BULLETIN                     22 MARCH 2020

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT IN YEAR 1


SERVICES AND GATHERINGS
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, public Church services and gatherings are suspended till further notice. The Church will be open every day from 9.30am till 4.30pm for private prayer and quiet time.
Father Duncan will celebrate Holy Mass privately every day and assures you of his prayers for you and your family.

A READING FROM THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL - 16:1.6-7.10-13
The Lord said to Samuel "Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem for I have chosen myself a king among his sons." When Samuel arrived, he caught sight of Eliab and thought 'Surely the Lords anointed one stands there before him', but the Lord said to Samuel, "Take no notice of his appearance or his height for I have rejected him. God does not see as man sees. Man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart." Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel but Samuel said to Jesse "The Lord has not chosen these." He then asked Jesse "Are these all the sons you have?" He answered "There is still one left, the youngest. He is out looking after the sheep." Then Samuel said to Jesse "Send for him. We will not sit down to eat until he comes." Jesse had him sent for, a boy of fresh complexion, with fine eyes and pleasant bearing. The Lord said "Come, anoint him, for this is the one." At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on.

A READING FROM THE LETTER OF SAINT PAUL TO THE EPHESIANS - 5:8-14
You were darkness once but now you are light in the Lord. Be like children of light for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth. Try to discover what the Lord wants of you, having nothing to do with the futile works of darkness but exposing them by contrast. The things which are done in secret are things that people are ashamed even to speak of but anything exposed by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated turns into light. That is why it is said 'Wake up from your sleep, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.'

A READING FROM THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - 9:1-41
As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?" "Neither he nor his parents sinned." Jesus answered "He was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as the day lasts I must carry out the work of the one who sent me. The night will soon be here when no one can work. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world." Having said this, he spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man and said to him "Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam", a name that means 'sent'. So the blind man went off and washed himself and came away with his sight restored. His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said "Isn't this the man who used to sit and beg?" Some said "Yes, it is the same one." Others said "No, he only looks like him." The man himself said '"I am the man." So they said to him "Then how do your eyes come to be open?" "The man called Jesus" he answered "made a paste, daubed my eyes with it and said to me 'Go and wash at Siloam' so I went and when I washed I could see." They asked "Where is he?" "I don't know" he answered.
The Gospel continues the story of the man born blind.

THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY
Every day, Father Duncan will celebrate Holy Mass privately, focusing on these Thoughts for the Day.
Friday 20 March
Today, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, Agnes Dougan for her anniversary and Gerry Swan who died recently. We are certainly living in an unusual, challenging time. Even those of us who are strong in faith are feeling uneasy and uncertain. Think about our Patron, Saint Peter - a simple fisherman who walked on water. He faltered only when he took his eyes off Jesus, when he began to rely upon himself rather than the Lord - see Matthew 14:22-33. Peter could walk on water only because the one who called him, Jesus, was Lord of the universe. Jesus remains Lord of the universe. No worldly suffering, no virus, no health concerns, stock market crash, job loss, nothing is outside his loving providence. In such difficult times, we need to remember that God's grace is always present to sustain us and can even bring us some blessings in the midst of our suffering. Jesus said "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be open to you" (Matthew 7:7). His promise and his grace are certain, even in this uncertain time. Let us turn to the Prince of Peace for strength and courage.
Saturday 21 March
Today, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, Agnes Dougan for her anniversary and Gerry Swan who died recently. We are certainly living in an unusual, challenging time. Even those of us who are strong in faith are feeling uneasy and uncertain. Think about our Patron, Saint Peter - a simple fisherman who walked on water. He faltered only when he took his eyes off Jesus, when he began to rely upon himself rather than the Lord - see Matthew 14:22-33. Peter could walk on water only because the one who called him, Jesus, was Lord of the universe. Jesus remains Lord of the universe. No worldly suffering, no virus, no health concerns, stock market crash, job loss, nothing is outside his loving providence. In such difficult times, we need to remember that God's grace is always present to sustain us and can even bring us some blessings in the midst of our suffering. Jesus said "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be open to you" (Matthew 7:7). His promise and his grace are certain, even in this uncertain time. Let us turn to the Prince of Peace for strength and courage.
Sunday 22 March
Today, on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, l celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish
. "I asked the Lord to stop the epidemic. Lord, stop it with your hand." This is what Pope Francis responded when asked what he prayed for four days ago, when he ventured to Rome's Centre, making a pilgrimage on foot from Rome's Marian Basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore, to the Church of San Marcello al Corso where there is a miraculous cross. "This is what I prayed for. During these difficult days, we can find small, concrete gestures expressing closeness and concreteness towards the people closest to us. These include, a caress for our grandparents, a kiss for our children, for the people we love. If we live these days like this, they won't be wasted. We must rediscover the concreteness of little things, small gestures of attention we can offer those close to us, our family, our friends. We must understand that in small things lies our treasure. These gestures of tenderness, affection, compassion, are minimal and tend to be lost in the anonymity of everyday life, but they are nonetheless decisive, important. I ask everyone to stay close to those who have lost loved ones, to be close to them in every possible way. Consolation must now be everyone's commitment." Today - Mothering Sunday - is a National Day of Prayer. We are invited to pray the Rosary at 12 noon, asking for her intercession for our country and our world in this time of need. In the midst of all the uncertainty, changes and anxiety, we know the nature of God’s fatherly heart. We know he draws ever nearer to us in times of suffering, and we know his first impulse is to love and to create. So, in everything, we remain grateful, optimistic and full of hope that there are sublime blessings that will come from this. As we navigate our new reality, I wanted to assure you of two things - you, the Parish family of Saint Peter’s are my number one priority and I will offer Holy Mass daily for your and your families. In Church, the Parish is making available powerful resources to help bring Catholics closer to God, pray at home and keep the Sunday as a Holy Day. There is a special prayer leaflet called When Mass cannot be Celebrated Publicly, a prayer card The Act of Spiritual Communion and a pocket-sized prayer card with the Order of Mass. The Parish bulletin is also available with the Sunday Mass Readings and Thoughts for every Day. Please avail yourself of these resources and remember our Church is open from 9.30am until 4.30pm every day for a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and private prayer.
Monday 23 March
Today, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, Pat Woods' special intention and and Ian Neal who died recently. Pope Francis has pointed out that our God 'is the God of closeness, is a God who is close, who walks with his people' and who 'makes the prescriptions, writes them with his own hands on the stone, he gives them to Moses, but he does not leave the prescriptions and he goes away - he walks, he is close, and he observes. What nation has a God so close? Ours is a God of closeness.' In this context, the Pontiff points out that 'Our God is close' and 'asks us to be close to each other, not to distance ourselves from each other.' And at this time of crisis due to the pandemic we are experiencing, he clarified "this closeness asks us to show it more, to show it more. We cannot, perhaps, physically approach for fear of contagion, but yes, we can awaken in us an attitude of closeness between us - with prayer, with help, many forms of closeness. And why should we be close to each other? Because our God is close and he wants to accompany us in life.

Tuesday 24 March
Today, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, Isabella Connor for her anniversary and Annmarie Dickie who died recently. 'In this time of trial, we, the Bishops of Scotland, wish to send you a word of reassurance and encouragement. We are all facing much uncertainty, anxiety and an unpredictable future. This situation touches on every aspect of our lives, individually and collectively. Sacred Scripture calls us repeatedly not to fear and to look to the help that comes to us from above. We are called to support one another in every way we can, especially those who are most vulnerable, through age or underlying conditions. Even in the midst of any necessary distancing we must stand by each other. We ask you to pray for the sick, those caring for them, for those in positions of responsibility with difficult decisions to make, indeed for our whole country and the entire human family. Most of all, we are being asked to put our trust in the living God who has created everything to be and to flourish and whose providence guides the course of world events. We put our trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, and the true physician of our souls and bodies.'
             Pastoral Letter of the Scottish Bishops, 18 March 2020
Wednesday 25 March
Today, on the Solemnity of The Annunciation of Our Lord, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, Andrew McCance and Betty Toner who died recently. 'During this Lent, especially, let us all take the opportunity to deepen our relationship with God. As your bishops and with our priests and deacons, we assure you of our continuing commitment to your spiritual, pastoral and sacramental needs. We want to maintain and foster the life of faith in every way we can, while also being informed by the advice and guidance of Government and health professionals. Over the centuries, the Church has often been a source of comfort in times of trial and transformed sadness and fear into peace and joy. We want the same to happen now.'
             Pastoral Letter of the Scottish Bishops, 18 March 2020
Thursday 26 March
Today, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish and the Ketchen family on an anniversary. It is only during the Mass at the consecration that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Thus, cancelling Masses is monumental. As explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Eucharist is 'the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch' (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324). Through this sacrament, 'we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body' (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1331). The Church encourages frequent, even daily, Holy Communion, but because we cannot go to Mass in or out of this season of the coronavirus, we can still unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a Spiritual Communion. By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us. Here is the Act of Spiritual Communion written by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori - My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
Friday 27 March
Today, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish Brian Meechan and Lettie Anderson who both died recently. The saints throughout the ages have witnessed to the value of spiritual Communion. In a vision, Our Lord explained it to Saint Catherine of Siena by showing her two chalices - 'one made of gold, the other of silver' she wrote. 'He told her that her sacramental Communions were preserved in the gold chalice and that her spiritual communions were in the silver chalice.' Saint Teresa of Jesus wrote 'When you do not receive Communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a Spiritual Communion, which is a most beneficial practice. By it, the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.' Many of the saints practiced this throughout the day such as Padre Pio, who encouraged everyone to do so frequently for a closer union with God. In Seven Secrets of the Eucharist, author Vinny Flynn explained 'If you practice the holy exercise of Spiritual Communion several times each day, within a month you will see your heart completely changed.' He also related that 'Saint Francis de Sales resolved to make a Spiritual Communion at least every fifteen minutes so that he could link all the events of the day to his reception of the Eucharist at Mass.'
Saturday 28 March
Today, on Our Lady's Day, l celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, Gerry Swan as a month's mind and David Russell's special intention. 'I have a dogmatic certainty - God is in every person's life. God is in everyone's life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else, God is in this person's life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.
             Pope Francis

KEEPING SUNDAY HOLY IN A TIME WITHOUT MASS - SIX TIPS FOR THE FAITHFUL
This will be a Lent we all remember, I am sure. In the midst of the growing spread of Covid-19, which the World Health Organisation has described as a global pandemic, all Sunday and weekday Masses have been suspended in the Diocese of Galloway. For many of us, Sunday Mass is a staple of our week and our spiritual life. We look forward to Sunday as a day of rest and a day to worship God, in the way most pleasing to him, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. How can we still keep holy the Lord's Day?

1  Watch a livestream of Holy Mass
While digital participation can never replace actual presence at Mass, livestream Mass is a great way of keeping our connection with the Mass when it is not possible to be there in person. We can make an offering in our heart to be united spiritually to this offering which is more spiritually efficacious than any other prayer. We should silence our phones, eliminate as best we can distractions in our home, and try to give all of our attention to what is happening at the Mass so we can fully participate in this remote way.
Click here for names of Churches that stream services.
2  Make a Spiritual Communion
An ancient practice of the Church for those who cannot be present at Mass is to make a Spiritual Communion. We have a simple prayer you can pray with longing in your heart to be united to Jesus. I know many who are too ill to attend Mass regularly, imprisoned or in places where they are prevented from participating at Mass because of persecution or a shortage of priests have the regular practice of making a weekly - or daily - Spiritual Communion. Prayer cards are available in the Church.
3  Read the Sunday readings as a family
These can easily be found in our weekly bulletin. The Magnificat magazine is offering free digital resources during this time. It includes the Sunday readings and a reflection. You can access the full texts for the daily Mass, reflections and morning and evening prayers at www.magnificat.com/free. Reading Scripture individually or together with others - especially in our families - is an excellent spiritual practice. We are called to commit to forming your family in the love and power of sacred Scripture by placing it at the centre of your family life. Study and reflect on Scripture, especially on the Sunday readings.
4  Check in on those around you
Because those who are older are most susceptible to complications from Covid-19, health officials are encouraging them to minimise their time away from home. It is a great act of charity to reach out to these brothers and sisters in our faith communities to check in on them. Do they need groceries or help with something in their homes? Caring for each other - especially those who are most vulnerable during this time - is a demand of the Gospel. It is the enactment of our life as joyful missionary disciples.
5  Pray a family Rosary
As individuals and families, we can reclaim the Rosary as a way to be united to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of the Church. She is the perfect model of a disciple and our great intercessor.
6  Go to a Church and pray
Our Church in Ardrossan will be open every day from 9.30am until 4.30pm so that the faithful can pray privately. If you are not sick, take some time on Sunday to make a visit to a parish and pray before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for your family, your parish and your neighbourhood.
While all of these practices can help us during this time, nothing can replace actual participation at Sunday Mass. While we hunger for the spiritual food of the Eucharist, we can be reminded of the plight of those who have gone months and years without this Bread of Angels. Many persecuted Catholics in the world today long to feast upon this Sacred Offering with the frequency and convenience we can so easily take for granted week by week, and day by day. As we fast from the Eucharist during this pandemic as an extraordinary measure to serve the common good, may God grant us a renewed realisation of the awesomeness of the Eucharist and a renewed commitment to keep holy the Lord's Day.

COLLECTION ENVELOPES FOR 2020-21
Collection envelopes are now ready and can be collected from the stall. If you do not have collection envelopes and would like some, please ask Father Duncan or call at the Parish Office

SCOTTISH CATHOLIC INTERNATIONAL AID FUND (SCIAF) WEE BOX APPEAL
From 21 February to 20 May 2020 all donations to the SCIAF Wee Box appeal will be doubled by the United Kingdom Government. You can collect your Wee Box pack at the back of the Church or from the stall.

TOILETRIES FOR HOMELESS PEOPLE
During Lent, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society usually collects toiletries for the Ozanam Centre in Glasgow which supports homeless people. There are collection baskets in the porch. Please be as generous as you can. Thank you!

PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE IN CHURCH
As well as Spiritual Communion prayer cards being available in Church, there are leaflets of prayers during a time of flu and illness and Order of Mass cards which are a good size to keep in your pocket, purse or wallet.

HOSPITAL CHAPLAINCY
If a member of your family or a friend is sick, please let us know and give us the details. Deacon Bill Corbett (01292 521208, 07904 248948, Rev.BillCorbett@btinternet.com) is the Chaplain to Crosshouse Hospital and is assisted by the Priest on call each week.

ADVERTISER SUPPORT
Our advertisers would welcome your support. We are grateful for their continuing sponsorship. We are grateful for the support of Mr and Mrs Sohal, Nisa Stores, Glasgow Street for the weekly donation of tea, coffee and milk for the Sunday teas.

PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS - MISSION STATEMENT
The Catholic Church in Scotland is concerned with the lives, safety, wholeness and well-being of each individual person within God's purpose for everyone. It seeks to safeguard the welfare of people of all ages who are involved in whatever capacity
with the Church and its organisations. As a Church community, we accept that it is the responsibility of all of us, ordained, professed, paid and voluntary members, to work together to prevent the physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect of children, young people and vulnerable adults.