Sunday 22 March Year (A)
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have informed us that from last Friday evening, we must not gather for public acts of worship in our churches. However, the church will be open for prayer each day from 8AM to 6PM (7pm on Saturdays). It is there you will find solace and strength. Please observe with great care the practices of hygiene and the guidance on social distancing. I will continue to offer Mass each day but in private. The intentions of the Masses I will be celebrating in the coming week are listed overleaf. So if you have booked a Mass it will be said but not necessarily at the time you arranged.
The live-streaming of Mass takes place from several churches in our diocese, including Bishop’s Stortford parish where Fr. Carlos is Assistant Priest. A list of parishes where this takes place can be found on a separate sheet
We want everyone to understand that in these emergency circumstances, and for as long as they last, the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is removed. The pandemic is the serious reason why this this obligation does not apply at this time. Although you will not be able to receive Holy Communion, you will still be able to make a Spiritual Communion. You can do this on a visit to the church in front of the Blessed Sacrament or when you are watching a Mass at home.
The Bishops have offered advice about the celebration of the Sacraments. Baptisms should be deferred until such time that the public health advice is that congregations can gather safely. If you would like to go to Confessions, please call me for an appointment. The First Holy Communions, planned for May, are postponed until a time that allows for families and friends to gather safely within our churches. Similarly, Confirmation classes and the Confirmation planned for 22nd May are postponed. There will be no pastoral visits to people who are self-isolating until the isolation period ends. If the Sacrament of the Sick is required, please contact me. There will be no funeral Masses, but the funeral service will take place at the graveside or crematorium with a Mass possibly at a later date.
We are suspending all gatherings in the Canon Smyth Parish Centre for the time being.
In these challenging times, we need to take care of each other, being attentive to the needs of our neighbour, especially the elderly and vulnerable, contributing to our local foodbanks and volunteering for charitable initiatives.
Takehomnews will continue to be issued each week, available in the church and on the website but please take it home and do not leave in the Church.
4th Sunday of Lent (A)
Certain people think that evil happens to others as a way of punishment for previous misdemeanours. Jesus has a different outlook on life. Illness and health issues happen so that God’s glory may be manifested. He might not cure us but the greatest miracle is to accept sickness and bear it patiently. In today’s Gospel, we are presented with the account of the man born blind. Jesus heals him and brings him his sight. The Pharisees questioned the whole episode because Jesus had performed this healing on a Sabbath day and because they assumed he or his parents were sinners because of his incapacity. It is only after some time that the man sees Jesus for himself and declares ‘Lord, I believe’.
The Feast of the Annunciation
Although we won’t be able to celebrate Mass together on our Parish Feast Day, please take a copy of the ANGELUS PROMISE to make privately.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has written a Pastoral Letter. Copies are available at the back of the church. Please take one home with you.
You can still contribute to the weekly collection by putting it in a plain envelope and putting it in the presbytery letterbox. The new boxes of planned giving envelopes are available today. Please ring at the presbytery to collect your box. If you would like to start using envelopes,please put your name and address on a sheet of paper on the table at the back of the church, put it in an envelope and hand it to Fr Colin or put it through the presbytery letterbox. Also available on the table at the back of the church are standing order forms and Gift Aid forms. More parishioners are now donating by standing order, meaning you don’t need to put anything in the collection. For taxpayers, you can Gift Aid your donation enabling us to receive 25 pence for every £1 you give. Many thanks for your continuing generosity.
Parish Safeguarding Representatives
Mr Tom Lillywhite has been appointed the Interim Parish Safeguarding Representative for this parish until a permanent PSR is appointed. He is doubling up as he is also PSR in St Margaret Clitherow parish. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks from the Passage
The Passage has written to thank us for the £528-42 that was collected at the recent appeal. Last year the Passage launched a new 3-year strategy ‘Ending Street Homelessness’, setting out their vision of a society where street homelessness has been ended and human dignity and respect is afforded to all those less fortunate than ourselves.
Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal
Please use the Lenten Alms Box by Our Lady’s altar. There are still envelopes at the back of the church for this appeal which supports Marriage and Family life, Youth and Evangelisation and the Church’s Service in Society.
Clocks going Forward
British Summer Time starts next weekend. Clocks and watches should be put forward one hour next Saturday night.
Year of the Word Scripture Quotes
Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. Mark 3:55
The Parish Council will not now met on Thursday.
Mass on line
Copies and times of services are available at the back of the church. Please take one home with you.
A Prayer in our Current Situation
Jesus Christ, you travelled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbours from helping one another.
Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.
Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.
Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.
Jesus Christ, heal us. Amen
We thank all parishioners who are paying by direct debit or envelopes and have signed a Gift Aid Declaration. We ask any parishioner who is a tax payer and donating through the loose plate to please consider donating instead by direct debit or envelope.