February 2024: Editorial

A Time to Build Up     

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, war and the massacre of over 200 Catholics and other Christians in Nigeria on Christmas Eve bringing the figure to 52,000 Christians massacred since 2009 in that country marked the tragic end of one year and the sobering beginning of another. As a new year gets underway we may wonder just what can we do to influence events for the better? Aid assistance to stricken victims of wars and natural disasters and advocating for peace and justice seems obvious and practical responses yet just as importantly as St Padre Pio advocated in the face of every evil is the most effective weapon of prayer.

     During the pandemic televised and live-streamed religious services became increasingly important. However, as Dr Noel O’Sullivan suggests in his Intercom article this month (The Eucharist and Synodality p.6) the interim health and safety measure has outgrown its original purpose and instead has undermined our appreciation of the Eucharist as a community experience that enables us as a church to celebrate and pray together with ‘full, conscious and active participation’ culminating in the reception of Holy Communion.

     As we contemplate Lent 2024 which begins on St Valentine’s Day this year, we have an opportunity to renew our personal commitment to our faith and to one another. St Paul suggests, we should always be ready to build one another up (1 Thess 5:11) or as a priest friend of mine in a neighbouring parish has posted more boldly outside his church gates – Come to Mass. As spring beckons and bulbs push forward in encouragement (or flower as in the case of this month’s Intercom cover!) may we too be encouraged to build up, grow and flower nourished by the warm soil of prayer.

Paul Clayton-Lea 

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