12 July 2020
CHURCH OPENING TIMES
With Exposition 9.30AM—10.30AM
CONFESSIONS SATURDAYS 5.45PM—6.15PM
In our Lady’s Grotto—Weather permitting
It was great that we were able to open the church again for prayer last weekend and good to see you again. Thank you for abiding by the rules, regulations and restrictions that we have had to put in place. Just a reminder of the procedure: On entering the church please sanitise your hands in the porch, putting your hands underneath the dispenser as you press the pedal with your foot. If you take this newsletter, or any other leaflet, please take it with you and do not leave it behind once touched. Please follow the one -way system around the church. If you are lighting a candle, please sanitise your hands again from the automatic sanitiser by the candle stands. This means that if you touch the taper or matchbox your hands should be uncontaminated. Take a seat where there are spaces or as directed. Please leave by the central doors, sanitising your hands with the pedal dispenser as you leave.
I am most grateful to the stewards who have offered their services to direct and supervise proceedings for our safety and for cleaning the church at the end of prayer period. We do need more stewards, particularly when we resume daily Mass. If you are prepared to help, are under 70 and in good health, please speak to me or one of the stewards. We hope to resume Mass at the end of the month and will make an announcement about this in next week’s Takehomenews. There will be restrictions on the numbers coming to Mass so we will be encouraging you to come to a weekday Mass if you can to enable others who can’t to get to Mass on Sunday. Remember, the Sunday Mass Obligation is still suspended.
Following the Guidelines given to us about hearing confessions, we are taking up the suggestions to hear confessions outside. I will be available on Saturdays between 5.45 and 6.15PM in Our Lady’s grotto. Please keep to the social distance rule and if somebody is already there to keep out of earshot. If you want confession at another time, please call at the presbytery. Many thanks for your co-operation.
Keep safe and keep well.
Gospel according to Matthew 13:1-9
Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such crowds gathered round him that he got into the boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.
He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprung up straight away, because there was not depth of earth: but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and chocked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Listen anyone who has ears!’ This is The Gospel of the Lord.
15th Sunday of Year A
The parable of the sower and the seed provides us with much reflection for the times we find ourselves in. If we have kept the faith through thick and thin, we are now reaping the rewards of the seeds that were sown for us or by us in times past. We have been through moments when God’s word has been ignored, when the seed fell to the edge of the path as far as we were concerned. There have been times when the seed has fallen on patches of rock when our worries and concerns have meant that there was no depth of earth and the word has withered away. And there have been times when the seed of God’s Word has fell among thorns and we have allowed the worries of the world and the lure of riches to take over. But the likelihood is, that if we are reading or listening to these words, that our faith has come through lockdown relatively unscathed, perhaps damaged or perhaps enhanced. For this, we thank the Lord and we thank others for their example and encouragement.
The question now is how we are to plant the seeds for the future. Many of the opportunities for this are now closed because of restrictions on our movement, restrictions on our contact with others and on the whole seeing fewer people. It is then that I turn to prayer and many imaginative ideas have come forward on different ways of communicating with others. The Holy Spirit is not restricted by lockdown, in fact it may be busier than usual. The Holy Spirit inspires us to overcome the restrictions we have, inspiring different ways that we bring Christ to others and sustain our faith as well.
We may have forgotten that we are still in the Year of the Word. Many of the events and projects relating to the Year have had to be cancelled. But that does not stop us from going back to the source which is The Bible. I have found more time to go deeper into the scriptures, exploring different themes in the Old and New Testament. Currently, I am looking at passages in scripture relating to faith: Keeping faith, justice and faith, faith in crisis, inheritance of faith, witness of faith. There are passages relating to these themes in the Old and New Testament. We realise how powerful God’s word is by simply reading today’s 1st reading: Thus says the Lord: ‘As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do’:(Isaiah 55:10-11)
So, let us not allow the Year of the Word to slip by. We can plant the seeds for later fruition both for ourselves and others.
Wednesday July 15 – St Bonaventure (1221-74)
Franciscan Priest and Theologian
Bonaventure is called "the Seraphic Doctor" because of his insightful wisdom
St Bonaventure, Bishop, Religious, Doctor of the Church. Born at Bagnoregio (Italy) about 1218; died at Lyons (France) on this day in 1274.
Born to pious parents, John of Fidenza and Mary Ritelli, at Bagnoregio in Tuscany, the boy was christened John. But there is a story that when he was four, he became so ill that his mother took him to St Francis of Assisi, who, moved to compassion by her tears, prayed for the boy, and he was never again sick a day till he died. St Francis, himself then near the end of his life, on seeing the child recover, cried out: “O buona ventura!”, that is, in Italian, “Oh! Good luck!”. And, it is said, this was the name he took when he entered the Franciscans in 1243. Bonaventure joined the Franciscans when studying in Paris. Honoured as a teacher, for his extensive biblical and mystical writings, and for his holiness, gentleness, and compassion.
His studies After profession Bonaventure was sent to the University of Paris, where he studied scholastic philosophy and theology under Alexander of Hales. He was a very focused student, not in any way given to idle curiosity, but keeping Jesus Christ and him crucified as his inspiration. He made his studies a continuation of prayer. He cultivated humility and sought to serve the sick and the most difficult people with love.
Declines the archbishopric of York—In 1265 Pope Clement IV nominated Bonaventure as archbishop of York, hoping he would be an accomplished ambassador of the papacy in England, but Bonaventure begged the Pope not to impose that burden on him. In 1273 Pope Gregory X appointed Bonaventure cardinal-bishop of Albano, adding a condition that he could not refuse. He then called him to the Council of Lyons in 1274, where he played an important part in the reconciliation negotiations between East and West. But Bonaventure died while the Council was still in session and was buried at the church of the friars at Lyons.
Mystical writer—Bonaventure united in himself tender piety and profound learning. For him all learning had to further the journey to God. His writings – Commentary on the Sentences, his Breviloquium, De reductione Artium ad Theologiam – deal with all the major questions of philosophy and theology.
Bonaventure was canonised in 1482 and declared a doctor of the Church in 1588. Franciscans are often called the “Seraphic Order” because of the mystical experience of St Francis on Mont’Alverna.
Thursday July 16th — Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a title given to Mary, the mother of Jesus, in honour of her having given the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to Saint Simon Stock According to a pious tradition this took place at Cambridge in England in 1251. Patrick Duffy tells the story of the Carmelites.
A scapular was originally a form of clothing, which monks wore when they were working. With the passage of time, it got a symbolic meaning: the cross to be borne every day as disciples and followers of Christ. In some religious orders, like the Carmelites, the scapular became a symbol of their way of life. It also became a badge of association with a particular religious group in a scapularslay third order. It signifies commitment to follow Jesus, like Mary, the perfect model of a disciple of Jesus.
The spiritual focus of the Carmelite Order is on contemplative prayer. Tradition traces the origins of the order to a small group of hermits – some of them crusaders – who gathered near the well of Elijah on the slopes of Mount Carmel in the Holy Land at the end of the 12th century. They saw themselves as succeeding the schools of the prophets in ancient Israel.
A reform of the order took place in Spain, carried out by Teresa of Avila with the help of John of the Cross; this group separated and became the Discalced Carmelites. Teresa demanded the same single-mindedness. She compares the human heart to an “interior castle”, surrounded by “snakes and vipers and poisonous creatures”. These are the worldly attachments, the false gods, our inordinate desires. But only God really satisfies. Today there are two great Carmelite families – the Order of Carmelites (OCarm) and the Order of Discalced Carmelites (ODC).
Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the scapular. A pious tradition tells how Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock at Cambridge, England, in 1251. In answer to his appeal for help for his oppressed order, she appeared to him with a scapular in her hand and said: “Take, beloved son, this scapular of thine order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant”. This promise is extended to all who out of devotion to the Mother of God wear her habit or badge; they are as if they were affiliated to the Carmelite Order.
Carmelite spirituality remembers this radical contest. It is like falling in love and the pearl of great price. If your love is real, it will be all-consuming. All lesser loves fall away. Hence the motto of the Carmelite order is the quotation from 1 Kings 19:10,14: “With zeal I have been zealous for the Lord God of hosts.”
Among 20th century Carmelite figures are: St Thérèse of Lisieux, St Teresa of the Andes, Blessed Titus Brandsma, a Dutch scholar killed in Dachau because of his stance against Nazism, and St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, (Edith Stein), a Jewish convert to Catholicism imprisoned and died at Auschwitz.