Dear Parents and Guardians
I do hope that you and all your loved ones keep safe and well and that you coping with the lock-down as best you can. These are certainly challenging days for all of us. I am very grateful to the Head, Louise Frize, for suggesting that I write a few words to you. Here are the few topics that came to mind…
First of all I wanted to say thank you. I arrived in the parish on 12 October 2019 and since then, have really come to discover what two fantastic Catholic primary schools we have locally. I have been able to celebrate school Masses each week and visit the children in their classrooms quite often.
Our schools are peaceful, prayerful and purposeful. The children are always polite and helpful and it is clear that they are receiving a wonderful education. Of course the staff take credit for this, but I wanted to thank you as well, because it is obvious to me that our children are loved, cared for and brought up with faith in the home as well. Thank you for the way you have raised your children.
I know that shared meals in the home are very important. I suggest that in the lock-down, it is all the more important to make meals special occasions and not to eat with the television on or any other distractions. How wonderful to lay the table nicely, leave an empty space for Jesus who is the guest at every meal, begin with a prayer to thank God for the food and to really listen to one another as you share time and sustenance together.
All of us, priests included, are finding how important prayer is in a crisis. We are urged to pray at all times but now many of us find ourselves with more time on our hands and also a few more problems that have come to the surface. I hope that you will make time to pray together but also to take some moments to pray by yourselves. It’s a good time to be learning new prayers and going back to old ones.
I know as an ex-teacher how vital reading is. These days are giving many of us more time to read. I am half way through The Betrothed, an Italian novel that is apparently Pope Francis’s favourite novel. I was a bit daunted when it arrived in the post and I discovered it was over 700 pages! But I am really enjoying it. Children learn so much by good example and role models, so I hope that you will read to them, encourage them to read, and also read yourselves and let your children see you reading.
JOYS AND PRESSURES
I have heard from several parents about how much they have appreciated having more time with their children. People are treasuring the family time. But, just like at Christmas, when families spend a lot of time with each other all day every day, there can be pressures and difficulties that emerge. Don’t worry! All families are the same to a great extent. We all love each other but sometimes drive each other mad as well! Remember the really important words we say to God in prayer and to each other in families: “Please”, “sorry”, “thank you”, and “I love you”.
I am sure that it is very hard with most children having to be away from school and of course with churches closed. Jesus has promised that where two or three are gathered together in his name, he is there in the midst of us. God has not abandoned us and we must not abandon him. Let’s invite him into our homes and our lives more and more, trusting that he will look after us and see us through this time of trouble.