PENTECOST - THE HOLY SPIRIT
ST PAULINUS PARISH NEWSLETTER - MAY 2021
The Youngest Priest in England pays a visit to St Paulinus
Last Sunday, St Paulinus RC Church had a visit from the youngest RC Priest in England. Fr. Limnyuy Ghamsi, known as Fr Liam to his friends and parishioners, came to England as a seven-year-old from Cameroon, central Africa, and was brought up in Leicester. He entered the Roman Catholic Seminary at Oscott, Sutton Coldfield, to begin his training to become a priest and there he met Fr Phil Cunnah, who was in his final year at the Seminary. Last week, Fr Ghamsi took the opportunity to visit Fr Phil and celebrate Mass with him. He said, “When I started Seminary at St Mary’s College, (Oscott) Fr Phil was in the top year so we overlapped. His final year was my first year so I told him I was in the area and could I come and say Mass with him and he said come along, so that’s why I’m here.”
“Most priests take a week off soon after Easter so my Parish let me have this week off and I’ve got a few friends in Middlesbrough and my sister lives here as well. So, in my first year of Seminary, I did a placement with my Mission, the Middlesbrough Youth Team, at the time, and I made a good number of friends here so at least once a year I come back.”
Fr Ghamsi’s home Parish is in Leicester and he shares two Parishes with another Priest, St Peter’s and the Blessed Sacrament Churches, Leicester. He is reportedly the youngest priest in England and said, “I’m the youngest priest in England for sure because there aren’t many seminaries and I know the year that I started, I was the youngest person, so that I know that six years later I’m the youngest Priest and I’m fairly sure there was no-one younger than me the year after me so I should be the youngest for another year as well. I turned 26 on (last) Monday. You have to be at least 25 to become as Priest so I just edged it. I was just 25 when I was ordained a Priest.” He concluded, “I was just telling Fr Phil, the further North you go, the nicer people are. It is always nice to see how welcoming and how warm people are so I’ll certainly remember that when I go back.”
words and image credit: Brian Gleeson
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1. POPE FRANCIS
Sadly, in this world, with all its highly developed technology, great numbers of children continue to live in inhuman situations, exploited, maltreated, enslaved, refugees. Today, in acknowledging this, we feel shame before God, before God who became a child. #EndChildSlavery
Even death trembles when a Christian prays, because it knows that everyone who prays has an ally who is stronger than it: the Risen Lord. Apr 15, 2021
The breath of faith is #prayer: we grow in faith inasmuch as we learn to pray. Apr 14, 2021
In the midst of the contradictions and perplexities we must confront each day, the din of so many words and opinions, there is the quiet voice of the Risen Lord who keeps saying to us: “Peace be with you!” Apr 13, 2021
Jesus is the Risen One, the Lord who passed through death in order to lead us to safety. Even before we begin to seek Him, He is present beside us. He lifts us back up after our falls. He helps us grow in faith. Apr 12, 2021
Mercy is made tangible, it becomes closeness, service, care for those in difficulty. I hope you will always feel you have been granted mercy, so as to be merciful to others in turn. Apr 11, 2021
So let us be renewed by the peace, forgiveness and wounds of the merciful Jesus. Only in this way will our faith be alive. Only in this way will we proclaim the Gospel of God, which is the Gospel of mercy. Apr 11, 2021
Today is the day to ask, “Am I, who have so often received God’s mercy, merciful to others?” Let us not live a one-way faith, a faith that receives but does not give. Having received mercy, let us now become merciful. Apr 11, 2021
The wounds of Jesus are open channels between him and us, shedding mercy upon our misery. They are pathways that God has opened up for us to enter into his tender love and actually “touch” who he is. Let us never again doubt his mercy.
Apr 11, 2021
The Lord does not want us to keep thinking about our failings. He wants us to look to Him. In our failings He sees children to help up; in our misery He sees children in need of His merciful love. Apr 10, 2021
The Lord calls us to cooperate in the construction of history, becoming, together with Him, peacemakers and witnesses of hope in a future of salvation and resurrection.
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2. FROM FR PHILIP (homily on the 3rd Sunday of Easter, on the gospel reading: Luke 24:35-48)
I wonder what it would have been like to listen to St Paul or St Peter bearing witness to this incredible event, the Resurrection. St Paul in his own way would be bearing witness to the Lord appearing to him on the road to Damascus, this pivotal moment in his life that changed him. Or what was Mary Magdalene’s expression like when she ran to the disciples to tell them all He’s risen, He’s not in the tomb, it’s empty.
What would this witness have looked like when all of these things happened - and not only theirs, but as the time went on, and as the community spread and grew, more and more people bearing witness to what the Lord had done in their own lives; and indeed in a sense it’s only through that power of testimony, people willing to preach about what the Lord has done in their life, that the faith has spread and the faith has been shared.
We’ve just finished in our parish, and for our first time, running the alpha course, which has been a completely new thing for everybody, and in the life of some of those who’ve joined us. When I say 'course', it’s not like a written thing where you get a test at the end of it. It’s a time of faith sharing and listening to videos, and to people talking about their own faith and trying to explain the faith.
And the most powerful thing about it is hearing people give testimony to what the Lord has done in their life. One of those you might have heard of is Gram Seed, he’s a person from Teesside. He used to be caught up in gangs, a lot of football fighting, that sort of thing; he was on his deathbed and was actually pronounced dead in the hospital; two Christians came and prayed over him, and, he’s alive, and it’s quite incredible; and now he actually leads a church across town. Quite amazing to hear and makes us think what on earth is going on there. The Lord is working, the Lord is acting with power. So too the power of witness and the power of testimony; and the Lord says in that very last line (of today’s gospel) “you will be witnesses to this”.
I don’t know about you but I sort of take a step back from that. Yes, that happened in other people’s lives, and that’s great, but I feel a bit uncomfortable thinking of myself as someone who has to bear witness and give testimony; and yet that’s what we’re called to do, each one of us, to say something of what the Lord has done in our life, to recognise that.
So it just goes back to the first line of the gospel, let’s not get carried away that you will be witnesses - that’s further down the line. The first gospel line is: the disciples shared their story. Now that’s referring to the road to Emmaus, which just happened; but each of us here has a story. That’s one of the joys of being a priest - that in normal times you go round and you hear people tell their stories and you suddenly discover that there are sort of "God moments" in people’s lives, and actually there’s these times when the Lord is active, or moments of Providence, that have brought them into contact with other people ... whatever it might be.
That’s the beginning of our learning to be witnesses and to sharing our story, sharing our testimony; and see how the gospel goes on to speak of the breaking of bread, which is like another way of saying what we do now in speaking of the mass; so, in the sacraments, the Lord works in our life: it might be that you have had a powerful moment; in the sacrament, sometimes it’s in confession, people find a fresh start. As the gospel story goes on our Lord shows them his hands and his feet, he shows them his wounds, but his wounds are glorified; and sometimes its there, in the wounds that we carry - and that we bring to the Lord for healing - sometimes its there that the Lord wants to show forth his power and bear testimony in our lives.
Later on it says, "he opened their minds to understand the scriptures"; and at times we need to be guided and taught by the Lord, but - yes Lord this is difficult at times to understand; be our teacher, give teachers to guide us, to help us; open our minds to understand how important You are and that You are working today; and then perhaps through all those things we get to the end and discover that we are witnesses, clear witnesses to Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, who we celebrate today in this time of Easter.
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Cafod says: Thank you! for your generous donations to CAFOD’s Family Fast Day. "We featured Marian and her son Svondo (above) in Zimbabwe in Lent 2018. The community vegetable garden that your donations helped provide is growing well and during the pandemic the family have survived on the vegetables. Your support has also helped to provide soap and handwashing stations in the garden and in family homes. This is just one of many long-term development projects that CAFOD has funded with the money from that Fast Day. Thank you for your steadfast support."
Later in the summer when sunshine and lack of social distancing may be possible, we hope to arrange a WALK FOR WATER for our parish and friends.
Join our Mass on Friday 7 May for the people of India - India is facing a devastating second wave of coronavirus, with more than 16 million cases and 200,000 deaths confirmed. Father Paul Moonjely, pictured, Executive Director of our partner agency Caritas India, has told us they are reaching out to the most vulnerable households. Their frontline workers and volunteers are working around the clock to provide healthcare. You can read more
St. Paulinus was one of the first Parishes to identify the importance of providing a vaccination programme via Cafod.
CAFOD has already pledged £200,000 to Caritas India. Donations to our Coronavirus Appeal will allow us to reach more families around the world and to help support Caritas India’s response.
Join us for a special Mass on Friday 7 May at 6.30pm to pray for the people of India.
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4. U TURN – YOUR TURN
In politics changing course is viewed in a negative way. “U turns” are sneered at, as representing failure, weakness. Turning means you must have been on the wrong course to begin with.
Scripture has a much more positive view. John the baptist tells people to repent (another word with a bad reputation, meaning to turn – to turn to God and, therefore, away from sin). “Repent and believe the good news”.
Turning towards God means we can move towards him, the source of all life, all truth, all goodness. When turned away we are facing death, falsehood, evil. Then refusing to turn means we fail to become the person we were meant to be, God’s masterpiece.
People describe this as God punishing us. But who is doing the punishing here? Is it the eternal, loving, merciful God who calls us to receive all the good things he wants to give us? Or is it little old me? God is already facing us, we are already in his presence. Let’s ask him to wake us up, so that we experience living in his presence, every day, with all the joy and peace that he offers us; so that we know which direction to turn and receive his blessing.
This is a wonderful time in the church’s year. The liturgical cycle has led us through the drama of Advent, the birth of Jesus, the little we know of his growing up, his public life announcing and living the kingdom of God, his suffering, his death, his resurrection; and now we come to the ascension, his return to the Father; and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Pentecost is the church’s birthday, truly a time for us to rejoice. Now it’s our turn. Shall we U turn, and accept the good news?
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Calendar for MAY
Sat 1 Saturday of the 4th week of Eastertide or Saint Joseph the Worker
Sun 2 5th Sunday of Easter
Mon 3 Saints Philip and James, Apostles Feast
Tue 4 The English Martyrs Feast
Wed 5 Wednesday of the 5th week of Eastertide
Thu 6 Thursday of the 5th week of Eastertide
Fri 7 Saint John of Beverley, Bishop
Sat 8 Saturday of the 5th week of Eastertide
Sun 9 6th Sunday of Easter
Mon 10 Monday of the 6th week of Eastertide or Saint John of Ávila, Priest, Doctor
Tue 11 Tuesday of the 6th week of Eastertide
Wed 12 Wednesday of the 6th week of Eastertide or Saints Nereus and Achilleus, Martyrs or Saint Pancras, Martyr
Thu 13 The Ascension of the Lord Solemnity
Fri 14 Saint Matthias, Apostle Feast
Sat 15 Dedication of the (Middlesbrough) Cathedral Feast
Sun 16 7th Sunday of Easter
Mon 17 Monday of the 7th week of Eastertide
Tue 18 Tuesday of the 7th week of Eastertide or Saint John I, Pope, Martyr
Wed 19 Wednesday of the 7th week of Eastertide or St Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury
Thu 20 Thursday of the 7th week of Eastertide or Saint Bernardine of Siena, Priest
Fri 21 Friday of the 7th week of Eastertide or Saint Christopher Magallanes and his Companions, Martyrs
Sat 22 Saturday of the 7th week of Eastertide or Saint Rita of Cascia
Sun 23 Pentecost
Mon 24 Mary, Mother of the Church
Tue 25 Saint Bede the Venerable, Priest, Doctor
Wed 26 Saint Philip Neri, Priest
Thu 27 Our Lord Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest Feast
Fri 28 Friday of week 8 in Ordinary Time
Sat 29 Saturday of week 8 in Ordinary Time or Saint Paul VI, Pope or Saturday memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sun 30 The Most Holy Trinity Solemnity
Mon 31 The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Feast
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6. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PENTECOST AND WHIT SUNDAY?
Nothing. It’s the same feast, on the same day.
The term Pentecost comes from the Greek Πεντηκοστή (Pentēkostē) meaning "fiftieth". Pentecost always occurs 50 days after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and ten days after his Ascension into Heaven. It is one of the most important feast days of the year that concludes the Easter season and celebrates the beginning of the Church.
In English-speaking countries Pentecost is also referred to as “Whit Sunday”, or White Sunday, referring to the white vestments that are typically worn at Pentecost in Britain and Ireland. (Elsewhere in the world the vestments are usually red, symbolic of the tongues of fire that descended on the apostles.) The white is symbolic of the dove of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost became a more popular time for baptism than Easter in northern Europe, and in England the feast was commonly called White Sunday for the special white garments worn by the newly baptized. Traditionally the next day, Whit Monday, was a public holiday but since 1971 this was fixed by statute on the last Monday in May.
More information at https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/36152/everything-you-need-to-know-about-pentecost and https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pentecost-Christianity.
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7. MEET THIS MONTH'S HERO SAINTS
The English Martyrs
The Roman Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation are men and women executed under treason legislation in the English Reformation, between 1534 and 1680, and recognised as martyrs by the Roman Catholic Church.
On 25 February 1570, Pope Pius V's "Regnans in Excelsis" bull excommunicated the English Queen Elizabeth I, and any who obeyed her. This papal bull also required all Roman Catholics to rebel against the English Crown as a matter of faith. In response, in 1571 legislation was enacted making it treasonable to be under the authority of the Pope, including being a Jesuit, being Roman Catholic or harbouring a Roman Catholic priest. The standard penalty for all those convicted of treason at the time was execution by being hanged, drawn and quartered. Brutal times.
Altogether there were hundreds of victims of these laws and they are commemorated collectively on May 4th. Here are two martyrs local to us:
Margaret Clitherow was born Margaret Middleton in 1556 in York. She was brought up a protestant, and married John Clitherow in 1571, aged just 15. They had a happy marriage and had several children. John Clitherow was a butcher, and his shop and house were in the Shambles in the centre of York. He was a special constable, and ironically his duties included finding Catholic priests and those hiding them.
Margaret converted to Catholicism in 1574, but her husband, who remained a protestant, was sympathetic to her beliefs.
Within a couple of years of her conversion, Margaret had become one of the leaders of the Catholic movement in York at the time. She helped and sheltered priests in the city, many of whom came from France and moved from place to place to avoid capture.
Margaret was imprisoned several times over the years and her husband paid her fines for recusancy (ie. not attending Anglican church). Eventually in 1586 the Clitherow home was raided. The priest escaped but Margaret and her family refused to speak. A small boy staying with them was so frightened, he told the interrogators everything. Priest’s vestments and communion bread were found, and Margaret was arrested - her children never saw her again.
She refused to enter a plea at her trial, possibly because it would in fact have endangered her husband’s life. If you didn’t enter a plea in Elizabethan times the penalty for that was to be pressed to death, as it was automatically assumed you were guilty of something. She was stretched out on the ground with a sharp rock under her back and crushed under a door over-laden with heavy weights. Her bones were broken, and she died within fifteen minutes. She was 30 years old.
There is a shrine to Margaret in the Shambles, supposedly in the house she shared with her husband and children. However, the street was re-numbered in the 18th century, so it’s thought their house was actually opposite.
Nicholas Postgate was born at Kirkdale House, Egton, in about 1596. It seems the youthful Nicholas was happy-go-lucky lad, and he taunted the authorities by joining a group of travelling players who mocked religious suppression in verse, song and dance. He entered Douay College, in France, in 1621, becoming a priest in March 1628, and was sent to the mission in England in 1630. In England, there was highly sophisticated network of supporters, including the gentry in their huge country houses: many "employed" priests as gardeners, a useful disguise, and it is largely due to their actions that the faith survived in this country. Postgate landed near Whitby, and a safe house awaited. All the Douai students used aliases so that their families would not be penalised and Postgate used the name Whitmore (probably based on Whitemoor, the opposite of the Blackamoor above his home). He later used his mother's maiden name of Watson. After ministering for many years all over Yorkshire, finally in the 1660s he settled back in Ugthorpe. His parish, which was known by the extinct name of Blackamoor, extended between Guisborough, Pickering and Scarborough.
Although anti-Catholic feeling in England had subsided a good deal at that time, it flared up again due to the “Popish Plot” of 1678. (This followed a false testimony from Titus Oates in which he claimed there was a conspiracy to install a Catholic king. He managed to foment a panic, with renewed and fierce persecution of English Catholics.) It was to be the last time that Catholics were put to death in England for their faith; one of the last victims - but not the very last - was Nicholas Postgate. He was apprehended by the excisemen while carrying out a baptism at the house of Matthew Lyth at Little Beck, near Whitby. Then aged 82, he was condemned for being a priest. He was hanged, disembowelled and quartered at York in 1679. His quarters were given to his friends and interred.
Reeves, the exciseman who arrested Postgate, was listed in a treasury book as having been paid 22 shillings for the arrest, but some believe he did not receive the money before he committed suicide by drowning.
More information on these English Martyrs can be found at:
The Venerable Bede
Bede was born in about 673AD somewhere near Jarrow. He was sent to Monkwearmouth monastery at the age of seven, and later joined Abbot Ceolfrith at Jarrow monastery nearby. While he spent most of his life in the monastery there, Bede travelled to several abbeys and monasteries across the British Isles.
He is well known as an author and scholar, and his most famous work gained him the title "The Father of English History". This was ‘Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum’ or ‘The Ecclesiastical History of the English People’ which was completed in 731 AD. In this work, Bede details the history of the conversion of the English to Christianity from the time of St Augustine through to the early eighth century. Not only did he leave a coherent record of the foundation of early Christianity in England, but it also set an example of how this was successfully achieved. He developed a science of calculating dates, and helped popularize the practice of dating forward from the birth of Christ (Anno Domini - AD – in the year of our Lord), a practice which eventually became commonplace.
Bede was moreover a skilled linguist and translator, and his work made the Latin and Greek writings of the early Church Fathers much more accessible to his fellow Anglo-Saxons, which contributed significantly to English Christianity. There was a comparatively good library at Jarrow, and he also corresponded with and consulted other learned people to research his writings. During his lifetime Bede wrote around 40 books, dealing mainly with theology and history.
Bede was one of the greatest teachers and writers of the Early Middle Ages and is considered by many historians to be the most important scholar of antiquity for the period between the death of Pope Gregory I in 604 and the coronation of Charlemagne in 800. He died at Jarrow aged about 62 in 735AD, and his remains are in Durham Cathedral. We commemorate him on May 25th.
Find out more at:
Beverley Minster is named for John, Bishop of York, who founded a monastery on the site and was buried in the chapel of his Saxon church in 721. He was canonised in 1037 and a Norman church was built around his tomb. His bones still lie beneath a plaque in the nave of the present church.
After a fire, a new church was built between 1220 and 1425, embracing and blending the elements of three architectural styles: Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular.
Saint John of Beverley, (born, Harpham, Yorkshire, died May 7, 721, Beverley), was one of the most popular medieval English saints.
After studies at St. Augustine’s Monastery, Canterbury, under the celebrated abbot St. Adrian, John entered Whitby Abbey. In 687 he succeeded St. Eata as bishop of Hexham, and in 705 was consecrated bishop of York. He founded a monastery at Inderawood, later called Beverley, where he retired after resigning his bishopric between 717 and 720 to St. Wilfrid the Younger.
King Henry V of England ascribed to John the victory of his soldiers over the French at Agincourt, on Oct. 25, 1415—the anniversary of the translation of John’s remains to York (1037) from Beverley, where his shrine was a popular pilgrimage during the Middle Ages. In 1416 Henry ordered John’s feast day, May 7, to be kept throughout England. Accounts of John’s miracles are in the Ecclesiastical History of the English People by the Venerable Bede.
Find out more at https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-John-of-Beverley and
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8. ASYLUM PROJECT
MAP (Methodist Asylum Project) in Middlesbrough is in need of clothes, shoes and trainers for young men (it has sufficient clothing for women and children). Also, in these unseasonably cold days, clean duvets are needed.
If you have items that you would like to donate, please pass them on to Michelle Clarke or contact us at
image: the MAP football team
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