Friends of the Holy Land – Pentecost Challenge

22nd May 2020

From the Archbishop:

Friends of the Holy Land – Pentecost Challenge

As a Patron of Friends of the Holy Land (FHL), I am kept informed of the wonderful work they are undertaking with a very small team of paid staff and many volunteers both over here and in the Holy Land. Coronavirus is changing the lives of all of us but for so many Christians, especially in the West Bank but also Gaza, Israel and Jordan, it is devastating.  So many are dependent for their income on pilgrimages and tourism which disappeared overnight in early March.  For many they have no government support nor even a health service which can handle this crisis.

So, FHL launched an appeal in March for those impacted in Bethlehem and widened it on 3 April as a Pentecost Challenge to cover the whole of the region. They secured match funding for the first £100,000 and, with a few days to go to Pentecost, are close to reaching the target but are seeking help from us to get over the line.

www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk/pentecost-challenge will direct parishioners to the FHL website where more information is available.  You may also wish to view the news story on our diocesan website www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/news/fhl-launch-pentecost-challenge.

Thank you for your support to help those worse off than ourselves, as FHL strive to maintain a Christian presence in the Holy Land and please keep the FHL staff and volunteers plus those in the Holy Land in your prayers.

With my prayers and kindest wishes.

Yours devotedly in Christ,

Bernard Longley
Archbishop of Birmingham

A message from Archbishop Bernard Langley and the other Archbishops of England and Wales

A People who Hope in Christ

A Message from the Metropolitan Archbishops
of the Catholic Church in England and Wales

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The radiance of the risen Lord shines upon us. At a time when so many shadows are cast into our lives, and upon our world, the light of the resurrection shines forever to renew and restore our hope. In the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis: ‘In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side.’ (27 March 2020)

The impact of Covid-19, both nationally and internationally, has been immense. So much of what we take for granted has changed. Our health and physical interaction, our capacity to travel and gather, have all been affected. There is uncertainty in our future, especially with work and the country’s economy. As we know, very sadly, large numbers of people have died because of the coronavirus, and others have been or remain seriously ill. Keyworkers, not least in the National Health Service and care sectors, are serving selflessly to sustain the life of our nation. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone who is suffering because of Covid-19, and to all those battling to overcome its effects. May those who have died rest in peace and those who are bereaved find comfort.

When the Prime Minister announced the lockdown, this included places of worship and therefore Catholic churches. These measures were put in place to stem the general transmission of the virus. It is right that the Catholic community fulfils its role in contributing to the preservation of life and the common good of society. This must continue until the restrictions applied by the Government are lifted.

None of us would want to be in the situation in which we find ourselves. While the live-streaming of the Mass and other devotions is playing an important part in maintaining the life of faith, there is no substitute for Catholics being able to physically attend and participate in the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments. Our faith is expressed powerfully and beautifully though ‘seeing, touching, and tasting.’ We know that every bishop and every priest recognises the pain of Catholics who, at present, cannot pray in church or receive the sacraments. This weighs heavily on our hearts. We are deeply moved by the Eucharistic yearning expressed by so many members of the faithful. We thank you sincerely for your love for the Lord Jesus, present in the sacraments and supremely so in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The bishops and priests of every diocese are remembering you and your loved ones at Mass each day in our churches as we pray ‘in hope of health and wellbeing.’ We thank our priests for this faithfulness to their calling.

As the Government’s restrictions are relaxed step by step, we look forward to opening our churches and resuming our liturgical, spiritual, catechetical and pastoral life step by step. This will also be of service to those beyond the Catholic Church who depend on our charitable activity and outreach through which much goodness is shared by so many volunteers from our communities.

None of us knows, as yet, how or when the lockdown will end. There is likely to be a phased return to travelling and gathering. As a church, we are now planning for this time and our discussions with the statutory public health agencies and Government representatives are ongoing. Together with Catholics across England and Wales we desire the opening of our churches and access to the sacraments. Until then, we are continuing to pray and prepare.

We want to acknowledge with gratitude the service of our fellow bishops and priests, our deacons and religious, our families and lay faithful, together with all our parish and school communities, for the wonderful ways the life of the faith is being nourished at this time, especially in the home. We also pay tribute to the Catholic organisations and networks that are working to support the vulnerable and needy.

On that first Easter day, the disciples were in lockdown and the doors were closed. In their isolation the Lord Jesus came among them and said ‘Peace be with you.’ May the peace of the risen Lord reign in our hearts and homes as we look forward to the day we can enter church again and gather around the altar to offer together the Sacrifice of Praise.

We unite in asking the intercession of Our Blessed Lady and assure you of our prayers and blessing

Yours devotedly in Christ,

✠ Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
✠ Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool
✠ Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham
✠ George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff
✠ John Wilson, Archbishop of Southwark

Coronavirus Information – Updated 24/03/20

In line with the government advice of 23rd March the Church building will no longer be open, and will remain closed until further notice.

Masses will continue to be said in private by the Parish Clergy for the scheduled Mass intentions, and new Mass intentions can still be made on request.

In case of urgent need due to illness, whether Coronavirus-related or otherwise please get in touch with the Parish Office by emailing stanthonyop.oxford@rcaob.org.uk, or phoning 01865 762 964. 

If you or someone you know in the parish is self-isolating and is in need of any support, such as help with shopping or a chat on the phone, please get in touch with the Parish Office by emailing stanthonyop.oxford@rcaob.org.uk, or phoning 01865 762 964. 

It is anticipated that Corpus Christi Parish in Headington will continue to be live streaming weekday and Sunday Mass without a congregation, and more details can be found at https://corpuschristiheadington.co.uk



Repository – volunteers needed

After many years of running the repository (shop), Veronica Hanlon has decided to step down from this duty. Fr Pius would like to thank her for the tremendous service that she has provided to the parish and he is now looking for one or two people to take over the shop on Sundays (Caroline Gordon-Duff will continue to run it at the Vigil Mass). If no volunteers come forward then sadly it will have to close. For further information please contact either Fr Pius or Veronica. Mass cards are always available for purchase from the sacristy. 

Sick List Notice

Sick List Notice: If your name or the name of a friend/relative is on the parish list of prayers for those who are sick, and would like the name to remain on the list, would you please print and then complete a copy of the Sick List Form which can be found here:  Sick List Form 2018 ‎. The completed form should be handed to the parish priest or delivered to the parish office please.

We need to make sure that you or your friend or family member has consented to their name being on the list. This is because the list can be seen by a lot of people, as it is available for anyone to pickup in the church and is also published on the internet through the parish website. In a couple of weeks’ time, the list will be restarted with the names of all for whom the parish have consent. This is necessary to make sure the church take proper care of your information and complies with current data protection law.

Sick list and Mass Intention FAQ for GDPR

Home Visits

To request a home visit from a priest, either ring the presbytery (01865 762964), or email the parish office (stanthonyofpaduaoxford@yahoo.co.uk). If you are sick or unable to get to Mass and would like to receive Holy Communion from a Eucharistic Minister, contact the presbytery or email jane.kennett@googlemail.com.