I hope that you had a good summer and that whether you went away or not, you were able to find time to unwind, relax and re-charge your batteries. As I write this letter, the weather has changed and the forecasters are using the word autumnal more and more frequently to describe the weather.

 “The summer sun is fading as the year grows old
And darker days are drawing near”

These are the opening lyrics of a song that has been running around in my head for some time – ‘Forever Autumn’ – partly, I suppose because of the changing season but also because in the last few weeks, my family has marked the anniversaries of the deaths of my father-inlaw and my mother and it has reminded us all of just how much we miss them. The song ‘Forever Autumn’ is a love song but it is also a song of loneliness, a loneliness expressed so clearly – “My life will be forever autumn, ‘cos you’re not here”.

In November, we will celebrate Remembrance Day and remember and give thanks for those who laid down their lives in war, and throughout the month of November, the Catholic Church invites its members to pray for all those who have died – the month begins with the feasts of All Saints and All Souls. But at this start of autumn and during this month of October I would ask that we try to give some thought and time to those who are lonely. Loneliness is not just something that ffects the elderly or the bereaved. A recent survey of young parents found an alarmingly large proportion stating that they felt lonely.

In the Book of Genesis, we read “God said,’it is not good that man should be alone (gen 2:18) And so God created woman to be a companion. So let us try to do what we can to support those who are lonely so that as the darker days are drawing near, we may hold up the light of companionship, the light of love – the light of Christ.

Deacon Jon Walls,
St Bedes Roman Catholic Church