diocese. Parishes offering this service are under a greater burden to show good practice and demonstrate that they are fully compliant with all the regulations we are subject to. (For once, I think I’m glad not to be a Parish Priest any more. I get my headaches in other ways!)Speaking of eternal life leads me to mention Canon Frank Cookson who died a week ago at Nazareth House, Lancaster. May he rest in the peace of Christ. Canon Cookson’s Requiem will take place at St.Thomas’s church, Claughton-on-Brock, this coming Friday. It is the parish in which he was Baptised in 1926.His mortal remains will be laid to rest in the beautiful cemetery adjoining the church. (He will be in good company! I have relatives in there.) I wish to thank the Sisters and staff at Nazareth House, the staff at St.Winefride’s where Frank lived in retirement for some years, and all who have been attentive to him in these final years of his life. May the Lord also remain close to Frank’s two sisters, Eileen (who lives in Canada), and Doreen (in West Cumbria). Two of his siblings, Paul and Christine, pre-deceased him.As we lay one priest to rest it gives me quiet joy to be preparing to interview a young man offering himself for seminary. Please pray for James Knight, and for all our young men in seminary formation, and for vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and Christian marriage.

With my blessing, especially for those of you who need it most,

Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster