19 July 2020
CHURCH OPENING TIMES (until 26th July inclusive)
With Exposition 9.30AM—10.30AM
In our Lady’s Grotto—weather permitting
Thank you very much for your co-operation when coming to church, following the sanitising and direction guidelines. A big thank you to the stewards whose assistance has made it possible to open the church and keep it free from possible contamination. We need more stewards, particularly when we resume Mass. Stewards need to be under the age of 70 and in good health.
I am pleased to announce that we will resume Mass on Monday 27th July. Mass times will be as they were before lockdown, but the opening times will be adjusted.
MASS TIMES (starting 27th July) Church Opening Times
MONDAY 7.30AM: 7.00—8AM
TUESDAY 9.00AM: 8.30 -–10AM
WEDNESDAY 9.00AM: 8.30 - 10.30AM
THURSDAY 9.00AM 8.30 -–10AM
FRIDAY 9.00AM: 8.30 -–10AM
SATURDAY 10.00AM: 9.30 - 11AM
6.30.PM: 5.45– 7.30PM
SUNDAY 9.00AM: 9AM –1PM (but closed between Masses for cleaning)
There will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesdays between 9.30 and 10.30AM. Confessions will take place in Our Lady’s Grotto on Saturday, weather permitting, between 10.30 and 11AM and between 5.45 and 6.15PM.
On the afternoon of Sunday 26th July at 3PM, the Parish Council will prepare the church for Mass to start the next day. Various places will be restricted for seating, observing the 2 metre distance rule. It is estimated that the church capacity will be limited to 50 for any one Mass, but families will be allowed to sit together. If at all possible, you are encouraged to come to a weekday Mass rather than a Sunday Mass as there will be more people only available to attend Mass at the weekend. The Sunday obligation rule is suspended.
Sunday Masses will be shorter than usual. There will be no homily (this is printed instead in Takehomenews), no Bidding Prayers and no singing. We are told that singing, shouting and loud voices can spread the virus. For the distribution of Holy Communion, please wait for the direction of the steward to come up in single file 2 metres apart to receive Holy Communion on the hand. Please come up the central aisle and return by the side as before.
At the end of Mass please leave promptly keeping the 2-metre distance. This applies particularly at the 9.00 and 10.30 Masses on Sundays, when the church has to be closed for cleaning before opening up again for the next congregation.
The priest has been instructed to return to the sacristy at the end of Mass and not to greet the people. Sorry about all these rules and regulations. We are getting new guidelines sent to us nearly every day.
Keep safe, keep well and keep the faith. Fr Colin
16th Sunday of Year A
St Matthew’s Gospel has more parables of Jesus than the other Gospels. Some are very long like the parable of the sheep and goats, presenting a vision of the last judgement. Others are very short, not much more than one-liners, like today’s parable of the mustard seed. We have three parables today, the others being that of the darnel and the yeast. All parables, like many in St Matthew’s Gospel relate to the kingdom of heaven, starting with the words ‘the kingdom of heaven is like…’
Darnel is a weed that closely resembles wheat and the difference is evident only when the plants mature and the ears appear. When the owners’ servants discover weeds in the wheat field, the question is not only where they could have come from, but also what should be done about them. To their surprise, the owner tells them not to weed the field but to let the wheat and darnel grow together. When both are mature at harvest time the sorting will be done. The wheat will be gathered up and stored while the darnel will be burned. Jesus explains that the parable is about good and evil thriving alongside each other in the world. It is not always easy to tell the weeds from the wheat and their roots are intertwined below ground. Judgement is left to God’s angels. We see the inclusive nature of Jesus vision. We recognise too that in our sinfulness we become more like darnel than wheat, and yet we know that many have been converted from darnel to wheat. Like the longer parable of the sheep and goats, it is related to the final judgement. Our life should be centred on remaining like the wheat that is gathered into the Lord’s barns.
The parables of the Mustard seeds and the yeast are all about the growth of God’s
kingdom. Like the mustard seed which is the smallest seed of all seeds and grows
into the biggest shrub of all, so our faith can have small beginnings and yet grow into something immense. Similarly, in places where the Christian faith has been suppressed through violent regimes, so often that faith remained dormant and later develops into something greater than it ever was. I wonder whether this parable can be applied to the situation we find ourselves now during the pandemic. The practice of our faith has been suppressed and yet we will value the Mass more when we resume Mass-going.
Today’s first reading from the Book of Wisdom emphasises God’s love and mercy:-
-God’s sovereignty makes him lenient
-God is mild in judgement
-He governs us with great lenience
-He gives us the good hope that after sin He will grant repentance.
May today’s parables inspire us to attain to be the wheat the God gathers and play our part in building up God’s kingdom by planting small mustard seeds.
Saints of the Week
Wednesday 22nd July St Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene is first mentioned in Luke’s gospel as one of the group of women disciples of Jesus, “who provided for them out of their resources” and she is the one “from whom seven demons had gone out” (Luke 8:2-3).
She is also among the women who were present at the crucifixion of Jesus when the male disciples, with the exception of John, abandoned him. She stood with his mother Mary “near the cross” (Jn 19:25), “watching from a distance” (Mk 15:40) and saw the tomb and how his body was laid (Mk 15:47; Lk 23:55; Mt 27:61).
She is among the women who very early in the morning on the first day of the week went with spices to the tomb to anoint the body (Mk 16:2+; Mt 28:1+), but found the tomb empty. She went to tell Simon and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved (Jn 20:1-2).
She is the first to whom Jesus shows himself after the resurrection, though at first she doesn’t recognise him till he called her name, Mary.
Then she cried ‘Rabbuni.’ He said “Do not cling to me, for I have not ascended to my Father. but go and find the brothers and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (Jn 20:11-18).
Thursday 23rd July St Brigid of Sweden
St. Bridget of Sweden, Bridget also spelled Birgit or Brigid, Swedish Sankta Birgitta av Sverige, (born c. 1303, Sweden—died July 23, 1373, Rome [Italy];
canonized October 8, 1391;
feast day July 23, formerly October 8), patron saint of Sweden, founder of the Bridgittines (Order of the Most Holy Saviour), and a mystic whose revelations were influential during the Middle Ages.
In 1999 Pope John Paul II named her one of the patron saints of Europe.
Saturday 25th July St James Son of Zebedee
James, sometimes known as the Great, by contrast with James the Less, the son of Alphaeus (feast 3rd May Saints Philip and James) is described in the Gospels along with John, the evangelist, as “a son of Zebedee”, a fisherman. Jesus recruited both of them along with Simon and his brother Andrew by the Sea of Galilee. They were in their helping their father mend the nets. They left him in the boat with the men he employed and went after Jesus (Mark 1:16-20).
“Sons of Thunder” James and John are called Boanerges or “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). This seems to stem from the incident reported in Luke 9:54 where a Samaritan village would not receive Jesus because he was making for Jerusalem. James and John asked Jesus if he wanted them to call down fire from heaven to burn them up!
Peter, James and John
On three important occasions in the life of Jesus in the New Testament, James is numbered with Peter and John in a threesome: the first of these is in raising the daughter of Jairus to life (Mk 5:35-43); the second is the transfiguration (Mk 9:2-8); the third is during his agony in Gethsemane (Mk 14:32-42).
Beheaded by King Herod Agrippa The next mention of him in the New Testament is in Acts 12:2 where he is mentioned in the context of the arrest and miraculous escape of Peter as the first apostle put to death for the Christian faith by Herod Agrippa I (king of Judaea and Samaria 41-44 AD).
St James the Moorslayer
An even later tradition has James miraculously appearing during the battle of Clavijo in 844 to fight for the Christian army led by Ramiro I of Asturias against the Muslims led by the Emir of Córdoba. It is from this tradition arose Santiago Matamoros (St James the Moorslayer), celebrated in Spanish art and literature. This is mentioned by Cervantes in Don Quixote and is celebrated in numerous statues in churches along the route of the Camino.
Compostela There is a legend that St. James the Greater, having preached Christianity in Spain, returned to Judea and was put to death by order of Herod. His body was miraculously translated to Iria Flavia in the northwest of Spain, and later to Compostela, which town, especially during the Middle Ages, became one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in the world. The vow of making a pilgrimage to Compostela to honour the sepulchre of St. James is still reserved to the pope, who alone of his own or ordinary right can dispense from it. In the twelfth century was founded the Order of Knights of St. James of Compostela.
The legend or tradition about St James in Spain comes from the 12th-century Historia Compostellana commissioned by bishop Diego Gelmírez. Two elements are central to it: first, that St James preached the gospel in Iberia as well as in the Holy Land; and second, that after his martyrdom at the hands of Herod Agrippa I, his disciples carried his body by sea to Iberia, where they landed at Padrón on the coast of Galicia, and took it inland for burial at Santiago de Compostela.