My dear friends,

Easter this year falls in the middle of April. At its heart we find the three holy days called the Triduum when the celebrate the Easter story that is at the very centre of Christianity: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day. We tend to think of them as being quite separate holy days, but really it would be better to think of one religious service which is spread over three days.

This year our two PCCs have agreed to share our services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. On Maundy Thursday, 14th April, there will be a Eucharist of the Last Supper followed by a watch of prayer at St Laurence’s Church, Catsfield, at 7.30pm. On Good Friday, 15th April, there will be the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at St George’s Church, Crowhurst, at 2.00pm. Next year we shall swap the services around.

On Easter Eve, Saturday 16th April, we shall hold a special, short service for children (and their parents) at 2.00pm at St Laurence’s Church, Catsfield. The aim will be to explain quite simply to children the Easter story: what happened on Good Friday and what happened on Easter Day. I am hoping that there might be something pleasant and oval-shaped for each child to take away and enjoy after the service.

On Easter Day, 17th April, we shall have special Family Easter Eucharists at St Laurence’s Church at 9.15am and at St George’s Church at 11.00am.

I informed the Order of St John of Jerusalem that we are collecting money during Lent in our parishes for the work of St John Eye Hospital, Jerusalem, and that we hope by Easter to have raised enough to pay for someone to have an eye operation. They were immensely touched and delighted to learn of our support. The coronavirus pandemic has led to all sorts of problems for St John Eye Hospital, but the staff has risen to the challenge. In 2021 St John Eye Hospital treated 134,574 outpatients, performed 2,599 major surgical operations and 3,901 cataract operations. Amazing to relate, this exceeds the number of treatments offered in 2019, before the pandemic.

St John Eye Hospital is run by the Order of St John on the proverbial shoe-string. It is a Christian foundation, operating in Jerusalem and around the Holy Land, which seeks to live out the Gospel message by caring for Christian, Jewish and Muslim patients, irrespective of faith, ethnicity or ability to pay. Literally every penny placed in the orange collecting buckets at the back of St Laurence’s and St George’s Churches will make a difference. Let us see what we can do to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter by helping St John Eye Hospital to give someone back their sight.

We shall celebrate St George’s Day – the patronal festival of Crowhurst parish church – on the nearest Sunday, 26th April, with a special Eucharist at St George’s Church at 11.00am. There will not be a service that day at St Laurence’s, in order that parishioners from Catsfield may support their sister church on its big day. (On 7th August when we celebrate the feast of St Laurence, the patron saint of Catsfield, there will similarly be just one service).

With my love, prayers and blessing,

Father Robert