All Saints Margaret Street

Email from All Saints

Thursday 19th March 2020

Eve of S. Joseph


Dear friends


Following yesterday's advice from the Archbishops and our own diocese the Churchwardens and I met today to agree on what we should do at All Saints while current restrictions on public worship apply.


The offering of the Holy Sacrifice is good in itself: it is efficacious for the intentions for which it is offered and nourishing to all who participate, whether or not they make their communion. It is also part of the priest's specific vocation to offer Mass daily whenever possible. The Mass is a daily miracle of God's grace for us all and we must continue to offer it and thank God in and through it even in these difficult times. As S. John Vianney wrote, 

All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison for it is but the sacrifice of man to God; but the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man. 


Bearing this in mind I have decided to offer a non-communicating Mass at the High Altar every day (including Sunday) at 12 noon. I commend to you participation in this offering of Mass by making a Spiritual Communion, so that we are united in prayer, even though as a dispersed community. A Spiritual Communion can be made at any time: if 12 noon is not possible for you, you may like to do this together with praying Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer. The Rosary and (especially in this season) Stations of the Cross may also be offered individually and might be concluded with a Spiritual Communion.


Notes about Spiritual Communion and how to make one can be found below; also links to the daily prayer texts from both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. On the All Saints website ( ) you will find a form of Spiritual Communion to use, which will also be available as a printed leaflet for any visitors to the church.

Please be assured that you are all remembered in prayer at the altar here daily, even though you may not be able to be physically present. And please pray for each other and this church community daily, especially for any who are feeling isolated or anxious or are suffering from any illness. But also pray, as ever, for all the needs of the Church and the world, and the advancement of the Kingdom.


The church will be open daily between the hours of 10am and 4pm for private prayer.


Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will be offered on Thursdays and Sundays after the noon Mass until 4pm. I will conclude the period of Exposition with simple Benediction.


One last thing - the liturgies of Holy Week will not be happening this year in the usual way, and I am aware that for many of us this will be one of the most distressing consequences of the suspension of public worship (it certainly is for me). One glimmer of good news is that Bishop Rowan Williams has very kindly offered to be with us next year instead. I know you would want to join me in thanking him for that offer, which I have swiftly acepted.


Further messages will undoubtedly be necessary before long and there may be more things we can offer remotely via the website or other media. Meanwhile I trust you may be able to make the most of this time of enforced Retreat with some new routines of prayer and reading.




Fr Michael





Spiritual Communion


Communion is the fullest expression of our participation in the Mass, but it is not always possible for everyone to be present at Mass or to receive the Sacrament (and we believe that offering of Mass is efficacious in itself). In present circumstances Mass will continue to be offered daily at All Saints, but it will have to be celebrated with only the priest making his communion, so it may be helpful to remember the possibility of making a Spiritual Communion.


Spiritual Communion has long been part of Catholic tradition. It was defined by St Thomas Aquinas as "an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament and a loving embrace as though we had already received Him".


In the 1700's, S. Alphonsus Liguori wrote this prayer for spiritual communion when visiting a church where the Sacrament is reserved:

"My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you. But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul at least spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I actually receive you."


Like me, many of you will remember a form of Spiritual Communion suggested in the old Anglo-Catholic manuals for those who could not regularly attend Mass or receive Communion (in the diocese of Sydney that was most of us!). On the All Saints website homepage is a suggested form from a more recent source that you may like to use .

If anyone would prefer to have the form from the English Catholic Prayer Book / Centenary Prayer Book I will make it available.


Below are links to resources for Daily Prayer from the Church of England Website; also for the Roman Catholic Daily Office and readings (including those for Mass) from Universalis (this is the free version; if you are prepared to pay the subscription you can find excellent aids to Lectio Divina and other fuller provisions there):

More news items »