Takehomenews 7 February 2021
Fr Colin writes:
I am sorry for the inconvenience last weekend when only one set of doors to the church was in use. This was because part of the wall in the porch and at the back of the church was damaged by water seeping through and it had to be re-plastered and re-painted. The work is now complete.
Further work in the church is soon to be done around the bay window at the back of the church by the Sacred Heart Statue. Also the wooden fencing around Our Lady’s Grotto area will be replaced by railings. Remember this is a place to come and pray when the church is closed.
Normally we would be having our Annual General Meeting at about this time, but because of restrictions this is being delayed until later in the year. At the meeting we present the parish Annual Accounts. Copies of the accounts are available in the porch and they can be found on the parish website, with comments. During 2020, despite the closure of the church for part of the year, we made only a small deficit on the bank balance, but there is likely to be a much larger deficit in 2021.
During the coming week, there are 3 days dedicated to particular prayer intentions. Monday is the Memoria of St. Josephine Bakhita and is a day of prayer for Victims of Trafficking and those who work to combat it. Thursday is the Memoria of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of Prayer for he sick. Sunday is a Day for the Unemployed. We should keep these three intentions in our prayers.
Ash Wednesday is on 17th February. More about that and the Season of Lent next week.
FUNERAL OF THERESA ALI
The Funeral Mass of THERESA ALI will be on Friday at 11.am. Attendance at this will be by invitation from the family, but it will be livestreamed. This Mass is in addition to the 9.am Mass that morning.
SAFEGUARDING DBS CHECKS
Some of our Volunteers working with children and the vulnerable need to have their DBS updated, as checks need to made every 3 years. This would include catechists working with children, altar servers over the age of 18, Four-12 members over the age of 18 and Eucharistic Ministers taking Holy Communion to the housebound who are not part of their own family. Many of these activities are suspended because of COVID restrictions but now is the time to get the DBS sorted so we are ready when full parish life resumes. If you are in one of these groups or have become a volunteer recently, please contact our new Parish Safeguarding Representative Macdara Conneely by email on firstname.lastname@example.org who will guide you on what needs to be done. Thank you.
5th Sunday of Year B
Fr David writes:
The scripture readings this weekend are quite direct and perhaps need a little explanation.
In our first reading, from the Book of Job, we have an excerpt from a larger pericope entitled My Suffering Is without End. Lasting the whole of chapter 7 Job, our reading is just a small excerpt. Job gives us some real hard understanding in what it means to suffer. How many of us have found our selves in a pit of despair? A place where there is no hope what so ever? We might grumble and gripe about this or that, but, for some people this level of despair is a real and present danger to their psyche.
It is interesting to note that not all suffering is of our own making. Often, there is a judgement that the person suffering must have done something wrong, must have sinned, in order to warrant such suffering. Pope St. John Paul II in a general audience on November 9, 1988 talked about the meaning of suffering in the Light of Christ’s Passion.
A judgement that views suffering exclusively as a punishment for sins runs counter to love for man. .... One sees it .... in the case of the man born blind: “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (Jn 9:2) It is like pointing the finger against someone. It is a judgement which passes from suffering seen as a physical torment, to that understood as a punishment for sin: someone must have sinned, either the man in question or his parents. It is a moral imputation: he suffers, therefore he must be guilty.
To put an end to this petty and unjust way of thinking, it was necessary to reveal in its essential profundity the mystery of the suffering of the Innocent One, the Holy One, the “Man of Sorrows!” Ever since Christ chose the Cross and died on Golgotha, all who suffer, especially those who suffer without fault, can come face to face with the “Holy One who suffers”, and find in his passion the complete truth about suffering, its full meaning and its importance. In the light of this truth, all those who suffer can feel called to share in the work of Redemption accomplished by means of the Cross. (John Paul II: The Meaning of Suffering in the Light of Christ’s Passion, Nos. 6-7, General Audience 9/11/1988) The book of Job, has for all who suffer, the insistent message that sin and suffering do not always have a direct causal relationship. It is this message of hope that has the power to speak to every human being that has ever experienced the feeling of being abandoned or punished by God in the midst of suffering.
Jesus suffered for us all on the Cross and during his life time, as we have read in our Gospel today, has a desire to search out those who are suffering to heal them. Not to plague them with judgements of sin. Christ’s divine love is for the good and healing of all people. In the same way then, we should have the hope in Jesus, so that we never get to the level of despair that we meet in Job. As St. Paul tells the Corinthians “To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might be all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.” (I Cor 9:22-23).
This week’s Saints
Monday—St Josephine Bakhita, Patron Saint of Sudan and human - trafficking Survivors. Out of Africa comes a slave, to freely serve the Master of all Black-on-black or Arab-on-black slavery normally preceded and made possible the white-on-black slavery practiced by the colonial powers. These powers—England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy—were not slave societies, but their colonies were. The complex, pancultural reality of the slave trade and of slavery itself was on full display in the dramatic early life of today’s saint. The future Josephine was born in Western Sudan, centuries after the Church and most Catholic nations had long since outlawed slavery. Enforcing such teachings and laws was infinitely more difficult, however, than issuing them. And so it happened that a little African girl was kidnapped by Arab slave traders, forced to walk six hundred miles barefoot, and sold and resold in local slave markets over a period of twelve years. She was forcibly converted from her native religion to Islam, was cruelly treated by one master after another, was whipped, tattooed, scarred, and beaten. After experiencing all the humiliations inherent to captivity, she was bought by an Italian diplomat. She had been too young, and it had been too long, so she did not know her own name and had unclear recollections of where her family would be. She, essentially, had no people. The slave traders had given her the Arabic name Bakhita, “The Fortunate,” and the name stuck, Saint Josephine, you lost your freedom when young and gave it away when an adult, showing that freedom is not the goal but the pathway to serving the Master of all. From your place in heaven, give hope to those enduring the indignity of physical slavery and to those bound tightly by other chains.
Wednesday—St Scholastica Patron Saint of nuns, convulsive children, education, and books.
Saint Scholastica was born in the decades after the last Western Emperor was forced to abandon the crumbling city of Rome in 476. Power was concentrated in the East, in Constantinople, where the real action was. Many centuries would pass until the Renaissance would cover Rome again in its classical glory. But what happened in Western Europe between the end of the Roman era in the fifth century and the dawn of the Renaissance in the fifteenth? Monasticism happened. Armies of monks founded innumerable monasteries crisscrossing the length and breadth of Europe like the beads of a rosary. These monasteries drove their roots deep into the native soil. They became centres of learning, agriculture, and culture that naturally gave birth to the dependent towns, schools, and universities which created medieval society.
Saint Scholastica, you established the woman’s branch of the Benedictine Religious Order, and so gave Christian women their own communities to govern and rule. Help all who invoke your intercession to remain anonymous and humble even when developing great plans for God and His Church. You are great and you are unknown. Help us to desire the same.