Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace and peace to you in the risen Lord Jesus.
We continue to live in challenging times. Our world is marked by the tragedy of war in Ukraine and other conflicts across the globe. We face the cost of living crisis and the impact of recovery from the pandemic which still significantly affects large numbers of people.
Amid all of this, we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord at Easter, his triumph over sin and death. We welcome the great celebration of the feast of Pentecost, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Our Lady and the apostles, impelling them to share the Good News of the resurrection. We too need this out-pouring of the Holy Spirit to strengthen our mission to share the Gospel.
I know that many of you felt joy and relief when we were able to return to our churches after the lockdown. We wanted to return to Mass, the source of our faith; to the place where we are spiritually restored and replenished. We recognize our need to receive the Lord Jesus sacramentally in the Eucharist, with each other, especially on Sundays, the Lord’s Day. Many, too, have expressed their sadness that, for various reasons, significant numbers of our fellow Catholics have yet return to Mass on Sundays. We know that a living relationship with the Lord Jesus is essential to our lives as disciples. He alone is able to provide what is needed for each of us, supremely so in the Mass.
This Pentecost, I invite you to carry out a simple mission: in the coming days, your parish will be supplied with a short letter of invitation from me, which I invite you to share with anyone you know who has not yet returned to Mass on Sunday. This could be family, friends or neighbours. Do not be afraid, or fearful of the response. All I ask you to do is to pass on this personal invitation so that those who have not yet come back might be encouraged to rediscover the presence of the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist; that they might rekindle their relationship with the community of the Church; that they might be reminded that they are missed, appreciated and loved. Take courage and please pass on the letters which are available to anyone you think might need a word of encouragement.
With my gratitude and every blessing
Yours sincerely in Christ
The Most Reverend John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark