Welcome to the Catholic Parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel, London Road, Wickford, Essex. Here you will find details about many of the services, events and activities which take place within our parish. Whether you are new to the parish, visiting Wickford for the weekend, or a long standing parishioner, we hope that you find this website helpful and informative.
Wishing You Hope and Joy this Easter
On Friday 27th March, Pope Francis celebrated an extraordinary moment of prayer (with his Urbi et Orbi message) in St Peter’s Square in Rome.
As the skies were darkening in Rome and in the context of the Coronavirus, he said “Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets, and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost.”
Without exception, all people have felt the concern and worry of this time and will continue to do so until there is an end to the spread of this disease.
But, on this Easter Sunday, we are reminded of a great hope, our hope in the Risen Jesus. When all seemed lost, after Jesus was dead and buried after his crucifixion, when the Apostles were hiding for fear of reprisals, Jesus rose again as he said he would, and hope and joy filled the disciples’ hearts.
By his death on the cross, Jesus destroyed death and opened up the way to eternal life for us. He is that light that shines in the darkness, a light that the darkness cannot overcome, and he gives us great hope, hope not just for this world, but a hope that reaches out into eternity.
Today, we celebrate a very different kind of Easter Sunday as we will not be able to come together with our families nor indeed with our church family here at Our Lady of Good Counsel, but we are still buoyed up today by our faith and hope in the Risen Jesus, and with the confident hope that there will be an end to the spread of this disease.
So, today, we celebrate as best we can, but all the while remembering and praying for those affected by the Coronavirus, and for all the Doctors, Nurses and Careworkers who are caring for them.
Wishing you the hope and joy of the Risen Christ,
MESSAGE FROM FR. MARK
As Cardinal Vincent Nichols put it earlier this week, “As we begin our most important week of the year, namely, Holy Week, the way we follow Christ – from his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, to the foot of the Cross, to an empty tomb – will be completely different this year” because of the Coronavirus.
Our Lady of Good Counsel would normally have been packed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but sadly this year we won’t be able to celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour together in the church. “This year,” the Cardinal continued, “we will follow Holy Week at home.”
With that sad reality in mind, can I encourage you to celebrate Holy Week as best as you can at home, trying to mark in different ways the great liturgies of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Celebrations.
You might try some Spiritual Reading, Praying with Scripture, following the Liturgy of the Hours, praying the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross, or indeed joining me virtually through the Livestreaming, as well as engaging your children in some way with Holy week (please note that we have some family Resources on the website, including Children’s Stations of the Cross).
Also, if you know of someone who does not have the internet or satellite TV, of your charity, could you please let them know that they could access RTE Radio on 252 Long Wave for Mass.
In addition, people, through no fault of their own, will be unable to fulfil their normal Easter Duties (of going to Confession and receiving Holy Communion). I have already mentioned the possibility of making a Spiritual Communion in lieu of receiving Holy Communion, but I also explain what you can do if you are unable to go to confession on the page listed under the Coronavirus Resources at the top of this website.
United in prayer at this difficult time. God bless and stay safe,
Prayers from Home
PHOTO’S NEEDED! Have you set up a prayer corner at home that you can take a picture of? Or can you send us a selfie of yourself watching our livestream? If so, please email them into the parish office – firstname.lastname@example.org as we would like, (with your permission of course!) to create a gallery on the parish website, to show that although our parish family may be physically separated, we are one family united spiritually in prayer.
The gallery can be in the Coronavirus Update menu above or here Prayers From Home
- If you are aged 70 and above or consider yourself vulnerable (as defined by Public Health England), you may soon be asked by the UK government to social-distance yourself for up to 12 weeks. If this happens and you need anything (e.g. food or prescriptions), please contact Fr Mark and he and the parish will endeavour to assist you.
- If you are under 70 and above 18 and you are not self-isolating, please let Fr Mark know if you can help with shopping and collecting prescriptions for those who are social-distancing.
- Whether you are self-isolating or social-distancing or neither, please keep in contact with each other by telephone or via social media. Check the parish website for any further updates.
Update 2 on the Impact of the Coronavirus at Our Lady of Good Counsel
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement last night, I am very sorry to announce that the church will remain closed until further notice.
However, the livestreaming of Masses/Rosary/ Novena to St Antony, and Stations of the Cross will still take place but the Livestreaming of Adoration is suspended for the time-being.
UPDATE ON IMPACT WITH REGARDS TO SERVICES AT OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL
With effect from Friday evening this week, the Bishops of England and Wales have asked us to suspend all public Masses. Because of the situation the Church finds herself in, the obligation for the faithful to attend Holy Mass on a Sunday or Holy day of Obligation is removed, until further notice. However, Masses will still be celebrated by the priest but behind closed doors.
Although the Masses here from Saturday will not be open to the public, however, they will be live-streamed at normal Mass times, with the exception of Sunday when only one Mass will be live-streamed at 10am. During these Masses, one is encouraged to make a Spiritual Communion with the Lord.
Outside of the times allocated to the live-streaming of Masses, the church will remain open each day for private prayer or adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (when scheduled).
Other changes effective from Saturday are as follows:
1. First Holy Communion Programme suspended.
2. Journey in faith Programme suspended.
3. Deepen your Faith sessions suspended.
4. Lenten Reconciliation Service cancelled, though Confessions are available on request and on Saturdays at 10am and 5pm.
5. Talk on ‘Embracing the Cross’ cancelled.
6. Stations of the Cross will be live-streamed on Fridays at 7.30pm.
7. Novena to St Anthony of Padua will be live-streamed on Tuesday at 7pm followed by Mass as usual.
8. Adoration on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Fridays will also be live-streamed.
9. A newsletter will still be produced each week (albeit shorter) and loaded up onto the website and some copies will also left in the porch of the church.
10. I am always available for sick visits.
Moreover, if anyone is in need whether spiritually or materially, please let me know. You can come to me or I can come to you (Coronavirus permitting)—I might even do your shopping!
Pope Francis’s Prayer to Mary during Coronavirus Pandemic
O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of Your People, know what we need, and we are sure you will provide so that, as in Cana of Galilee, we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who has taken upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows to lead us, through the cross, to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.
(Adapted from Vatican News.)