A few thoughts …

My dear friends in  Jesus Christ,

Welcome to the Bishop’s Blog!

It is hard to believe that just one week ago we learnt of the death, in Nazareth House, Cork, of Bishop emeritus Padraig O’Donoghue. Ireland is noted for arranging funerals very soon after death. It contrasts remarkably with how things are here in England, where a wait of two weeks is not uncommon. In fact, Mgr Jimmy Hook’s funeral took place on 22nd Jan, almost four weeks after his death.We have a huge debt of gratitude to Bishop Padraig for all he did whilst here. Our Diocesan Voice newspaper will dedicate much space to his memory in its next issue. In our current circumstances it is difficult to arrange a fitting Diocesan Requiem for him. I did celebrate midday Mass at the Cathedral on the day of his burial, but I believe we should gather at some point to celebrate Mass for him with fitting dignity and solemnity, and in keeping with his personality, with a joyful spirit.I am aware of elements in society that are ‘anti-vaccine’. I wish to repeat what has already been made public by the Vatican and by our local Episcopal Conference, that the Church gives every encouragement to you to have the covid vaccine. Statements can be found on the Vatican website and the website of the Bishops’ Conference. Some may have praiseworthy concerns about the origins of various vaccines. Reassurance will be found in the statements designed to allay such anxieties. We are not abandoning our campaign to defend unborn lives.On Tuesday we celebrate the beautiful Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, otherwise known as Candlemas. Cribs may then be put away, and cards and whatever other Christmas decorations still festoon our homes. I’m well aware that for most of you this would have already happened long ago! This year I have kept them out up to The Presentation because we need encouragement and evidence of faith.It also struck me that so many households go mad on putting up their Christmas lights long before Advent, but pack them away so quickly afterwards. Christ is the gift we need to hang on to for as long as possible, hopefully for ever! So, as we look to next year, let’s make an effort to balance the early-lighters by keeping Christmas going until the Presentation.

 

With my Blessing,

+Paul

Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster