Bishop Tom has been a frequent visitor to St Teresa’s over the years and this weekend we are delighted to welcome him for our parish visitation. The visitation, which happens about every four years, is a reminder to us that we are not an isolated enclave but part of the community of the local church, the diocese, which is in turn part of the universal church.
Bishop Tom will celebrate all three Masses this weekend, each focussing on a different aspect of the life of our parish community. On Saturday evening the young men who make up our new football team will pledge their commitment to Christian values. The families who are preparing their children for Confirmation and Communion will lead the liturgy on Sunday morning. Finally, on Sunday evening, we will offer the ministry of consolation to those who have been bereaved during the last year.
We are especially conscious at this time of the sufferings of our sisters and brothers in the Philippines: we will keep them in our prayers and we will be taking a collection after all the Masses for CAFOD’s disaster emergency fund so that we play our small part in the massive international effort to support those who have been affected by the typhoon. Thousands have died, but millions of others must feel their world has come to an end, with the loss of homes, families, jobs and all the infrastructure that supports life.
Whenever we hear of natural disasters and political upheavals, there is talk of the end of the world, but Jesus warned his disciples not to be misled. We do not know when this world is going to end, either for us personally or for the whole human race, but we do know that the disciples of Jesus will follow the pattern of his life, through suffering and death to the glory of the resurrection. He urges us to be patient, but also to see any suffering that comes our way as an opportunity to bear witness, as he did, to the power of God’s love, which is greater than any other force in creation.