Since the Archbishops’ instructions to suspend public worship Angela, Martin and I have been busy discussing the best way we can continue the pastoral and practical ways we serve the Parish.
I hope you will all be comforted to know that I shall continue to say a private Mass each day following the intention plan as listed in the monthly Kalendar and for all those affected by the current pandemic.
On Sunday’s I encourage you to share with me by using the weekly sheet which will contain all the proper prayers and then make an act of Spiritual Communion. You may also wish to read and meditate on the homily for the day.
In addition to this you might like to join those members of the Society of the Holy House (Walsingham) in the daily recitation of The Angelus presumably at mid-day or 6pm though some of you may be larks and use the early morning time of 6am! During this season of Lent those of you with Walsingham Manuals may like to consider meditating at home on the Stations of the Cross.
Those of you who have computers/pads/etc. may like to download Universalis which will give you not only Mass texts for everyday but also Morning and Evening Prayer from the Divine Office.
The Bishop has totally endorsed the Archbishops’ call to have Church buildings open for private prayer. As soon as we have an adequate supply of the required Anti Bacterial Gel we shall be opening the Church for this purpose as often as we can and always on Sundays between 10 and 10.45. On weekdays whenever the main door is open the Church is available for prayer and candle lighting.
At this early stage we have already decided to observe the traditional practices of dressing down the Church through the early days of the Triduum and redecorating on Holy Saturday for the great Feast of Easter. If you still wish to have Lilies provided in memory of loved ones this can be done through the Parish Office.
During these weeks the Web Site is a vital means of communication and has a devotional page added to contain the Sunday Bulletin and Homily together with some seasonal prayers. These will also be circulated to those on the email list and can be obtained through the Parish Office.
Lastly for this first letter we would respectfully remind you that our day to day bills will still need to be paid. If you support us through direct debit this does not change but if you normally place your offering in the collection plate you might like to consider changing to the former. If you wish to continue to support by cash-giving through envelope or loose, you might like to send us your contribution by cheque: when posting your offering to the Parish Office, if you have the envelopes please include them with your donation.
These are uncharted times and we shall continue to keep you up to date as regularly as we can.
In the mean time you are all in my prayers and those of Fr. Andrew: we are sure we can count on yours, that together, supported as we are by the heavenly intercession of Our Lady and all our patrons, we shall be reunited as a family around the Altar.
With my love and Blessing.
Rejoice, Jerusalem! Be glad for her, you who love her; rejoice with her, you who mourned for her, and you will find contentment at her consoling breasts.
Reference: Ephesians 5:8-14
A Reading from the Letter of S Paul to the Ephesians
You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth. Try to discover what the Lord wants of you, having nothing to do with the futile works of darkness but exposing them by contrast. The things which are done in secret are things that people are ashamed even to speak of; but anything exposed by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated turns into light. That is why it is said:
Wake up from your sleep,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.
We place before you with joy these offerings,
which bring eternal remedy, O Lord,
praying that we may both faithfully revere them
and present them to you, as is fitting,
for the salvation of all the world.
Through Christ our Lord.
O God, who through your Word
reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way,
grant, we pray,
that with prompt devotion and eager faith
the Christian people may hasten
toward the solemn celebrations to come.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son………
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
I am the light of the world, says the Lord,
Anyone who follows me will have the light of life.
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
Reference: John 9:1.6-9.13-17.34-38
Theme: He went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.
As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth he spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man and said to him, 'Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam' (a name that means 'sent'). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.
His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said, 'Isn't this the man who used to sit and beg?' Some said, 'Yes, it is the same one.' Others said, 'No, he only looks like him.' The man himself said, 'I am the man.'
They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. It had been a Sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man's eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had come to see, he said, 'He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see.' Then some of the Pharisees said, 'This man cannot be from God: he
The Lord rubbed my eyes: I went away and washed; then I could see, and I believed in God.
Reference: 1 Samuel 16:1.6-7.10-13
A Reading from the First book of Sammuel
The Lord said to Samuel, Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen myself a king among his sons. When Samuel arrived, he caught sight of Eliab and thought, Surely the Lords anointed one stands there before him, but the Lord said to Samuel, Take no notice of his appearance or his height for I have rejected him; God does not see as man sees; man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart. Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, The Lord has not chosen these. He then asked Jesse, Are these all the sons you have? He answered, There is still one left, the youngest; he is out looking after the sheep. Then Samuel said to Jesse, Send for him; we will not sit down to eat until he comes. Jesse had him sent for, a boy of fresh complexion, with fine eyes and pleasant bearing. The Lord said Come, anoint him, for this is the one. At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on.
V. Lord, hear us;
R. you are our shepherd and King.
Those in need:
Ann Baughan. Fr Beau Brandie, Diane Burrell,
Michael Clarke, Paul Clarke, Elle Deveson, Joyce Drake,
Ron Fuller, Hazel Hickman, John Levett, Laura Mack,
Dave Manley, Fr Terry Morley, Jo Rees-Davies,
Margaret Smith, Maureen Smithers, Roger Smithers,
Julie Swetman, Fr Brian Tyler, Dorothy Valder,
Laurie Wellard, Shirley Wellard, Timothy
The Recent Departed:
(22) William Ridley
(23) Alice Tullett, Gerald Crouch
(24) Rebecca Ward, Isobel Watson
(25) Hugh Hordern (Bp)
(26) Cecil Dray, Herbert Haffenden
(27) John White, Vera Edelston
(28) Arthur Stanton (Pr), Wiliiam Tyrell, Louise Gill, Lloyd Morrell (Bp), Ray Wragg
O God, who enlighten everyone who comes into this world,
illuminate our hearts, we pray,
with the splendour of your grace,
that we may always ponder
what is worthy and pleasing to your majesty
and love you in all sincerity.
Through Christ our Lord.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit. R
He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness,
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort. R
You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing. R.
Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever. R
‘The man said, “Lord, I believe,” and worshipped him.’ John 8:38
As I sat down to prepare this week’s homily I was very aware that it’s the first I have prepared for this particular Sunday that was not for an all age gathering to celebrate the Fourth Sunday in Lent that by tradition is also Mothering Sunday. I then became aware that it is the first time, also I have ever prepared a homily intended to be read and not preached. These two thoughts came together as I read today’s lections and I remembered the maxim by which I try to live by, instilled in me by my mother, ‘Life is grey and not black and white!’
Normally today we would be reminding ourselves that we are mid-way through the season of Lent and from today that the preparations for the celebration of the Holy Triduum would now begin. The famous entrance antiphon that brings another title for this Sunday to mind – ‘Laetare Sunday’, characterised by the liturgical colour of rose pink calls us to a “Rejoice” However, we must surely all admit, in the current situation there is, on the surface, little in which to rejoice. That is until we remind ourselves that today is Sunday – the weekly commemoration of the Resurrection, the festival for which for which we have been preparing these last three and a half weeks, the festival, the celebration, whichever ways, this year we shall observe it, remain unknown: the festival that unites us in our faith in eternal life and therefore, Christ’s continued presence in the world.
I hope everyone will have read the Gospel reading of the healing of the man born blind. We meet Jesus in Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles. As part of this festival they carried water from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple, which was illuminated by the blaze of four sets of great candles. Jesus puts mud paste on the man’s eyes and tells him to wash it off in the Pool of Siloam, having done so his physical sight was restored and a stir is created. The man is quite factual in his response to his interrogation; he mad been healed by “The man called Jesus.” The Pharisees become divide among themselves: some recognise God’s hand in the healing but others simply see Jesus as a sinner for breaking the sabbath rules. Under pressure the man asserts himself and recognises that Jesus must be a prophet. The Pharisees check out his parents to see if he was really born blind but they are afraid; they acknowledge their son, and that he was blind, but they wont say any more. The Pharisees insist the man denies the miracle but only make the man bolder to address them with these words:-
“We know that God does not listen to sinners, but God does listen to men who are devout and do his will.”
Thankfully they only cast him out of the Temple for Jesus was able to search for him and challenge him to a further enlightenment as he proclaims his faith in Jesus with the simple words – “Lord I believe!”
We should note how its is that the blind man comes to faith gradually and in the face of persecution and abuse. Lent is always the time when we are called to review our faith and its relevance at the core of our lives. This Lent, it seems to me, this has an even greater significance in that forced as we are to rely on private devotion, as like he did the blind man, in these devotions Jesus searches us out and longs for us to proclaim with him –“Lord I believe” both spiritually and in our dealings with the current situation.
It is with sadness and joy that Fr Andrew and I are offering the Mass in private each day: sadness because we can’t rejoice when you come to join us, joy in that we are privileged to be able to continue to offer The Holy Sacrifice for you. We encourage you most sincerely to join with us in prayer by making use of the devotional material available and, when possible, to come to Church for private prayer.