Chatham – St Michael’s Parish

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Dear Parishioners of St Michael’s

Ways in which you can contact me at this time are: by phone 842886 or by email at: stmichaelschat@btinternet.com. I celebrate Mass every morning at 10am, and on Sundays at 9.30am in St Michael’s. We have a new gate in front of the house. It has become necessary because of the increasing abuse of the garden space for: use as a toilet, for drug distribution, some helping themselves to the flowers and others as a free car park. I hope you like the gate; it is not meant to keep you out – and by next week I will know more about its use for yourselves and the utilities that serve us.

Some of you must be worrying about your new babies’ Baptisms. I will give you a three point guide.
1. If your child does get a worrying illness, please baptise the child yourself, pouring water over the child’s head, while saying “Name, I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen” and as you perform this rite, do it in Jesus’ Name.
2. If we get a partial lifting of the lock-down it may be possible for us to meet in twos or threes in the church , keeping distance as the baby’s Baptism is conferred by the priest.
3. If you want a large festival gathering you will have to wait until such gatherings are permitted.

If you have worries over your child’s First Holy Communion, please ring me to talk about it. Please keep me in touch with any tragedy you may have in your household – please pray for one another. Wednesday this week is the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Please celebrate it and remember Mary’s value to you. Father Baker.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Ways in which you can contact me at this time are: by phone 842886 or by email at: stmichaelschat@btinternet.com. I celebrate Mass every morning at 10.00 am, and on Sundays at 9.30 am in St Michael’s – it feels very strange talking to empty benches!  Mass intentions that you have booked with me will be said here on the day; if I have taken more than one intention on a Sunday I have to make a choice for the one Mass I am permitted to say.  Restrictions on me prevent me from being present at funerals.  On these occasions a younger priest will attend the burial or cremation, I will offer a Funeral Mass here at the same time – we will the option of a Memorial Mass for family and friends when gatherings in church become safe.  I feel especially sorry for all my First Holy Communicants and the delay in making their First Holy Communion.  As things develop in the our social understanding of what is possible, different options may make themselves clear – please send me your thoughts, queries and what I might be able to do for your child at this time by email.

This Sunday 3rd May we call Good Shepherd Sunday.  It is a time when we remind ourselves of the overall power of Christ our Shepherd, and our future hope of living in His Eternal Kingdom.  At this moment in time we need to pray hard for His kingdom here on earth, to play our part in making it like His Kingdom in Heaven.  Two special areas are to pray for vocations to the priesthood that Christ may use in His Church to reach out to us with His Sacraments and Grace, and do whatever we can for the sick and the needy. I pray for you all to be strengthened by God’s blessing.

Fr Baker.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

To the parishioners of St Michael’s Parish.

I miss you all so very much especially at Sunday Mass.  Unfortunately I left it too late to stream our Masses for you from St Michael’s, but you have got a wide variety of choices – even the poor Pope walking around a deserted St Peter’s.  If you want to leave me an email please do so: stmichaelschat@btinternet.com, or phone 01634 842886. Every morning at 10.00 am, and on Sundays at 9.30 am I offer Mass here, remembering the intentions you have asked for.  So if you want to join me at that time we can offer the Mass through Jesus.

Please pray for Sylvia White who died unexpectedly at home last Tuesday.  Please remember also her husband Bernard and their two daughters.  A Memorial Mass will be offered for her when it will be no longer dangerous to gather in groups or crowds.

Low Sunday is the final day of the Easter Octave.  It is the last day that we treat as the Day of Resurrection, when we still say in the Preface of the Mass ‘on this day’!  The Gospel is my favourite Easter narrative as Thomas, with his scientific objections to Jesus’ Resurrection, happens to be in the Upper Room when Jesus appears on this Sunday exactly one week after his Resurrection. He thinks the other apostles have seen a ghost and accuses them of not thoroughly checking out this apparition.  He wants to touch and feel the wounds to make sure they are real, that what they have seen is neither ghost nor imposter.  Jesus says: ‘Thomas, put your finger into my hands, put your hand into my side’.  All the evidence Thomas could want stands before him.  He falls to his knees –this is not just his friend, but his Lord and God.

Fr Baker

Holy Saturday, 11 April 2020

Dear parishioners of St Michael’s Parish:

I pray for you all that God will give you joy, peace and kindness this Easter. I certainly do miss you all, especially your smiling faces as you leave at the end of Mass.   In the meantime I, as your parish priest, continue our links with Christ’s gift of Salvation through the Mass and the especial services of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil.  This Easter we will not be able to be together to renew our Baptismal Vows and be blessed by the Easter Water – do please make a point of saying the Apostles Creed or the Creed we say on Sundays or the Baptismal Vows themselves and say out loud at the end: ‘This is my Faith, this is the Faith of the Church, I profess it with love and dedication through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.  Amen.’

I continue to celebrate Mass from St Michael’s at set times and hope that some of you can join me in your hearts by reciting the prayers of the Mass at the same time as I say them.  This Saturday evening I will celebrate the Easter Vigil Service at 8.00 pm.  Easter Sunday our Mass will be at 9.30 am.   Monday through to Saturday Mass will be at 10.00 am and on Sunday 19 April Mass will be at 9.30 am.   Monday April 13 will be the Anniversary Mass for Veronica Crawford RIP.   Each day remember the faces of people you only see when you come to church – and pray for them!

This is my favourite time of the year – April, May and June.  The days are getting longer, the weather is a little better behaved,  the flowers are bringing hope and loveliness, the birds are making sure you hear their happy chirruping.  We need this divine beauty around us to keep us cheerful.

God Bless you – Fr Baker

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

To the parishioners of St Michael’s Parish.

Along with all the Catholic churches of England and Wales our church will be closed until after this Corona Virus has subsided.   There will be no Masses or other religious services in the church from this Friday 20th March.  This saddens me greatly, but it is a necessity for the health of the whole nation.  I myself, almost eighty now, will be in self-imposed quarantine after the Mass on St Joseph’s feast day 19th March.  You can reach me by telephone or email: stmichaelschat@btinternet.com.

The bishops of England and Wales have declared a lifting of the Catholic Obligation to attend Mass on Sundays. Many parishes will make available on TV a live Mass from their parish priest each Sunday – we hope to televise our weekly Mass from here and pray that that link will be some comfort to most of us.

May God keep your Faith strong, and may He enable you to give to each other the Peace and Joy of Christ.

God bless you all.

Fr Baker

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