Sunday 26th March 2023,

Fifth Sunday of Lent 

Sunday Gospel– Much food for our Spiritual lives today in the readings of the Mass.  The prophet Ezekiel – many years before the arrival of Jesus – promises that the God of Israel will ‘open your graves; I mean to raise you from your graves my people. I shall put my spirit in you and you will live ..’  Our God is the God of life and of the living. We live in fear of death and dying but for Christians death does not have the final say. It holds no power over us. Death is not the end. Jesus refers to death as being asleep. Lazarus has ‘fallen asleep and I am going to awaken him.’ The Gospel passage emphasises that Lazarus is ‘dead’ from a human point of view. He is ‘in the tomb four days already.’ There is no doubt about his deathly state. Martha comes out to meet the Lord. She unfolds her broken heart to him. ‘If you had been here my brother would not have died.’ You could have prevented this from happening. Often, we have the same thoughts when we are faced with death. Where was God? Why didn’t he prevent this? Jesus states that he is the Resurrection and the Life. He states that he is the Divine Power. Even if we die, we shall live and if we believe in Jesus we shall never die. Martha has acquired a profound understanding of Jesus; ‘You are the Christ, the Son of God’. We see the humanity of Jesus in the tears he sheds for his friend. God is moved. He is connected to our life’s story. He enters into our suffering and our anguish, especially our anguish over death and dying. Jesus comes as a great warrior to do battle with our greatest enemy, death itself. He says that he will open our graves and let us rise from them. Jesus says, take away the stone and he calls Lazarus from death; Lazarus, come out. And then the liberating words, ‘untie him and let him go free.’

Reflection Fifth Sunday of Lent- The First Means of Evangelisation is Witness. – Addressing the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square for his Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis spoke of evangelisation.He noted that “evangelisation is first and foremost, the witness of the personal encounter with Jesus Christ…“.  Pope Francis went on to express the importance of remembering that “witness also includes professed faith that is committed to God the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, who created and redeemed us out of love“.  Witness, he continued, “cannot be separated from consistency between what one believes, what one proclaims and what one lives”. “The witness of a Christian life involves a journey of holiness, based on Baptism, which makes us “sharers in the divine nature.”   

The Holy Father then explained that we must be aware that the people to whom evangelisation is addressed are not only others, “but also ourselves, believers in Christ and active members of the People of God”. 

“To bear this witness, the Church as such must also begin by evangelising herself”; she must do so in order to not become “a museum piece”, he added. In brief, the Pope explained, “this means that she has a constant need of being evangelised if she wishes to retain freshness, vigour, and strength in order to proclaim the Gospel”. ( 22 March 2023)

Lenten Boxes are available at the three Churches.

Easter Confessions These will be facilitated on Wednesday 29 March in the Church of the Holy Spirit, Thursday 30 March in St. Matthias’, Friday 31 March in St. Teresa’s. The time in each church will be between 6.30pm and 7.30pm.

Offertory Promise 2023/24 – New envelopes will be delivered soon to those who are already signed up. If you are new to the parish or would like to contribute to parish funds by envelope or standing order, please call the parish office or email your name and address. 

Thank you for your consideration. 

Sunday Masses Holy Spirit Vigil 5pm (Saturday), St Matthias’ 10am, St Teresa’s 12noon. 

Weekday Masses St Matthias’ Wednesday & Thursday 10am.  St Teresa’s Friday & Saturday 10am.

Stations of the Cross after Friday 10am Mass followed by Adorations at St Teresa’s.

Confessions Before Saturday Vigil Mass and on request.

To book a wedding or baptism, please contact the parish office (better to email).

Recently Deceased Liam Joseph McCartan, Brendan Brady, Anne McGrath.

Month’s Mind Andrea McConnell, Mark Carson, Patricia Paredes.

Anniversaries Anna McVeighEamon Fergus Nolan, Robert Emmett, Nan & James Nulty, Owen Muldoon, Desmond McKenna, (First) Eileen Dugan, Colette Cavanagh, Brenda & Jim McLaughlin, Danny Barr, Martha Crawford.

Weekly Offertory £1,319. Thank you.

Special Anniversary Service of Ministry which has brought former Republican and Loyalist Paramilitaries together in peace and reconciliation.  At 7.30pm on Monday 27th March at St. Anne’s Cathedral there will be a 30th Anniversary Service for Divine Healing Ministries. Divine Healing Ministries was founded by Church of Ireland clergyman Br. David Jardine along with Sr. Margaret McStay, a Cross and Passion Sister. The first interdenominational healings service led by Br David Jardine began in the Cathedral in 1993. During the worst years of The Troubles, the healing services were attended by Catholics and Protestants and included testimonies of healing and of reconciliation. There will be a time of worship, testimonies of healing and the speakers at this special service will the well known priest Fr. Pat Collins CM from Dublin along with Br. David. All welcome.

ST PATRICK’S PILGRIM WAY! Come & be amazed on a journey of faith in County Down. Led by former Adoration sisters Martina Purdy & Elaine Kelly who will lead guided walks to St Patrick’s mission sites dating to 432AD. Stay in Tobar Mhuire Retreat Centre, visit Saul, Slieve Patrick,  St Patrick’s grave, & Holy Cross Abbey. The retreat is over five days at Tobar Mhuire Retreat Centre and will include all meals, transport, activities. £850. Discounts for groups. The dates are April 24-28th or July 17-21st.  Details or call Downpatrick (02844) 619000.

On the Feast of the Good Shepherd, 29th April, the Irish Bishops are launching a Year for Vocation for Diocesan Priesthood with the theme: “Take the Risk for Christ”. The year will allow us to focus our energies and renew our prayer for Diocesan Vocations. This year, the Drumalis Vocations Retreat, Larne will take place on 21-23 April 2023 and will be co-hosted by the Northern Dioceses. The contact link is: Please see the poster at the back of the Church for further details.

Bethany Group Contact number 0799 0381248

St Vincent De Paul Helpline No.  0741 9326678

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