May 2024

For the Marian month of May, a few thoughts on the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles and the Church and how each is related to the other.

I have often wished that there were more information about those days in the cenacle before the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. Once Pentecost arrives the mission of the Church begins in earnest, but what of the time spent waiting and praying? What did they talk about? What exactly were their thoughts and expectations given the dramatic and unprecedented events from Palm Sunday, to Good Friday, Easter and the Ascension with everything else in between?

I would love to have been able to join the disciples in that upper room and in the quieter moments between Ascension Day and Pentecost I sometimes try to imagine that I am there. Who would be present? Just working from the account in Acts, there would be the eleven, pensive and probably nervous as they await the great consummation which Jesus promised. Mary is there reflecting on the life of her son as only a mother can – Mary whose knowledge of Jesus stretches from the Annunciation to his rising in glory. There are also several women and Jesus’ brothers.

Why are they there? The Apostles are there because they will form the foundation for the work of the kingdom, for everything we know as mission and ministry and to gather it together and maintain it as part of the Body of Christ. Mary and the others are there to complete the broad and inclusive ‘collection’ that will be the Church, not as ‘hangers-on.’ They are all important even if the focus is generally on the Apostles because of what happens next.

Mary is at the heart of the event because she roots the spectacular, visionary, creative changes and the dynamic ministry that follows Pentecost in the incarnation and the person of Jesus. She becomes a pivot between the incarnation and ministry of Jesus, his passion and resurrection and all that will come after. Her presence ensures that the gift of the Spirit is not an exercise in mere mysticism or worse, magic. She ensures that it is for people, not just for individual recipients on the day.

Mary gives breadth to the ministry of the church in every age which should never just be about priests, but about the rich variety of orders and ministries, some formal, some informal. All are to be characterised by humility, service and the acceptance of God’s will after the example of Mary before the archangel. As an exemplar she helps the church to avoid the error, either that ‘it all revolves around the priest’ or conversely that ‘it all revolves around me because I have the Spirit in me.’ Neither approach leads to the sort of mission that we read about in Acts 1 & 2. The Church is called to expectant prayer and to a humble reception of the Spirit. Only then can the works described in Acts and followed in so many and varied ways over the Christian centuries become a reality.

Sunday 28th April                                Fifth Sunday after Easter

Wednesday 1st May, 10.00am                Mass (St. Philip and St. James, Apostles)

Friday 3rd May, 7.00pm                         Mass

Sunday 5th May                                  Sixth Sunday of Easter

Wednesday 8th May, 10.00am               Mass

Friday 10th May, 7.00pm                       Mass

Sunday 12th May                                 Sunday after Ascension
In addition to services at 8am and 9.30am: Family Service at 11.15am

Wednesday 15th May, 10.00am              Mass

Friday 17th May, 7.00pm                       Mass

Saturday 18th, 12 noon to 4.00pm         Spring Fair

Sunday 19th May                                 Pentecost

no midweek services

Sunday 26th May                                Trinity Sunday

Wednesday 29th May, 10.00am             Mass

Friday 31st May, 7.00pm                       Mass

Sunday 2nd June                                Trinity 1

Spring Fair

St Peter’s Spring Fair and Plant Sale

Saturday 18th May from 12 noon to 4.00pm.

Join us for a sale of indoor and outdoor plants and cakes.

There will be refreshments, a raffle for a luxury hamper and a ‘this and that’ stall.

All proceeds in aid of St. Peter’s Church.

Image by Ruth Gledhill on Unsplash