“The happy birds Te Deum sing – ‘tis Mary’s month of May,

Her smile turns winter into spring and darkness into day.”

This year we celebrate this loveliest of months,  as the readings during Mass take us through the story of Jesus’ time on earth following his Resurrection; how he appeared to his disciples with the message to continue his work.

He met with them in the Upper Room when Thomas wanted tangible proof before he would accept that the Lord really had risen; he encountered the disciples on the road to Emmaus who failed to recognize him until he broke the bread at supper and he greeted Peter and the others at the side of the lake and shared breakfast with them.

Through all the teachings of Jesus we hear the theme of “Love thy neighbour”.

There are so many charitable organisations that exist to try and put this into action. Christian Aid Week starts on 15th May – this a body that is doing its best to restore some balance into this unjust world.

How lucky we are that most people in this country  have somewhere to live, food on the table, and access to the Health Service and to Education.

What a contrast to all those countries where such facilities are the stuff of dreams and men, women and children are dying through lack of resources.

We should be guided by the Five Marks of Mission of which the third tells us clearly to respond to human need by loving service.

Let us take long hard look at ourselves to see what the balance is between what we can do and what we are actually doing.

God Bless

“Triumphant in his glory now, his sceptre ruleth all.

Earth, heaven and hell before him bow, and at his footstool fall.”

Before we can sing this verse of the well-known hymn, we must accompany Jesus in to Jerusalem and witness the saga of Holy Week as it unfolds.

On Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, the priest’s vestments are red – the colour of triumph and victory.

On that day Jesus rode into the city on a donkey and was met by a crowd who hailed him as a King, a Messiah, who they thought was going to lead them into battle and overthrow the cruel and oppressive Roman rule. They cheered, chanted “Hosanna to the Son of David” and waved palm branches.

However, Jesus does not work that way, he came to bring a kingdom of peace and assurance of a place with him in heaven.

The people soon realized their mistake and quickly turned against him.

So many of us, when Jesus does not answer our prayers in the way we want, turn our backs on him. Judas, when he turned away from the Lord betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver.

Holy Week, that starts with the excitement of Palm Sunday, then takes us through the more sombre events that lead up to Our Lord’s Death and Resurrection

All the statues and crucifixes in church are draped in purple.

On Maundy Thursday we relive the story of the Last Supper when Jesus gave us the Blessed Sacrament of his Body and Blood.

On Good Friday we remember the momentous events of the day on which Jesus, the Son of God, was crucified.

I love these services; they are very solemn but are a lead into the glorious event on Easter Sunday when the sound of the bells and choir announce that the Lord is Risen!

If you can, please come and join us and take communion on each of these days.

May the loving Christ give us all a wonderful Holy Week and a blessed and happy Easter.     

“Triumphant in his glory now,

His sceptre ruleth all.

Earth, heaven and hell before him bow

And at his footstool fall.”

Before we can sing this verse of the well-known hymn, we must accompany Jesus in to Jerusalem and witness the saga of Holy Week as it unfolds.

On Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, the priest’s vestments are red – the colour of triumph and victory.

On that day Jesus rode into the city on a donkey and was met by a crowd who hailed him as a King, a Messiah, who they thought was going to lead them into battle and overthrow the cruel and oppressive Roman rule. They cheered, chanted “Hosanna to the Son of David” and waved palm branches.

However, Jesus does not work that way, he came to bring a kingdom of peace and assurance of a place with him in heaven.

The people soon realized their mistake and quickly turned against him.

So many of us, when Jesus does not answer our prayers in the way we want, turn our backs on him. Judas, when he turned away from the Lord betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver.

Holy Week, that starts with the excitement of Palm Sunday, then takes us through the more sombre events that lead up to Our Lord’s Death and Resurrection

All the statues and crucifixes in church are draped in purple.

On Maundy Thursday we relive the story of the Last Supper when Jesus gave us the Blessed Sacrament of his Body and Blood.

On Good Friday we remember the momentous events of the day on which Jesus, the Son of God, was crucified.

I love these services; they are very solemn but are a lead into the glorious event on Easter Sunday when the sound of the bells and choir announce that the Lord is Risen!

If you can, please come and join us and take communion on each of these days.

May the loving Christ give us all a wonderful Holy Week and a blessed and happy Easter.     

This week, on Ash Wednesday, we set off together into the period of Lent – the forty days of reflection and preparation that lead up to the greatest Feast of the church’s year – the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday. 

What is Lent for? It is, as we have said, a period of preparation, we need to make ourselves ready, to be in a fit state to greet the glorious news that Jesus has risen!

How do we make ourselves ready? What do we need to do?  In the past we have talked about giving something up; however shouldn’t we also be thinking more about giving something, doing something extra? Perhaps making the effort to come to the Stations of the Cross or to attend an extra Mass.

The Stations of the Cross tell the story of a journey that started with Pilate washing his hands and finishes with the body of Jesus being laid in the tomb, but as we know this is not the end of the story.

I love the Stations; I remember as a lad gong to the church each week after school, hoping that I would be asked to carry the cross!

Let us use this time in Lent to take a look at ourselves, let us remember in the story those who were prepared to help Jesus as he struggled to carry his cross; Simon of Cyrene and Veronica; and ask ourselves whether if we saw someone in such a state whether we would be prepared to extend a hand of friendship. In our world today are we extending a hand or are we keeping our arms folded and just looking on?

God Bless

February, the second month of the year; the dark nights are getting shorter as more and more light begins to take over.

Light is so important to us. In the words of the hymn:- “Jesus bids us shine, with a clear blue light, like a little candle burning in the night. In this world of darkness, we must shine, you in your small corner, and I in mine.”

I know of many people who are afraid of the dark and who are so thankful for the security provided by the street lights  when they have to go out in the evening.  When I was Vicar of Watersheddings in Oldham, the ladies used to remind me that when you reach the second Sunday in February you can have your tea without having to put on the light!  As each day passes the daylight gets longer and longer. There is a great hope of Spring just around the corner and with it much more light

 Jesus said of himself “I am the Light of the World”. May this Light that he brings us help us to see a clear way forward. 

The virus has meant that we have all been in a dark place and so we pray that that soon we shall be seeing the light at the end of tunnel.  It is in times like these when we need to support each other in the struggle to keep each other [safe and offer a helping hand towards the Light

Candles mean so much as they provide light in so many ways. They show your age on the birthday cake, at a baptism the baby receives a lighted candle (usually held by the Godparents), candles are lit in church as we celebrate the Holy Mass, we light votive candles as we offer prayers.

May all our candles be a symbol of the hope that we feel as we move towards the glorious feast of the Resurrection at Easter.

God Bless

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February, the second month of the year; the dark nights are getting shorter as more and more light begins to take over.

Light is so important to us. In the words of the hymn:- “Jesus bids us shine, with a clear blue light, Like a little candle burning in the night; in this world of darkness, we must shine, You in your small corner, and I in mine.”

I know of many people who are afraid of the dark and who are so thankful for the security provided by the street lights  when they have to go out in the evening.  When I was Vicar of Watersheddings in Oldham, the ladies used to remind me that when you reach the second Sunday in February you can have your tea without having to put on the light!  As each day passes the daylight gets longer and longer. There is a great hope of Spring just around the corner and with it much more light

 Jesus said of himself “I am the Light of the World”. May this Light that he brings us help us to see a clear way forward. 

The virus has meant that we have all been in a dark place and so we pray that that soon we shall be seeing the light at the end of tunnel.  It is in times like these when we need to support each other in the struggle to keep each other safe and offer a helping hand towards the Light.

Candles mean so much as they provide light in so many ways. They show your age on the birthday cake, at a baptism the baby receives a lighted candle (usually held by the Godparents), candles are lit in church as we celebrate the Holy Mass, we light votive candles as we offer prayers.

May all our candles be a symbol of the hope that we feel as we move towards the glorious feast of the Resurrection at Easter.

God Bless

“Oh come, oh come Emmanuel!”

We are now in the season of Advent, when we wait with anticipation for the glorious events that are to unfold on the 25thDecember. Emmanuel means God is with us. We will soon all be rejoicing as we celebrate  our Saviour coming to earth and being born in a humble stable.

 In recent years Advent Calendars have become very popular; however too often they are simply used as a countdown towards the secular festivities and the real significance of the word Advent is lost.

Advent should not be  four weeks of counting down but instead should be four weeks of building up – the readings from the prophets during this period give a sense of the anticipation of what is to come. Listen to the joy in the words of Isaiah “Oh people of Sion behold, the Lord will come to save the nations,” and Zephaniah telling Israel to “shout aloud, rejoice and exult with all your heart.”

How are we observing Advent ourselves? Advent is a time for reflection.  Are we in our personal lives ready to welcome the Christ Child?

I hope that we are all able to look forward with anticipation to a pleasurable time ahead. However let us spare a thought and a prayer for those for whom, for so many different reasons, the Christmas season is not a time of enjoyment but one of sorrow and loneliness.

Let us pray that everyone may have the Christmas that we wish for ourselves.

God Bless

We all know the rhyme which starts “Remember, Remember the 5th November”,  however I am suggesting that we should also be remembering certain other very important days in this month.

 On the 1st is the Feast of All Saints – remembering all those who have departed this life and who are safely in heaven but whose names are not recorded.

On the 2nd we celebrate the Feast of All Souls when we are encouraged to take time to pray for the repose of the souls of all who have passed away that they may all take their place with the saints in heaven.

The 14th is Remembrance Sunday – when we take the time to remember all those who fought and died in war so that we may continue to live in freedom. At St Hilda’s we shall be holding a solemn Requiem Mass.

On 21st we remember our Patron Saint – Hilda, Abbess  of Whitby who did so much to help to establish the True Faith in Britain. 

We could perhaps wish each other a Happy New Year on 28th as we set off into another Church Year on the 1st Sunday of Advent. Let us hope and pray that the changes in the offing in the Diocese will, in whatever form they take, be of benefit to all in our little community.

God Bless

“In the days of Thanksgiving one psalm let us offer, for the saints who before us have found their reward…

 These stones that have echoed their praises are holy and dear is the ground where their feet have once trod”

How the words of this hymn are at this time so appropriate for St Hilda’s, as on the 17th of this month we celebrate the anniversary of our Dedication.

In October 1904 Bishop Knox consecrated St Hilda’s and therefore  in 2021 we shall be celebrating  117 years of service in God’s Name to the people of Prestwich.

St Hilda’s has stood as a bastion of Faith through all those years and we continue today to provide a haven of Welcome and Worship.

The memory of the Dedication reminds us of the debt that we owe to all those parishioners who through the intervening years have helped to preserve and pass on this wonderful heritage. It is our duty to continue this and to ensure that it is always there for the generations still to come.

On Sunday 17th at the Solemn High Mass, along with Canon Denby, I shall be giving thanks for all the blessings that we have received and praying that St Hilda’s  will be always a Beacon of Light and Hope as it continues to serve the needs of our Parish, our Children and  the Community around us.

God Bless

Where has this year gone? Here we are at the start of the season of Autumn as days begin to shorten and we see nature losing its vibrant summer colours and starting to dress in glorious reds and browns.

This is a month when we think of angels, those beings who stand around the throne of God in constant praise and who have the role of messengers of the Almighty. Remember in Jacob’s dream of how he saw a ladder reaching up to heaven with angels carrying messages constantly ascending and descending between heaven and earth.

Chief among the angels are the Archangels, each with a special role. We remember in particular Michael the Warrior who drove Lucifer from heaven, Gabriel the Messenger who brought the wonderful Message to Mary, Raphael the angel of Healing and Uriel, not so well known, the angel of Light. 

In our Sunday Mass we agree to praise God along with the Angels and Archangels.

We each have been given a Guardian Angel, who has the task of protecting us and to whom we can and should turn for help when the problems of everyday life are getting us down.

Let us pray that all the school children and students  who this month  are making a fresh start in new schools, colleges and universities, are given the courage and wisdom to succeed in and enjoy whatever the future holds for them.

God Bless