Dear members of the parish, and friends who are joining us from across the UK and further afield: it is good for us to be together. Even in these times of isolation we can find ways of being close, and so many of you have called the presbytery and are telephoning each other! The Internet allows us to be together through Facebook, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp and many more apps besides, and it goes without saying that pen and paper still work as well today as they always have done! I wonder how many of us are rediscovering the joy of receiving a letter from a friend…. and how many of us want to give that delight to others by sending a little something in the post?
In that spirit of communication then, I hope this letter will serve to update you on many things from our parish.
On line videos/web streaming
Our YouTube channel is proving very popular and I’m delighted that so many of us are able to participate.
Please share the details with anyone who wants: http://m.youtube.com/user/LIFBB
The broadcast times are as follows:
As well as live-streaming, videos are being added each week – do please subscribe to the channel and keep an eye on it because more uploads are on their way (and you can watch these videos at any time!).
You may like to know how many people are tuning in to our liturgies. On a weekday we’re averaging 52 devices watching – that’s laptops, iPads, Smart TVs etc. This means that, if each device is being watched by two people, then we have a daily Mass attendance of about 100. On Sunday mornings the number of individual devices watching increases to about 220. I expect many of the extra devices tuning in are owned by families, with maybe three or four people sitting around one device – so potentially we could have a digital congregation of 500 of more!
This Sunday is Palm Sunday and our 10:00am Mass will include the blessing of Palm Branches. For those of you who have given your address to the parish office, I shall post a palm cross to you once it has been blessed.
How can we celebrate Palm Sunday at home? One idea, given by the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, is that each of us could decorate our front door with a branch from the garden. So why not? It could be a project for all the family to get involved with.
A branch can be cut from a plant or plants, and then arranged together and decorated with coloured ribbon (the liturgical colour of the day is red, the colour of martyrdom). Someone in the household might like to read the story of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. The family could gather by the door of the house and, if they have Holy Water, could sprinkle the branches with it. Perhaps you could be creative and devise your own way to celebrate Palm Sunday at home?
The Chrism Mass
This year the Chrism Mass will not be celebrated in Holy Week, but it might be transferred to another day in the year. It is during the Chrism Mass that the priests of the diocese renew the promises they made on their ordination day. This year, all the priests have been sent a revised form for renewing their promises. If you would like to listen to me renew my own ordination promises, it will be broadcast on Monday of Holy Week (the 6thApril). That day is also the anniversary of my own priestly ordination at St Joseph’s Cathedral.
The Sacred Triduum
This year the liturgies of Holy Week will be much reduced, but they will still take place. The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has issued some guidance to the clergy. In summary the text says:
The faithful should be informed of the beginning times of the celebrations so that they can prayerfully unite themselves in their homes. Means of live (not recorded) telematic broadcasts can be of help. In any event it remains important to dedicate an adequate time to prayer, giving importance above all to the Liturgia Horarum – the Liturgy of the Hours.
Palm Sunday. The Commemoration of the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem is to be celebrated within sacred buildings; in parish churches the third form is to be used.
Holy ThursdayThe washing of feet, which is already optional, is to be omitted. At the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the procession is also omitted and the Blessed Sacrament is to be kept in the tabernacle.
Good Friday. In the Universal Prayer, Bishops will arrange to have a special intention prepared for those who find themselves in distress, the sick, and the dead. The adoration of the Cross by kissing it shall be limited solely to the celebrant.
The Easter Vigil: Is to be celebrated only in Cathedral and parish churches. The preparation and lighting of the fire is omitted, but the Paschal candle is lit. For the “Baptismal Liturgy” only the “Renewal of Baptismal Promises” is maintained.
By mandate of the Supreme Pontiff for the year 2020 only.
Many of you are aware that Fr Matt is no longer resident with me in the presbytery – instead he is living in the presbytery at Tenby. Fr Mansel, the parish priest of Tenby, has been on bereavement leave and can no longer return to the parish owing to conditions of social isolation. In addition, Fr Matt and myself decided to live separately so that, should one of us become ill, the other would still be able to carry out duties such as the last rites and funeral services. Fr Matt and myself are often in contact and I’m pleased to report that he’s keeping well. He writes: “Tenby Parishioners have been so warm. People are so kind! That’s what’s struck me in lockdown – a few Haverfordwest parishioners have phoned here too asking after me.” Many blessings to Fr Matt and all the people of Tenby parish.
Our seminarian Greg Beckett is currently living in the presbytery as his seminary is closed. Here he has the space to continue in his studies via video link, but he is also serving at Mass and helping me out by doing lots of little tasks. Now, where did I leave that duster…?
Some time ago you will recall that all the parish records had to be updated and all personal information had to be re-consented to. The parish used to have a very extensive address book and it was very easy to contact you. However, only a limited number of people updated their details and consented to them being kept by the parish. I’m not sure why there wasn’t a bigger take up, but I know there are people in the parish who would love to receive a telephone call from me, or would like to receive a palm cross in the post, but wont. My contacting parishioners isn’t possible without their prior, written consent. In fact, if a registered charity (such as the diocese) cold calls, then it has broken the law. It breaks my heart when I think I’d like to call someone who comes to Mass each week – yet when I go to the file, that person hasn’t filled in the consent form.
So I have to ask – does the parish have yourdetails, or are you missing out? Please find a GDPR form here. You can print it off, fill it in, and post it to me. Or, if you know a person in the parish who is not online (and therefore hasn’t seen this) perhaps you could give them a call and ask them if they have consented to their information being kept? You might even post the GDPR form to them so that they can fill it in. Completed forms should be returned to 9, Fountain Row, Barn Street, Haverfordwest. SA611SX
Also, be careful how you fill it in; there are people who have wanted to consent to me holding their address – and then haven’t told me where they live.
Here’s an example:
I look forward to updating the parish records with your information.
Parish Quiz Night
The parish is hosting an on-line video-conferencing Quiz Night! Anyone can join in (up to a maximum of 100 people!!)
The quiz will be hosted on Zoom. To use Zoom you will need to download it from Zoom.us
It’s very simple to use and it’s free.The quiz will take place at 7:00pm on Saturday 4thApril.
How does it work? Families will gather around their computer/iPad/smart TV etc. and will need pen and paper to jot down their answers. Just before 7:00pm a code number (called a ‘meeting ID’) will be posted on the parish facebook page/website. Make a note of the Meeting ID and open Zoom. You will see this screen:
Click on the “join” button (top right), and you will be invited to type the meeting ID number into this box:
Once you’ve typed in the meeting ID number click “join” (bottom right) and a video link screen will appear. You’re now live to the quizmaster and all the other participants. You may want to turn your microphone off so that you can talk as a family, without the other participants hearing your answers!! Make sure you have pen, paper, nibbles and drinks to hand!
It’s a bit of fun – and I’m not sure how well it’s going to work – but lets give it a try at least. The prize is the kudos of knowing that your family team beat all the other parish families.
I look forward to seeing you on Saturday evening!
With every good wish and blessing,