On this page we print copies of
our Bishop’s Pastoral Letters
BISHOP ALAN HOPES
FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
To be read at all Masses during the weekend of April 24/25
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the moment of the Incarnation, the majesty and glory of God is revealed to us in the life of a human Person – that of Jesus Christ. He comes to share in our human life in order that we might be enabled to share in his divine life.
It is at the moment of Baptism that this sacred exchange takes place in our lives. From that moment, we are called to live the life of heaven here on earth as closely as we can – and to grow in faithfulness and holiness. At our Confirmation, God gives us the gift of his Holy Spirit, to strengthen and encourage us in this life. The Holy Spirit helps us to conform our lives more closely to that of Jesus Christ so that we might be his witnesses in the world.
We live out our vocation as members of the Lord’s Body, the Church. As the Church, we are called to continue Christ’s work on earth – to be an icon of God’s love and mercy to the whole world in the special and unique service to which the Lord has called us to do.
It is out of the people of God that Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, chooses a man and sets him apart to serve God and his people in the sacred ministry of the priesthood. At the moment of Ordination, that sacred exchange between God and humanity, which we experience in our Baptism and Confirmation, becomes a special reality in the life of the priest. As he celebrates the Sacraments for God’s people, so he speaks and acts in the person of Christ himself. As he takes up the ordinary stuff of human life – water, oil, bread and wine – and invests it with the life and presence of God himself, so he becomes the human minister of the divine things of God, for God’s people.
The words of Jesus in the Gospel today draw out just what all that means for the priest. He is called to mirror the Good Shepherd of today’s Gospel, to be an icon of Christ for the people of God. Living a life of faithfulness and holiness, a priest’s whole life must be one of service, dedicated to helping God’s people to share in that fullness of life which Christ promises us, to grow in holiness and to live out our vocation in the world.
He does this in three ways:
first, by faithfully celebrating the Sacraments for us, reconciling us, loving and caring for us, filling us with God’s healing love and grace;
second, by faithfully proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ through living, preaching and teaching the faith;
third, by faithfully reaching out with humility and compassion to those in trouble or sorrow or great need, to those who have fallen away from the faith, or who have lost their way in the maze of this life.
No priest is worthy to be a priest – and yet God calls us all the same!
So, on this World Day of Prayer for Vocations:
Pray for the priests of our Diocese.
Pray also for those who have or are so generously responding to his call – Deacon Mike Smith who will be ordained this July, our seven seminarians and all who are actively discerning a vocation in the Diocese.
Pray for more vocations to the priesthood, to the permanent diaconate and to the Religious Life. I ask you to pray today and often, that more from our Diocese will have the courage to answer the call of the Lord to serve him and his Church in one of these ways.
Each one of us as members of the Body of Christ, the Church – lay, religious, deacon, priest – must, in our various vocations, seek to be an icon of the Lord’s love and mercy to each other and to the world. That is the vocation we share with each other, a vocation that God has given to us at our Baptism and Confirmation. As He gave himself for us in the Incarnation, let us give ourselves to Him so that, through us his life and presence might continue to transform our world.
May the Risen Lord continue to fill us all with his joy and peace this Eastertide!
With all good wishes and prayer,
Yours devotedly in Christ,
The Right Reverend Alan S Hopes
Bishop of East Anglia
We also remember the various issues
affecting our diocese
and for which we are asked to pray.
When he announced his forthcoming retirement earlier this year, Bishop Alan asked us all to pray for his successor.
The prayer below has been made available on cards, but these cannot be distributed in church owing to Covid regulations. Copies can be obtained from the Presbytery or Sacristy.
Prayer for the Election of a Bishop
O God, eternal shepherd, who govern your flock with unfailing care,
grant in your boundless fatherly love, a pastor for your Church,
who will please you by his holiness and to us show watchful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Our Lady of Walsingham. Pray for us.
Saint Felix. Pray for us.
All Holy Martyrs and Saints of East Anglia. Pray for us.
“I will raise up for myself a faithful priest,
who shall do according to my heart and mind;
I will establish a lasting house for him
and he shall walk before me all his days”
I Sam 2:35
Other Prayer Requests
These are published on the following pages. Click on the blue link below, to view each group of requests for Parish Prayer Requests for:-
- Parishioners who are “Seriously Ill”;
- Parishioners who are directly “Affected by Covid19“;
- Individuals who have notified “Personal Intentions“.
And for Deceased Parishioners:-
- Parishioners who have “Died Recently”;
- Parishioners who have “Died in the Past Year“;
- Deceased Parishioners whose “Anniversaries Occur this Week“.
Plus we have received suggestions for Prayers for:-
- “Beccles Town” causes or intentions;
- “Downside Abbey” requests from the Benedictine Order;
- “England & Wales” sources, causes and issues from CBCEW;
- “Charities” international charitable and spiritual activities.