London: Restoration & Renewal
We have much to be grateful for in St Dominic’s, London.
We are thankful that the community has remained in good health and good spirits in these trying times, and under the lockdown conditions, we discovered a deeper rhythm of community prayer that has led to Sunday Benediction, and a weekly Rosary that we livestream every Friday, and that has brought many people throughout the country to discover the beauty of the Rosary Shrine.
Thanks to generous benefactions, a professional livestream system was installed just in time for the second lockdown, and we have been broadcasting organ recitals, devotions, and a Mass with homily every day. Indeed, on Sundays, we livestream both a sung Ordinary Form Mass, and a Dominican rite Missa Cantata.
The latter, offered at the majestic High Altar of our church, has been extraordinarily well-attended, and after the first lockdown it drew the largest congregation out of the five Sunday Masses, attracting a majority of young adults, many of whom would stay on to attend catechesis after the Mass, either in person (when this is permitted) or via Zoom. As Dominicans we recognise that there is a hunger for beauty, tradition, truth, and doctrinal clarity among a new generation of Catholics, and as pastors, we are grateful for the opportunity to shepherd all those whom Christ has led to our parish and shrine.
The High Altar is now swathed in scaffolding as urgent works have commenced on the repair and restoration of the stonework around the apse windows, and the whole area will be cleaned and re-gilded in readiness for the 800th Jubilee. We are grateful, once again, to those benefactors from the UK and from further afield who have enabled this work to begin, and we are hopeful that the funds we still need will be raised for this important and necessary project.
Covid Spiritual Aid: Rosary
During the second lockdown, the friars went out on the streets of St Dominic’s parish in London every Sunday morning, delivering ‘spiritual care packages’ to parishioners. Each package consists of holy water, prayer cards, a Rosary, and a series of Rosary reflections written by Br Andrew Brookes OP. We have printed these reflections below in the hope that you will find them helpful and inspiring too.
1. The Annunciation
We consider how Mary was asked, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to become the mother of our Saviour, God incarnate, the person who would fulfil the promises of God. We consider her faith and generous response.
Covid intention: Remembering that news often brings challenges as well as blessings, let us pray that as things develop during this ongoing pandemic people everywhere will find faith and generosity to see and positively accept the will of God for them.
2. The Visitation
We consider how both Mary and Elizabeth live by faith in God’s promises, express praise of God, and help each other through charity and encouragement.
Covid Intention: Even though we cannot visit people as often as we might like, let us ask for grace to keep in touch in other ways, and to offer company and encouragement to those who are alone, or vulnerable.
3. The Nativity
We join Mary, St Joseph, the shepherds and wise men, in adoring Christ, our Lord, God, and Saviour, who became flesh for us, sharing our birth, human development and family life so that we could become adopted children of God.
Covid Intention: Covid places strains on family life, and of all life shared under one roof, while also presenting us with opportunities to develop new ways of growing and loving as families. Let us pray for those under strain at home, and for growth and increased love in family life.
4. The Presentation in the Temple
Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the Temple, and there dedicate him to God. Simeon recognises him as the Glory of the Jewish people, and the Light of all nations, but one whose work will be contested and face bitter opposition.
Covid Intention: We have had to get used to not being able to enter our churches and pray and worship there as often as we would like. Let us pray that ways will be found to overcome this obstacle, and also that new ways will emerge for us to grow in grace and prayer, and to encounter the living Lord who is present everywhere.
5. The Finding in the Temple
Mary and Joseph, charged with bringing up Jesus safely, find him after a period of anguish and pain during which he was separated from their presence. In fact, Jesus, aged 12, has stayed in Jerusalem to do his Heavenly Father’s will.
Covid Intention: Covid has resulted in a lack of physical presence of others in people’s lives, and led to the pains of separation and loneliness. Let us pray for all who have suffered in these ways: may they find comfort in their pain, answers in perplexity, and inner growth, peace and joy.
1. The Agony in the Garden
As well as considering the terrible physical pains awaiting him, Jesus contemplates the terrible reality of sin and what this has done to disfigure human dignity and destiny, things he will now restore by becoming a pure offering for sin.
Covid Intention: Let us pray for all who suffer great mental anguish & struggle to accept God and his plan.
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
The body of Jesus is torn apart by the cruelty of men. His heart is ravaged by the hatred of men. He bears it for us, giving us an example of courage.
Covid Intention: Let us pray for all who suffer, often terribly, after catching Covid.
3. The Crowning with Thorns
Jesus, Truth Incarnate & Eternal Wisdom, is mocked, but God fulfils his plan even using the evil plotted against him. Darkness & error cannot overpower Divine Light & Truth.
Covid Intention: May God grant increased humility to humanity faced with our evident weakness and limitations. May God also illumine our minds to find ways to alleviate and cure this disease, and also to find & worship God. We pray for scientists & those determining public health policy.
4. The Carrying of the Cross
Jesus experiences fatigue & our weakness of body, but thinks of others. Simon helps Jesus.
Covid Intention: Let us pray for all who are feeling worn out, and for all carers, remembering especially healthcare staff, and all risking their health to help others: may the Lord sustain them.
5. The Crucifixion & Death of Jesus
Jesus, surrounded mainly by mockery and abuse, suffers appallingly and dies, so that we may not suffer alone and so that our dying may be the gateway to Heaven, if we open our hearts to God and his mercy.
Covid Intention: Let us pray for all who are dying or have died of Covid, and all who mourn.
1. The Resurrection
His disciples have been traumatised by the rejection, torture and death of Jesus, and their own failures. The Lord appears to them, showing his victory over sin and death, filling their hearts with joy, and offering forgiveness, peace and new life.
Covid Intention: Let us pray that our society, so fearful of death, will come to a true understanding of death, and appreciation of life after death, and that more people will turn to the living Lord Jesus, and find life that endures forever.
2. The Ascension
The life, death, and even resurrection of Jesus are not complete until he takes human nature into the glory of heavenly life, and from there continues to bless us and guide us to that same destination.
Covid Intention: Let us pray that societies and individuals will formulate plans and decisions wisely so as both to live well on earth but also to enable more people to enter heaven.
3. The Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
The Lord sends the Holy Spirit in great might to deepen the worship and empower the mission of the Church.
Covid Intention: Covid has created ‘new normals’. Life has been and will be changed by it. May the Holy Spirit lead us to deep renewal of heart, to deeper prayer and to new ways of being church and doing mission.
4. The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
Mary, through whom God became human to save us, is raised up body and soul to Heaven, to enjoy the fulness of that salvation, and becomes a sign of hope and encouragement to all humanity.
Covid Intention: Let us pray that more and more people find support and help in Mary: in the example of her life of faith, hope and charity, and in her powerful prayers for all people.
5. The Coronation of Mary & the Glory of the Saints
The work of God is not complete until after the return of Jesus and the transformation and glory he brings and shares with those who have done the will of God on earth.
Covid Intention: Life on earth and human effort matter hugely. Let us pray that people increasingly turn to God and work with God so that our work will bear fruit that endures forever, our sufferings become creative, and our love endure forever.
Why not join us each Friday at 8pm for the livestreamed Rosary from the Rosary Shrine: