Monday, June 29, 2020

Mass intentions Canon Michael

Sunday 28th People of the Parish, Monday 29th Leyburn parish in honour of Sts. Peter & Paul,
Tuesday 30th Agnes Teresa Farrar, Wednesday 1st July Mary McNelis, Thursday 2nd July Lawrence Peiris, Friday 3rd July Eileen Loughlin, Saturday July 4th Canon Garvan O'Hara.

Recently deceased: Mary McNelis, Lawrence Peiris
Anniversaries: Eileen Loughlin, Canon Garvan O'Hara, Fr. Patrick O'Hara

Harold Murphy R.I.P.
Last week we laid to rest Mr Harold Murphy. He had been for many years under the care of the Brothers of St John Of God both at Potters Bar and in Scorton. Sadly his elderly sister over in Limerick was unable to attend the funeral, however, it was lovely to see so many carers and residents of the Care home in attendance in the cemetery. It seemed so very fitting that Harold who had been looked after by the brothers should have been buried in their special cemetery. He was buried next to Brother Felix whom I remembered from his time in Hemlington. I also saw Brother Casimir's grave and Fr.Wilfrid's and Fr John Joe Ryan's grave all of whom I met over my time in the diocese.
So at first I thought Harold's funeral would be a sad occasion with just myself and the funeral director being present in fact Harold was surrounded by friends in this world and the next.
May he rest in peace

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul: Right religion

Fr Richard's words for the Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul

"Right religion"

A very happy Solemnity - particularly to the parishioners of Ss Peter and Paul, Leyburn, on this our patronal Feast!

Our attention today naturally turns to the Eternal City. A pilgrimage to Rome – which it will soon be possible to make again I understand (!) – is for the purpose of visiting the tombs of the apostles, especially those we celebrate today. Both of them won the crown of martyrdom in Rome. They are the rock upon which the Church of Jesus Christ is built.

The collect for today’s Mass makes a very clear statement: that the Church received the beginnings of “right religion” through the teaching of Peter and Paul. This is a day indeed to rejoice in the gift of our Catholic Faith because we know and testify that we follow the one true Faith handed on by the apostles. This isn’t to be triumphalist. Nor is it at all to disrespect those who follow other professions of faith. On the contrary, we have a profound respect for them and we acknowledge “all goodness and truth found in these religions as ‘a preparation for the Gospel’.” [Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 16] But we hold firmly that the ‘one true religion’ “subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2105]. The Church, founded by Jesus Christ Himself, is the way by which we can enter life eternal. It’s the Church, founded by Jesus Christ Himself, which shows us how to give the adoration that man owes to God.

Saints Peter and Paul lay the foundation stones for practising this “right religion” by the ‘offices’ they hold, and also by their saintly examples.

In the Gospel, Jesus gives Saint Peter the authority to teach in His name in union with the other apostles. This authority is handed on through the centuries to the popes in union with the bishops, right through to the present day. The ‘Magisterium’ safeguards the Church because it’s the guarantee that the Bride of Christ remains true to her Bridegroom. By this authority, the Church is able to hold fast to the teachings of Christ through the choppy waters of human existence. The authority to “bind and loose” is given to Peter who stands for the whole universal Church. It refers to the office of the priesthood by which the Sacraments are celebrated and, by them, the grace of God that flows to the members of Christ’s Body.

Saint Paul shares in this ministerial priesthood of Jesus Christ. He brings baptism, the Eucharist, and repentance to the Gentiles. He is the “outstanding preacher” as today’s Preface describes him. He is also the greatest evangeliser the Church has ever known, zealously bringing the message of salvation to many peoples. He left fourteen epistles, which the Butler’s Lives of Saints describes as the “fountainhead of the Church’s doctrine, the consolation and delight of her greatest saints.”

In his holiness, St Peter shows us how to be bold in professing Jesus as the Christ, no matter how hostile those listening may be. As demonstrated in today’s First Reading, he shows how by trusting in divine power, Christ can free us from oppression. He reminds us how even the greatest of disciples are weak and fragile, but become saints because they cling to Our Lord’s feet and depend constantly on His mercy.

St Paul’s life testifies that even the greatest persecutors of the true Faith can undergo conversion. As in today’s Second Reading, he encourages us to persevere and hold fast to the Faith we have been gifted. St Paul schools us in virtuous living and exhorts us to “to run the race to the finish”, to follow the path that leads us to eternal life.

By their glorious martyrdoms in the Eternal City, Ss Peter and Paul provide an enduring witness of faith to Christians throughout all time.

And so today we rejoice. We give thanks to Almighty God for the gift of these two Apostles who give us the one foundation stone upon which to worship God and to build our relationship with Him, in communion with our brothers and sisters.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour: 'It's not about her'

Fr Richard's words for the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
Readings: See below

'It's not about her'

The central focus of the beautiful image we venerate today is not, in fact, Our Lady, but Our Blessed Lord whom she cradles in her arms. This is the wonderful reality about devotion to Our Blessed Mother – “it’s not about her”. She is only interested in pointing the way to her Son. Indeed, Mary Our Mother looks after us, protects us, “helps” us when we are in need each and every day of our lives. All of this motherly tenderness is, however, encapsulated by the overall, all-encompassing thing that Our Blessed Lady perpetually “helps” us with – to come closer to Christ.

Even the readings the Church chooses for this Feast of our Diocesan Patroness are truly centred on the Christ-child. We hear Isaiah’s prophesy of Jesus’s birth. Then in the Gospel, the joy of Mary, Elizabeth and the unborn John is all because of the child in the womb of Mary who is to bring salvation to the whole world.

The icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, which dates back to the 13th/14th century, looks ahead to the Passion of Christ. As our Diocesan Ordo explains: “It seems as if the Christ child is caught in the very moment of shock and horror at the sight of the instruments of his passion carried by the angels, and his sandal all but falls off his foot in his fear.” The sacred image, therefore, draws to our attention the inseparability between Jesus’ infancy and His coming suffering for our sake.

This great Feast plunges us deep into the mystery of the Person of Jesus Christ. By mystery we do not mean “perplexity”. On the contrary, we mean the inexhaustible depths of who Christ is and what He does for us. Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, help all in our Diocese to come closer to your Son, the Son of God, who is our Saviour.


First reading
Acts 12:1-11
'Now I know the Lord really did save me from Herod'

King Herod started persecuting certain members of the Church. He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased the Jews he decided to arrest Peter as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread, and he put Peter in prison, assigning four squads of four soldiers each to guard him in turns. Herod meant to try Peter in public after the end of Passover week. All the time Peter was under guard the Church prayed to God for him unremittingly.
    On the night before Herod was to try him, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with double chains, while guards kept watch at the main entrance to the prison. Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ‘Get up!’ he said ‘Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands. The angel then said, ‘Put on your belt and sandals.’ After he had done this, the angel next said, ‘Wrap your cloak round you and follow me.’ Peter followed him, but had no idea that what the angel did was all happening in reality; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed through two guard posts one after the other, and reached the iron gate leading to the city. This opened of its own accord; they went through it and had walked the whole length of one street when suddenly the angel left him. It was only then that Peter came to himself. ‘Now I know it is all true’ he said. ‘The Lord really did send his angel and has saved me from Herod and from all that the Jewish people were so certain would happen to me.’


Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 33(34):2-9

From all my terrors the Lord set me free.
The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

I will bless the Lord at all times,
    his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
    The humble shall hear and be glad.

From all my terrors the Lord set me free.
The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

Glorify the Lord with me.
    Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me;
    from all my terrors he set me free.

From all my terrors the Lord set me free.
The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

Look towards him and be radiant;
    let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called, the Lord heard him
    and rescued him from all his distress.

From all my terrors the Lord set me free.
The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

The angel of the Lord is encamped
    around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    He is happy who seeks refuge in him.

From all my terrors the Lord set me free.
The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.


Second reading
2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18
All there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me

My life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.
    The Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia!
You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.
And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.


Matthew 16:13-19
You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

Friday, June 26, 2020

Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart: Burning Love

Fr Richard's words today for a Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart

June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It’s a wonderful devotion, which has its origins in the 11th century and was furthered by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who had apparitions of Our Lord and permitted her to rest her head onto His Heart.

Jesus’ Heart of flesh is the great symbol in the Church of His burning love for the whole of humanity. From his Heart flows an abundance of gentleness and compassion, demonstrated wonderfully in today’s Gospel. The leper humbles and abandons himself before Jesus, knowing that the Lord can heal him. The man doesn’t demand Christ’s healing touch but is respectful of God’s will: “If you want to, you can cure me.” Jesus’ response, emanating from His Sacred Heart, is instant: “Of course I want to, be cured!”

When we place ourselves humbly before the Lord, trusting in Him, Jesus pours out charity upon us from His burning Heart, healing us too of our wounds.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

Thursday, June 25, 2020


St Peter & St Paul will be open for private prayer tomorrow between noon and one o'clock.
We have been given permission to do so following a risk assessment.
I am sure we all hope it will not be long before we can celebrate Mass but it is a first step to be able to pray in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
Let us pray for one another.
Canon Michael

Thursday, 12th Week of Ordinary Time: The Divine Mouth

Fr Richard's words for Thursday, Week 12, of Ordinary Time

Homily: The Divine Mouth

When someone speaks with authority – we sit up and listen. Sometimes those who do actually have superiority over us appear weak when they speak! And, conversely, some who have no authority whatsoever can speak as if they had plenty!

Neither of these two observations, of course, apply to Jesus Christ. Rather, St Matthew says at the end of today’s Gospel: “…His teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with authority, and not like their own scribes.”

Indeed, every syllable that came forth from Christ’s Divine mouth was spoken with complete authority from someone who has eternal authority. Every word that comes from the mouth of God is essential for our living the Christian life and our journey towards eternal salvation.

Like the people in the Gospel, so our ears and hearts must be attentive to Christ’s every teaching. For following His ways will bring us to life everlasting.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Birthday of St John the Baptist: Joyful hope

Fr Richard's homily for the Solemnity of the Birthday of Saint John the Baptist

Homily: Joy and hope

Joy and hope are the two Christian treasures that characterise today’s great Solemnity. The perception among Elizabeth’s relatives and friends would have been that there was “no hope” of her having children. Even her husband Zechariah doubted the news that she was to bear a son – a reaction that led to him being struck dumb. And yet – “nothing is impossible for God”.

Their neighbours and relations, the Gospel tells us, shared Elizabeth’s joy at the news of her son’s birth. As Judaea heard of how Zechariah’s speech returned at the naming of John, they were filled with hope. They treasured the story in their hearts and said: “What will this child turn out to be?”

The birth of John the Baptist is indeed a colossal moment in the history of salvation. It heralds the coming of the Messiah – a birth that brings deep joy and hope to the whole world. Even before being born, John leapt for joy in his mother’s womb at the Visitation, when he was in the midst of the unborn Jesus.

This Solemnity occurs ‘smack bang’ in the middle of a year, perhaps one of the most challenging of our lifetime. It’s six months till Christmas Eve – the celebration of Christ’s Mass. Yesterday, we got some hopeful news – a breakthrough. The Government will allow services again in Church from July 4, providing there are appropriate safety measures in place. We’re waiting on Government guidance, and instructions from our Bishops – so we don’t as yet know what the new arrangement will look like, what numbers will be permitted etc. But, as we celebrate today’s great Feast, there’s certainly cause for “joyful hope” that we can soon participate in the mysteries of our salvation again soon.

The celebration of the Eucharist is the very celebration of joyful hope. It’s a participation in, a foretaste of, the Sacred Banquet that we long to celebrate for eternity in our heavenly homeland. The priest prays in the Mass, words Bishop Terry has for his moto, that we are “waiting in joyful hope for the coming of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

The joy and hope of St John the Baptist’s birth, points towards the joy and hope of Bethlehem, where the “Word becomes Flesh and dwells among us” even today in the Eucharist, just as He did in the stable. The mysteries of salvation, in turn, point towards Christ’s coming in glory on the last day when we shall reign with Him.

May we wait with joyful hope at the coming of this great day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Optional Memorial of Saint Etheldreda: The narrow gate

Fr Richard's homily for the optional memorial of St Etheldreda 

Homily: The narrow gate

“…it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it”

Our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel show us that taking the easy option will not lead us to eternal life. Rather, the journey to our heavenly homeland has to include suffering and sacrifice. We see no greater reminder of this than when we look upon the Crucifix. St Etheldreda, the 7th century nun whom the Church honours today, united the pain she endured through illness with Christ’s on the Cross. We’re told she took this suffering as a blessing.

To ensure we stay on course for the narrow gate, we also have to grow in virtue. Those virtues will mean that we’ll resist temptation to sin and remain pure and spotless in the sight of God.

Amidst our growth in virtue, Our Lord’s will for the manner by which we stay on the path to the narrow gate will be different for each of us. For St Etheldreda (or Audrey), it was to live in virginity, even though she was forced into marriage twice. Virginity is that special virtue that St Thomas Aquinas calls the “excellence of chastity”. Living virginity will have no doubt come with its challenges – but Etheldreda called on the Lord’s help of grace and excelled in holiness.

Virgin saints of the Church remind us of the purity that must characterise our relationship with God and others, even if the majority of people aren’t called to live that way of life.

May the intercession of St Etheldreda, help us excel in chastity and all the other virtues – that we may resist the temptations of the world and stay on track for that narrow gate that leads to our heavenly homeland.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Feast of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More: Sacrosanctity of conscience

Fr Richard's words for the Feast of Ss John Fisher and Thomas More

Sacrosanctity of conscience

“I condemn no other man’s conscience: their conscience may save them, and mine must save me.”

The words of the Bishop St John Fisher about his impending martyrdom, having refused to accept King Henry VIII as head of the Church in England. St Thomas More also went to his martyrdom with a clear conscience – having refused to sign the Act of Succession.

These colossal English saints are indeed “martyrs in defence of conscience”. The Church clearly recognises this in her choice of reading for the Feast: the martyrdom of Eleazar who refused to even pretend to eat sacrificial meat prescribed by the king. This action would be going against God’s “venerable and holy laws”.

We all have a duty to follow our conscience an act according to it. This is the very clear teaching of the Church. But it’s a teaching that’s perhaps the most misunderstood, or even worse, manipulated, in our present age. Even among Catholics, ‘conscience’ has been interpreted as all sorts of things: an internal judgment based on personal opinions; an inner approval of our actions; or even merely a “gut instinct”. All these descriptions of conscience lead to our moral lives being founded on shifting sands and will never lead to our ultimate happiness.

Conscience, rather, “is man’s most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths” [Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 16]. The Church further teaches that: “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey…For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God” [Ibid.].

So ‘correct conscience’, far from being based on our subjective decisions, follows rather the “objective truth” of Divine Law. It’s why we also have a duty to form our conscience according to this Holy Law – which is communicated to us by the Magisterium, the teaching office of the Church.  
Saint Thomas More himself saw the “formation of conscience” as “the fruit” of an education “in the truth.” * He also said following our conscience brings a kind of “inward gladness … to the virtuous mind.” * May this great Feast teach us the sacrosanctity of conscience. May the example of Ss John Fisher and Thomas More lead us to understand correct conscience, inform it, and follow it – even if it costs us our lives. To do so will lead to our lasting happiness.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Parish news

I have been very pleased how the opening of the church in Richmond has gone but I am very conscious that Leyburn has not been opened yet.
Fr Richard and myself will submit a plan which will be forwarded to  The Vicar general who then will give permission. We need two volunteers under the age of 70 to help , however, Fr Richard and can suffice. God willing we be open soon.

Mass Intentions:
Sunday People of the Parish, Monday, Owen Devlin, Tuesday Miriam Place, Wednesday Rosa Bromirski, Thursday John Neary Friday Fr Gallagher's intentions, Saturday Agnes  Farrar.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Alan Hartley who has died recently and for Owen Devlin whose anniversary occurs about now. Harold Murphy will be buried at Scorton on Thursday morning at 11am.

Feastdays: Monday Sts. John Fisher & Thomas More, Tuesday , Wednesday is the birthday of St John the Baptist, Saturday is the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour the patron of the diocese.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Sacred Heart

Everyone knows what the symbol of the heart means , it means love.
God loves us with a human heart. Isn't that marvellous.
Jesus is fully human, he loves and desires our love as well.
The heart of Christ was wounded by the lance. His heart was broken physically as well as emotionally by his suffering. Remember as well as the physical pain Christ was betrayed by a kiss.
There is significance there.
The heart of Christ is symbolised to be on fire with love. The intensity of Christ's love turns to a white heat in the Holy Eucharist.
This feast day is to remind us as St Paul eloquently told us in the letter to the Romans- nothing can separate us from the Love of God

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Teaching on Prayer

There are many books on prayer but in today's Gospel we have Jesus' own teaching on prayer from the Sermon on the Mount.
I met an Irish Jesuit priest who impressed me by knowing this text off by heart. I have tried to do the same.
At the heart of Christian prayer is the knowledge that God is Our Father.
I don't need to say anymore, The Lord has said it all.
Let us not complicate prayer but follow the Lord's way.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sermon on the Mount

At the moment the ordinary Mass readings are from the Sermon on the Mount. Today we heard the Gospel that is read on Ash Wednesday. It reminds us that God sees what is in the heart whilst Man cares for the externals. Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving are the means to draw closer to God but are not for simply outward show.

I like praying but I  know that I should give more time to prayer. The lockdown has been great for providing more time to pray but it is amazing how much more time can be wasted. I have never been keen on fasting but it is a powerful tool to gain self knowledge and learn dependence on God. Almsgiving is truly personal and each of us will give an account of how we have shared the goods and gifts we have been entrusted with.

It was great to see so many people in church today, Alleluia

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

June 16th

Today we honour an English saint of the time of King Henry 111, Richard of Chichester. He was in fact a Worcestershire man, from near Droitwich. He is most famous for a beautiful prayer which was even used in the rock musical "Godspell".
                                              Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
                                               for all the benefits thou hast given me.,                                                                                                     for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me.
                                               O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother
                                                may I know thee more clearly
                                                Love   thee more dearly
                                               Follow thee more nearly

                                               Happy feast day Fr Richard

Monday, June 15, 2020

Parish news

It is with great joy that I can announce that our church was open for private prayer between the hours of 9 and 10. It was lovely to see parishioners at home again in God's House.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Harold Murphy who was a resident of Scorton for many years. May he rest in peace.

Please also remember  in your prayers Dr Robin Ward who has died recently and for Fr Niall Boyle, Owen Deviln , Mary Waters and Nicholas Powell whose anniversaries occur about now.

Mass intentions this week: O'Friel family, Robin Ward, Fr Niall Boyle, Nicholas Powell ,Fr Chris Kelly and Agnes Farrar.

I offer Holy Mass each Sunday and Holyday for you the people of the parish


Fr Frank Gallagher celebrated his golden jubilee of priesthood last Saturday. Fr Frank used to be parish priest of St Peter & St Paul Leyburn and  St Simon & St Jude Ulshaw bridge,

I know many of you will remember Fr Frank and thank God for his ministry. H eis now the parish priest of Holy Cross Cottingham

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Corpus Christi: Visión de San Pascual Bailón

A work of art for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi
Visión de San Pascual Bailón

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ: Essential and cosmic

Father Richard's words for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi
Readings: Click here

The Eucharist - essential and cosmic

The Eucharist is essential to life. This truth is clear from Our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel: “I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you will not have life in you.” The celebration of the Eucharist, then, is the most important action which happens in the whole universe today. It is not merely an act of worship stemming from a “private” faith of individual Catholics (which is how it is portrayed by our civil authorities). Rather, the Mass is necessary for the salvation of the whole world.

The greatest of all Sacraments that we give thanks for today is the way in which God the Creator of the Universe has chosen to continue to be truly, substantially, physically present to his creatures. Fruits of creation – from the vine and the earth – are turned into the Lord’s Body and Blood by the words and actions of priests who imitate Christ the Head and Shepherd of the Church. Whenever the Mass is celebrated – even as, at the moment, privately by Canon Michael or myself – Christ the God-man truly becomes present in the Yorkshire Dales. God has the power and the dominion to come down from heaven to earth to His creation – and no authority can stop Him.

Nothing on the face of the earth, then, is comparable to the Eucharistic mystery. The Sacrament of Sacraments cannot be for one moment equated on the same level in society as shops, cinemas or concerts. It isn’t even on the same level as earthly food and drink – although, of course, these are essential for survival and for bringing people together in fraternity. Christ our Eucharist, rather, is the Living Bread which has come down from heaven to sustain us; to bring us closer to God and each other in charity; and be the food for our journey to eternal life.

Even when Mass is celebrated privately by the priest, “it is an act of Christ and His Church”. As Saint Paul VI taught, “such a Mass brings a rich and abundant treasure of special graces to help the priest himself, the faithful, the whole Church and the whole world toward salvation…” [Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei, 32] Another saint of the Eucharist, Saint John Paul II, described the “cosmic” significance of the Eucharist: “Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world. It unites heaven and earth. It embraces and permeates all creation.” [John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 8]

In truly believing what the Church celebrates today, we therefore believe that the Eucharist is not simply important for us, but essential for all of creation. On this year’s celebration of Corpus Christi, I’m sure you can be in solidarity with the famished people of Israel in today’s first reading. You know what, or rather Who, the Food of Eternal Life is, but you haven’t been able to receive Him for three months. We know the Church only requires the faithful to receive Holy Communion once a year at Easter (though even this duty was dispensed with this year). But we know, in our lifetime, the Church has strongly encouraged a frequent, even daily, reception. You may feel like the Israelites wandering through the wilderness, wondering when you’ll be able to receive the Bread of Life again. But when we’re deprived of the most important reality in our lives, indeed in the whole world, it should deepen our hunger for it and love of it.

To satisfy, in part, that hunger, with give thanks to God that one of our churches (St Joseph’s in Richmond) is able to open safely tomorrow and each day between 9-10am. I encourage you to come if you’re able. Why? Because here Christ is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. Behind the veil of the tabernacle, Christ our Eucharist waits for us and longs for us to be with Him.

Jesus remains in the tabernacle “like a prisoner of love”, so says St Peter Julian Eymard, the 19th century French Catholic priest named by John Paul II as ‘apostle of the Eucharist’. He says Christ “is a prisoner of love, so that we can show our love to Him and gain the graces all of us and our families so badly need…”*

Let us keep in fervent prayer the swift return to a safe celebration of public Mass, where you’ll be able to receive the greatest Gift of life. Until then, rejoice in coming to see Christ in the Tabernacle. As St Peter Eymard says: “He is here awaiting our visit, and He rejoices when we come to Him.”*

[*St Peter Julian Eymard, quoted in Rawley Myers, The Saints show us Christ: Daily Readings on the Spiritual Life, (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 1996), entry for ‘November 5’.]

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua: Responding to a call

Fr Richard's words for the Memorial of St Anthony of Padua

Responding to a call

Elisha recognised it was God’s will that Elijah was calling him to be his disciple. Indeed, Elisha was later to succeed Elijah as the Lord’s Prophet. He worked miracles and worked great wanders, bringing justice to the people of Israel. But to have his prophetic mission bestowed upon him, the moment of his call and his response to it in today’s reading was decisive. His only delay was to enjoy one last meal with his family and friends before he followed behind Elijah.

St Anthony, like all holy pastors of the Church, also left everything to follow the Lord. His calling to be a priest and a saintly preacher was perhaps less immediate than Elisha’s. He will have developed a sense of a vocation at the Cathedral School in his home city of Lisbon and he will have been impressed by the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross – whose abbey he joined at the age of 15. In fact, he was so dedicated to prayer and service of the Lord that he even found visits from his family and friends too distracting – and asked to be transferred to the Order’s mother house in Coimbra.

After his ordination, it was the life of the nearby Franciscans and the witness of the first five Franciscan martyrs in Morocco which inspired Anthony to follow the way of St Francis and set out for the mission in Africa. On the way he became ill and, attempting to sail back home, the ship was blown off course and ended up in Sicily. His mission was to be on the Italian peninsula, albeit with a short visit to France. He eventually settled in the beautiful city of Padua, becoming the provincial superior of northern Italy. He performed miracles and preached the Catholic faith with zeal. Many hearts turned to God by St Anthony’s words and example.

We’re very conscious of the powerful intercession of saints because of the popular cult associated with St Anthony, who was canonised just a year after his death. Whenever we misplace the car keys, whenever we lose something important – St Anthony always comes to our aid.

However, like Elisha and Anthony, saints can only become saints if they respond to the Lord’s call first. We might not know where our mission will take us, but we know we should follow the Lord’s will wholeheartedly. Let’s pray especially today for all young people discerning their vocation – that they may generously say yes to the Lord’s call. May the Lord send many priests and religious to evangelise our Diocese.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Parish News: Fr Richard's recent Mass intentions

May 25th: Holy Father's Intentions
May 26th: Ints. York Oratory Community
May 27th: Eileen Hartnett
May 28th: Fr Christopher Kelly
May 29th: Joan and Bill Marsden (anniversary) 
May 30th: John Clark
May 31st: Priest's Intention
June 1st: Ints. Diocese of Middlesbrough Discerners
June 2nd: Ints. Collins Family
June 3rd: John Atkins
June 4th: Yorkshire Brethren
June 5th: Conversion of England
June 6th: Priest's Intention
June 7th: Young parishioners
June 8th: Vocations for the Diocese of Middlesbrough
June 9th: Protection of unborn children
June 10th: Priest's Intention
June 11th: John Paul Mills
June 12th: Special Intention

St Joseph's opening for private prayer

We are pleased to announce that Bishop Terry has given his approval for St Joseph and St Francis Xavier's to open for private prayer beginning next week.

The Church will be open each day from 9am until 10am only, beginning from Monday morning. Please continue to check the blog for any changes to these opening hours. There will be a "one-way" system in place. The entrance is through the main door from the street and you'll be able to exit via the side door. Hand sanitisers will be provided upon entry and exit and benches are marked off so that the "two-metre" social distancing can be maintained.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Church to enjoy some quality time with the Lord truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

God bless you and your families.

Friday, Tenth Week of Ordinary Time: God's language

Fr Richard's homily for the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time

Homily: God's language

When Elijah went out to stand on Mount Horeb the Lord came to him not in the might of a wind, the strength of an earthquake, or the flame of a fire. But He came in the gentleness of a breeze. In other words, God appeared not in a dramatic moment but amid silence and stillness.

Today’s reading teaches us much about where we encounter God in our own lives of prayer. The great mystic St John of the Cross once wrote: “The first language of God is silence.” With these words, that great Doctor of the Church reminds us how quiet contemplation is essential if we are to come closer to the Lord.

Silence doesn’t merely mean the absence of noise – but also the stillness of our minds and hearts. There can be all sorts of thoughts, dilemmas, and distractions that can mean our period of prayer isn’t the most “silent”. We shouldn’t worry too much about the momentary distractions – we are human after all and the Lord delights even in our willingness to give Him time in prayer. But when our mind does wander, we should always try to refocus our hearts and minds towards the Loving God who is in our midst; who delights in us coming to meet Him.

In the times when we come to that true silence – the Lord can gift us with His wonderful consolation, when it is His will. Indeed, it’s always important to remember that a profound spiritual encounter of the Lord’s presence is His gift, not our own achievement.

This current period is a wonderful time to find that solitude where we look at God and He looks at us. To help us enter into a period of contemplative prayer, we do well to begin with today’s Psalm. “O Lord, hear my voice when I call; have mercy and answer…It is your face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not your face.”

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Memorial of St Barnabas: Holy living

Fr Richard's homily for the Memorial of Saint Barnabas

Homily: Holy living

Saint Barnabas, we hear in today’s reading, lived together with Saul (Saint Paul) for a whole year in the church of Antioch. There, the two evangelisers instructed a large number of people and, in this ancient Greek city, the disciples were first called Christians.

I wonder what life in the household of Saul and Barnabas would have been like? Two saintly men – each with their own very different journey to the Christian life – living side by side. They would’ve eaten together, socialised together and, most importantly, prayed together. Barnabas and Saul would have been an example to each other in faith. They will have encouraged each other when challenges came their way. They will have served each other’s needs in a spirit of fraternity.

This holy living will have been the foundation, the basis for their day to day life during that year of preaching the Gospel to the people of Antioch. Their work there was significant – the city became one of the five original patriarchates of the Universal Church.

The story of Saint Barnabas teaches us that we need a solid, prayerful, loving household from which to go out and proclaim the saving message of Christ. If our daily living at home is disjointed, lacking in prayer, inattentive to the work of the Spirit in our lives – then we won’t be deeply rooted in the Lord enough to go out in faith and witness with zeal to the Gospel.

But if we embrace times of silence as quality time with the Lord, if we serve in love those we live with (or are in contact with), if we encourage each other in the faith – then we’ll have the disposition to go out and “proclaim that the Kingdom of God is close at hand.”

Today’s reading tells us that St Barnabas was “a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith.” These attributes will have been fed by a humble, loving friendship while living with Saul. As we continue to spend more time at the house, perhaps we might reflect on how we “live” at home. If it’s with devotion to our Lord and with spirit of service to our family and friends – then we can follow Barnabas into the halls of the heavenly Kingdom.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Planned reopening of St Joseph's for private prayer: appeal for volunteers

As you may have seen in the media, churches are from next week able to open for private prayer, so long as it is deemed safe and that social distancing/sanitisation measures are in place. The Diocese has sent a number of instructions for us to follow. As St Joseph and St Francis Xavier's, Richmond, is the only one of our four churches able to carry out an "additional" infection safety control measure outlined by the Diocese, namely that people "enter and leave the church via separate doors," we're only planning for the opening of this Church for the moment.

We are currently in the process of submitting to the Diocese a plan for approval of how we might open St Joseph's from next Monday for individual prayer. For the moment, this would be for one hour only - each morning between 9am-10am.

We are appealing for volunteers to help make this possible. Stewards would be asked to help make sure things like hand sanitising and social distancing runs smoothly, and also to help clean surfaces after the periods when the Churches are open.

According to the instructions from the Diocese, stewards can't be those who have been asked to "shield" by their doctors or, "as a general rule, from groups considered more vulnerable to coronavirus" (e.g. those over 70, underlying health conditions as outlined by Government guidance).

If you'd like to volunteer, please contact Canon Michael (01748 822175, or Father Richard (01748 850141

God bless,

Canon Michael and Father Richard

Wednesday, Tenth Week of Ordinary Time: Don't jeopardise life eternal

Fr Richard's words for today

Don't jeopardise life eternal

There’s almost something quite comical about Elijah’s mocking of the prophets of Baal in today’s reading. Elijah knows that the 450 people calling on Baal to bring down fire on a sacrificial bull are wasting their time! The calls and the strange hobbling dance for this false god to show power are futile.

There is only One Lord, the God of Israel – and He is all powerful. Elijah has complete trust and confidence that his call for the Lord to bring down fire on the sacrifice will be instantly heard. He knows this sign will make the prophets of Baal concede: “The Lord is God.”

In the Gospel, Jesus very strongly warns that infringing even the least of the Commandments and encouraging others to do so the same will make us the “least in the Kingdom of heaven.” Reflecting on our reading from the Book of Kings, we remember that the very first of the Ten Commandments is precisely: “I am the Lord your God: you shall have no other gods before me.” The Lord tells Moses: “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.” (Ex 20:2-5; cf Dt 5:6-9) We know, then, that living the Christian life is rooted in worship and adoration of the Lord God. If we reject God, if we begin to seek power from worldly things and people instead, and even worse, from spirits other than the Holy Spirit – then our eternal life is in jeopardy. Actually following false gods, then, is far from comical.

In the difficulty of living through a “lockdown”, the temptation to seek solace from quarters other than those rooted in Our Blessed Lord is perhaps more evident. But we must ask the Holy Spirit to help us reject these temptations and flee always to the loving arms of the Lord God. Spiritual sickness and death are far more serious than physical sickness and death – a perspective we must keep amid this pandemic.

Holy Spirit – guide us always to reject false and empty gods, however they may manifest themselves. Let our prayer always be: “Preserve me God, I take refuge in you. I say to the Lord: “You are my God.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

St Columba: Prophecy and light

Fr Richard's words for the optional memorial of St Columba 

Prophecy and light 

Elijah is so close to the Lord that he completely trusts in His Providence. As we see in today's reading, he knows that God will come to his aid and also provide food for the poor widow of Zarephath and her son. Elijah prophesies God will not allow the meal or the oil the woman has left to run out.

St Columba, who we celebrate today, similarly had a deep personal relationship with the Lord and was also given the gift of prophecy. He prophesied, for instance, that King Oswald of Northumbria would win a battle (against the Welsh) and that the people of England would be converted and receive baptism. The victory occurred and it led to pagan England turning back to Christianity.

St Columba truly "shone out in the sight of men" as Jesus exhorts the disciples to do in today's Gospel. His good works of bringing the Christian faith to our Isles; performing miraculous powers (such as subduing wild beasts and calming storms); his founding of monasteries in Ireland and, most famously, on the island of Iona; and his spiritual guidance - all these resulted in many people giving "praise to [our] Father in heaven.

Asking for St Columba's prayers, my we too become the" salt of the earth" and the "light of the world" for the people of our day.

Monday, June 8, 2020

St William of York: Holiness amid challenge

Fr Richard's homily for the optional memorial of St William of York

Homily: Holiness amid challenge

St William of York was “messed about” a bit! After being elected to be Archbishop of York in 1140, his appointment was challenged by opponents who didn’t like his family’s close relationship with the king. Pope Innocent III upheld his nomination but the next pope, Eugenius III suspended him upon the advice of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, no less!

St William retired for seven years to Winchester and was said to have lived there quietly without complaint. When his successor in York died, he was re-elected and travelled to Rome to receive the pallium from Pope Anastasius IV. He received an enthusiastic welcome back to York. But shortly after his return, he was taken ill and died. Accounts suggest that he was even poisoned!

All throughout the turmoil of his life, St William took everything in his stride and trusted in the Lord, confidently praying in the words of today’s Responsorial Psalm: “Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Although he was said to have rightly defended himself, he did not hold any animosity towards his adversaries - but loved them. He lived with steadfast devotion the Beatitudes, the great “charter” of how to be a saint, that today’s Gospel gives us. Despite his trials, he was gentle and pure in heart.

In living the Beatitudes, he now indeed constantly “sees God” in the heavenly Jerusalem. Through the challenges of our lives, particularly at this present time, may we follow St William’s example in living the Beatitudes and trusting in the help of the Lord and, by doing so, may we also come one day to see God face to face in His Kingdom.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Mass Intentions

Monday 8th Mgr. John Dunne, Tuesday 9th June Peter John Hughes, 
Wednesday 10th Agnes Teresa Farrar, Thursday 11th Fr Dan O'Neill intentions
Friday 12th Mary Waters anniversary, Saturday 13th June Holy Souls

Trinity Sunday Sermon

I like to think that this is God's own feast day. I am sure we all remember the story of St. Patrick and the shamrock in his attempt to help explain the mystery of the Unity and Trinity of God. I like St John Chrysostom's version of the rose.

The stem is the Father, the flower the Son and the scent the Holy Spirit. All these analogies fail for we are dealing with the mystery of mysteries, However, I like the rose, especially as there are some stunning roses in the presbytery garden.

This feast just makes me want to Praise God for as glorious as the mystery of God is , God's love for the world is even more amazing.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Trinity Sunday: Dürer's the Holy Trinity

A work of art for Trinity Sunday

Albrecht Dürer ( German, Nuremberg 1471-1528, Nuremberg) The Holy Trinity, 1511, woodcut, 39,8 x 28,7 cm ( CC Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

The representation of the mystery of the Holy Trinity was a subject of theological and artistic debates during the Middle Ages, notably in England where the earliest known representation, probably dating from the 12th century, can be found on the mural paintings of the church of St Mary the Virgin at Houghton-on-the-Hill (Norfolk).

An interpretation specific to the Western Church emerged gradually and was codified in 1511 by the German artist Albrecht Dürer. It is not the only representation of the Trinity that we can find but is the most popular because, being a print and therefore produced in many copies, it spread quickly throughout the entirety of Europe. God the Father seated on the "Throne of Grace" holds under His armpits the body of His dead Son in a gesture of compassion. The Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, hovers above them. All around angels hold the “Instruments of the Passion” to celebrate Christ’s sacrifice through obedience and love for His Father.

our parish

Fr Richard and I look after one of the largest parishes in the diocese if not in the country.  We are so privileged to be the parish clergy for St Joseph's Richmond, St Mary's Wycliffe, St Peter and St Paul Leyburn and St Simon and St Jude Ulshaw Bridge.
Today we honour St Norbert, the founder of the Premonstratensian order, who established three monasteries in our parish: Easby, Egglestone and Coverham. St Norbert was from the Rhine. Yesterday we honoured the apostle of Germany , St Boniface a Devon man. He is one of only 5 British saints who are in the universal calendar of the Church. Interestingly the faith spread form England to the rhine and three hundred years later the White canons came to our dales. We live on holy ground where saints have trod.
It is very hard to look into the future. The monks must never have thought that one day a king of England would close down all the monasteries and change the religion of the country. So now, it is difficult to look into the future, but perhaps one day we will see a revival of the faith and the establishing of new religious communities in the dales.
Let us pray for the growth of our Catholic Faith and for vocations form the dales.
St Norbert and st Boniface pray for us

Thursday, June 4, 2020


Today is the the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ eternal high priest. I thank God for the gift of the priesthood and i would like to thank God for all the priests who have helped me in my life.
I am sure all of us would like to do the same.
I have been very blessed in the priests I have known.
Our parish church here in Richmond is quite simply magnificent. What a debt we all owe the Jesuit priests who established this mission. I must say every time I look at the Greyfriars tower I think of the Franciscans who ministered here.
I hope we will have vocations from our own parish to the priesthood. I don't know when we last had an ordination here. Lets get praying for priests from our families.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Ugandan Martyrs

Today we are reminded of the Church in Africa and the heroic witness of  the Christian community in Uganda. I can remember when Pope Paul VI canonised the Ugandan martyrs, it was round about the time of our own 40 martyrs being canonised back in 1970, The martyrs we honour today date from the late 19th century, Christianity was new  and as is often the case aroused violent opposition. Anglicans as well as Roman Catholics suffered. Sadly this was to be repeated under the cruel tyranny of Idi Amin, Uganda like so much of the continent has not enjoyed good government.

When I think of Uganda I am also reminded of Fr Jim Daley, a Mill Hill missionary who comes form my home parish in Middlesbrough. He served for many years in Uganda and it was always great to hear his stories when he came home.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have Mission boxes and who support the Missions. We must never lose sight of the wider view of Church and never just get caught up with ourselves and our problems.

God bless,
Canon michael

Monday, June 1, 2020

El Greo's Pentecost

A work of art illustrating yesterday's great Feast

Domenikos Theotokopoulos called El Greco (Candia, Greece, 1541-Toledo, Spain, 1614) , Pentecost, c. 1600, oil/canvas, 275 x 127 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid

This painting was one of six executed around 1596-1600 by El Greco, Spanish painter of Greek origin, for the main altarpiece of an Augustine College in Madrid. Its place on the right side of the upper level explains its narrow format. The use of elongated bodies and of cold colours, intense and contrasting, is typical of his late manner.

Greco follows fairly closely the account of the Acts of the Apostles (2:1-5). Unlike many other painters, he does not however insist on the dramatic arrival of the whirling wind in the closed room. He treats the topic in a more subdued tone. Having deposited the tongues of fire on each participant, the dove of the Holy Spirit hovers over the room, bathing in ghostly light. The marked foreshortening of the two apostles on the foreground allows Greco to integrate more body gestures. The attitudes and the facial expressions of the apostles do not express fear but wonder and gratitude at the fulfilment of Christ’s promise during his farewell discourse. Following the tradition, Mary is there occupying the central position but Greco has added Saint Mary Magdalene and a thirteen man, probably a portrait of himself, or of a close friend - the humanist Antonio de Covarrubias.

Parish News

We begin the month of June with a happy anniversary for John and Dorothy West who have been married for 65 years today.
One of the sad consequences of the lockdown has been the cancellation of many of the weddings due to take place this year.
However, light surely is there at the end of the tunnel and we can look forward with hope to the end of lockdown .
We celebrate the feast of Mary Mother of the Church. let us ask Our Lady's help for all in need.

Mass Intentions.
Monday John & Dorothy West intentions, Tuesday Mary Ryan, Wednesday Joan Scothern -Sayer,
Thursday My parents Friday Yorkshire Brethren Saturday Peter Gallagher