Takehomenews Sunday 25 April
Sunday 25 April 2021
Fr Colin writes:
Today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday, a day to reflect on Christ’s role as our shepherd and ourselves as the sheep who are guided by him. From the Gospel, we note that Christ knows each one of his sheep. He knows our characteristics, our abilities, our weakness and our needs. Each of us is different. As sheep, we need to constantly turn to our shepherd for guidance, protection, forgiveness and thanksgiving. Overall we need to remind ourselves that Christ laid down his life for his sheep and in doing so became the sacrificial lamb for the forgiveness of our sins.
The First Communion Programme is now underway. COVID restrictions have meant that we are several months late in starting preparations. If the restrictions are lifted as planned and hoped for , we will be able to have the First Communions by the end of July. It is a more intense programme than in previous years, meaning that preparation time will be almost 3 months compared to the usual 8 months. Please pray for the children, their parents and the catechists as they embark on this venture.
Similarly, the Confirmation programme will be soon getting under way. Families who have applied will be contacted by the catechists to explain how we are going to proceed. Fr Colin.
Priest Training Fund
This Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday and our second collection will support the Priest Training Fund. This fund pays for the priestly formation of men for the Catholic priesthood. There are currently 42 men studying at Allen Hall seminary, 18 of whom are for our own Diocese, and two men are studying in Rome, also for our Diocese. Last year two men who studied at Allen Hall and one who studied in Rome ordained to the priesthood to serve as our future priests. The fund also supports the ongoing enrichment and formation of our ordained priests. Your gift ensures we can provide training for these men responding to Christ’s call to dedicate their lives to serve God’s people. Please be as generous as you can. Please also pray for vocations and for all our priests. If you do not have a donation leaflet, plenty are still available at the back of the church. You can donate online anytime at www.rcdow.org.uk/donations
First Communion Programme
The children in Group A have their first session today (Sunday) at 9.15am in the Canon Smyth Parish Centre. The Children in Group B have their first session next Sunday.
For those who have applied to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this year, if you have not done so already, please email the catechist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Parish Finance Committee meet on Thursday at 7.30pm by Zoom.
4th Sunday of Easter (B)
This Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Easter is widely known as Good Shepherd Sunday following St. John’s opening words of today’s Gospel. “I am the good shepherd”
The analogy of a priest being a shepherd, and the people being the sheep of God’s flock is one that has lasted the test of time, and sheep really do recognise the voice of their shepherd.
A priest does lay down his life for the good of the Gospel. He will, in accordance with his Bishop’s instructions go where ever he is asked to serve. He is not married. He lives his life in freedom to serve God and the church under the licence of his Bishop.
Are there any men here today thinking or have wondered about a vocation to the priesthood?
Priesthood is a fulfilled life. In addition to praying, studying scriptures and of course celebrating the sacred Eucharistic mysteries and hearing confessions, a priest is called to do a lot more besides. To preach; to baptise; to minister to the sick and the dying and their family; to help young couples prepare sincerely for the sacrament of marriage. To support the bishop in diocesan events and projects. A priest is assigned to a parish to serve the parish community in their spiritual needs – in joy and in sorrow. A priest has the freedom to be available when the telephone rings, or the doorbell goes or when the email pings. The priest is someone who listens when you need to talk; to direct you when you ask for advice.
A priest is not a social worker. A priest is not there to solve your problems – He is here to help you solve your problems.
The church places a lot of emphasis on discernment and training which is done in the Seminary and in parishes. I know of no other vocation where such care and attention is put into the process of training and preparing men for the life ahead of them. Priesthood is a life of service and care for the community that they serve. It is a life not suited to everyone, but does not mean that every priest is the same either. Just look at the disciples and Apostles, whom Jesus called by name. They have their own personality and life experiences too. The same is for a priest, who brings his own life experiences to the priesthood. What is common to all priests is that God calls them to this life of service. This is discerned through prayer and a love of Christ. We are all called to love and serve God, but the priest is called from the people of God to minister. The priest is anointed at ordination to be set apart from the people, to live and pray offering his life to God in a special ministerial relationship with Christ. The priest represents the bishop in a parish and is given faculties and permissions for the exercise of his priestly apostolate whilst resident in a diocese.
The pandemic has shown us that we have missed the ability to be at mass, to receive the sacraments. Imagine if there are not enough priests to go around. We need to pray and talk about vocations to the priesthood with our sons and grandsons. We need to pray and ask for men to come forward and test their vocation. There is no shame in testing a vocation. It would be amazing if every parish in the diocese was able to support a young or not so young man from their parish in this wonderful life.
Let us offer this prayer each day for vocations:
God our Father
look in love upon our homes, our families and our communities.
Raise up from among us worthy priests to teach the Gospel to all people,
to minister at your Altar and to care for your flock.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit
and make us faithful and inspiring witness to your Kingdom.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Annual Mass of Thanksgiving for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony
Via live-stream from Westminster Cathedral, on Saturday 15th May 2021 at 3.00pm. The Cardinal will be celebrating a live-streamed Mass for all couples in the Diocese who are celebrating their 5th, 10th, 25th, 30th, 40th, 50th and 60th (and every year over 60) wedding anniversary of Catholic marriage in 2021. If you are celebrating an anniversary, please give your parish clergy/parish office the following details: husband and wife’s names, wedding date, full postal address and email (or telephone number if no email), and these details will be sent to those organizing this celebration. An Order of Service can be downloaded from the Cathedral website before the event – www.westminstercathedral.org.uk.
Migrants MASS Saturday 1st May
The Mass is an annual celebration of the contribution made in the UK by all our migrant communities. https://actionnetwork.org/events/migrants-mass There will be short video greetings screened from 11.20am before the start of the Mass at 11.30am.
Saints Days This Week
Tuesday St Catherine of Siena - was a Third Order Dominican known for her contemplation and prayer—as well as her involvement in Church and civil affairs. During the time when there were two or three Popes each claiming the papacy, Saint Catherine sided with Pope Urban VI. She was named a Doctor of the Church in 1970.
Saturday St Joseph the Worker - Pope Pius XII emphasized both Catholic devotion to Saint Joseph and the dignity of human labour when he created the celebration of Saint Joseph the Worker. Work, as our Church teaches, should always be for the good and benefit of humanity. Saint Joseph is our model and patron in our work endeavours.