Thursday in Week of Easter 5

Acts 15.7-21; Psalm 95; John 15.9-11

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” Jesus promised his disciples at his Ascension [Acts 1.8], and throughout the Acts of Apostles are descriptions of the effects of that power in outbursts of ecstatic speech [2.4], miracles of healing [3.1-10], and the juddering of buildings’ foundations. [5.31; cf Isaiah 6.4] The disciples themselves, timorous and faint-hearted so recently [Matthew 26.56; John 20.19], are now articulate [Acts 2.14-36], persuasive [2.41], self-assured [4.13], their encounters with others bold [4.31] and insightful [5.1-11].

These same outcomes occur as the Holy Spirit is outpoured on others, including those outside the covenant of Israel. [10.44-48] “Signs and wonders” of the Spirit’s life were being manifested in places and among people thought to be outside the interests of God. [Deuteronomy 7.1-6] As King David had once welded the tribes of Israel into a unified monarchy [Psalm 121(122).3-4] so a new and greater David [Matthew 21.9] would draw all the nations of the world into a whole [Amos 9.11-12]. All the earth were singing with one heart and voice, as God’s own joy was being experienced by all of God’s people. [John 15.11]

Pastoral Ministry – Diocesan course

We are now actively seeking to recruit for the next Pastoral Ministry Formation course which begins in September 2023. The course is ideal for ANY parishioner who seeks to develop their capacity to serve the parish in anyway which they believe the Lord is calling them. If you are a catechist – this course is for you. If you are a minister in any form – this course if for you. If you are not involved in any way – but would like to be – this course if for you! Interested? – then please do come to one of our information evenings which will be taking place around the Diocese in June. Here you will hear in more detail about the two courses, content of both, time commitment involved and costs including the role of parishes to support those who take on either of the courses.

Jane Andrews has recently completed this program, and would be delighted to discuss it with you. Please find her before the start of 09:30 Sunday Mass with the music group, or click here to email her.


Dates and venues for information sessions are below. Each session starts at 7pm, no need to book, just turn up on the evening.


Thursday 1 June:  English Martyrs, Chard

Tuesday 6 June:  St George, Taunton

Wednesday 7 June:  St Gregory the Great, Cheltenham

Monday 12 June:  St George, Warminster

Tuesday 13 June:  Sacred Heart, Westbury-on-Trym

Wednesday 14 June:  St John the Evangelist, Bath

Thursday 15 June:  St Peter, Swindon


Tuesday 20 June: St Margaret Mary, Coleford




With all good wishes,





Sarah Adams


Director for the Department of Adult Education and Evangelisation

Alexander House

160 Pennywell Road




Tel. 07779003431

0117 902 5595

Wednesday in Week of Easter 5

Acts 15.1-6; Psalm 121; John 15.1-8

Napoleon Bonaparte, keen to cock a snook at the Catholic Church, undertook instruction from Islamic imams. When his studies were completed, they were ready to make him a Moslem, but told him he would first have to forswear alcohol and submit to circumcision. Napoleon quickly decided to settle instead for a certificate of Islamic study.

His predicament parallels the difficulty the earliest Christians faced in trying to incorporate Gentiles into the nascent Church. Was Christian faith the completion of the covenant God had made with Abraham, so that to be a Christian one first had to keep the whole of the Torah? Or did the revelation of Christ cut across the old distinctions between Israel and “the nations”?

It was in the preaching of Paul, addressed first to the Jews but then, when the message fell on deaf ears, offered to Gentiles, that the answer began to be worked out. The Gentiles, Paul declared, had been grafted onto the tree of Israel, “to share with them the rich sap.”
[Romans 11.17-18] God himself had welcomed all peoples into his own house.

Tuesday of the Week of Easter 5

Acts 14.19-28; Psalm 144; John 14.27-31

A peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you” Jesus declares. Much of our lives is occupied in ineffectual efforts to find peace—with God, with our neighbours, with ourselves.

Shalom was Jesus’ first word to his startled and befuddled disciples on the evening of his resurrection day, when he broke through the locked door behind which they had barricaded themselves. That everyday greeting (cognate with the Hebrew verb meaning to be whole or complete) assumed new force on that day. Jesus’ greeting created peace, effectuated coherence out of the shards and fragments of all they had just a few days earlier thought they knew for sure.

Peace is more than a simple negative—the absence of hostility and violence. It is an energy, a creative power. As such, peace is a gift to be received from God, not something we can conjure for ourselves. It emerges from hardship and suffering, not in spite of them. Christ’s peace opens doors in our hearts and enables us to find peace with one another, and wholeness and coherence in ourselves.

Monday of the Week of Easter 5

Acts 14.5-18; Psalm 113; John 14.21-26

Most of today’s Republic of Turkey was once the Roman Province of Asia Minor (“Little Asia”). Located on the Anatolian (from the Greek word for sunrise) peninsula, bounded on the north by the Black Sea, on the west by the Aegean and on the south by the Mediterranean, this province was one of the wealthiest and most densely-populated parts of the Roman Empire. Christianity spread rapidly here and the first seven ecumenical councils were held in its cities of Nicaea (twice), Constantinople (thrice), Ephesus and Chalcedon.

By the early 20th Century, though, less than a tenth of the Anatolian population were Christians. Virtually all of these were forced out of the area by the 1923 compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey.

Paul and Barnabas invited their Lycaonian hearers, in almost the dead centre of Anatolia, to turn from “empty idols” into the embrace of the living God. Today we are more diffident, preferring to find ways to live alongside adherents of other faiths, thinking perhaps that God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ to us alone rather than that he has given us a story to tell to the nations. Yet the Gospel cannot be good news for any if it is not good news for all. God’s life within us is meant to be a kind of virus, infecting all whom we encounter with the blessing of the One Maker of heaven and earth.

The Coronation

Prayer from the Conference of Catholic Bishops

O God, to whom every human power is subject,
grant to your servant our sovereign Charles
success in the exercise of his high office,
so that, always revering you and striving to please you,
he may constantly secure and preserve
for the people entrusted to his care
the freedom that comes from civil peace.
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.

V: O Lord, save Charles, our King.
R: And hear us on the day we call upon you.
V: O Lord, hear my prayer.
R: And let my cry come before you.
V: The Lord be with you.
R: And with your spirit.

Almighty God, we pray,
that your servant Charles, our King,
who, by your providence has received the governance of this realm, may continue to grow in every virtue,
that, imbued with your heavenly grace,
he may be preserved from all that is harmful and evil and,
being blessed with your favour may,
with his consort and the royal family,
come at last into your presence,
through Christ who is the way, the truth and the life
and who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.


The English Martyrs

Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 30(31):3-4,6,8,17,21; Matthew 10:17-20

These great people, 42 in number (there were of course many more, that went unrecorded as well as about 240 who are noted as 'blesseds') gave their lives to keep the flame of faith burning in England. They were raised to the rank of Saints in the 1970 (I should know, my confirmation saint is one of them, Alban Roe). Saints John Roberts and Ambrose Barlow were from the Benedictine monastery of St Gregory at Douay - the order later founding our Parish here in Cheltenham. So we have a particular reason to be thankful for their witness.

Saints Philip and James, Apostles

1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Psalm 18(19):2-5; John 14:6-14

Philip was born at Bethsaida and started as a disciple of John the Baptist. After the Baptist’s death he followed Christ. James, a cousin of the Lord, was the son of Alphaeus. He ruled the Church at Jerusalem; wrote an epistle; led an austere life; and converted many Jews to the Faith. He was crowned with martyrdom in the year 62.
James and Philip were each powerful witnesses to the Lord, but they each needed his individual attention to bring them fully into his fold. James was one of the few to have a 1:1 meeting with the risen Lord - and we do not know what Jesus said to him. But from his letter we do know that he adopted much he same attitude to those with health and power as Jesus did - giving strong warnings to them to keep them from abusing their position. Philip was publicly taught by Jesus, along with the other apostles, that Jesus himself was the way to the Father, not just a messenger about the Father. Belief in Jesus is the same as belief in God.
We rightly celebrate today as a feast for these two men who met Jesus and brought his way and his Word to many.