Welcome to the Avon Stour Pastoral Area – we are pleased you are here.
As Lent begins, we hear from the Co-ordinating Pastor of our Pastoral Area,
Fr John Chadwick:
Heart Surgery – Lent 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Lent is a time for heart surgery. Every year we are given this opportunity to allow God to work on our heart.
“Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn.”
A broken heart is never a pleasant experience, but it does focus us. In the devastating experience of brokenness, we realise above all else perhaps for the first time, the true extent of what we felt about that person all along. At the same time, paradoxically, we are confronted, perhaps for the first time, the reality of their absence. Somehow, we have to learn to live without their presence in our lives, which is where the analogy stops.
Lent is given to us precisely as a remedy to avoid a broken heart when it comes to God. When our earthly time is over, God will want to greet us without any doubt as to where our hearts truly lay all these years. He will no doubt grieve with us if we left it too late and find ourselves realising, too late, the true extent of what we might have felt about the Lord all along.
Allowing God to work on our hearts will include surgery on where we allocate time. No relationship will survive without time. So, let’s make a particular commitment over the next six weeks to spend time in our room with the Lord. Nothing wrong at all with coming together to worship and pray to God, but God also desires time alone with each of us.
God also needs to do some surgery on our desires. In our part of the world, our material desires are relatively easily and gratuitously satisfied, even in lock down. Fasting is given to us as a way of re-awakening our capacity to desire God above all else.
Intimately linked to God’s will to influence our desires is His offer to work on our material priorities. The Lord requires our express permission to operate on, and alter, our priorities in life. He wants us to rediscover the freedom that comes with detachment from things, so we can relieve and bless the lives of others with what we think we ‘own’. In so doing, the benefactors of our outrageous generosity – nothing less will do – will be freed up to do the same. They will also be given every chance to recognise the face of Christ operating through you and me, perhaps for the first time.
May this Lent bring you joy, and freedom, Brothers and Sisters.
Co-ordinating Pastor of the Avon Stour Pastoral Area
Latest news about our Churches and public worship (Feb 2021):
Good news! Due to the local infection rate decreasing, some of our churches have now re-opened for public Masses or will be re-opening soon – for further details on individual parishes, please click on the ” Lockdown 3.0 Resources” tab.
Those parishes currently not in a position to open just yet are still live-streaming their Masses and you are very welcome to join online – further details can be found by click on the Lockdown tab above. Remember, there is currently no obligation to physically attend Mass at this time.
We look forward to seeing you physically, or virtually, soon!
The Avon Stour Pastoral Area
Our Pastoral Area strives to be a community of welcoming, vibrant, growing Catholic parish communities of intentional, fruitful, missionary disciples, rooted in the Father’s love, focused on and in relationship with Jesus Christ, and on fire with the Holy Spirit, united in bringing the love of God to our neighbourhoods through prayer, service and witness.
We would love you to join us!
Fr John Chadwick, Co-ordinating Pastor