On a liturgical note: August 2019

By Canon Philip Gillespie

Slightly quieter weeks now in the lives of our parishes and indeed here at the Beda College – our students have left to go to their various counties and Dioceses for a period of rest and also an experience of parish ministry before they come back to begin a new year.

Eleven of the students, however, will not be returning as they have finished their four years with us and during these weeks have been or will be ordained as priests to serve in counties as varied as England, Australia, Scotland, Malaysia and India, so please remember them in your prayers as they begin their Ordained Ministry, that they may be, as the Liturgy puts it, ‘ardent but gentle servants of the Gospel’.

That said, sacramentally all is still busy. There are marriages to be celebrated, funerals if called upon, and perhaps baptisms. Visits to the sick and to the hospital continue, and Sunday and weekday Masses … the round of parish requirements may reduce over these next weeks, but it never comes to a complete standstill so a word of thanks to all who will ensure that in our parishes the telephones will still be answered and those seeking the Sacraments will still be catechised, prayed with and welcomed.

In the middle of the month we keep the Solemnity of the Assumption (Thursday 15 August) and on this Holy Day our thoughts are centred not only upon the singular privilege given to Our Blessed Lady of being Mother of the Word made Flesh (the Theotokos or Bearer of God) but also upon the call to each and every one of us to live out Mary’s song of praise, her Magnificat, in our daily lives:

The Almighty has done great things for us and Holy is His Name.

The Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer on this feast speaks clearly of the important position of Mary in our own spiritual journey, our living-out of the Christian vocation we have all received in Baptism:

For today the virgin Mother of God was assumed into heaven as the beginning and image of your Church’s coming to perfection, and a sign of sure hope and comfort to your pilgrim people.

We are all members of that ‘pilgrim people’ and in our journeying and learning each day we ask that the prayer and example of Mary, Mother of the Lord, may assist us, that we may always serve the Lord with gladness:

Beneath your compassion,

We take refuge, O Mother of God:

do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:

but rescue us from dangers,

only pure, only blessed one.