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Thought from Fr. Colm - 25th November

Why are volunteers more reluctant to return after Covid? This is a question many are asking. Perhaps we are still afraid? I do not know. Yet, for some, going back out and mixing with other people is a concept filled with fear and anxiety. “Despite vaccines and a decrease in disease prevalence, some people experience what scientists call Covid-19 anxiety syndrome.” (Medical News Today). However, we still have a marvellous parish to run. The needs are as great too! The sick and isolated need visiting. Holy Communion is required for many. Drivers are very needed for transportation of the older members especially to Mass, and other much needed activities. The list goes on, but the pool of volunteers is less than it was pre-Covid. There is an immediate need for Leaders of Eucharistic Services, especially at St. Joseph’s. Thanks to all who organised and attended last Sunday’s Remembrance Mass. The Mass was, as usual, moving, and tea/coffee and cake afterwards was an intimate gathering of memories shared with sadness and laughter in equal measure. “Advent is the time of promise; it is not yet the time of fulfilment. We are still in the midst of everything and in the logical inexorability and relentlessness of destiny…Space is still filled with the noise of destruction and annihilation, the shouts of self-assurance and arrogance, the weeping of despair and helplessness. But round about the horizon the eternal realities stand silent in their age-old longing. There shines on them already the first mild light of the radiant fulfilment to come. From afar sound the first notes as of pipes and voices, not yet discernible as a song or melody. It is all far off still, and only just announced and foretold. But it is happening today.” Alfred Delp, Advent of the Heart: Seasonal Sermons And Prison Writings, 1941-1943 And a recent message from another Jesuit. After the Angelus, the Holy Father continued: "Dear Brothers and Sisters, yesterday I met members of associations, groups of migrants, and people who share their journey with a spirit of fraternity. They are here in the Square with that large banner! Welcome! But how very many migrants are exposed, even during these days to great dangers, and how many lose their lives at our borders! I feel sorrow hearing the news about the situation in which so many of them find themselves. I think of those who died crossing the English Channel, those on the borders of Belarus, many of whom are children, and those who drown in the Mediterranean. There is so much sorrow when thinking about them. Of those who are repatriated to North Africa, they are captured by traffickers who turn them into slaves; they sell the women and torture the men…I think of those who, also this week, have tried to cross the Mediterranean seeking a better land and find instead their grave there; and so many others. I assure my prayers to the migrants who find themselves in these crisis situations. Know also that from my heart I am always close to you, in prayer and in action. I thank all the institutions both of the Catholic Church and elsewhere, especially the national Caritas agencies, and all those who are committed to alleviating their suffering. I renew my heartfelt appeal to those who can contribute to the resolution of these problems, especially civil and military authorities, so that understanding, and dialogue may finally prevail over any kind of instrumentalization and guide the will and efforts towards solutions that respect the humanity of these people. Let us remember migrants, their suffering, and let us pray together in silence … (moment of silence). I greet all of you pilgrims who have come from Italy and various countries; I see the many flags of various nations. I greet the families, the parish groups and associations. In particular, I greet the faithful from East Timor – I see the flag there – from Poland and from Lisbon; as well as those from Tivoli. I wish everyone a good Sunday, a good Advent journey, and a good journey towards Christmas, towards the Lord. Please do not forget to pray for me. Have a nice lunch and arrivederci! Pope Francis, 2021


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