Spring is coming!

Wow – March was busy! It started with a visit to Year 4 at St. Michael’s, on the 1st, to prepare their class Mass. They were so enthusiastic and then wanted to sing/sign me a version of the Hail Mary they had been learning for their assembly…it was lovely.

The next day was a nice early start…I was up at 3am! Why? It was Flame 19 day! I had to pick up people and then head to Woodchurch to get the coach. We set off just after 5, headed to Telford for another pick up, then after a slight detour met the Manchester coach at the services on the M6 toll. We had a full afternoon once we were there with music, testimonies and talks – the theme was significance. Everyone had a great time and it was nice to bump into some friends! The coach journey home took a little longer than originally planned/thought and I finally walked through my house door at 1:30am on Sunday morning! But it was worth it.

The day after was a bike ride in Runcorn, as we’d had to postpone due to illness. So after Mass a small group of us went up to Murdishaw, through Sutton Weaver and back to Church…knackered was the only word in my vocabulary! A well earned day off was on the cards on the Monday!

Wednesday was Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent – so I, along with Sandy and Sophie, joined St. Michael and All Angels Primary School for Mass and the distribution of Ashes – the children read and sang beautifully!

The rest of the week was filled with more preparation for various things coming up and meetings! Oh and a special birthday for my Sister in law – my niece decided how the cake was going to be decorated!

The next week started with Alpha Youth at St. Maximilian’s – it’s wonderful to see the young people talk so openly about faith and share their own thoughts and stories.

I was asked to join Sandy and Sophie as they helped with Reconciliation Liturgies at Ellesmere Port Catholic High School at the end of the week and the beginning of next. We met to plan and I was tasked with making prayer stations for after Reconciliation so there were some actions to do after receiving the sacrament. Every young person in the school was given the opportunity to sit with a priest and receive forgiveness or a blessing. They were 3 busy mornings!

Our Alpha Youth Weekend was in the middle of these mornings – it turned into more of a general youth weekend though but everyone had fun and time to reflect too. We arrived on Friday night and settled in, just as we were about to get ready to go to the beach for night prayer the heavens opened! Saturday morning started with morning prayer led by one of our young people – it was beautiful. We then had a little introduction and started to do some Lent artwork before braving the elements and heading down to the beach. The wind was so strong if you fell back into it, it held you up! In the afternoon we chatted more about Lent, decorated some of the rocks collected to leave behind with Lenten messages on and wrote prayers for the celebration of Mass the next day.

When Fr. Peter arrived we went out for another walk. The weather was much calmer and the sun began to set as we walked. After tea we did a night walk to the beach and prayed all together, just before the rain started again!

On the Sunday morning we celebrated Mass and were joined by one of the original owners of the house we stayed in. She was overwhelmed by our spirituality and by the celebration of Mass – so much so she wanted to keep the artwork of the stars to remind her of our visit.

In Runcorn, after our first Alpha we are still meeting to share more ideas and have been watching clips of Fr. James Mallon talking about Divine Renovation. It’s a great opportunity to build upon the friendships made through Alpha.

It was Year 4’s turn to come to Mass and help lead our celebration. Some were a bit nervous but they overcame their nerves and read and sang beautifully. When I went in to prepare with them they all decorated a footprint as we talked about how to get to heaven we need to follow Jesus.

The Adult Alpha weekend was next…what is it they say ‘no rest for the wicked’?! However helping to organise and lead something which is desscribed as ‘life changing’, ‘transforming’ and ‘uplifting’, among other things, is such a joy and a pleasure. The trust and openness shown among people that only met a matter of weeks ago is overwhelming. It was a truly Spirit filled weekend!

The last week of March was as full as the rest of it! Plenty of meetings in both parishes and to end the term Year 5’s Class Mass. Again another class of fabulous readers and singers! It has been a great pleasure working with all the classes to prepare the Masses and I’m looking forward to working with them again next half term!

March ended with Family Mass and Youth activities at St. Michael’s. Some of our younger children helped with different ministries during Mass which was lovely to see and they loved getting involved! As it was also Mothers Day we gave all the ladies a little gift of a daffodil which brought lots of smiles! Some of the young people then joined us for hot dogs and art with a lenten theme. We talked about Lent as a time to change, not physically, but spiritually and grow closer to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

So, on to April – finishing Youth Alpha, Faith in Action prayer day, a film afternoon and plenty more to do!

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