Good morning everyone, hello and I hope you are well today.
Welcome to Thursday’s Spiritual Lift.
A weekly live-streamed Mass for children and families – St Chad’s Cathedral today at 09.30am. St Chad’s Cathedral will be offering a special live streamed Mass for all children and their families within the Archdiocese of Birmingham again today starting at 09.30am. Here is the website link for St Chad’s for more details. It is also recorded to watch later if you are unable to access the Mass live at 09.30am.
Today we remember it is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. Here is some information about this special and important Feast day from www.catholic.org.
Today is also when we remember the life, witness and martyrdom of Saint Margaret Clitherow. She is one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales and was a lay person, a wife and a mother and her husband John was a prominent butcher in the Shambles area of York. She was put to death for refusing to renounce her Catholic faith and she used to hide and shelter Catholic Priests in her home. She was accused of ‘harbouring priests’ which was a criminal offence and could carry with it the sentence of death. Here is some information about Saint Margaret from www.catholic.org.
Weekly Scripture Verse:
Our scripture verse for us to ponder and pray for this week comes from St Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. (2 Cor 3:5) This verse is taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Scriptures (NRSV) Catholic Edition. Let us give thanks to the Lord for the precious gift of His Word, the Bible. May it guide and strengthen us in these days. Be encouraged as our God speaks to us.
“Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God.”
Month of March-Dedicated to Saint Joseph, Husband of Our Lady and Foster-Father and Guardian of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Saint Joseph, pray for us. Amen.
Here is the information from the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales with more details about the Year of Saint Joseph.
Here are some special prayers we can say throughout this month and during the Year of Saint Joseph. These are from www.ourcatholicprayers.com
Season of Lent: Passiontide.
We are now in the Fifth Week of Lent. We now begin our journey through Passiontide which leads us into Holy Week, which begins this coming Sunday, with Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. The time for the Lord Jesus to go up to Jerusalem where He will face His Passion, Sufferings, Death and Resurrection is drawing near.
These next few days bring into sharper focus the reason for Jesus’ coming to earth and being born as one of us. The Cross. He will give His life for our salvation on Good Friday upon Calvary’s mountain as He dies and is raised again to life on the third day.
Lent lasts for 40 days and the three ‘pillars’ of Lent are PRAYER, FASTING and GIVING. The number 40 has many references in scripture (over 120 mentions) and it has spiritual significance. There are many Bible study websites online which you could access to discover more.
40 days was seen as a time of reflection and preparation for future events. Jesus chose to spend 40 days and nights in the wilderness to pray and fast as a means of communing deeply with His Heavenly Father. This time spent in the desert helped Him to clear His mind and prepare mentally, emotionally and spiritually for the three years of ministry that would follow and which would culminate in His Passion, Death and Resurrection.
CAFOD Lent Appeal – GIVING:
This year for Lent, CAFOD are focusing on water and for there to be local safe and clean water for everyone in our world so communities around the world do not have to walk so far to reach it. They are campaigning and encouraging individuals and families, to walk for water as so many of our brothers and sisters around the world do not have access to clean safe water as we do. Here is their link with more details and how you might like to take up the challenge for GIVING with the Walk 10,000 steps a day for Lent for water campaign.
Prayer and preparation during Lent-Thanksgiving for the Gift of the Holy Eucharist and Sacred Passion of the Lord.
Lenten Preparation – PRAYER
Lent helps us to focus and meditate upon the precious gift of the Lord’s Body and Blood and the Holy Eucharist and His many Sufferings and Death in His Sacred Passion.
A beautiful prayer we can continue to pray into and during the Season of Lent to help us is the Divine Mercy Chaplet. This prayer is traditionally prayed at the Hour of Mercy which is 3pm every day, and is the time when Jesus died on the Cross. More information about this devotion can be found here in the link below and how to pray it.
You can pray this Chaplet on a set of ordinary Rosary beads, and it is traditional for each of the five sets of beads as we pray the prayers to either remember:
The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary:
(The Agony in the Garden; The Scourging at the pillar; The Crowning with thorns; The Carrying of the Cross; The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus)
or The Five Sacred Wounds of Jesus:
(His pierced Hands and Feet and Heart/Side.)
Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet reminds us of God’s wonderful and deep love for us because in John 3:16 NRSV Catholic Edition we read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
God’s love and mercy is deep and everlasting. During this month of March, let us draw closer to our loving God and thank Him for all that He is as we seek to grow in our love and faith.
Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions:
I also include a link to the Holy Father Pope Francis’ Special Prayer Intentions for the month of March from Missio. www.missio.org.uk
As we are now in the Season of Lent our Cycle of Prayer has changed focus too. Here is the link for the Liturgy Office website with more details of this Season’s Prayer Intentions for Lent.
Our prayer this month: Prayers taken from the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Your dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world. Amen.
For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen.
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen.
Lenten preparation – FASTING:
Is there something that you have chosen to give up for Lent this year? FASTING does not have to be simply giving up that favourite snack or bar of chocolate. Perhaps, you might want to think about giving up something different this Lent?
Have you thought about FASTING to help support caring for our planet home? You could consider doing things and give things up which can support green initiatives – examples might be – turning lights off when not in a room, switching appliances off standby, turning off the tap when brushing your teeth. Simply type in “Eco ideas for Lent” into your internet browser to find out more!
Here is a link from CAFOD all about Pope Francis’ Letter called Laudato Si. There are also resources about his latest work –Fratelli Tutti.
Weekly School Community Prayers:
Every week I shall be offering intercessory prayers when I access daily Mass online for each of the MAC School Communities. Every day this week I shall be holding in prayer before the Lord, all the Staff, Pupils, Families and Governors/Directors who belong to: Saint Bede’s Catholic Middle School.
Daily special candle offered for all MAC Staff, pupils and their families – Spring Term 2 – February-March 2021
As we now journey onwards through Lent and into a new Half Term, let us continue to place all our prayers and petitions into Our Lady’s hands.
A special candle continues to burn again for us all in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. May they keep us all safe and well in these days of trial perplexity and confusion. May your days and weeks go well for you, your pupils, and their families in these days within all the School Communities in our MAC.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us. Amen.
St Thomas More, pray for us. Amen.
St Peter, pray for us. Amen.
St Bede the Venerable, pray for us, Amen.
St Augustine of Canterbury, pray for us. Amen.
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us. Amen
Keeping Jesus company in the Blessed Sacrament – Holy Hour for Coronavirus Pandemic this evening. 8-9pm. We will be meeting together again tonight in a spirit of community and prayer from 8-9pm. Once again at 8pm this evening, I invite you if you are able to join with me, I will be holding my Holy Hour with the Lord online in the Blessed Sacrament again this evening from 8-9pm.
You can access Eucharistic Adoration online by simply typing in “Eucharistic Adoration” into your browser or click on the site I use which is www.savior.org. As before, you are most welcome to join in with me if you are able. Please do consider joining in yourself at home if you can, even if it is only for a few moments to offer a prayer or thought during 8-9pm.
Tonight, let us remember before the Lord those who are struggling in these days and who carry heavy burdens because of the pandemic. Let us remember those parts of our world where the virus is quickly spreading and is causing great suffering. Let us remember to keep all the peoples in our world and global Community affected by the virus in our prayers.
We continue to pray for those in the UK who have recently tested positive for COVID 19 and those who are in hospitals, care homes and their own homes. We remember especially all those 120,000 plus souls who have died from this disease and their loved ones. May they rest in God’s peace and love in His eternal Kingdom.
We pray for the Administrations/Governments of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as they Govern their people and work for the common good of all. May the light of the Holy Spirit help and guide them as they consider the way forward in these days.
We pray for our Nation as we live in another day in our third National Lockdown. We commit into Our Lord’s loving Hands the next few days, weeks and months ahead, trusting in His deep love and care for us. May our loving God walk beside us and draw especially close to us all. He is our loving Heavenly Father, and we can fully trust Him because He is always faithful, dependable and true.
Suggested Prayer points:
(i) We continue to hold up in prayer those who are sick, suffering and those who have died.
(ii) We pray for those who care for them, their friends and families. May our loving Lord draw close to all NHS Medical and Care Staff who are under overwhelming pressures and are in need of refreshment, strength to continue and personal
support in mind, body and spirit.
(iii)We pray for those who suffer also in mind and spirit and ask that they may receive the help and support they need from the Lord and His Church on earth and those dedicated to care for them in the Medical profession.
(iv) May people be caring and continue to be mindful of others as they remember to observe social distancing and safety guidelines.
(v) We pray for England as we continue another day in our third National
(vi) We pray also for the other devolved Nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as they continue with their restrictions and lockdowns.
(vii) We pray for those businesses which have yet to re-open or which had to close down again, and we pray for those who are still furloughed or who have lost their jobs. May the Lord help and guide them to find employment.
(viii) We give thanks for the breakthroughs in medical research and tests as the pilots for the many vaccines which are being put forward at this time. We ask that
the Lord may continue to bless and inspire our Medical Researchers, Doctors and Scientists as they work together for the good of all people. May He grant
them continued success.
(ix) We give thanks for the news that the coronavirus vaccines have now been given to those most vulnerable and other groups most at risk are now beginning to receive their first dose of the vaccine.
(x) We give thanks for all the vaccination centres, Pharmacists and
Pharmacies, volunteers, Armed Forces Personnel and NHS Staff who have helped to make the Vaccination programme a remarkable achievement.
(xi) We give thanks that these life-saving vaccines continue to be given to those most in need and at risk of this awful virus and those who are in the younger ages groups with underlying medical and health conditions.
(xii) We pray that all people in our world especially those who live in developing countries and those from the poorest communities in our world would also be treated with the same dignity and respect as those in more developed countries are, may also be able to receive these life-saving vaccines.
(xiii) We pray that more people who are from a BAME background – Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Groups would come forward to receive the vaccine and we give thanks that there is much support, advice and encouragement available for all who feel anxious or unsure about receiving the vaccine.
Our daily scripture reading today comes from The Book of the Prophet Isaiah. (Is.7:14) Quotation taken from the New revised Standard Version (NRSV) Catholic Bible.)
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him ‘Immanuel’, that is, ‘God is with us.’ “
Our prayers for today:
Today, I will be keeping a candle burning for your intentions and will remember you and your prayer intentions at Mass online.
Let us ask…..
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us. Amen.
Our Lady of Consolation, pray for us. Amen.
Mary the Mother of Jesus, Mother of the Church, pray for us. Amen.
Our Lady of Lourdes, Patron of our Archdiocese and our MAC, Health of the Sick and Comforter of the Afflicted, pray for us. Amen.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Beauty of Carmel, pray for us. Amen.
St Luke, Beloved Physician (Doctor) and companion of St Paul the Apostle, Patron of Doctors and Healthcare professionals, pray for us. Amen.
St Jude Thaddeus, Patron of impossible or difficult circumstances, pray for us. Amen.
St Raphael, Archangel, God’s healing Angel, pray for us. Amen.
St Catherine of Siena, Patron of Nurses, pray for us. Amen.
St Camillus of Lellis, Patron of the Sick, pray for us. Amen.
St Sebastian, patron of the sick and plagues of disease, pray for us. Amen.
St John Henry Newman, pray for us. Amen.
Blessed Dominic Barberi, pray for us. Amen.
St Faustina Kowalska, Apostle of Divine Mercy, pray for us. Amen
St Margaret Clitherow, pray for us. Amen.
Blessings to you all on this day.