A message from Father Duncan on Sunday 29 March 2020
Dear Parishioners
Today, l celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, key workers and their families. This Is the Lent God our Father wants us to have. God in Christ is the Lord of history. He's in charge. His providential plan for our salvation and happiness cannot be defeated. If he has permitted us to have to be for a while without our public celebration of the Holy Eucharist and our usual Lenten devotions, his Spirit offers us other means to prepare ourselves for Holy Week and Easter. Please be assured of my daily prayers for you and your family

A message from Father Duncan on Saturday 28 March 2020
Dear Parishioners
Today, on Our Lady's Day, l celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, Gerry Swan as a month's mind and David Russell's special intention. 'I have a dogmatic certainty - God is in every person's life. God is in everyone's life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else, God is in this person's life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.             Pope Francis

A message from Father Duncan on Friday 27 March 2020
Dear Parishioners
Today, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish Brian Meechan and Lettie Anderson who both died recently. The saints throughout the ages have witnessed to the value of spiritual Communion. In a vision, Our Lord explained it to Saint Catherine of Siena by showing her two chalices - 'one made of gold, the other of silver' she wrote. 'He told her that her sacramental Communions were preserved in the gold chalice and that her spiritual communions were in the silver chalice.' Saint Teresa of Jesus wrote 'When you do not receive Communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a Spiritual Communion, which is a most beneficial practice. By it, the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.' Many of the saints practiced this throughout the day such as Padre Pio, who encouraged everyone to do so frequently for a closer union with God. In Seven Secrets of the Eucharist, author Vinny Flynn explained 'If you practice the holy exercise of Spiritual Communion several times each day, within a month you will see your heart completely changed.' He also related that 'Saint Francis de Sales resolved to make a Spiritual Communion at least every fifteen minutes so that he could link all the events of the day to his reception of the Eucharist at Mass.'

A message from Father Duncan on Thursday 26 March 2020
Dear Parishioners
Today, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish and the Ketchen family on an anniversary. It is only during the Mass at the consecration that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Thus, cancelling Masses is monumental. As explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Eucharist is 'the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch' (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324). Through this sacrament, 'we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body' (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1331). The Church encourages frequent, even daily, Holy Communion, but because we cannot go to Mass in or out of this season of the coronavirus, we can still unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a Spiritual Communion. By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us. Here is the Act of Spiritual Communion written by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori - My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.

A message from Father Duncan on Wednesday 25 March 2020
Dear Parishioners
Today, on the Solemnity of The Annunciation of Our Lord, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, Andrew McCance and Betty Toner who died recently. 'During this Lent, especially, let us all take the opportunity to deepen our relationship with God. As your bishops and with our priests and deacons, we assure you of our continuing commitment to your spiritual, pastoral and sacramental needs. We want to maintain and foster the life of faith in every way we can, while also being informed by the advice and guidance of Government and health professionals. Over the centuries, the Church has often been a source of comfort in times of trial and transformed sadness and fear into peace and joy. We want the same to happen now.'             Pastoral Letter of the Scottish Bishops, 18 March 2020

A message from Father Duncan on Tuesday 24 March 2020
Dear Parishioners
Today, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, Isabella Connor for her anniversary and Annmarie Dickie who died recently. 'In this time of trial, we, the Bishops of Scotland, wish to send you a word of reassurance and encouragement. We are all facing much uncertainty, anxiety and an unpredictable future. This situation touches on every aspect of our lives, individually and collectively. Sacred Scripture calls us repeatedly not to fear and to look to the help that comes to us from above. We are called to support one another in every way we can, especially those who are most vulnerable, through age or underlying conditions. Even in the midst of any necessary distancing we must stand by each other. We ask you to pray for the sick, those caring for them, for those in positions of responsibility with difficult decisions to make, indeed for our whole country and the entire human family. Most of all, we are being asked to put our trust in the living God who has created everything to be and to flourish and whose providence guides the course of world events. We put our trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, and the true physician of our souls and bodies.'             Pastoral Letter of the Scottish Bishops, 18 March 2020

A message from Father Duncan on Monday 23 March 2020
Dear Parishioners
Today, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, Pat Woods' special intention and Ian Neal who died recently. Pope Francis has pointed out that our God 'is the God of closeness, is a God who is close, who walks with his people' and who 'makes the prescriptions, writes them with his own hands on the stone, he gives them to Moses, but he does not leave the prescriptions and he goes away - he walks, he is close, and he observes. What nation has a God so close? Ours is a God of closeness.' In this context, the Pontiff points out that 'Our God is close' and 'asks us to be close to each other, not to distance ourselves from each other.' And at this time of crisis due to the pandemic we are experiencing, he clarified "this closeness asks us to show it more, to show it more. We cannot, perhaps, physically approach for fear of contagion, but yes, we can awaken in us an attitude of closeness between us - with prayer, with help, many forms of closeness. And why should we be close to each other? Because our God is close and he wants to accompany us in life.

A message from Father Duncan on Sunday 22 March 2020
Dear Parishioners
Today, on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, l celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish
. "I asked the Lord to stop the epidemic. Lord, stop it with your hand." This is what Pope Francis responded when asked what he prayed for four days ago, when he ventured to Rome's Centre, making a pilgrimage on foot from Rome's Marian Basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore, to the Church of San Marcello al Corso where there is a miraculous cross. "This is what I prayed for. During these difficult days, we can find small, concrete gestures expressing closeness and concreteness towards the people closest to us. These include a caress for our grandparents, a kiss for our children, for the people we love. If we live these days like this, they won't be wasted. We must rediscover the concreteness of little things, small gestures of attention we can offer those close to us, our family, our friends. We must understand that in small things lies our treasure. These gestures of tenderness, affection, compassion, are minimal and tend to be lost in the anonymity of everyday life, but they are nonetheless decisive, important. I ask everyone to stay close to those who have lost loved ones, to be close to them in every possible way. Consolation must now be everyone's commitment." Today - Mothering Sunday - is a National Day of Prayer. We are invited to pray the Rosary at 12 noon, asking for her intercession for our country and our world in this time of need.
In the midst of all the uncertainty, changes and anxiety, we know the nature of God’s fatherly heart. We know he draws ever nearer to us in times of suffering, and we know his first impulse is to love and to create. So, in everything, we remain grateful, optimistic and full of hope that there are sublime blessings that will come from this. As we navigate our new reality, I wanted to assure you of two things - you, the Parish family of Saint Peter’s are my number one priority and I will offer Holy Mass daily for your and your families. In Church, the Parish is making available powerful resources to help bring Catholics closer to God, pray at home and keep the Sunday as a Holy Day. There is a special prayer leaflet called When Mass cannot be Celebrated Publicly, a prayer card The Act of Spiritual Communion and a pocket-sized prayer card with the Order of Mass. The Parish bulletin is also available with the Sunday Mass Readings and Thoughts for every Day. Please avail yourself of these resources and remember our Church is open from 9.30am until 4.30pm every day for a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and private prayer.

A message from Father Duncan on Saturday 21 March 2020
Dear Parishioners
Today, on Our Lady's Day, l celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish and for Veronica Stevenson and Christopher McManus for their anniversaries. The Pope offered a prayer to the Virgin Mary last week. The choice to celebrate last Wednesday's Mass at the Divine Love Sanctuary holds significant historical value. Pope Pius XII went to pray there before the statue of Our Lady in June 1944. He pleaded for the salvation of the city of Rome as Nazi troops withdrew from Italy during World War II. Now, over seventy-five years later, Pope Francis has asked the Virgin Mary to watch over the world in this current moment of crisis - O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick. At the foot of the Cross, you participated in Jesus' pain, with steadfast faith. You, Refuge of Sinners and Comfort of the Afflicted, know what we need. We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee, joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial. Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the Father's will and to do what Jesus tells us - he who took our sufferings upon Himself and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our pleas - we who are put to the test - and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen.

A message from Father Duncan on Friday 20 March 2020
Dear Parishioners
Today, I celebrate Holy Mass privately for the Parish, Agnes Dougan for her anniversary and Gerry Swan who died recently. We are certainly living in an unusual, challenging time. Even those of us who are strong in faith are feeling uneasy and uncertain. Think about our Patron, Saint Peter - a simple fisherman who walked on water. He faltered only when he took his eyes off Jesus, when he began to rely upon himself rather than the Lord - see Matthew 14:22-33. Peter could walk on water only because the one who called him, Jesus, was Lord of the universe. Jesus remains Lord of the universe. No worldly suffering, no virus, no health concerns, stock market crash, job loss, nothing is outside his loving providence. In such difficult times, we need to remember that God's grace is always present to sustain us and can even bring us some blessings in the midst of our suffering. Jesus said "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be open to you" (Matthew 7:7). His promise and his grace are certain, even in this uncertain time. Let us turn to the Prince of Peace for strength and courage.

A message from Father Duncan on Wednesday 18 March 2020
Dear Parishioners
In recent weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has had a profound impact on countries around the world - and increasingly, here in Scotland. In light of measures being taken to contain the outbreak and avoid further illness, many of us may be hesitant to leave our homes. After Holy Mass at 10.00am on Thursday 19 March 2020, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, services will be suspended in all Catholic Churches. It is at this exact moment that our faith is most needed. In an effort to continue the practice of our faith in these trying times, I invite you to participate in the Masses offered online or on television. For example, Mass is streamed from Saint Margaret's Cathedral in Ayr every day on The Scottish Bishops have asked us to pray the Rosary on Sunday 22 March 2020 - Mothers' Day - at 12 noon on a National Day of Prayer, asking Our Lady's intercession for our country and our world in this time of need. If you cannot participate in Mass online or on television, I encourage you to read the Gospels, pray with your families, pray the Rosary and join yourself to the Eucharist - the source and summit of our Catholic faith - by making an act of Spiritual Communion. Prayer leaflets are available in Church for everyone. I will celebrate the Holy Mass privately for our Parish every day and the Church will be open during the day for private visits and prayer. The Parish bulletin will be available as usual. Please make sure you get your copy to keep up-to-date with developments. Each day, our Parish website will be updated with a Thought for the Day and the latest news. The Galloway Diocese website is also useful for information. Please don't forget to continue to support the Parish with your Offertory donation and Maintenance Fund offering by handing them in to the Parish Office. We are counting on your remembering. Please continue to pray for all those affected by the coronavirus. God bless, and may our Blessed Lady, the Health of the Sick, pray for us! Saint Peter, our Patron, pray for us!