26th July 2020
Church Opening Times
5.45 — 7.30PM
SUNDAY: 8.30AM-1.00PM (but closed between masses for cleaning)
Wednesdays 9.30 to 10.30AM
(In our Lady’s Grotto, weather permitting)
Tomorrow, Monday, we will be resuming Masses at The Annunciation. This will be a great blessing for all of us. For the last 4 months, I have been offering a private Mass each day in the church. When you come to Mass, you will find things quite different and we have been given guidelines by the Bishops’ Conference as to how Mass should be said. The general principle is that it should be short and that there should be no singing. We are told that singing., shouting and speaking loudly can spread germs more. So, I am going to need to change. Please sanitise your hands and take one of the places designated in the church.
Families and bubbles can sit together but otherwise the 2-metre distance rule should be observed. Newsletters and Mass sheets should be taken home with you afterwards. Please do not leave them in the pew. Once you have touched it, it is yours and not for anybody else.
Readers should sanitise their hands before and after reading or use single –use gloves. They should avoid touching the microphone or the Lectionary, apart from page turning:
There will be no homily but a Sunday homily will be included in the Takehomenews as it has done since we resumed opening the church. Bidding prayers will be omitted.
There will be no Offertory Procession, or collection around the pews. There will be a box by the altar steps where you can put your weekly donations.
There will be no sign of the peace. After the prayer and its response ‘Behold the Lamb of God… Lord I am not worthy’, the priest will hold up the Host to the Congregation and say ‘The Body of Christ’ to which the people will respond ‘Amen’. Then he elevates the chalice and says ‘The Blood of Christ’ and again the people respond ‘Amen’. There will be no individual saying of ‘The Body of Christ’ and ‘Amen’ when you come to receive Holy Communion. Please come up to receive Holy Communion in single file as directed by the stewards, leaving a 2—metre distance between the person in front of you. As before, come up the centre aisle and return by either side. To receive Holy Communion, please stretch our your hands, keeping a distance between you and the priest. Communion will be distributed in one kind only—there will be no communion from the chalice.
At the end of Mass, the priest will return to the sacristy and you are asked to leave immediately observing the 2- metre distancing rule. This is particularly important after the 9.00AM and 10.30AM Masses on Sunday when the church has to be thoroughly cleaned for the next congregation. This means that we will need to close the church between Masses. If you are early please wait outside observing the 2-metre distance rule.
We hope that we will be able to accommodate everybody at Mass but there will be a limit to the number of people we can have inside the church at any one time, so there is a chance you may be turned away. You may prefer to attend a weekday Mass instead of a Sunday Mass if possible. Remember the Sunday Obligation is suspended for the time being. Thank you very much for your co-operation in all these things. It may sound rather unwelcoming but indeed I do welcome everybody even though I cannot visit your homes or speak to you individually at close distance. Many thanks to the stewards. At the time of writing, we do need more stewards, particularly for the weekday Masses. If you are in good health and under 70, please speak to me if you are able to help as a steward. God Bless,
17th Sunday of Year A
This week’s homily has been sent to us from Caritas. As it is so appropriate for the times we are in, I thought it would be best to reproduce it in full rather than present something of my own.
Readings: 1 Kings 3.5, 7-9: Romans 8.28– 30 Matthew 13.44-52
“The Word of God is alive and active.” (Hebrews 4.12
Listening to Jesus in today’s Gospel, he is teaching his disciples in parables about the power and dynamism of the kingdom of God. Listening to our living Lord speaking to us today, we are being called afresh to be a community of disciples in the present out-working of the Kingdom in our given time and in our situation and location.
There are two twin parables to start with. Someone finds treasure in a field by chance and a merchant finally finds the pearl of great value he has been searching for. What comes across firstly in both cases is joy. They are surprised by joy. We too are to be constantly surprised by the joy of believing, by the joy of belonging: by the joy of finding Jesus, or rather finding once again that Jesus has found us.
Now it is by joy that these two characters are motivated to re-order their priorities to ensure that the treasure– the pearl of great price—is their own. Similarly, to make the Kingdom our own, to integrate the Kingdom into our lives of Christian discipleship, is not a burden but part of the joy of believing and belonging. But does involve changing our priorities.
How then do we as individuals and as a parish community reassess our priorities? In the first reading King Solomon, a thousand years before Christ, prayed for divine wisdom to rule his vast and diverse kingdom.
We Christians have received that wisdom from on high, the Holy Spirit. In the second reading St Paul assures us that we Christian disciples are constantly graced to be co-workers in God’s eternal plan of wisdom and compassion in the here and now of our given lives. He even says we are called to be conformed to the image of his Son. To be Christ-like Christians.
At the end of the gospel Jesus refers to the Christian scribe. In a sense he is talking about all of us. Pondering the words of Jesus and attentive to the Spirit we are empowered to bring out the household of faith “things new and old”.
With households ‘locked down’ during the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us, of all ages, will have become more aware of the frailty of human life. We have seen the joy generated by many acts of neighbourly kindness. Perhaps we also saw and felt some fear especially for the elderly relatives and neighbours.
150 years ago, the bishops and Catholic Communities in this country discerned a priority to establish schools for poor children, including many Irish young families
who were settling here. Catholics often built a school before building their parish church. We now face another challenge on a large scale in our churches and the communities, which calls for he same kind of confidence and fresh imagination.
Today, people are living much longer, into their 80s and beyond. Average ages in churches and our society are rising.
Our parish community is greatly enriched by caring presence and initiative of older people. They show that deep human desires remain the same, no matter how old we are: for the joy of friendship, and to create belonging.
But sometimes words and actions on ageing, and the elderly fall short of our Christian vision of the fullness of life. Many people, Christians included, fear that growing older will not be a joyful experience. Even greater is the fear threat one day our health might require specialist care, perhaps in a care home.
Care homes for the elderly, often set up by Catholic Religious orders for people of limited means, have not always been able to make ends meet, and some have closed in the past 20 years. If we fear old age, is it a sign that we need to understand and embrace the fullness of life that older people can show us?
Shortly before the pandemic struck, the bishops of England and Wales shared their hope that parishes would consider fresh opportunities for older people to experience more of the care and belonging that they want, and, that we would hope to see for ourselves and our loved ones. How can this community of disciples be joyfully creative and faithful, in regard to the role and needs of the elderly in this parish neighbourhood?
One character in the gospels who did joyfully give up all she had for God was the widow in the Temple (Luke 21.1-4). It is not just a matter of caring for the elderly but o letting them, along with the young and the middle aged, enrich in wisdom and compassion the diversity and unity of the community.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of KATHLEEN PENDER of Henshaw Drive.
Her funeral Mass will take place on Friday at 11.00AM but attendance at the funeral will be at he the invitation of the family only because of the limit in numbers in the church. There will also be a Mass at 9.00 AM., which you can attend.
Saints of the Week
Wednesday St Martha
Friday St Ignatius of Loyola
Saturday St Alponsus Liguori