DURING ‘the Lockdown’ in 2020, East Hendred Catholic Parish, in common with everywhere else, had no church services. Instead, as in many other places, we live-streamed the Mass and some other liturgies. Unlike the great centres, there were no stirring audience figures but there were many and various who tuned in to watch and take part. Many were from other parts of the country, and some from other parts of the world. There were many more who used the Daily Bulletin for their own private prayer: it was sent daily, Sunday to Friday, to all those on the parish’s Bulletin e-list.
Each day there was a psalm, a reading, a reflection, and a collect, together with the resources for an Act of Spiritual Communion. All of this was under the heading ‘Food for the Journey’. This collection here is the anthology of reflections. By ‘reflection’ I do not quite mean ‘homily’ – these reflections are slightly different. Each day we have usually taken one of the readings appointed for Mass as the basis for the reflection. Sometimes the reflection is more of a bible commentary, sometimes more of a homily.
2020 is the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini – Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’ - and the 1,600 anniversary of St Jerome’s death. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have dedicated this year to focus on the Bible and ‘The God Who Speaks’. The Covid-19 Plague might have disrupted that to some extent but, in that there is plenty of opportunity to engage with Scripture in the privacy of our own homes, initiatives like ‘Food for the Journey’ have borne much spiritual fruit.