Sunday, August 2, 2020

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Supernatural Food

Fr Richard's homily for today

Supernatural food

I’m sure as Catholics we’re reflecting about many things during this pandemic. The most important, however is the primacy of the supernatural order over the natural order; the fact that as fragile, mortal human beings we cannot live by our own powers or efforts but are totally dependant on God.

From today’s Gospel we see clearly that supernatural food which comes from God is infinitely more essential to us than natural food. In the Gospel, Jesus the Son of God sees that the crowd of 5,000 in front of Him are not just hungry physically, but that they hunger also for something beyond this world – eternal life. And by His boundless generosity he feeds them abundantly in the multiplication of loaves and fish. 

This great miracle anticipates the Last Supper, the Holy Eucharist. Just as Jesus feeds His people through the ministry of the disciples who distribute the loaves and fish, so He feeds His people now, not with bread and fish, but with His very self. He feeds His people through His Holy Church by the ministry of His priests. The Eucharist, the greatest of all Sacraments, is the food we need for the journey to heaven. Saint John Paul II once said: “In order to live man needs food and drink. In order to gain eternal life man needs the Eucharist.”

During three months of this year, you could go Lidl or Tesco for the food we need to keep us physically alive, but you couldn’t come here to receive the Food that leads to eternal life. 

Of course, when it comes to the gathering of people, Governments and bishops are called to make prudential judgments in the time of pandemic – tough decisions which lead even to the House of God being closed. But not being able to come to Mass in that time mustn’t make us forget that Holy Communion is the most important Food on earth. If we truly believe that what we receive at the altar is the Body and Blood of Jesus Himself then all natural food, although needed for us to stay alive, is secondary to this Supernatural Food. For it is the very living Bread of Life – Jesus Himself – which brings us to union with God and is the food that leads us to heaven.

As St Francis of Assisi once said: "What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation.”


Here is this week's newsletter (week beginning Sunday 2nd August):

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Opening of St Mary's, Wycliffe

We are pleased that the Bishop has approved our plans for opening St Mary's, Wycliffe. Sunday Mass will therefore start up this Sunday (26th July) at the usual time of 11.30am. Please keep up to date with the blog for any further details/updates.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

This week's newsletter

St Laurence of Brindisi/priestly ordination anniversary: Instrumentality

Fr Richard's homily from today's Mass in Richmond (optional memorial of St Laurence of Brindisi)

Homily: Instrumentality

When I was first ordained - people called me the "baby priest"! On my second anniversary, I can probably be called the "toddler priest"!

What does a toddler know? The anniversary of a priest, however, is a good opportunity to simply remind ourselves what, or rather, who the priest is in the Church’s understanding. The priesthood is not an office that an ordained man possesses but merely one that he shares in: for it is Jesus Christ alone who is the True priest.

At his ordination, the priest undergoes what’s called an ontological change – meaning that at the core of the man’s very being he is conformed to Christ, specifically Christ the Head and Shepherd of the Church. The priest is objectively and radically conformed to Christ the High Priest in a sacred bond. It means he therefore acts in the person of Christ the Head. He is called to imitate the Good Shepherd, to lead God’s people to pasture (as the Prophet Micah prays in today’s First Reading).

The priest, then, is simply an “instrument” – a “living instrument of Christ”. The Lord ordains men to be the instruments of his love and mercy - to perform His Divine actions by His Divine power alone. This “instrumentality” of the priest is none more so evident in the celebration of the Sacraments. Today’s reading where the Prophet Micah speaks of the Lord taking fault away points our attention particularly towards the Sacrament of Penance whereby the words of absolution of the priest as the instrument has been the means of salvation for countless saints throughout history.

And so a priestly anniversary should merely make us give thanks to Almighty God for the sacred order of the priesthood by which Christ’s work of salvation is continued day by day.

St Laurence of Brindisi is a wonderful example for priests and lay people alike – particularly the importance of prayer. He once said: “…God is truly present to us when we speak to him in prayer; that he truly listens to our prayers, even if we pray only with our hearts and minds. And that not only is he present and hears us, indeed he willingly and with the greatest of pleasure wishes to grant our requests”.

So, following St Laurence’s advice, let’s pray today for vocations to the priesthood confident that the Lord will hear and answer our prayer.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time: John Paul I's legacy

Readings and Homily from morning Mass today celebrated by Fr Richard in Ss Joseph and Francis Xavier

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time: John Paul I's legacy

Those of you who are more senior than me will no doubt remember Pope John Paul I – known as the “smiling pope” (incidentally whose cause for canonisation is still ongoing). I imagine it will have been a great shock on 28 September 1978 to learn of his death – only 33 days into his papacy.

There’s a story of that day which is handed down to generations of students at the English College in Rome where I trained for the priesthood. Apparently, on hearing the news early in the morning, one of the more senior students thought he’d better tell the Rector. Knocking on his door, the student said: “Fr Rector – the pope is dead!” After a few moments the response came which was something like: “Go back to bed you stupid boy – that was last month!” “No – the new pope is dead,” the student replied.

We might wonder why, in God’s plan, did we have such a short papacy? I’m speculating – but perhaps the Lord wanted John Paul I (Albino Luciani) to remind the Church and the world of just one (or rather three) important things. Because after his first (introductory) Wednesday audience, unbeknown to him, he had just three more - and he chose to give Catechises on faith, hope and love: the theological virtues. We prayed at the beginning of this Mass in the Collect for the Lord to increase the gifts of His grace in us, “that made fervent in hope, faith and charity” we “may be ever watchful in keeping [His] commands.”

The three theological virtues were given as a gift by God to us at our baptism. By living them, we come into a relationship with the Holy Trinity. We cannot live without them. They are those habits by which we do the good. Interestingly, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church the virtues are explained before the Ten Commandments are. That’s because to stand any chance of living God’s law, we first need to grow in virtue – especially in these three.

Faith – the virtue by which we commit our entire selves to God, by which we believe in Him and the things He has revealed to us. Hope – by which we desire “the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promise…”[1]
And charity, the greatest of the virtues, “by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbour as ourselves for the love of God.”[2]

If we grow in these virtues we will be like the wheat in today’s Gospel producing a good harvest amid the darnel (the evil in our world). To cultivate faith, hope and love will result in us shining like the sun in the world today and in the Kingdom of our Father.

[1] CCC 1817
[2] CCC 1822

Friday, July 10, 2020

First Public Mass in Leyburn: Homily - Calvary to heaven

It was wonderful to celebrate public Mass at Ss Peter and Paul, Leyburn, for the first time since March. There was a good number of 10 there. Mass was celebrated for Vocations to the Priesthood. There is Mass on Sunday at Ss Peter and Paul at 10am.

Homily: Calvary to heaven

Whenever we gather for Mass on a Friday, we do so remembering especially Our Lord’s passion and death on the Cross for our sake. We recall that Jesus carried the weight of our sins on his way to Calvary and paid the price for them that we might be saved. Today’s Psalm is a plea for the forgiveness that God offers us, an acknowledgment of our need for His infinite mercy.

In Jesus’ suffering, he shows us that part of our Christian life too involves suffering. Jesus Himself warns in the Gospel about the persecution the apostles will face for remaining true to the Faith. Many, of course, have been suffering in different ways recently, not just with the virus, but with fear, loneliness and uncertainty about their future. But to humbly endure suffering and consciously unite those trials with Christ’s Passion, does powerfully aid us along the path to our eternal home. In suffering with Christ, we like the people of Israel in our First Reading will be led to the beauty of the promised land where lilies, shoots, roots, corn, olives, and vines will flourish.

Lord, by your Cross, lead us to the joys of the heavenly Jerusalem.

(Post by Fr Richard)

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Second public Mass at Richmond (Homily: Ordination joy)

It was great to celebrate a public Mass (with 10 people) this morning for the first time in nearly four months! Mass was celebrated for the intentions of Albert Lawes, who is to be ordained a (transitional) deacon this coming the weekend for Plymouth Diocese. Please keep him and all those approaching ordination this summer (both diaconate and priesthood) in your prayers.

Homily: Ordination joy
Rev Andrew Coy lies prostrate for the Litany of Saints at his ordination on Sunday (Photo: Diocese of Northampton)
On Sunday afternoon, I had the great honour of being one of the few who could go to a friend’s diaconate ordination at Northampton Cathedral. We may all feel a bit “dejected” like the crowds in today’s Gospel because of what we’ve been living through. So, Rev Andrew Coy’s ordination brought a deep sense of joy that, even amid these challenging times, the Lord is still sending out young men to serve Him and his people.

It was very moving to see Andrew make his promises publicly before the Church - and with the Cathedral door wide open and the ordination being live-streamed – to the world: promises to be celibate for the sake of the Kingdom, to serve the people of Christ, to proclaim the Catholic faith in word and action, to pray the Liturgy of the Hours for the Church and the world, and to conform his life to Christ’s. To make these promises demonstrates a deep trust in the Lord, the important instruction today’s Psalm puts across.

In the Gospel we hear Our Lord’s words that are always associated with vocations: “The harvest is rich, but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.” And so today we follow the Lord’s instruction and we continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood, especially for our own Diocese.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Mass Intentions Canon michael

It was wonderful to celebrate my first public Mass since lockdown. There were 23 people there. Marvellous!

On Monday, Tuesday , Thursday & Friday i am offering Mass for the Holy Souls.
On Wednesday it is my monthly Mass for the Yorkshire Brethren and on Saturday it is my sister Carmel's birthday so I am offering Mass for her intentions. Many of you know Carmel from Lourdes.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Urgent Message from Bishop Terry

This evening, Bishop Terry has written to draw our attention to the biggest threat to the lives of unborn children since the 1967 Abortion Act. On Monday, two amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill will seek to liberalise the law to make abortion on demand (i.e. for any reason) legal up to 28 weeks in England and Wales. The measure would remove almost all current legal safeguards on abortion.

Bishop Terry asks that people "witness their faith in action on this most important issue" by writing to our MPs asking them to oppose the move. Please go to the Right to Life website (, from where you can send a message to your MP in 30 seconds.

Friday, July 3, 2020

St Thomas the Apostle

Thomas is something of a favourite with me. I know he is called doubting Thomas but he has one of the best sayings in the whole of the Gospel. Thomas has the great prayer of adoration when he really sees and believes in the Risen Christ "My Lord and My God", I know many of us say that prayer when we hear the bell ring at the consecration of the Mass and Jesus comes to our altar under the appearance of bread and wine.

Of all the apostles no one travelled further than Thomas in spreading the Good news. He gat as far as Chennai (Madras). When our St Francis Xavier got to India 1,500 years later he met the descendants of Thomas' converts. Thomas for me is a great man of Faith. Do not worry about having doubts, if you place them in the hands of Jesus , you can have the greatest Faith.

Fr Bill East
died July 1st. he had been the parish priest of Pickering until his retirement. Let us pray for him and thank God for his priestly ministry.