to Canon John O’Shea and the Parish of St. James, Reading
on the Feast of St. sher and St. Thomas More
22 June 2020.

Dear Canon John and Dear Parishioners,
I am deeply saddened by the events that have taken place just outside your church this last weekend. I am appalled and sickened that people should lose their lives in this way. Let us pray for those who were killed and their grieving families, for all who were injured, for those who work selflessly in the police and emergency services and for the conversion of heart of the attacker. This was a tragic incident and my thought and
prayers are with you and all the people of Reading at this time. It is only a short while since I was with you for the Parish Visitation and so I know Forbury Gardens well. These are difficult times and the world currently seems to be in a dark place. Yet only this last Sunday we heard Jesus say in the Gospel at Mass: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul: fear him rather who can destroy both body
and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? Yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted” (Mt. 10: 28 – 30).
My brothers and sisters, we know that God in His fatherly providence cares for each one of us and that in Him no one need be lost. More, He sent us His Son, Jesus Christ our Saviour, to be the Light of the World and to bring us out of the darkness into His light. He laid down His life for us on the Cross of Calvary to save us. So let us turn to Him, Whose Heart is rich in mercy to all who call upon Him. Let us pray that the Lord Jesus
will grant us His mercy so that we might shew His mercy to others. I want to thank you for vibrant witness to Christ and His Church, under the patronage of  the great Apostle, St. James. I thank you too for the prayer and support you are continuing to offer to the local community this time. I pray that in this time of spiritual wilderness, we will soon be able to gather once again for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, thus to receive Christ, the Break from Heaven, in whom “you will find rest for your souls” (Mt 11:30). May Mary Immaculate and our diocesan patrons, St
Edmund of Abingdon and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for you all. With the assurance of my prayers and best wishes,

In Corde Jesu,


Bishop of Portsmouth