Star of the Sea, Castlebay, The Isle of Barra. HS9 5XD.
Phone 01871 810267
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A Bhileag 5th April 2020

HOLY WEEK: We are now entering a very important week- Holy Week. But sadly this Holy Week will be like no other as we cannot go to Church and celebrate the Holy Week Masses & services. Please try and embrace this Week by doing your own Spiritual praying and reading of the Masses and to use the TV or internet as a help to watching the Holy Week Masses. So please try and find a Church on the internet which you are happy with and that you feel you can take part in from the comfort of your own home and then offer your own Spiritual Communion prayer to the Lord Jesus in this Holy Week and pray to the Lord to bless and protect us all in these times.

Sacrament of Confession: Since our Churches are now closed it is very difficult to go to Confession. If you really wish to go to the Sacrament please speak with Fr. John Paul and he will organise a time and place with you to go to Confession- however these are extreme and difficult times and we are told to stay at home. Take the opportunity to say an “Individual Act of Contrition” prayer and entrust yourself to the mercy of God and ask for God’s pardon with the intention of going to Confession when restrictions are lifted by the Church.

A Bhileag- The Parish Newsletter: since the Churches are now closed the parish newsletter can be picked up fromA & C MacLean’s Shop (Bùth Bhuidsear) on the Main Street from now on or to look it up on the parish website for the Parish Newsletter.  Also Check Bùth Bhuidsear for other things like prayer books for Easter.

Palm Sunday Crosses: Canon John Paul will bless the Palm Crosses on Palm Sunday in his private Mass and then on Monday morning he will leave a box of the Palm Crosses in Bùth Bhuidsear for you to pick up  a Cross and take home.

Scottish Catholic Observer Paper: will not be publishing its paper again until the Churches re-open.

Recent Deaths: we pray for the repose of the soul of  Kathleen Boyd of Glen who passed away on the 1st April in her home after a short illness with Cancer at the age of 68. Kathleen was laid to rest on Friday 3rd April in Cuithir cemetery. A memorial Mass for Kathleen will be celebrated at a later date.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Kathleen’s family at this sad time. Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

We also pray for the repose of the soul of  Fiona MacNeil (Scott) who passed away on Sunday 29th March in Glasgow at the age of 76. Fiona of course lived in Glen. Fiona had been battling against Cancer and in the end Fiona needed that peace. Fiona will be cremated on Saturday 4th April in Cardross  and then the Ashes will return back to Barra and at a later date a Memorial Mass will be celebrated for Fiona. We extend our prayers of  love and sympathy to Fiona’s family  at this difficult time. Eternal rest grant unto her O lord and let perpetual light shine upon her may she rest in peace. Amen.

We also remember the repose of the soul of  Michael MacLean  from Largs & Vatersay who died recently aged 80. Michael will be cremated in Largs and his Ashes will return to Vatersay one day to be laid to rest there.

No Public Mass: until further notice there is no public Mass being celebrated on the island .

A “Home Altar”: why not  think about making “a Home Altar or a sacred space” in your own home. Have a small table or a small area where you can place a candle, some holy water in a small dish, a Crucifix-maybe your Palm Cross, an image of a holy picture of our Lord Jesus, a statue of our Lady, a Rosary, a bible, or prayer book. Have it all in one area- “a sacred space”- to go to your sacred space and use it as an aid to your prayer during this Holy Week.

Funerals: The Government and our own Bishop Brian McGee have told us that the only religious service which can happen during these difficult times is a Funeral and that it can only be at the graveside and only for immediate family. This will be tough for us to “take in” but it is happening all over our World in these “strange and difficult times”.  Therefore if there is a Funeral on the island- there will be NO Public Requiem Mass in the Church- instead Canon John Paul will celebrate a Private Mass for the repose of the soul of the person who has died. Then Canon John Paul will arrange to meet the immediate family at the graveside for the prayers of burial. Then when the Government lift all restrictions- then there will be a Memorial Mass planned with the family for a future date.

Watching Holy Mass on the TV or Internet for Holy Week: The Catholic channel EWTN  on SKY 588 is very good. Go to “Church services TV” on the internet – St. Augustine’s from Coatbridge is always nice and clear. On MCN media on the internet St. Francis Xavier in Falkirk is also good and clear too. Carfin Grotto in Motherwell and the Shrine of Walsingham in England are good too- we are spoilt for choice on the internet- please find one that you are happy to follow for Holy Week!  Bishop Brian is also doing live stream Masses at 10am each day through the  Diocesan facebook/website- Also other parishes in the diocese are doing the same- like Fr. Stan in Morar & Mallaig- keep an eye on various facebook  pages for times of Masses for Holy Week.

Sunday Collection-  some parishioners have been asking “What about the Sunday Collection- how can I still give my collection?”. The best way forward is through the bank – set up a direct debit with either Castlebay parish or Northbay parish. If you wish to set up a direct debit please just contact Canon John Paul for more details. These are very difficult financial times for everyone and Canon John Paul understands if you cannot give to the church just now.