Probably as you are reading this the National Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool is taking place or has just taken place. As Catholics, the Eucharist should be the centre of our lives. The Eucharist strengthens and nourishes us so that our faith grows stronger. We bring the whole of our lives to the Eucharist and join everything – the blessings, the problems and difficulties, the unsolvable situations, the gifts and graces we receive – to Jesus’ eternal prayer of thanksgiving to the Father.
The Eucharist draws us together in unity as the People of God. If you want to take your spiritual temperature, then measure it by your devotion to and respect for the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. That goes for parishes as well as individuals.
September is also the time of the year when things tend to start up again, not least our schools and the whole process of Catholic Education. I, personally, have always thought of Catholic Education as the jewel in our crown. Historically, the Catholic Church and Education go together. In this country we have fought hard to maintain the right to educate our children in our own Catholic schools. Yes, it is something we have fought for and still fight for. We must not take it for granted but must use it and protect it.
As the schools begin again, I would suggest that we spare a thought for our schools, the students, the staff, the governors and our own Diocesan Education Service. So far I have mentioned the Eucharist and Education. Another “E” that comes to mind is the Environment. In this month’s Voice our Diocesan Justice and Peace Group draw our attention to a wonderful resource offered to all, individuals and parish groups. From the beginning of September until the beginning of October, we are urged to pray for and care for Creation. In order to help us do this the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has sponsored a film entitled Global Healing. It can be found at ourcommonhome.co.uk. It is well worth taking a look. It can be used at home, in parishes, in schools – anywhere there is an interest and anywhere interest should be promoted.
We pray for the Church: that she may be a beacon of hope throughout the world, shining a light on the wonders of God’s creation and reminding us all of our responsibility to care for and protect this precious gift. We pray for the world, which is God’s wonderful gift of creation and our common home: that we may hear its cry of the damage done and be moved to protect all that we love for future generations to enjoy. We pray for those people, living in poverty, who are already facing droughts, floods and storms as the climate changes: that they may know that they are not forgotten, as together we strive to find creative solutions and build a better future. We pray for our parish and our local community: that through the grace of God we may together respond to the call of Pope Francis to reflect on our lifestyles and take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.