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GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY—DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday, the day we pray for priests and for vocations to the priesthood, and when the annual collection for the Priest Training Fund  takes place. This fund pays for the priestly formation of men for the Catholic priesthood. There are currently 42 men studying at Allen Hall seminary, 18 of whom are for our own Diocese, and two men are studying in Rome, also for our Diocese. Last year two men who studied at Allen Hall and one who studied in Rome were ordained to the priesthood to serve as our future priests.

This fund also supports the ongoing enrichment and formation of our ordained priests. Your generous donation helps ensure we can support these men who are called to be like Christ the Good Shepherd.

Donation leaflets are available in the back of the church. Please take one home, read the information, and bring it back next weekend with your donation. Please continue to pray for vocations and for our priests. You can donate online anytime at www.rcdow.org.uk/donations

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FR DAVID WRITES
Having celebrated the Easter Triduum, and then the Easter octave, we continue our journey through the season of Easter. This time of Christian joy lasts for fifty days until the great feast of Pentecost. Having gone through the fast and the discipline of Lent, let us live the days of this continuing festival with gladness and joy.

PRINCE PHILIP RIP
This weekend we join with people throughout the world in praying for the repose of the soul of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as we give thanks to God for his long life of service.

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FR DAVID WRITES - HAPPY EASTER - ALLELUIA
We send our warmest greetings for a very Happy Easter! Today is the Octave Day of Easter, a day known from antiquity as the Sunday in albis - in white. Today, the neophytes (newly baptised at Easter) should wear their white garments once more before they are put away - a reminder that we have all been buried with Christ in baptism to rise again with him. The children of the Church, born again in the font, are called to be 'like new-born babes who long for the pure milk of salvation' (Entrance antiphon). Today is like another Easter Sunday, the eighth day, when the Risen Christ again meets his disciples in the Upper Room with words of peace.

FR DAVID, FR ANDREW, FR JOHNSON AND THE PARISH TEAM
would like to wish you all a very Holy and Happy Easter. A very big thank you for all your good wishes.

WALK WITH ME BOOKLETS
An Eastertide Journey of prayer for you all—please take a copy from the back of the church today.

THIS IS HOLY WEEK
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Whether we are able to come to church or will pray from home, together let us make this Holy Week a time of prayer and peace. Through God's grace, we are privileged to share in the Paschal Mystery of Christ who died on the cross and rose from the dead for our salvation. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to celebrate these wonderful liturgies in their usual magnificent form - it remains the case that the time we spend inside church in groups must still be reduced - so you will notice some legitimate changes in the rites this year. Please God, next year all will be restored. We wish you all every blessing at the start of the special week.

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NATIONAL DAY OF REFLECTION - TUESDAY
"We welcome the designation of Tuesday 23rd March as a National Day of Reflection to mark the anniversary of the first national lockdown with a minute’s silence at midday and doorstep vigils of light at 8pm. We ask you all to make this not only a Day of Reflection but also a Day of Prayer. In reflection we ponder on all that has taken place; in prayer we bring this to our Heavenly Father. For all who live by faith in God, reflection and prayer always go hand in hand. Prayer completes reflection. Reflection informs prayer. Prayer opens our life to its true horizon. Without prayer we live in a foreshortened world and are more easily swamped by its clamour and tragedy. Throughout this difficult year, so many have been inspired by prayer, so much effort sustained in prayer, in every place. So let us make the 23rd March truly a day of prayer."
Cardinal Nichols (Archbishop of Westminster) & Archbishop McMahon (Archbishop of Liverpool)

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LAETARE SUNDAY - MOTHERING SUNDAY
Today is the Fourth Sunday of Lent, known as Laetare Sunday, and is a day of rejoicing at the mid-point of the Lenten season. As you know, today is also Mothering Sunday or Mothers' Day. We send our best wishes to everyone on this special day but, of course, especially to all mothers. We give thanks to God for mothers and pray for them in their special calling - we hope you all have a lovely day! We also pray to God for all mothers who have already gone to heaven, and for those who remember them with so much love.

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FR DAVID WRITES
This week many children and young people will begin the return to school. After a long time of home learning and many online sessions, it will be lovely to see them back in their schools and classes to learn alongside each other. We wish everyone well for the days ahead. We also send our thanks and best wishes to everyone at school and at home who have worked so hard to make everything possible. We hope that there will also be opportunities at school before the end of term to enter into the heart of Lent and prepare for the celebration of Holy Week and Easter.

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FR DAVID WRITES
Today is the Second Sunday of Lent already! I hope that the Lenten season has started well for everyone and that we are all moving forward, with God’s help, through this time of grace and mercy. Today at Mass we hear the Gospel about the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain. The Father declares about Jesus, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved.’ These words remind us of the similar declaration at Jesus’s baptism. Both occasions reveal to us that this Jesus of Nazareth is also the Christ of God, the Messiah, who has been anointed to offer the sacrifice of his own life on the cross. The glory of the transfiguration also points towards the coming glory of the resurrection. We are invited to make this journey with the Christ – a journey that leads both to Good Friday and to the victory of Christ’s triumph over sin and death at Easter. This weekend at church there will be a collection for CAFOD, following the Lent Fast Day that took place on Friday.

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FR DAVID WRITES
Thank you to everyone for your cooperation and prayers on Ash Wednesday. Many people were able to come to receive their ashes as an outward sign of interior conversion. If you weren't able to receive the ashes, please remember that the same movement of the heart towards the Lord is entirely possible and is what really counts. We also send our prayers and best wishes to all the families who have been on half-term this week - we hope you have had some respite from the online routine and enjoyed some good time with each other. We pray, most of all, for God's blessing on each person, family and household throughout the parish and beyond.

FR DAVID WRITES
On Wednesday morning we had a lovely Mass, celebrated online, for the children at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School to mark their special feast. Children, families and staff watched from home and joined in the prayers and hymns. There were also a small number of children and staff in school who were able to join in from the classrooms. Thank you to Mrs Hood, Mrs Payne and Mrs Hutton for helping with the celebration, and thank you to all the families who joined in online and in prayer. Thursday evening we celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes with a special Mass broadcast from church. It wasn't the same as last year but was nevertheless a lovely opportunity to be united in prayer and mark our patronal feast. Let us pray for the continued protection and prayers of the Immaculate Virgin of Lourdes, and her special closeness to all who are sick and their carers.