We apologise to our readers for our silence during the past few weeks and belatedly we wish you a blessed Eastertide.

During the last weeks of Lent we spend a lot of time preparing our liturgy. We were very happy to have Fr Gerard Dunne OP, to preside at our celebrations on Palm Sunday, Holy Week ceremonies and Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday morning Eucharist – all of which were very prayerful and inspiring – thanks to the hard work of preparation.

We were not able to celebrate our patronal feast of St Catherine of Siena on the 29th of April as it fell during the Easter Octave – so we celebrate it tomorrow the 2nd of May.

We offer the following reflection which one of our sisters shared at Vespers this evening:

“In the evening of that same day, the doors were closed …Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them ‘Peace be with you’” (Jn 20:19)

Whenever I read this account of the Resurrection, to which we listened at this morning’s Mass, what catches my attention is the fact that Jesus comes to his disciples who are behind locked doors – they are frightened and full of fear – perhaps feeling hurt, let down and isolated – too afraid to reach out to anyone or to let anyone reach them. But into their pain, without any invitation, Jesus appears, shows Himself, reveals Himself, bestows His peace, breathes on them His Spirit and gives them a mission.

In all the Resurrection stories one perceives that Jesus is present to His disciples – though He remains unrecognised until He chooses the moment to reveal Himself and then He vanishes again! – we think of Mary Magdalen, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus; the group on the shore of Tiberius. So too in our own lives – our faith assures us that the Risen Jesus is with His Church and with each of us individually and collectively but we only get glimpses of His Presence – and often we are called to walk in darkness. Often too we are too frightened to invite Him in – just in case He might upset our plans! Or ask too much of us!

In his homily at the beatification this morning Pope Benedict reminded us of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s invitation at his inaugural homily in 1978 when he said:

“Do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, cultures and civilisations.”

At the same inaugural homily he prayed the following “humble and trusting” prayer for himself:

“Christ make me become and remain the servant of your unique power, the servant of your sweet power, the servant of your power that knows no eventide.”

No doubt the sweet and gentle power of Christ is His merciful love which is offered to each of us without reserve but He waits for our acceptance.

During the past two weeks since Palm Sunday we have been celebrating and reflecting on this great love and mercy. It is fitting that today Mercy Sunday should fall this year on the eve of our celebration of the feast of St Catherine (which had to be postponed until after the Easter Octave) who had such faith and trust in God’s mercy and who offered her life for the renewal of the Church. No doubt she is rejoicing in heaven at the beatification of Pope John Paul II – the second pope, in recent history, whose sanctity has been recognised.

Through the intercession of St Catherine and Blessed Pope John Paul II may the Lord be pleased to shower His mercy on our Church and our world and renew in each of us the grace of our Baptism that we may open the doors of our hearts and lives, without reserve, to Jesus who has loved us so much that He died for us and is now risen and walks with us and who lives and loves in and through us!