“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.” Robert Binyon

November is a traditional month of remembrance. It’s customary for us to wear poppies during this month to remember all those lost to us during wars and conflict. It is also, in the Catholic tradition, the month of ‘Holy Souls’ where we pray and remember all departed friends and family.

November is also the month my mother died – on the 14th to be exact – three days before my birthday. So, each November since, when I celebrate and remember the day I was born, I also find myself remembering and mourning the very person who gave me that birthday.

My mother died on a Saturday and we had been out to dinner to celebrate my birthday when the call had come through. I saw my phone screen light up with “private number calling” and I knew. I can remember the rush to the hospital. I can remember trying to call a taxi. I can remember worrying that we wouldn’t even get one at that time on a Saturday night. I can remember the ridiculousness of trying to run along the hospital corridor in heels. I can remember us arriving on the ward, the noise of which awakened some of the other patients. I can remember the wait, as they found someone to speak to us; it felt too long.

“Where is the urgency? Don’t they know?” I angrily asked my husband.

“They’re doing their best,” he gently told me.

I can remember them pulling back the hospital curtain and asking them, “Is it too late?”

“Sorry she’s gone,” was the reply.

I don’t really remember much of that night after that.

Life and death

That first birthday after she died, my 25th, I remember my friends and family nervously presenting me with a combination of sympathy cards and birthday cards. “I am so sorry for your loss!” and” Happy Birthday!” mumbled by them in quick succession.

Once all the visitors had left I took all the birthday cards down and just left the sympathy ones. I remember thinking at that moment that I would never celebrate my birthday again. Away from my faith at that time, I didn’t have any hope that my mum had ‘gone on’ to anything and, maybe because of that, I didn’t have much hope that my life would go on in any meaningful way either.

Until I became a mother myself, I had no idea how important my birthday had been to my mother. She always made a big deal of birthdays , every year, even when circumstances made that very difficult to achieve. It’s something that she passed down to me and I always make an incredible fuss of everyone’s birthday but, of course, especially so for my children.

In the July after my mother died, my son turned one. The night before his birthday, my husband and I spent the evening talking through “this time last year” and remembering his birth. His birthday was, of course, his day to celebrate, but also one of the most special days of my life and suddenly I knew what it had meant for my mother.

My birthday was her day as much as mine, and I began to celebrate again in memory of her. But while that was progress of sorts, I was not yet living for me.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:8-9

During the month of Holy Souls, we remember our faithfully departed and, as Christians, as we move from November into December we arrive at Advent – a time when we remember and prepare for the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And really, it is through his life, death and resurrection that we are given the hope of eternal life.

Coming to faith, for me, has meant coming to new life. Through Jesus, I now realise the true gift of life that I have been given and that I am meant to live that life to the fullest. But more than that, I now know I have hope of ‘more’!

The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them. In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, their going looked like a disaster, their leaving us, like annihilation; but they are in peace. If they experienced punishment as men see it, their hope was rich with immortality; slight was their affliction, great will their blessing be.Wisdom (3:1-9)

This month, I will be remembering those I have loved who have died and I will be mourning their loss. I will also be celebrating their lives and, more than that, celebrating the great victory over death won for them – and us – by Jesus.

My mum celebrated on my birthday each year the gift of life that she had been given in me; it is the same gift I celebrate on each of my children’s birthdays. It brings me great peace and joy to know that I am now living that gift to the full, as I know this is all my loved ones would have wanted for me.

I will remember, this month especially, to honour that great gift, as I remember and honour them.

“Eternal Rest grant unto them O Lord and Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen”


He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Psalm 147:4

“Will you PLEASE come inside now, stargazer!”- was a refrain I would hear often when I was little. I used to spend hours sat in the field behind my house, looking at the stars. A born planner and a born dreamer, I would spend my time doing a bit of both. I was planning my escape (I had rather a lot to escape from) and I was dreaming BIG – one day I was going to reach the stars!

“He also made the stars.” Genesis 1-14:16

For many people, when they contemplate space they are reminded of their insignificance: how small they are in comparison with the vastness of the universe. I never used to feel that way, during all those hours that I sat in the starlight. Instead it felt like God had turned the lights on, just for me! I felt intrinsically comforted that the same God who created the stars had also created me. Eventually, I gave up stargazing as I also gave up on God as well, for a time at least. At some point, I forgot to look up and I forgot to look within: I stopped looking for the starlight, for God’s light. And the world grew dark for me.

Twinkle Twinkle, little star! Do you know how loved you are?”

We used to sing that refrain to our children when they were very little and it came back to me as I sat down to write this, and it made me wonder….

Do you know how loved you are? Do you know how much God loves you?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Somebody once told me it is easier to give love than to receive it. Now I know that this is not true of everyone, but it was true for me.

It can be so very easy to think of God, if you think of him at all, as a distant, remote figure; as far away from us as the stars in the sky and just as unreachable. It can be hard to imagine that the creator of those very stars would be in anyway relatable to you.

It can, perhaps, be even harder to imagine the kind of divine love that John 3.16 refers to: “God so loved the world that he gave his only son”. Through his life and sacrifice, Jesus showed us the depths of God’s love for us. On the cross, we find a single act of love so great that it can be hard to fathom sometimes, and even harder to feel worthy of such love.

I sit here now, filled with the same wonder I used to feel when I sat in the starlight, and I feel filled with the same sense of awe when I consider – not only God’s love for me – but also the fact that I have encountered that love in the most personal way.

 I think now of Jesus, not as a remote, distant figure, but instead as the closest of friends. You see, God wants you to know him; he wants a personal relationship with you!

The same God who created the stars, created you.

And, for me, coming to know Jesus, to develop that personal relationship with Him, has utterly transformed my life. We are told that God loves us, but until we open our hearts to accepting that love we are unable to understand that truth fully. By accepting Jesus into my heart and being filled with the Holy Spirit, I was finally able to accept God’s love for me. And by that love, and in that love, I have been saved; I have been freed, and I have been healed.

 I’ve been transformed in love.

In the starlight

When I came to learn about space in school, I was fascinated, completely gripped by the subject. When I came to learn about how my starlight came to be – what the stars were made of – it did nothing to lessen my wonder, in fact, it only enhanced it. 

Stars produce light through nuclear reactions; these reactions make the stars so hot they glow. In short, the starlight comes from fire and, from that fire, energy and light is given out. The light emitted from those stars lights up the sky and, as a child, that light did much to banish the darker parts of my childhood.

When I think of the starlight now – from my adult perspective and, more importantly, from my perspective of faith – this explanation of how the stars emit light could, very easily, be an explanation of what it feels like to be filled with God’s love.

The starlight shines down on me but God’s light shines in me. In fact, I’ve been set ablaze with God’s love; I’ve been set on fire with it and, with that fire, I’ve been pulled from the darkness and my life has been filled with light.

I’m still a dreamer and I’m still a planner and, even now, I still want to reach the stars one day. However, even when I was little, I never dreamed quite big enough to think that I would reach God one day. Of course, I didn’t know then that he was already reaching out to me!


“So, tell me what you understand of what I just said?” my driving instructor (who actually has the patience of a saint) asked me for the third time.

“Ummmm….” I thought about it. I had heard his instruction, I knew what he had said, but my brain had ceased working; I had heard sound, but no meaning. After a long pause, I had to admit that I had understood absolutely nothing of the past ten minutes. I had nothing. Literally nothing.

Unwilling, or perhaps simply unable, to bring himself to ask me a fourth time, my driving instructor proceeded with the lesson. “I am sure actually doing the manoeuvre will help you understand,” he said, rather optimistically. I proceeded to follow his instructions and complete the manoeuvre correctly. “Great!” he enthuses, “So, tell me what you just did?”

Long pause…….

“Yeah, sorry… I’ve got nothing!” I told him truthfully.

Brain fog

“I just couldn’t think!” “I drew a complete blank!”

“Sounds like you had ‘brain fog’,” my friend said to me as I recounted the above tale to her. My experience in my lesson had been far beyond normal tiredness or confusion; my brain, like a stalled engine (to push the driving imagery some more), had simply cut out. “Yes,” she told me, “brain fog can be brought on by medical conditions such as ME, but also by stress and can really interfere with your ability to think. Have you been more stressed or fatigued lately?” she asked me, knowingly. The answer to both was, of course, a very big YES! In fact, in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, I have been feeling both for quite some time. We had a chat, she made me laugh, and I felt a lot better.

Our conversation stayed with me, however, and while I may have been experiencing the temporary effects of fatigue and stress the other day, it also made me ponder a little more deeply the more long-term effects of the current situation that we are in. I realised that my ‘foggy feelings’ ran a lot deeper than one bad driving lesson or in fact one bad week.

“Come to me, all who are weary… and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

Fog is listed as one of the most dangerous driving hazards because – often heaviest at night and in the morning – it limits visibility to such an extent that collisions are very likely. For over six months now we have been in the midst of a global pandemic and I’m tired, I’m really tired. And like driving on a road on a foggy day – I feel my visibility is limited.

 Constantly surrounded by the underlying worry that permeates each day, reacting to each changing situation and supporting my bewildered children who are struggling to understand the latest change or new restriction, it’s becoming increasingly hard to see the road ahead. It’s easy to lose perspective, it is easy to get lost and it’s so very easy to crash!

So what do we do when surrounded by the ‘fog’ of our situation? What do we do when we are fatigued, fearful and just worn down?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

The very good advice for driving in fog is simple: ‘don’t, if you can avoid it’. If only we had such simple options during the weather of life! For the unavoidable foggy journeys, travellers are advised to slow down and turn on their fog lights.

It turns out that studying for my hazard perception test also makes for excellent spiritual direction!

“Slow down and turn on the lights”.

I’m reminded anew about the need to just stop and be still, and to spend time with the Lord in prayer and with the scriptures.  By allowing the word of God to speak personally into my life, I know I often find myself guided, encouraged and renewed.

In prayer, is also where I find myself reminded most clearly that I am not alone in all of this; I am reminded that God is working in – not only me – but also in this current situation.  In Jesus we find a light that can penetrate the darkness, shine in all situations and reach to all corners. It is a light that never dims and never goes out and, when we live by the light of Christ, the path is illuminated before us, our visibility clears and we see the way forward and can move onwards in hope.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

So, if you’re reading this, and you’re tired or worried, or simply fed up. My advice; the advice that I’ve taken myself, is simply:

“Slow down and turn on the lights.”

We can’t avoid driving in this particular storm and we can’t avoid the ‘fog’ of this current crisis, but in prayer and with Jesus’s help we can be strengthened, we can be encouraged, and we can be renewed in Him.

Our faith is a fog light in the storm. It illuminates the path before us and guides us, even when we feel ourselves lost, when we can’t see clearly, when our vision dims.

Jesus is the light of the world and by allowing the light of Christ to guide us, not only do we avoid crashing ourselves, but we can also be a light to others, a guide and a support to them and, together, with God’s grace, we can weather this particular storm until it passes.

The Journey

Are we there yet?

The above sounds like an innocuous enough question, that is, until it is uttered by a child or even worse, multiple children! Add the following factors: being trapped in a car with said children; heat, and a 2+ hour travel time, and the question becomes a feared one!

Driving to our recent holiday, I was treated to a splendid rendition of the ‘Are we there yets?’ by my children and, while I understood their excitement and perhaps admired their consistency (said on a loop for over three hours), it was with much relief and with very little patience left that I was finally able to say, “YES! WE ARE!”

I could identity with my children’s impatient questioning (I was perhaps even more keen than them to escape the car and the questions); the start of a journey is exciting, and I could certainly understand my children’s eagerness to reach our destination.

In the small moments when I was not answering questions, I reflected upon their excitement and on my own.

Naturally, most of us are full of excitement when travelling on holiday, and we can enjoy the excited build-up and the sense of adventure travelling affords.

I don’t know, however, if I would ever have associated (before coming to faith) the joy and excitement of my children travelling, with following Jesus. I never thought of Christianity as something you could be excited about;I didn’t know anything then (I now realise) about Joy!

Yet, my experience of travelling with Jesus – of following him – has been a journey filled with excitement and, at times, great joy.

Journey of faith

“I believe that nothing will happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” Phil 3:8-9

To follow Jesus is a journey.

When I made a decision to follow Jesus, I committed myself to a new path, to a new life in Christ and a new journey began for me. In a short time, I have already travelled far. Knowing Jesus has already changed and shaped my life in truly wonderful ways, and I find myself walking a path I could never have imagined or even hoped for before.

Yet I still have a long way to go, and I sometimes feel like my excited children: impatient and eager to reach the destination. At other times, I feel fearful; I feel like I’m losing direction or unsure of where I’m going. It’s not always easy to trust in the path laid out for us, to follow with faith, to keep our eyes fixed, not on the road, but on the guide.

Keep your eyes on Jesus

There are times when I stumble. Times when I need to remember to stop and be still. Times when I need to seek the Lord in prayer to ask for his help or guidance. But I have, in my journey of faith, never yet felt lost.

And I do still remember what it feels like to feel truly lost. I can still remember that darkness, its totality.

I was once so lost and so far from God that it would have been impossible for me to even begin to imagine the freedom and peace I could feel now.

Yet, here I am.

When I think back from where I was before, to where I am now, I am filled with such gratitude to the Lord that I could weep (and often do)! Knowing Jesus has set me free to choose my own path, I choose to follow him. Freely and joyfully, I walk now with faith-filled footsteps, trusting not in myself, but in Him. I no longer walk in darkness, but in the light!

‘So, am I there yet?  No, but I am well on my way and am learning to appreciate and be thankful for the journey itself.’

“Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you my brothers, I am far from thinking I have already won. All I can say is I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upwards to receive in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:8-9

Since You’ve Been Gone!

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.Matthew 5:4


This picture of my mum and my, then four-month-old son, was taken – on impulse – one Saturday afternoon in mid -November.

And I almost didn’t take it!

Waiting for my mum’s sisters (on a visit from Ireland) to arrive so we could go out to dinner, myself and my mum were just killing time really, chatting and playing with a very smiley Harry. Something made me pause, however, just before my aunts were due to arrive, go and get my camera, and take that picture.

It’s a lovely picture.

It’s also the last picture I have of my mum and my son. Six days after this picture was taken, my mum had died. I didn’t know then, that this would be the last picture I would take of them, and my aunts didn’t know that it would be their last visit to see my mum. You never know in the moment, what is going to be the last moment, do you?

 Happy Birthday 

Today is the 6th August 2020, and I’m writing this during a family holiday. Everyone is asleep, except me. I’m awake, and I can’t help thinking of what today could have been. Today is my mum’s birthday; in fact, it would have been her 60th Birthday. What a celebration that would have been!

Now, it’s another milestone missed; another memory made with a missing piece.


Since you’ve been gone

It’s been 3,917 days…. oh, and about 14 hours, since I last saw my mum. It will be a whole eleven years since that picture was taken, as of this November. That baby is now eleven too, and starting secondary school in September, and is joined by his seven-year-old sister, who my mum never even got to meet.

I was, for a moment, when I came to write this, going to list all the important moments my mum had missed during this time, before realising the sheer futility of that. I’m sure it goes without saying, she has missed much of value: events too numerous to list; important milestones reached; and a thousand little moments in between; numerous times when I have just simply needed my mum.

And while she has been gone, I’m reminded today that that doesn’t mean she has completely gone away.

Reminders of her are with us everywhere. From my likeness to her – anyone who knows me will see that from the above picture, taken on her 31st birthday – to the hundred little ways I see her live on in my own children and, dare I say it, in my own parenting!

So much of her is still here with us.

And there is one very important legacy that she passed down to me; one very important gift she shared with me, that I say special thanks to her for today.

“The child of those tears shall never perish,” 

st monica

St Monica, the mother of St Augustine of Hippo, is known for her many pious acts, one of which was to pray nightly for her son Augustine’s conversion.  Her prayers were eventually answered and her son did indeed come to Christ.  Many parents over the years have continued to pray to St Monica and asked for her intercession for their own wayward children.

I wonder if my own mother prayed to her as well?

A great woman of faith, I know it distressed my mum greatly when I left the Church. She would often assure me that she was praying for me – assurances that went largely ignored by me at the time. When she died, I still hadn’t found my way back to faith; in fact, in the immediate years following her death, I became even more lost.

I did, however, get there eventually, and I can’t tell you the peace it brings me to know that her prayers for me have been granted. Through sharing her faith with me, my mother gave me an incredible gift and showed me the way back, should I ever choose to take it.

 Not gone but rather gone on.

We are spending your birthday today in LEGOLAND, Mum.  I did pause before booking it – wondering if we should mark the day in more sombre fashion, but of course, what better way could I honour your memory than by spending the day making memories with your grandchildren?

Life does go on, but that fact doesn’t make me miss you less; in fact, with each passing year, I think I miss you more.

Yet, through sharing your faith with me, I have the peace of knowing that you haven’t just gone, but have instead have gone on, and that we will see each other again.

Thank you, Mum.

P.S. I hope you like the cake!



Love One Another!


“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 

A couple of summers ago, I met up at a local park with one of my closest friends and our mutual children. We are very blessed, in that our children get on as well as we do, and our daughters – born a couple of weeks apart – are very close.

On this particular day, the children decided to play on the monkey bars, and things did not quite go according to plan….

My daughter, having spent many an hour dangling from the monkey bars at her school, completed them with ease; my son, who had always struggled with them, was now tall enough to complete them, and my friend’s son was either too young or just too laid back to care much about them at all. My friend’s daughter, however, longing to follow her best friend, was struggling to complete them and – having just a touch of competitive streak (oh how I can identify with that) – was not prepared to let the matter drop.

Over and over she began to try to complete them; getting increasingly upset with each failed attempt, and mine and her mother’s attempts to encourage and console her only seemed to make things worse. Now, what did the other children do? Did they gloat at being able to complete them with such ease? Did they get bored and leave their friend to struggle alone?

The children, those wonderful children – aged all of 9, 6 and 3 – formed what can only be described as their own personal cheerleading squad.

My daughter stopped dangling herself and offered words of advice and technique, and her friend’s younger brother (in a wonderful display of sibling solidarity) joined in with much enthusiasm as they began to cheer and encourage every attempt she made.

And my son, putting an arm around his friend while she cried, shared – with all the sound wisdom of someone who ‘had been there’ – how hard he had found it too, but that he could do them now, and one day so would she.

We may have left the park that day with the monkey bars still unconquered, but we left with something far more valuable. We left with an unforgettable lesson on the power of friendship and the importance of encouraging one another, taught to us by our children.

fab four

Faith and friendship 

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

Jesus, of course, also taught of the value of friendship and, as Christians, we are invited not only to develop a friendship with Jesus, but also with each other as well. In fact, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are in a very special position of developing friendships that not only allow us to encourage and support one another, but that also support us in our own faith journey. United in Christ, we are – in our faith communities – encouraged to follow the example given by Jesus, of loving each other, as Jesus loves us.

In practice, of course, that is not always an easy thing to do. Friendships require care; they need nurturing. They ask us to give of ourselves freely, to forgive readily and to love fiercely.

However, in our busy lives it can be easy to overlook our friendships, to forget the value of our friends. We can sometimes allow jealousy or upset to cloud our friendships, and we can forget to help our friends know their own worth; we can forget to help them know their value to us, and we can forget to build them up, to encourage them.

That day in the park with my children taught me so much about what it means to be a good friend. Children have a wonderful capacity to simply love, to simply value each other, in a way that adults, with all our knowledge and experience, can sometimes simply fail to do. Children, well, they value their friends.

And that is a lesson worth remembering: there is so much value to be found in our friendships, in each other. By growing in our friendships, we also grow in our relationship with Christ, and what greater example can there be of what it means to be Christian, than is shown in the way in which we love one another?

romans quote





Returning and remembering

welcome back


I can still remember the first time I returned to Church after a long absence.

I had recently moved to a new area and I found myself, one Saturday afternoon, on what seemed like a random impulse googling my local church’s Mass times. I discovered that there was a Vigil Mass in just a few hours’ time and I remember announcing to my then boyfriend (now, husband) that I was going to go to Mass later that day. I remember his bemused expression; I had generally considered myself an atheist at that point in my life but, laidback as ever, he merely shrugged and asked when I would be home.

I hadn’t, at that point, other than on a few rare occasions (weddings and such), been inside a church since my early teens and I remember that, as I approached the church, I was suddenly filled with doubts. Where would I sit? Would I remember what to say? I still wasn’t even sure why I was going there at all! I remember taking a hymn book, but – alas! – not a Mass card, and finding a seat at the back (I still remembered some Catholic traditions).

As the service began, I felt this strange mixture of the familiar and the new.  So much was as I had remembered, yet there were differences too. I found myself beginning to say responses and then belatedly realising some had now changed (I should have picked up that Mass card!) I found myself struggling to know when to sit or stand; I felt, at times, out of step and yet, yet… there was a part of me that felt so comfortable. There was familiarity and a sense of belonging.

I didn’t go back to church for a long time after that day and it took me longer to return fully to faith but I never quite forgot that first ‘welcome back’ I felt.

Mass kit

Welcome back

Last Saturday, I once again found myself in a church after a long absence – this one counted in months, not years – and I found I felt each of those months more acutely than the whole of my decade-long absence before.

For the first time since the start of lockdown, I was able to attend Mass! Walking up the drive to our church last weekend, I was reminded of my first return to Mass all those years ago, and I’ve been pondering why that memory should have come back to me so strongly, just then, for most of this week.

It may have been something to do with the emotions I was feeling. Once again I was feeling that strange mixture of the familiar and the new, and that feeling of uncertainty was back. I was, again, wondering where I would sit and whether I would remember to do the right thing at the right time. I have walked up the path to our Church thousands of times, and it felt so familiar to do it again, yet things were – are – different. With social distancing measures still in place, I had known many things would be different. From where we sat (2m distancing places), to the wearing of face masks and changes in the liturgy.

As I arrived at Church last Saturday though, and found my seat at the back (not everything has changed), I felt that anxiety melt away. Yes, some things are different, but like so much of our experience in recent months, you find that you adapt and adjust and, as the Mass began, I felt such a strong sense of being back where I belonged, gathered once more in person with other members of my faith community.



I talk about ‘coming back’ to Church, but in some ways we have never really been away. Our Church is made of living stones; we are the Church, after all.

Jesus – and our faith, of course – does transcend Church walls and lockdown restrictions but, as Catholics, we do believe that we encounter Christ in very special way through the sacraments and for months we have been unable to receive those sacraments. I, like so many of you, I know, have felt that loss very deeply.

Last Saturday I was able to receive Holy Communion once more and if I had felt welcomed back already, it really was nothing compared to the welcome I received from the Lord, as I was once again able to encounter his presence in the Eucharist.

Despite the uniqueness of our present circumstances, I left Mass last week filled with joy and looking forward, already, to the next time I could return home.

“Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem! Zechariah (9:9-10)






No going back?!



Responding to crisis

I’m privileged to be involved in leading the Alpha Course on behalf of my parish. Back in March, with one session left of our course, we were forced to cancel our current sessions, as the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic became apparent. One week later all church services were ordered to stop, and the week after that the whole country entered full lockdown.

Back in March I had never heard of Zoom; I never watched an online Mass or thought about running a course like Alpha online either.
Yet within a week of lockdown being introduced, our parish priest had manged to buy one of the last rolls of router cable left in stock and, through trial and error, began to live stream Mass from our parish.

We also began very quickly to build up our community presence on social media and our parishioners mobilised to offer pastoral support to those who could not access online content.

I know this response was echoed in many parishes, all over the world.

Steps of faith

There has, for me, been something deeply missionary about our steps to embrace new technology and keep our faith communities connected in this crisis.

Each foray into new technology, each attempt to adapt our pastoral care to meet the changing needs of the situation, every new innovation to bring the word of God to people and keep Catholic teaching alive has involved stepping out in faith.

Those steps have often been bold and have, on occasion, seen us stumble, as we grapple to learn technology or deal with technical mishaps. And all of those steps have involved asking: What is God asking of us at this time? How are we being called to respond?

How far we have come!

From our first faltering steps and humble beginnings, our online presence has begun to grow.

Just last week, I spent a wonderful three hours on Zoom helping to lead our online Alpha Holy Spirit evening. This was followed by watching Mass live-streamed from my parish the next day, and then catching up with other parishioners at our online tea and coffee session after Mass. Later in the day, I tuned into one of our live prayer intention sessions on Facebook that has been running nightly during lockdown.

In three months, our parish – like so many others – has embraced new technology courageously, as we have sought to respond to the crisis and meet the needs of our faith communities in this most challenging of times.

In three months we have moved ‘Church’ online!



Moving forward in faith

As I write this, we have just received the news that from the 4th July we will be allowed to gather again for public Mass. This is much prayed for and much welcomed news!
Yet, as we gather once more in our parishes, as we return to our church buildings, I am increasingly aware that this does not mean we will see a return to ‘normal’ parish life, as we knew it before.

Naturally Covid restrictions will (for some time yet) change how we celebrate the liturgy, how we gather and in what numbers we meet. The change, however, runs much deeper than that, and will reach far beyond the length of this pandemic. 2020 has seen, for society as a whole, a seismic shift in so many areas of our life that our post-pandemic world is bound to look very different from the one we knew before. This also, of course, is true for our faith communities. We clearly can’t go back to how things had been, and would we want to?

What lessons – learned in lockdown – would we want to take forward? What would we like to see happen next?



In Communion

As we come out of lockdown, this is a time of great hope, as we gradually see restrictions lift. It is also a time of uncertainty, as we adjust to this ‘new normal’ and how life will look from now on.

The question ‘What’s next?’ can be a very anxiety-filled one in the current climate; so much is uncertain, and people have very real fears of how the lift in restrictions might affect the spread of Covid. However, that question can also be a hope-filled one. Within the uncertainty of this situation, there is also opportunity.

We have a chance to rewrite how our parishes might look; we have a chance to take the lessons learnt, in response to an unprecedented crisis, and shape a new future. We have a rare, if not unique, chance to marry tradition and innovation together; to further build up our communities of faith, and prepare our parishes to meet the needs of a changed world.

In conversation

In the past few months, I have had so many exciting and thought-provoking conversations with people, as we have discussed ways we can stay connected at this time. There has been an incredible outpouring of shared ideas and partnership, as we have worked together and reflected on how God is moving in this situation.

It is a conversation – started in crisis – that needs to continue in this time of transition and beyond.

We need to be talking with each other about what we each would like to see in our parishes moving forward. What aspects of the new technology we have been using would people like to see continued? What works? What doesn’t?

In hope

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Above all else we need to move forward in hope.

As we seek to adapt and plan for the future let us keep Jesus in our hearts and at the heart of all we set out to do.

Let us be brave and bold as we seek to renew our parishes, and allow us to keep our missionary spirt alive, as we seek to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to others.

If God is your partner, make your plans BIG!
Dwight L. Moody






Beginnings, Blessings and Blogging!


” For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:6 





Blogging beginnings

On Friday, I received a ‘congratulations’ notification from WordPress to let me know that I had reached my first milestone as fledging blogger; I had now reached 10 published posts!
Reflecting on my blogging journey so far – new as it is – I felt a deep sense of gratitude for all the process has granted me so far.
Each of my 10 entries has come from a place of prayer and each one has had great meaning for me. As I share on my home page, I have felt called to share my faith in this way for some time. From a very early age, I loved to write and I spent most of my childhood writing stories and adventures to entertain my friends. That gift was lost to me though, as I grew older, and I gradually wrote less and less.




Guided by faith, not fear

It is human nature for us to put obstacles in our own paths and, for a long time, while I sensed God was calling me to write in this way, I found myself putting different road blocks in the way.
I don’t have time!
I don’t have the technical skills!
I don’t know what to write!
God however has a way of moving those obstacles and helping us to navigate a clear path through.
Firstly, amid a pandemic, I suddenly had time.
Then, a conversation with my very good friend, Steph (who also happens to be a fantastic editor – check out if you ever need editing help, by the way), provided me with the technical and moral support to get started.
Finally, in prayer, I found my inspiration and direction.

A journey of faith

Encountering Jesus in a personal way has truly changed my life and ignited my faith. I find it such a blessing to be able to use my love of writing to share with others how Jesus has changed, and is changing, my life and am so grateful to all of you who have followed this journey with me so far.

If you are new to my page, a very warm welcome and please do leave a message to say hello! I really enjoy chatting with people and hearing your views on some of the topics I have covered in my blogs. When you are new to blogging every comment or new follower really does feel like ‘good news!’

Another piece of good news I received on Friday was that my blog had made it onto a list of ‘Top Catholic Blogs’. Not only was this a humbling experience, to be honoured in this way, it was also a great blessing to read the full list and see how many wonderful Catholic writers there are online. I would highly encourage you to check out the full list for yourself, here:

Top 100 Catholic Blogs, Websites & Influencers in 2020

Writing has really sustained me during this difficult period of lockdown and I have found so much encouragement in reading the faith-filled words of others as well.

I thank God for the gifts I have been given and I’m excited to see where the Spirit might lead me next.


Perfect Peace!



“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3


NOUN Unease 
anxiety or discontent.
“public unease about defence policy”
terror · fright · fearfulness · horror · alarm · panic · agitation · trepidation · dread · consternation · dismay · distress · anxiety · worry · angst · uneasiness · apprehension · apprehensiveness · nervousness · nerves · timidity · disquiet · disquietude”



Watching the news during the last few months has, for me, been an unsettling experience, to say the least. Amid a global pandemic, the news has been anxiety-filled for some time.
With the tragic death of George Floyd a couple of weeks ago, the news has most recently been filled with images of worldwide protests, as people express their outrage at – not only his death – but at the inherent racism and oppression that, unfortunately, is a painful reality for many people in the world.

I have been listening to many voices as this debate has raged across the world, from views of how people should protest, down to the reasons that they need to.

It’s the voices of my friends that have most stuck in my mind, however. In so many recent conversations, their fear for the future has been prominent, as have their very real worries about the kind of world that their children are growing up in. Most of all I have sensed their feelings of powerlessness.

We all know change is needed and many of us would like to be part of effecting some change, in our own small way. Yet, in the face of such need in the world, with the backdrop of such darkness, lasting change can feel elusive or even impossible.

Fear as narrative

It is difficult not to adopt a narrative of fear in times as uncertain as this. The news has often been filled with images of angry clashes between police and protesters, news of civil unrest or the daily updates of how the pandemic is ravaging parts of the world.These are all facts but they are not the whole story.

Finding light in the darkness

There is another narrative that is playing out – one that as Christians we have the privilege of being more aware of – and that is one of faith.

I was deeply moved to see images of protesters and police praying for one another, and the numerous peaceful protests in many parts of the world, and to hear the calls for peace from all areas of society.

Similarly, amidst this pandemic there have great moves towards unity in many countries, as people have joined together to tackle the crisis and support the vulnerable.

As a Christian, I believe that God is moving in all of these situations and through the lens of faith I find myself remaining hopeful of our ability to change, of our ability to seek peace.

Prince of peace

“And he will be called. Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

The word ‘peace’ is defined as either ‛freedom from disturbance; tranquillity’ or ‛a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended.’
Peace can seem like such an unattainable concept in the face of conflict, as can faith in the face of fear.

The truth is we will never find either kind of peace alone.

The kind of lasting peace that the world needs, the kind of inner peace and freedom from fear that we each need, can only come from a change of heart – from opening our hearts, more fully to Jesus.

As St Paul tells us, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4

The sign of peace 

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The final definition of the word ‘peace’ is ‛a ceremonial handshake or kiss exchanged during a service in some Churches (now usually only in the Eucharist), symbolizing Christian love and unity.’

In the Catholic Church, the ‘sign of peace’ takes place during every Mass and is an expression of the peace, unity and charity that exist in our Christian community. We, of course, have not been able to shake hands with each other during the course of this pandemic and may not for some time, yet the Christian love and unity that this gesture symbolises are still present and still very much an outward expression of our faith.

I am reminded of the need for our faith communities to continue to reach out to each other at this difficult time, but also of our call to reach out to the world, to all people.

I remain hopeful that change is possible and, in amidst the unease and unrest, I can still feel peaceful and I can still pray for peace with conviction.

I can feel this way because of my faith in Jesus Christ, because through Him all things are possible and through Him we will find everlasting peace.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27