Star of the Sea, Castlebay, The Isle of Barra. HS9 5XD.
Phone 01871 810267
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A Bhileag 22nd March 2020

The Catholic Bishops of Scotland: last Wednesday(18th March) the Catholic Bishops of Scotland wrote a letter outlining they had made the  difficult decision to lift the obligation for people to go to Sunday Mass and  announced that there will be no more Public Masses in our parishes until further notice. No More Sunday Mass or weekday Mass until further notice.  Each Priest will still celebrate Mass each day- but it will only be a private Mass. We are so used to just going along to Mass on Sunday but sadly that has changed now and it will take a while for us to realise what we are truly missing and take a while to make use of that hour when we would normally go to Mass.


Funerals: Bishop Brian has clarified that when someone dies- there will be NO Public Mass for the deceased, instead there will be a private Mass by the Priest and then the Priest will meet the immediate family at the Graveside and say the prayers of burial at the graveside. When the Bishops of Scotland lift the suspension of Public Masses -then there will be a Memorial Mass to pray for the deceased person at a later date. This will be a very difficult thing for us to take in but sadly it is necessary and it is happening in every parish all over the world.


Watching Holy Mass on the TV or Internet: there is the well known catholic channel EWTN which is on SKY 588. Holy Mass is on there every day (in an American accent!!), in the morning and then repeated later on in the day. There are various webcams in various other churches in Scotland England and Ireland and you can tune into on the Internet too. You can look up MCN Media TV on the internet who do various live streaming-eg from St. Francis Xavier’s in Falkirk and St. Andrews Cathedral in Glasgow. Also Bishop Brian is using the internet to say Mass at 10am each day through the  Diocesan facebook/website-please tune in each day at 10am or you can watch back later. Many other parishes are doing the same to keep reach out to their parishioners.


The Spiritual Tool Box: since we cannot go to Public Mass we have to use the many others tools to help us all at this time. All 5 of our churches are OPEN and will remain open and you are free to go and visit and say you prayers before the Lord Jesus who is truly present in the Tabernacle. When you are in the church please use the Hand sanitiser  as you go in and out. We can light our candles, say our prayers, say our Rosary, pray our stations of the cross. We can do that in the church or in our homes. We can pick up our prayer books and read some prayers, learn some new prayers. Do some Spiritual reading- download a book onto our kindle or ipad. Look up various websites with Lenten reflections and mediations. The Internet has a huge treasure of  good sites to use to strengthen our faith.


Mass cards and Anniversaries: Mass Cards can be still handed into the chapel house and they will be signed . For anniversaries please hand in the envelope to the chapel house in Castlebay- the anniversaries will be remembered by Canon John Paul in his private Mass.


Lapaich- Housebound: Canon  John Paul will phone around the housebound to see how they are doing and work out a plan to see if they can receive the sacraments.


Sacrament of Confession: please note Canon John Paul will still hear confession each Saturday at 9.30-10am  in Castlebay Church and then at 4.30pm-5pm in Northbay Church. It will not be face to face confession!


Canon John Paul on the Internet: he plans to use the internet to hopefully do a weekly video clip- to try and pass on his own spiritual words of comfort and strength to all parishioners at this difficult time- check St. Barr’s facebook.


SCIAF Collection: instead of taking up a special collection Canon John Paul will send a donation to SCIAF this year. Please go online to to give something yourself –maybe you could send a cheque directly to SCIAF-all donations are important.


Happy Mother’s Day: today, 22nd March is Mothering Sunday. Canon John Paul wishes all Mothers a happy Mother’s Day and he prays that God will bless all Mothers on this special day and  we all pray that Mary the Mother of God may guide us all in her Motherly love during these difficult times.

On Mother’s Day we are encouraged by our Bishops to pray the Rosary in our homes (at 12noon or anytime)  for our World as we battle against the Coronavirus and pray for God’s protection.


If I can’t go to Mass? Catholics are encouraged to make a Spiritual Communion if they cannot go to Mass. When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a Spiritual Communion-please say the following prayer……An Act of Spiritual Communion My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I Love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You Sacramentally, come at least Spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.