Fourth Sunday of Easter

Third Sunday of Easter

 Low Sunday – Second Sunday of Easter

 Easter Sunday

 Easter Vigil

 Good Friday

 Maundy Thursday

 Palm Sunday

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Fourth Sunday of Lent

 Third Sunday of Lent

 Second Sunday of Lent

First Sunday of Lent

7 Ash Wednesday

 6th Sunday in OT

 Candlemas

4  Epiphany

3 Epiphany

2 Epiphany

1 Epiphany

Feast of the Holy Family

Advent 3

Advent 2

Advent Sunday

Saint Hilda’s Day

Remembrance Sunday

 31st Sunday in OT

Dedication Sunday

28th Sunday in OT

 27th Sunday in OT

 1st Oct Harvest

25th Sunday in OT

 24th Sunday in OT

 23rd Sunday in OT

 22nd Sunday in OT

 21st Sunday in OT 

20th Sunday in OT

19th Sunday in OT

 The Transfiguration

 17th Sunday in OT

 16th Sunday in OT

 15th Sunday in OT

 14th Sunday in OT

13th Sunday in OT

12th Sunday in OT

Corpus Christi

Trinity Sunday

Pentecost

Feast of the Ascension

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Third Sunday of Easter

 Second Sunday of Easter

 Easter Day

 Palm Sunday

 Passion Sunday

 Mothering Sunday

 Third Sunday of Lent

Second Sunday of Lent

 First Sunday of Lent 

ASH WEDNESDAY

 Sunday before Lent

Second Sunday before Lent

 Third Sunday before Lent

Candlemas

 Fourth Sunday of Epiphany

 Third Sunday of Epiphany

 Second Sunday of Epiphany

Feast-of-the-Epiphany

Naming of Jesus

2016 Christmas Day

2016-First Mass of Christmas

2016 Advent-4

2016 Advent-3

2016 Advent-2

2016 Advent-Sunday

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2016  ASH WEDNESDAY

2016 Lent 1

2016 Lent 2

2016 Lent 3

2016 Mothering Sunday Lent 42016 36 18th Sunday in OT.doc

2016  Lent 5

2016  Palm Sunday

2016 Easter Day

2016 2nd Sunday of Easter

2016  3rd Sunday of Easter

2016  4th Sunday of Easter

2016  5th Sunday of Easter

2016  6th Sunday of Easter

2016  Ascension

2016 Pentecost

2016  Trinity

2016  Corpus Christi

2016  11th Sunday in OT

2016 12th Sunday in OT

2016 13th Sunday in OT

2016  14th Sunday in OT

2016 15th Sunday in OT

2016 16th Sunday in OT

2016 17th Sunday in OT

2016  18th Sunday in OT.

2016  19th Sunday in OT

2016  Assumption

2016  21st Sunday in OT

2016  22nd Sunday in OT

2016 23rd Sunday in OT

2016-24th-sunday-in-ot

2016-25th-sunday-in-ot

2016-26th-sunday-in-ot

2016-harvest-thanksgiving

2016-28th-sunday-in-ot

2016-dedication-sunday

2016-30th-sunday-in-ot

2016-31st-sunday-in-ot

2016-32nd-sunday-in-ot

2016-Remembrance-Sunday

2016 – Christ the King

2016-Advent Sunday

2016-Advent-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_0207

 

 

 

PCC Meeting 29/1/18

Major items discussed

The Committee unanimously approved the appointment of Phyllis  Lefevre and Shirley Diver as school foundation governors.

It was agreed that Ken would proceed with erection of a new notice board outside church.

Dominic and Canon Denby will be trained as First Aiders

The decision regarding the gardener was rescinded (See 27/3/17), we will continue to employ an outside gardener.Dominic and Canon Denby are to be nominated First Aiders It is intended to install a defibrillator in the Croft.

A new cleaning rota has been drawn up, this will include a group working on Saturdays.

PCC Meeting 27/11/17

The committee were informed that a new Headteacher had been appointed to the school.  Phyllis was appointed as Foundation Governor,  Dominic was given approval to set up a children friendly corner in church.  He was given a donation of £50 by Canon and Mrs Denby and £50 from church funds.

A memorial plaque for Chris and Pauline Dillon will be put up in church

A crucifix has been donated by Father Michael Jones from Salford Cathedral.  This will be erected in the Croft.

PCC Meeting 25/9/17

The Committee congratulated and extended their good wishes to Canon Denby on the 40th anniversary of his ordination.

Ken distributed a document detailing the H&S structure at St Hilda’s.  Dominic was appointed as duty warden.  The key holder list is to be updated.

The PCC members expressed their thanks to Canon Denby for his hard work in the creation of the new church hall – The Croft.  A management committee has been set up, Chair – Andrea, Vice Chair – Julie and members – Phyllis, Carole, Maryrose and Sal.

A procedure for booking the hall was agreed.

There was a lengthy discussion about provision for children during the Mass.  It was decided to continue the discussion at the next PCC Meeting in November

PCC Meeting 30/5/17

Sheila Mullen was co-opted on to the PCC.

The new church annexe is well under way.  Canon Denby reported that the official opening will take place on 20th September in the presence of the Bishop of Beverley and the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester.

MAP. It was decided to hold an extraordinary PCC Meeting on 26th June to discuss one area of the MAP – Community Links

APCM 23/4/17

Phyllis Lefevre and Maryrose Thompson were elected as Churchwardens

Phyllis Lefevre, Ken Mullen and Sheila Mullen were elected to the Deanery Synod

The following were elected as members of the PCC – Marcelle Baluch, Julie Denby, Irene Egerton, Margaret Finch, Pat Lamb, Marion Lees, Sally March, Mary Phillips, Dominic Parry, Andrea Smethurst, Peggy Smith, Walter Thompson, Joe Walk.

Katy Lavin and Chris Lawton have resigned as School Governors due to work commitments.  The Committee approved that Carole East be appointed as a replacement..

PCC Meeting 27/3/17

We will discontinue employing a gardener.  The work will be done “in house”.  Ken Mullen will coordinate

Following the death of Chris Dillon Ken Mullen will take over as Health and Safety Officer.

Katy

PCC Meeting 25the Sept 2016

Joe resigned as PCC Secretary.  The role has been taken over by Michael Carroll. He is not a member of the Committee.

The choir is to continue as heretofore; it was proposed to hold a rehearsal of the psalm and hymns with the congregation before the Sunday Mass at 10.45.  This would be led by Canon Denby.

Members of the MAP steering committee have arranged to meet Mike Chesterton from the Diocese to discuss the way forward.

Luke and Roberta have both resigned from the PCC.

Meeting 11th July 2016

Major items discussed

Constitution of the Choir – this is for further discussion at the next meeting in September,

Setting up a working group to prepare the Mission Action Plan – Marion, Phyllis and Joe from the PCC. Other members may be co-opted.

Stephen has resigned as H&S Officer, the role will be taken over by Chris Dillon.

PCC Meeting  23rd May 2016

The following officers were elected: Secretary –  Joe Walk, Treasurer – Phyllis Lefevre, Gift Aid Secretary – Les Withers, Sacristan – Stephen Smith, H&S Officer – Stephen Smith, Person responsible for Child Protection and the care of vulnerable adults – Joe Walk  The Committee  unanimously agreed to nominate Joe as a Eucharistic Lay Minister

 

 APCM  17th April 2016

The following were elected to the PCC : Marcelle Baluch, Julie Denby, Chris Dillon, Margaret Finch, Roberta Gilmore, Pat Lamb, Marion Lees, Luke Martin, Ken Mullen, Stephen Smith, Les Withers.

Maryrose Thompson and Phyllis Lefevre were elected nem con as Churchwardens, and as such are members of the PCC  ex officio.

James Cullen and Joe Walk are members of the Deanery Synod and are therefore both members of the PCC ex-officio.

 

 

 

Lavin and Chris Lawton have resigned as School Governors due to work commitments.  The Committee approved that Carole East be appointed as a replacement.

 

Meeting 11th July 2016

Major items discussed

Constitution of the Choir – this is for further discussion at the next meeting in September,

Setting up a working group to prepare the Mission Action Plan – Marion, Phyllis and Joe from the PCC. Other members may be co-opted.

Stephen has resigned as H&S Officer, the role will be taken over by Chris Dillon.

The Committee  unanimously agreed to nominate Joe as a Eucharistic Lay Minister————————————————————————————————————————————-

 

 

Fr Croft

APRIL                   

“Oh to be in England now that April’s here”

This well known poem “Home-thoughts from abroad” expresses Robert Brownings nostalgic longing for his homeland and all that is happening there during the glorious season of Spring.

Spring is a time of rebirth as bulbs and seeds that have lain hidden within the earth during the harsh conditions of winter suddenly burst into life and reach up towards the sun.

New life appears among the animals as we see the lambs gambolling in the fields and newly born calves being protected by their proud mothers.

In the church we celebrate rebirth; Our Saviour had been tortured, killed and buried yet here on Easter Sunday we see Him triumph gloriously over death as he rises from the tomb.

Bells have been silent and flowers have not been seen during Lent yet now we come together in a glorious celebration with the gold vestments of the priest, the sound of the choir in full voice, and the church resplendent in a riot of colour of spring flowers. The stone has been rolled away; the message of the empty tomb is that Jesus is no longer there, He is among us!

In our praise we have inherited a word from the earliest days of the church. “Alleluia” is a word that comes from Hebrew meaning “Praise the Lord” and which is sung over and over again as we rejoice in the Resurrection of Our Saviour.

I wish you and your loved ones a happy and holy Easter

March

This is a turbulent month – it is said that “It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”

The varied moods of early spring reflect the restlessness and eagerness in our hearts as we emerge from the dark days of winter. It is a month of hope and expectancy and of a new life that is seen and heard in the song of the birds and the sight of lambs in the fields.

We see it as a time of renewal, of “Spring Cleaning”, of making a fresh start. This feeling should be transferred into our spiritual lives as we reflect on where we have gone wrong in the past and resolve to do better.

This is the month in which we celebrate the most significant events in the life of the church as we follow the story of the Passion from Palm Sunday on the 25th through the dramatic story on Maundy Thursday of The Last Supper and all that followed to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus dying in agony on the Cross on Good Friday. The week then culminates in the glorious celebration of Easter Sunday when Our Saviour rose from the dead to give a meaning to all that we believe in the Christian Faith.

I extend my good wishes to you and your loved ones for a holy and happy Easter

Father Croft

February

“When the lights go on again, all over the world”

This song brings back memories of my childhood in the blacked-out days of the Blitz; making my way with the help of a small torch to cubs and then scouts in the Church Hall.

We are of course at the moment in the dark days of winter but there are signs of change as the days start to lengthen. We start the month of February with the Feast of Candlemas, celebrated on the 4th, when we hold up lighted candles to remind us how Jesus is the Light of the World and through whom darkness is overthrown.

I am reminded of the beautiful painting by Holman Hunt where Jesus is portrayed holding a lantern and knocking at a door. The door has no handle on the outside, it has to be opened from inside. It is choked with weeds and brambles – it has obviously not been opened for a long time.

He is bringing the Light to each one of us but before He can cross the threshold we have to invite Him in.

As we approach the season of Lent that starts with Ash Wednesday on 14th let us pray that when we hear that knock we open the door wide to let the Light flood in to give us the strength to overcome our despair and sorrows as we prepare for the glorious Feast of Easter.

 

January

“Another year is dawning. Dear Master let it be, on earth or else in heaven, another year for Thee”

I wish you all a very happy New Year; full of Peace and Joy. A year of good health for us all!

The aspect of January that is the least popular is its weather as it “brings the snow and makes our feet and fingers glow”. Hopefully 2018 will start mild to help keep our spirits high and heating bills low.

The month starts with the great feast of the Epiphany on 6th which we shall be celebrating in church on Sunday 7th.

Remember the symbolism of the gifts brought by the Wise Men – Gold for the King, Frankincense for His divinity and Myrrh which foreshadowed His suffering and death on the Cross.

Remember that we all have gifts, unique talents  to offer to Our Lord through helping those around us: family, friends and any one else we come into contact with. We have a duty to make use of our God-given talents to help improve in some way the world around us.

We are working on our Mission Plan at St Hilda’s to improve how we communicate with the world outside our little community. Each of us in our own small way can do something to make the world that we come into contact with a better place.

I pray that when we look back on 2018 we will be able to say in all honesty “We did our best”.

December

“Who is he in yonder stall, at whose feet the shepherds fall?   ‘Tis the Lord, the King of Glory.”

Christmas , next to Easter, is the most important festival of the Church’s year. We celebrate the birthday of Our Saviour in a festival of love and fond memories.

Alas in the materialistic world of 2017 the present giving and receiving along with the focus on just having a good time have obscured the true story of Christmas – the birth of a child in a stable in what was an occupied territory.

“God so loved the world that he sent His only Son to be our Saviour.”

We will bend the knee at this point in the Creed at our Mass on Christmas night as at all other Masses to acknowledge how God became man to atone for our sins.

I do hope that you will all find the time in your busy pre-Christmas schedule to go to your own church to join the celebrations.

Here at St Hilda’s our First Mass of Christmas is at 8pm on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Day itself at 11.00am.

Come and wish the Christ Child a Happy Birthday!

However let us not forget that Christmas can be a very lonely time for the aged and housebound. Is there any way in which we can help to give them the Christmas that we would wish for ourselves?

My best wishes and blessings to you all for Christmas and the New Year.

November

“I remember You!” – a popular song of the 5o’s and 60’s by Frank Ifield

There is a lot more than the 5th to remember in the month of November!

November is the month of Remembrance. The 2nd November is All Souls’ Day when we remember in our prayers the souls of all those who have gone before but whom we still hold dear in our memories.

There is a list on the table at the back of church with the names of St Hilda’s “Faithful Departed”. Please add the names of anyone whom we have missed.

On the day itself there will be Requiem Masses at 11am and at 7pm.

The 11th November is Remembrance Day when we bring to mind the courageous sacrifice of all those who gave their lives for us in war. We, at St Hilda’s, will honour their memory at our service, a Requiem Mass on Sunday 12th at 10.55am.

We will be celebrating St Hilda’s Day on Sunday 19th with a High Mass at 4pm. Our school choir will be joining in our worship.

At this time of year the days are getting shorter and this earlier time will hopefully encourage friends from other churches to attend so that they can help us celebrate in church and afterwards with one of our famous buffets.

For those who prefer the morning there will be a Low Mass at 11am

 

October                                                            

“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.”

Here at St Hilda’s October is a very special month as on the 22nd we celebrate the anniversary of our Dedication.

On 18th October 1904 the Bishop of Manchester consecrated St Hilda’s Church and so in 2017 we shall be celebrating 113 years of God’s praise in Prestwich.

St Hilda’s has stood as a bastion of the Faith through all the years and we are continuing still to provide a place of Welcome and Worship.

A Dedication Festival reminds us of the debt that we owe to those who throughout the intervening years have helped to preserve this wonderful heritage. It is our duty to continue in this tradition.

St Hilda’s is a place where all the Sacraments are celebrated and is a Place of Welcome for anyone in our wider community.

I hope on Sunday 22nd October to celebrate a High Mass, with Father Mark Brackley preaching, to give thanks for all the blessings that we have received.

May St Hilda’s continue to be a Beacon of Light and Praise for many years to come and we pray that St Hilda of Whitby will look after our community, our congregation, our school children and all who live in our Parish.

September

Lift high the Cross, the love of Christ proclaim, ‘til all the world adores His Sacred Name.

September is one of my favourite months.

I came out of the RAF on 13th September 1950.

I went to St Aidan’s College on the Wirral in September 1961 and was ordained on 22nd September 1963 to a Parish in Wythenshawe dedicated to St Michael and All Angels. St Michael’s Feast Day is on 29th September.

I went to my first Living at St Ambrose Oldham on 21st September 1967 and came to St Hilda’s as Vicar on 30th September 1971 – the Feast of St Jerome.

For me 14th September is a very significant day – The Feast of The Holy Cross

The Cross is the symbol of our redemption and our hope.  We were all baptised in this sign and use it every time that we pray.  We bless ourselves with the sign of the cross each time that we enter or leave church and the priest blesses us in this sign as we attend Mass. Our sins are forgiven in the sign of the cross in the Sacrament of Confession.

The Roman Emperor Constantine had a vision of a Cross in the sky before a great battle with the message “In this sign you shall conquer”. His soldiers put crosses on their shields, they won the battle and Constantine converted to Christianity and with him the Roman Empire.

Constantine’s mother Helena discovered what she believed to be fragments of the True Cross on which Jesus died. The miraculous cure of a leper who touched the fragments convinced everyone that the relics were genuine.

This symbol of Jesus’ triumph over death is at the heart of our Faith and I am proud to have a crucifix over my bed and also around my neck.

I hope that you all have at least one crucifix in your home which reminds you, each time that you look at it, of the sufferings and death of Our Saviour who endured it all for our salvation

July and August

“ Hot July brings thunder –showers, Apricots and Gilly Flowers,

August then brings sheaves of corn, and the harvest home is borne.”

I do hope that these summer months really are warm and beautiful.

July sees the end of the school year with many young people experiencing a huge change in their lives as some move from Primary into Secondary School and others take the huge step of launching themselves into the world of work or heading off to further studies at university.

August is the month for holidays, a time for rest and relaxation, recharging our batteries to help us cope with whatever the year ahead might bring.

Each day of the year has its own saint. Certain individuals are proclaimed as saints because in their lives they portrayed qualities that serve as an example for us if we wish to follow them into heaven.

Why don’t we on occasions look to see who the saint of the day is and reflect on the qualities that we should emulate?

July 11th – St Benedict, July 22nd – St Mary Magdalene………..

In many countries as well as celebrating birthdays, cards are also sent on Saints’ Days. Do you know when your Saint’s Day is?

A very significant day during the holiday is 15th August when we celebrate the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady.

Please make the effort to keep up your church attendance while you are on holiday and remember that I shall be thinking of you all and praying for your intentions as I celebrate Holy Mass each day.

God Bless

 

 

June

The flaming month of June opens with the glorious feast of Pentecost on Sunday 4th. This is the day which we celebrate as the launch of the Christian Church; when Mary and the disciples were cowering in a locked room in fear and trembling because of threats from the Jewish authorities.

The Holy Spirit descended upon them, appearing as tongues of flame hovering over their heads, and gave them the strength and courage to open the door, to go out into the streets and to proclaim the Good News to the whole world.

How the celebration of Pentecost (or Whitsuntide) in our city has changed over time! When I was a boy we really looked forward to processing through the streets in our Sunday best in the Whit Walks. How proud we were if we were given the privilege of holding a ribbon attached to the church banner.

The Walks, both the Roman Catholic and the Anglican were the highlight of the holiday weekend.

What a shame that the dwindling numbers have led to the processions being cut back. It should be an opportunity for us all to make a public affirmation of our Faith.

As we head towards the longest day of the year and hopefully plenty of good weather I wish you all a Holy and happy Whitsuntide and may the Holy Spirit bring you the strength and courage to stand up for your Faith if ever it is challenged.

God Bless

 

 

May

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

In this month the world around is bursting into new life, the trees are starting to put on their finery, new-born lambs are seen in the fields, and we honour the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Our Saviour.

There are many churches throughout Manchester dedicated to Mary, among them our Cathedral and closer to home our mother church of St Mary the Virgin in Prestwich.

What an example is set by Mary! Her unquestioning acceptance of the news that came as a bolt from the blue that she was to be the mother of God, her constant support for her Son during his childhood and as a young adult and then the unbearable agony of witnessing his trial, torture and final humiliation on the cross.

We have now celebrated the glorious event of the Resurrection of Jesus and now in the season of Eastertide we are following the story of the final stages of Jesus’ ministry on earth: the meeting on the road to Emmaus, the miraculous draught of fishes, the breakfast at the lakeside, Thomas’ scepticism followed by his glorious affirmation “My Lord and my God” and then the Ascension.

. The message throughout is one of hope and love. Although the earthly ministry came to an end with the Ascension the ministry continued and does so to this day through the intercession of the Holy Spirit

 

April

Snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils are appearing; the days are getting longer; bird song is all around us. Spring is here!

Our world is coming out of a long, cold and dark winter and our spirits are lifted with the promise all around us of a New Life.

Our Easter season starts at the lowest of points with Jesus, who was completely free of all guilt, being nailed to a cross, dying in torment and being sealed in a tomb.

For many this was the end of all hope but imagine the disciples’ amazement when on arriving at the tomb on the Sunday morning they found that the body was no longer there!

It was not long before they realised that the prophecies were being fulfilled and that He had risen from the dead and was once more alive and amongst them.

How they must have all felt on learning the news; Mary in the garden, the apostles, including Thomas, in the upper room.

They realised the truth that we all acknowledge, that Jesus is with us forever and we are never alone in trying to cope with the trials of everyday life.

We should not try to live solely by our own wits but must take the hand of Him who will guide us on the right path.

Easter is the greatest festival in the Church’s year; this is a time when we realise that our faith is one of hope; despite all the gloom and despair that we experience, we can hope and trust in our future united with Jesus and our loved ones in Heaven

March

Fr Croft

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights”.

We commemorate this incident from St Matthew’s Gospel each year in the forty days and forty nights of Lent; the period of renewal and preparation which leads up to the great feast of Easter.

This year the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, is on March 1st. This day takes us in to the long haul towards the celebration of the Resurrection.

Like all periods of waiting Lent can either fly by or be a long slow drag.

We should use this time as a period of reflection, to examine exactly where we are in our Spiritual Journey and by means of a personal resolution give ourselves a helping hand on the way.

In the past we used to focus on giving something up, I wonder whether takings in the pubs decreased during Lent, or sales of chocolate dipped.

This is very good practice but perhaps an alternative might be to do something extra for Lent; possibly a special good deed. Does that older person need a little extra company as a relief from loneliness? Should I put a bit extra into the Porch Box collection?

Let us pray together that through our Lenten Observance we arrive at the glorious celebration of the Resurrection strengthened in our resolve to follow Jesus.

 

We begin the month of November with the beautiful festival of All Saints: on this day we acknowledge all the good people who are now in heaven but who don’t have their own Feast Day.

The following day is All Souls when we remember all our loved ones, friends and family, who have passed away. I consider it a privilege to read out all the names at one of the Requiem Masses held on that day.

On Sunday 13th, the nearest Sunday to the 11th November, we commemorate all those who have given their lives in the two world wars and in the many conflicts since. We wear our poppies with pride!

We celebrate the Feast of our Patroness, St Hilda of Whitby, on Thursday 17th November. Hilda was a towering figure in the history of the church in these islands, ruling a Community of monks and nuns and presiding over the Synod of Whitby when the disagreement between the Celtic and Roman churches over the date of Easter was resolved.

On Sunday 27th we start a new church year with the First Sunday of Advent. A time for New Year resolutions!

November is a dark month but which is brightened with the treats of Bonfire Night celebrations (particularly treacle toffee). However we must not lose sight of the fact that Jesus, the Light of the World, will always be there to guide us safely through the darkest times.

APRIL                   

“Oh to be in England now that April’s here”

This well known poem “Home-thoughts from abroad” expresses Robert Brownings nostalgic longing for his homeland and all that is happening there during the glorious season of Spring.

Spring is a time of rebirth as bulbs and seeds that have lain hidden within the earth during the harsh conditions of winter suddenly burst into life and reach up towards the sun.

New life appears among the animals as we see the lambs gambolling in the fields and newly born calves being protected by their proud mothers.

In the church we celebrate rebirth; Our Saviour had been tortured, killed and buried yet here on Easter Sunday we see Him triumph gloriously over death as he rises from the tomb.

Bells have been silent and flowers have not been seen during Lent yet now we come together in a glorious celebration with the gold vestments of the priest, the sound of the choir in full voice, and the church resplendent in a riot of colour of spring flowers. The stone has been rolled away; the message of the empty tomb is that Jesus is no longer there, He is among us!

In our praise we have inherited a word from the earliest days of the church. “Alleluia” is a word that comes from Hebrew meaning “Praise the Lord” and which is sung over and over again as we rejoice in the Resurrection of Our Saviour.

I wish you and your loved ones a happy and holy Easter

 

 

The flaming month of June opens with the glorious feast of Pentecost on Sunday 4th. This is the day which we celebrate as the launch of the Christian Church; when Mary and the disciples were cowering in a locked room in fear and trembling because of threats from the Jewish authorities.

The Holy Spirit descended upon them, appearing as tongues of flame hovering over their heads, and gave them the strength and courage to open the door, to go out into the streets and to proclaim the Good News to the whole world.

How the celebration of Pentecost (or Whitsuntide) in our city has changed over time! When I was a boy we really looked forward to processing through the streets in our Sunday Best in the Whit Walks. How proud we were if we were given the privilege of holding a ribbon attached to the church banner.

The Walks, both the Roman Catholic and the Anglican were the highlight of the holiday weekend.

What a shame that the dwindling numbers have led to the processions being cut back. It should be an opportunity for us all to make a public affirmation of our Faith.

As we head towards the longest day of the year and hopefully plenty of good weather I wish you all a Holy and happy Whitsuntide and may the Holy Spirit bring you the strength and courage to stand up for your Faith if ever it is challenged.

God Bless

 

 

 

 

MAY

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

In this month the world around is bursting into new life, the trees are starting to put on their finery, new-born lambs are seen in the fields, and we honour the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Our Saviour.

There are many churches throughout Manchester dedicated to Mary, among them our Cathedral and closer to home our mother church of St Mary the Virgin in Prestwich.

What an example is set by Mary! Her unquestioning acceptance of the news that came as a bolt from the blue that she was to be the mother of God, her constant support for her Son during his childhood and as a young adult and then the unbearable agony of witnessing his trial, torture and final humiliation on the cross.

We have now celebrated the glorious event of the Resurrection of Jesus and now in Eastertide we are following the story of the final stages of Jesus’ ministry on earth: the meeting on the road to Emmaus, the miraculous draught of fishes, the breakfast at the lakeside, Thomas’ scepticism followed by his glorious affirmation “My Lord and my God” and then the Ascension.

The message throughout is one of hope and love. Although the earthly ministry came to an end with the Ascension the ministry continued and does so to this day through the intercession of the Holy Spirit.

 

April

Snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils are appearing; the days are getting longer; bird song is all around us. Spring is here!

Our world is coming out of a long, cold and dark winter and our spirits are lifted with the promise all around us of a New Life.

Our Easter season starts at the lowest of points with Jesus, who was completely free of all guilt, being nailed to a cross, dying in torment and being sealed in a tomb.

For many this was the end of all hope but imagine the disciples’ amazement when on arriving at the tomb on the Sunday morning they found that the body was no longer there!

It was not long before they realised that the prophecies were being fulfilled and that He had risen from the dead and was once more alive and amongst them.

How they must have all felt on learning the news; Mary in the garden, the apostles, including Thomas, in the upper room.

They realised the truth that we all acknowledge, that Jesus is with us forever and we are never alone in trying to cope with the trials of everyday life.

We should not try to live solely by our own wits but must take the hand of Him who will guide us on the right path.

Easter is the greatest festival in the Church’s year; this is a time when we realise that our faith is one of hope; despite all the gloom and despair that we experience, we can hope and trust in our future united with Jesus and our loved ones in Heaven

 

 

 

Fr Croft

March

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights”.

We commemorate this incident from St Matthew’s Gospel each year in the forty days and forty nights of Lent; the period of renewal and preparation which leads up to the great feast of Easter.

This year the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, is on March 1st. This day takes us in to the long haul towards the celebration of the Resurrection.

Like all periods of waiting Lent can either fly by or be a long slow drag.

We should use this time as a period of reflection, to examine exactly where we are in our Spiritual Journey and by means of a personal resolution give ourselves a helping hand on the way.

In the past we used to focus on giving something up, I wonder whether takings in the pubs decreased during Lent, or sales of chocolate dipped.

This is very good practice but perhaps an alternative might be to do something extra for Lent; possibly a special good deed. Does that older person need a little extra company as a relief from loneliness? Should I put a bit extra into the Porch Box collection?

Let us pray together that through our Lenten Observance we arrive at the glorious celebration of the Resurrection strengthened in our resolve to follow Jesus.

 

February

“February brings the rain, thaws the frozen lake again.”

This is the shortest month of the year but one in which daylight increases and we can save on our electricity bill for lighting.

Although it is still cold and the ground is hard, yet under the soil new life is stirring and as we move on into Spring the green shoots of new life will be bursting forth.

The season of Lent, the time of preparation for the greatest feast of all, Easter, is later than usual this year and so Ash Wednesday is not until March 1st.

This means that over the next few weeks the priest will be wearing, very appropriately for the season, green vestments.

As we witness this process of rebirth and regeneration we reflect on all that God has provided for us; we all experience times of sorrow and loneliness when we feel that we have nowhere to turn but if we put our trust in Jesus we know for certain that he will always be there to help us through from the darkness into the light.

 

January

This is the month that “brings the snow and makes our feet and fingers glow!” I sincerely hope that this does not happen; snow looks lovely on a Christmas Card but it looks and feels different when I am tramping around Whittaker Lane.

My New Year’s wish for 2017 is twelve months of Peace and Racial Harmony and a prayer that more cures may be found for so many dreadful life-threatening ailments.

On 6th January we hear the story of the three wise men who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ Child. At first sight these seem unusual gifts to give a baby but we need to remember that they are symbols – they are gifts for all mankind and represent security and health, worship and a reminder that our time here is limited.

We have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, to give worship to God to thank him for all that he does for us but also to remember that one day our time on this earth will be over and that we must make sure that we are in a fit state to meet our Maker.

 

December

We are now in the season of Advent; we are waiting for the day of celebration of the birth of our Saviour.

Christmas is the second most important festival in the church’s year after Easter. It is a time for fond memories and love. However in our materialistic age the celebration, the making merry and giving and receiving presents for many has obscured the real reason for the celebration – the birth of a child in a humble stable in the occupied territory of Bethlehem.

God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to be our Saviour – as we say the Creed together we affirm that He became truly man and who thirty-three later was to show the depths of His love by accepting to die to atone for our sins.

I hope that you will be able to come and join us at St Hilda’s for one of our services either on Christmas Night or in the morning to wish our Lord a Happy Birthday.

I wish you and your loved ones a happy and peaceful Christmas

Father Croft