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Our Parish Prayer

Heavenly Father, as your Son became the Good Samaritan to help us through our fallen times, we pray that with your help and guidance our parish family will grow and flourish.

Help us to see the world through your eyes, and to stay on the right path to help those who are in need.

We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

Amen

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Previous Recorded Masses:

 

Second Sunday of Easter

(Devine Mercy Sunday)

19th April 2020

Father David, St Mary of the Assumption, Burnley

 

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NB the transcript of the homily appears immediately below the recording

 

 

Easter Sunday, 12th April 2020

Father David, St Mary of the Assumption, Burnley

 

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(NB the actual Mass starts at 15 mins 54 seconds in)

 

 

Here is the transcript of Fr David's Easter Sunday Homily:

 

Easter Sunday Homily 12th April 2020


A lot of people have said it does not feel like Holy week and Easter this year because of the lockdown and restrictions. An Irish Bishop Joseph Cassidy once said that Christmas is the movement of converging, coming together ~ as a family and friends, we converge, we travel to be together , converging round the tree, the table, the fire, the crib ~ but Bishop Cassidy said that the movement of Easter is different it’s the movement of the diver # who goes down and up… way down into the water and up again. At Easter we are invited to down go into the tomb with Christ, to experience the isolation and separation that death brings but to not stay there, we come back up again, changed, renewed, restored. Like the diver, Christ was so bursting with new life, the tomb could not contain him, he emerges out the tomb like the diver resurfacing from the depths.


Lent should have prepared us for Easter ~ the restrictions necessary for us to follow from the middle of Lent this year have added a different dimension to our journey to Easter, being urged to stay at home, physically needing to stay away from friends and loved ones; a slower pace of life, resulting in more time for God, more time to think and more time for others. Maybe it has already got us to feel more appreciative about our lives and all the blessings we enjoy. I think the journey to the tomb this year has perhaps taken us much deeper into the depths than it usually does.


On that first Easter Sunday, we hear in the Gospel that John and Peter go down to the empty tomb. They do this in order to see with their own eyes what they have told by Mary Magdalene who John tells us the first witnesses to this momentous event. They see the clothes rolled up, where the Lord had been lain and the penny drops! Until that moment they had not really understood what Jesus meant when He said that he would suffer, die but rise again on the third day. Jesus had tried to tell them, but they had failed to fully understand until that day arrived. They came out of the tomb with their eyes opened ~ This truth that Jesus had risen from the dead changed everything ~ they would never be the same again, life would not be the same again and also Death would never the same again either.
Especially at key times of the year, like Easter we do like to converge and encourage one another in our journey of faith. Like me I bet you have always celebrated the Triduum, celebrated Reconciliation some point in Lent, then come to Mass and Communion on Easter Sunday. This year with the churches closed, none of this is possible and so we are having to be more disciplined in finding time and space for God and for prayer within the confinement of our own homes.

 

This year, there is a danger that our Easter celebrations are overshadowed by our restrictions because of the virus. Let us ensure that we do still mark Easter however small and despite the restrictions still make it special in some way. Let us perhaps make more time today to just be with our family or those we live with and enjoy who they are. If we live on our own let us offer “our spiritual communion” today for someone who we know is struggling at the moment and needs to be reassured.

 

We thank God for this greatest feast that gives us hope even in the midst of worry, fear and anxiety. Like the diver coming back up for fresh air having been in the depths below may our Easter Faith also allow ourselves to be filled anew with trust in the promise of new life.

 

He Is Risen. Alleluia. Happy Easter

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Palm Sunday, 5th April 2020

Father David, St Mary of the Assumption, Burnley

 

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Fr David’s Short Homily for Palm Sunday Year A


5th April 2020

 


Today is Palm Sunday, which is the first day of Holy Week, and is the biggest week in the Church’s year. Everyone loves Palm Sunday with the blessing of palms that we usually can’t wait to take home and put in pride of place to remind us of the Big Week ahead. This year we will bless palms at the end of our private Mass on Palm Sunday but are unfortunately not able to give out palms to people until the churches open again. That will of course be something to really look forward to. One creative suggestion for this year is to put a green branch on our front door in our window (or even both) to mark this sacred day and perhaps keep it there all week. It might get other people thinking about what it means and that’s a good thing.

 

In the first Gospel for today’s Mass, Jesus the Universal King, is welcomed with great joy into Jerusalem, with palm branches and shouts of “hosanna”. The joyful start to the Mass does last for long. Because in the second Gospel for today’s Mass, set just a few days later on Good Friday, the same crowd are shouting out for Jesus to be crucified. So we hear of how Our Lord is falsely condemned to death and died on the Cross and is buried.

 

Life is full of contrasts ~ we have many ordinary days ~ we have many joyful days and some sad days too. At the moment, many people because of the virus are having to make changes to their normal routine ~ things we take for granted like the freedom to travel to go where we like, watch and play sport, see live music, go to school and to church are taken away from us.

 

The one thing that remains constant is God’s love for us ~ that never changes. As we begin our journey towards Easter may we remember that Our Lord Jesus paid a great price for us by dying on the Cross. He did that because he thinks we are worth it. The one thing he asks of us in return is our friendship ~ may we find a quiet moment today to thank the Lord Jesus for his friendship with us.

 

 

Welcome to Mass

5th Sunday in Lent, 29th March 2020

Father David, St Mary of the Assumption, Burnley

 

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Fr David’s Homily for 5th Sunday of Lent Year A


29th March 2020


My earliest memory of grieving in the face of death, was in the summer of 1969 when I was ten years old and my grandfather Terence died at home, fairly unexpectedly, at a time when we were visiting our family in our native North East. I remember my mam and the rest of the family crying and of course I joined in too. They wept because of sadness, they wept because they were hurting and mourning: death seemed so final that they were moved to tears at the pain of separation for the one they love. The tears are a sign of love. Jesus says in the sermon on the mount: “happy are those who mourn they shall be comforted”. When we see scenes like the one I experienced as a child, it is natural for ourselves to feel a deep sense of sadness.


Even though Jesus knew that he was going to give glory to God by what he was about to do, we are told in today’s Gospel that he also shed tears, on his way to raise Lazarus from the dead. These were genuine signs of his love and friendship for Lazarus and for his other friends Martha and Mary whom he saw look so devastated at losing their beloved brother. Jesus is at the centre of this sad scene at the death of Lazarus but he gives hope to those who are overcome by grief.


In today’s first reading, the Lord says to Ezekiel; “you will know that I am the Lord when I raise you from your graves, my people”. In today’s Gospel, John shows the effects of having faith in Jesus. Ezekiel’s vision of God restoring life out of death comes true when Jesus builds on the faith of Martha. In order to show the glory of God, to the astonishment of all who were present, Jesus raises his dear friend Lazarus from the dead who has been in the tomb for 4 days. Jesus pre-empts the great profession of faith by Martha by revealing who He is by saying “I am the resurrection and the life”. She is then able to go onto say: “Yes, Lord I believe you are the Christ the Son of the living God, the one who is to come unto the world”. Jesus is then able to show she is right to trust him and believe in him by raising her brother from the tomb.


Those who believe in the Lord will never die, they will live forever. Martha believed to the point of knowing for certain that Jesus was her Lord and Saviour. May we who also believe in Christ as Our Lord and God, hand over all our fears of death for ourselves and our loved ones, to the One who brings us life, and who has conquered sin and death for ever.


John will go onto infer that the raising of Lazarus is one of the reasons why the authorities want to have Jesus killed. This should set us thinking about the death and the resurrection of Jesus himself from the dead which we will be shortly commemorating during Holy Week and Easter. Because of the restrictions in place due to the Coronavirus, this year’s lead up to Easter is going to be very different from the ones we have had in previous years. Pope Francis has set the tone right by bringing forward his usual Easter Sunday “Urbi et Orbi” address and blessing to last Friday evening. Instead of the usual joyful Easter morning scenes with a packed crowd, in stark contrast, St Peter’s Square was deserted, and in an expression of deep faith, the Holy Father powerfully prayed for the Lord to take away the virus. At the end, the Pope stood in the darkening, damp, empty Square and gave Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament over the city and the world.
Faith is our great ally in the face of death. It doesn’t mean we have all the answers. It does stop us from grieving when someone we love dies. However it does make a big difference, because our Christian faith adds the essential ingredient of hope. Through our Catholic faith, the big difference for us and those without faith, is that we are grieving as people who believe that death does no longer have the last word.

 

 

 

Welcome to Mass

4th Sunday in Lent, 22nd March 2020

Father David, St Mary of the Assumption, Burnley

 

Click here to watch

 

 With special thanks to Matthew Morris for all his hard work in getting the video up and running!

 

Homily: Introduction

I thought it might be a good discipline for me to keep up the practise of preparing a Sunday homily even though I will not actually deliver it. However it makes me feel a bit like Father McKenzie in the Beatles song “Eleanor Rigby”, which goes: “Fr McKenzie…writing a sermon that no-one will hear, no one comes near”!!!! Joking aside, I also think it’s a good way to stay connected with the people of the parish as it will be put on the parish web site, so hopefully although never heard by anyone, these few words may at least be read by one or two people.

 

Today's Homily:

Fr David’s Homily for 4th Sunday of Lent Year A


22nd March 2020


Because of the virus, with many of us now “isolating” and spending whole days at home, we are going to find ourselves with more time on our hands than usual. On the surface this could seem a negative thing, however I feel it’s also an opportunity to see the positive side of it. It’s a great chance to take a long, fresh look at ourselves and our lives and see what our priorities are and whether we need to change them at all. With more time on our hands, perhaps we can bring the Lord more regularly into our day and allow the Holy Spirit to motivate us rather than be driven as we usually are by being faithful to a busy diary. This could be a chance to look at our “interior lives” to see everything as the Lord sees, and not just to prioritize the external aspects of our selves.


Now is also perhaps a good opportunity to put some new structures into our day. A priest of the Diocese, who is normally very active and is now isolating, was telling me that he is breaking up the potentially long days on his own. He is making time for a period of quiet prayer reflecting on the daily Mass readings in the morning, then saying the Rosary around midday and then praying the Stations of the Cross in the afternoon.


In today’s first reading, Samuel is sent to Bethlehem to anoint a king for the Lord among the sons of Jesse. They all looked to be fine young men according to Samuel, but God tells Samuel the one he has chosen is not among these. It turns out that the one God had chosen was the one they had almost forgotten, the boy David, who was out in the fields minding sheep. David was God’s chosen king, so that the one who was “out of sight” was called to come in to be presented and he was duly anointed. God tells Samuel that humans look at the external appearance but God looks right into the heart. We are being called to see as God sees not as humans see, we are to look for what is within a person not just what is on the outside.


In today’s Gospel, John uses the idea of seeing the Light to call us to grow in our understanding of what it is to be a true Christian. Jesus is the Light of the World but it takes the eyes of faith to be able to see clearly that He really is the Son of God. That is surely also seeing as God sees: seeing through the eyes of faith and seeing beyond what is presented before us. The Pharisees were blind to who Jesus was, because they did not have faith in Him and they could not see beyond the blind man being a sinner because that’s why they believed he was born blind in the first place. Furthermore, because Jesus healed the blind man on the Sabbath day, they also believed that Jesus too, was a sinner for breaking the laws of the Sabbath. Nevertheless, the man born blind gradually comes to have firm faith in Christ after He has transformed the man’s life by giving him his sight and also revealed to the man who He really is.


As Christians, we all have the goodness of God inside of us: it is like an internal light: but this light can sometimes be obscured from others through prejudice, and “spiritual blindness”. Also, because we are sinful ourselves we can’t see inside a person’s heart or see that inner goodness that is within and instead we judge off what is superficial. In the coming week let us look out for the presence of the Lord Jesus in the occurrences, encounters and events of our lives. May he remove our spiritual blindness that prevents us from seeing as God sees. May we have our eyes wide open so that we do not miss any opportunities to grow in faith.

 

 

 

 

Previously...

 

Easter Vigil Mass

8:00pm 11th April 2020

Father David, St Mary of the Assumption, Burnley  

 We hope we may be able to upload a recording of this Mass but we experienced technical difficulties - however, we will  try!

 

 

(splash screen photo taken at the Good Samaritan Celebration Mass, Saturday 28th September 2019)