6 September 2020
Fr Colin Writes:
As some parishioners may be returning to Mass at this time. I thought it may be worthwhile repeating some of the arrangements now in operation. Please do not come to Mass if you are unwell or have symptoms. The obligation to attend Sunday Mass is suspended for the time being. You may prefer to come to a weekday Mass when there is more space. The church is open for 20 minutes before the start of Mass and closes at the end of Mass. Church opening times are on the front page.
On entering the church, please sanitise your hands. You will be directed to a place for you to sit. There are limited spaces in the church to allow for social distancing but families and bubbles can sit together. The Sunday Mass will be shorter than before as there is no singing, no homily, no Bidding prayers and no sign of peace. The homily is printed out in the Newsletter .
For Communion, please remain in your place until directed by one of the stewards to come forward. To receive Holy Communion please put your hand over the table for the priest to give you Holy Communion at a distance. Please observe the social distance as you come forward. Holy Communion is given on the hand, not the tongue and there is not Communion from the chalice. Please come forward in the central aisle and return by the side aisle. At the end of Mass please leave through the central doors, sanitising your hands as you leave.
There are also sanitisers by the candle stands if you use a taper to light a candle. Newsletters and Mass sheets should be taken home with you, not left in the pew. Once you touch it, it is yours. This applies to any leaflet or booklet in the church.
Please wear a face mask when in the church unless you are a child or are exempted. Please vacate the church after Mass to enable the stewards to sanitise the benches where people have sat. This is particularly important at Sunday Masses when we have to close the church temporally between Masses for the cleaning to take place.
Being over 70, I have been instructed to retire to the sacristy after Mass and not to greet you outside. One further clarification about receiving communion: The priest no longer says the ‘The Body of Christ’ with your reply ’Amen’ at the time you receive communion. Instead he says ’The Body of Christ’ at the altar to the whole congregation with you making the ‘Amen’ then. This is to avoid saying words to each other at relatively close quarters.
Thank you for abiding by these regulations. They are means by which we are able to keep as safe as we can and not spread or catch the virus. A special thank you to the stewards, responsible for guiding you and cleaning the church afterwards. If you are under 70 and in good health and would like to offer help as a steward, please speak to me.
There will be a session for parents who wish to have their baby baptised at 4PM on Sunday 4th October in the church.
Parish Council Meeting
There will be a meeting of the Parish Council at 7.45PM on Thursday 17th September in the church.
Starting this Saturday and for the next 5 Saturdays, there will be First Communions at 2 extra Masses at 11AM and 3PM. There will be a rehearsal for the children concerned the day before, Friday at 6PM. As there is a limit on numbers attending, we cannot invite anyone to these Masses apart from the 5 invited by the family.
Because of these extra Masses, there will be no 10AM Mass on the 5 Saturdays 12th September to 10th October. I will be available for confessions at 10.30AM but not right through until 11.00.
This weeks Funeral
On Tuesday we have the funeral of MARILYN CHALLONER of Watling Avenue 11AM. Funeral is by invitation from the family because of restricted numbers. There will also be Mass at 9AM.
As the weather is getting colder and sometimes wet, confessions will be heard at the back of the church near the Sacred Heart Statue.
23rd Sunday of Year A
There are several different elements that come through in today’s readings which may seem unrelated to each other. But the element that binds them together is love and God’s readiness to forgive.
In the first reading, the prophet Ezekiel is given the responsibility of warning the people of Israel against their wicked ways. He is given the title of sentry or watchman. This means that he must observe the actions of the people and anyone not abiding by God’s law will not be a member of the House of Israel. They cannot enter past the sentry box, as it were. The Lord tells the prophet that he will be responsible if he fails to warn them of their wrongdoings. The sinner must repent. If he fails to repent after the prophet warns him, the prophet will not be responsible. Repentance and God’s readiness to forgive are key elements in this scenario
The passage from the letter of St Paul to the Romans which forms our second reading today is designed to be the over-riding principle for life within the community, and between its members. The very nature of the Church means that being a member impacts on all those other members. If each member is guided by love in every case, there is no problem in community life. As St Paul says, all the commandments can be summed up as ‘you must love your neighbour as yourself: A flourishing community life depends on the abundance of love dwelling within.
St Matthew in the Gospel is aware that, in reality, the life of the Christian community is not necessarily so straight forward. In our culture of today, faith and its practice are seen as private matters, but in the Christian community that cannot be the case. This is because at baptism the members become part of the body of Christ and so have an intimate and deep relationship with one another. That is why Jesus teaches his disciples on how to deal with errant members—first speak to the individual; if this fails bring along two or three witnesses; if this fails, then report him to the community; if this fails then treat his as an outcast. This method shows how we are given opportunities to change our bad ways, how God is always ready to forgive and how love is a key aspect in the situation. Jesus then goes on to make two solemn pronouncements. The first is ‘whatever you bind on earth should be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth should be considered loosed in heaven: This means that the formal action of the community in pronouncing on the behaviour of one of its members becomes the judgement of heaven. The second pronouncement relates to God’s presence whenever two or three meet in his name. Whenever we have a meeting in a Christian context, we start and end with a prayer, acknowledging Christ’s presence and praying for his guidance. This can also apply when we are not physically present with each other but meeting by zoom or suchlike. We need to bring God’s love and presence into every situation to help us make the right decisions for the individual and the community as a whole.
Saint of the Week
Tuesday 8th September Our Lady’s Birthday, Mother of all mothers who continues to watch over each of us from heaven!
According to the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, Mary’s parents were devout Jews (Essenes) who had a child 19 years before Mary. But for 19 years they were without additional children and for this time of barrenness Anne and Joachim felt ashamed. They were growing old. Mary’s birth was a blessing, not only to them, but to the entire world! She was born uniquely free from sin—the Immaculate Conception. Her coming to Anne and Joachim has a story too. Joachim had gone to the Temple to offer a sacrifice in order to petition God for a child but the priests mocked him and he was sent away in humiliation. Meanwhile Anne was at home in Nazareth when an angel came to her to say that a special child was coming. Anne hurried to Jerusalem and met her husband by the Golden Gate. Their union there foreshadowed the opening of the Gates of Heaven. (The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Anne Catherine Emmerich.)
Catholic History Walks : September 2020
All welcome…no need to book, just turn up! We suggest a donation of £10 for each Walk.
Wear suitable shoes and clothes – we walk whatever the weather! We maintain social distancing. More information at: www.catholichistorywalks.com
Sunday September 6th, 6.00pm (after 5.30pm Mass) steps of Westminster Cathedral London SW1P 1LT. Nearest tube: Victoria. We will explore Westminster, Whitehall, and St James Park.