16 August 2020
Fr Colin Writes:
We are very grateful to the stewards who guide people to their seats and clean the church after everybody has left after Mass. We do need some more stewards, so if you are under 70 and in good health and are able to help in this way, please have a word with me.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. Falling into the middle of the holiday period, we are often away at the time of the Feast. This year there are fewer able to go away so we can celebrate the Feast at home. Our Lady is the great intercessor and she has probably been doing overtime over the last few months! Today we are filled with joy that having been assumed into heaven, she has become a sign of hope and comfort for us on our pilgrim journey. Where she has gone, we hope to follow.
During August I have been catching up with some of the baptisms that have had to be postponed since March. The limit of numbers attending baptisms in the church is 30. For this reason, there are no group baptisms and no baptisms during Mass for the time being.
From September, we hope to start holding the First Holy Communions that were to take place in May. Obviously, we cannot have large numbers attending, and there would be a limit on the number for each family. We would have groups of 4 or 5 children at a time. First Communion Masses would be at 11AM and 3PM on Saturdays. It would take about 5 or 6 weeks to complete the communions for about 50 children. The usual Saturday 10AM Mass would be cancelled on these occasions. We will be getting in touch with the 1st Communion families in the next few weeks. As for children due to Receive First Holy Communion in 2021, the start of the preparation will be delayed.
As far as the Sacrament of Confirmation is concerned, the Bishop will be unable to administer the Sacrament as they will necessarily be in smaller groups. The Parish Priest has been given permission to administer the Sacrament. Confirmations could take place on Saturdays as for the First Communions, or on weekday evenings. There again, there could be up to 10 Confirmation Masses. These would not start until after the half-term of the autumn term.
Because of all this, the time of baptisms would be limited to 1PM on Saturdays and 3PM on Sundays, from September
Thank you for all your co-operation in these difficult times. Father Colin
The Assumption of Our Lady
Today we celebrate Our Lady’s assumption, when God took Mary into God’s presence at the end of her life on earth. In the scriptures, we do not have any account that includes Our Lady after the time of Pentecost. The Gospel of St Luke provides us with detailed accounts of the Annunciation, the Visitation and the Birth of Jesus, then later the Presentation and the Finding in the Temple. There are not many references to Mary during Jesus’ public ministry. The occasion that stands out is the Marriage Feast of Cana in St John’s Gospel. Mary is there at the Crucifixion at the foot of the Cross, and then In the Upper Room with the Apostles awaiting in prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Then we do not have anything about Our Lady. We can make various suppositions, like being close to St John as Jesus said that she was his mother and he her Son. But we don’t know where, when or how she died. The Eastern Churches hold the doctrine of the Dormition, which means that she simply fell asleep. Today, however, we are celebrating the doctrine that Mary was assumed into heaven, taking on the role of being the great intercessor. Where she has gone, we hope to follow. The Assumption is described in today’s Preface as the beginning and image of the Church’s coming to perfection. This means that Our Lady’s arrival in heaven was a starting point in all of our journeys towards heaven. Not only that, it is a journey towards perfection, towards being a true image of Jesus Christ himself. The letter of St John makes the point that we will become like Christ and see Him as he really is. That is our goal and Our Lady has shown us the way. To underline this, the Preface goes on to say that Mary’s Assumption is a sign of sure hope and comfort to us, God’s pilgrim people.
As there is no Gospel account of the Assumption, today’s Gospel passage is that of the Visitation. The key part of this for us today is Mary’s Magnificat. It is a proclamation of the greatness of the Lord. At the Visitation, we see the Magnificat as Mary’s expression of gratitude for her calling by God to be the mother of the Lord. But the Magnificat goes even deeper and wider than this. It is a prophetic text that tells its hearers of what God has done, is doing and will do. This is accomplished in Mary and will be fulfilled from age to age in those who fear him. So when we repeat the words of the Magnificat, said each day at the Evening Prayer of the Church, we are not only recalling Mary’s calling but our own calling from our lowliness to the heights that God has prepared for us. We can look on Mary as the one who has shown us the way through her Assumption into heaven.
We leave the last word with St Paul who in today’s 2nd reading writes ‘Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ’. We die imperfect but the true life is brought to us through Christ who will make this magnificent transformation in us from sinner to saint.
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Please pray with us:
Please pray for children living in some of the world's poorest communities who are currently learning at home. Pray that they – and their families – will be safe during these uncertain times.
Praise God for those who work for Mary’s Meals in the countries where our meals are served. We pray for God’s continued blessing and protection upon them.
Give thanks for the incredible gifts, that our supporters continue to share with us. We pray for new blessings and gifts so more children can eat Mary's Meals each day.
This week’s Saints
Thursday—20th August St Bernard of Clairvaux Bernard, the second founder of the Cistercians, the Mellifluous Doctor, the apostle of the Crusades, the miracle-worker, the reconciler of kings, the leader of peoples, the counselor of popes! His sermons, from which there are many excerpts in the Breviary, are conspicuous for genuine emotion and spiritual unction. The celebrated Memorare is ascribed to him.
Bernard was born in 1090, the third son of an illustrious Burgundian family. At the age of twenty-two he entered the monastery of Citeaux (where the Cistercian Order had its beginning) and persuaded thirty other youths of noble rank to follow his example. Made abbot of Clairvaux (1115), he erected numerous abbeys where his spirit flourished. To his disciple, Bernard of Pisa, who later became Pope Eugene III, he dedicated his work De Consideratione. Bernard's influence upon the princes, the clergy, and the people of his age was most remarkable. By penitential practices he so exhausted his body that it could hardly sustain his soul, ever eager to praise and honor God.Patron: beekeepers; bees; candlemakers; chandlers; wax-melters; wax refiners; Gibraltar; Queens College, Cambridge.
Friday-21st August St Pius X
On June 2, 1835, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto saw the light of earth at Riesi, Province of Treviso, in Venice; on August 20, 1914, he saw the light of heaven; and on May 29, 1954, he who had become the two hundred fifty-ninth pope was canonized St. Pius X. Two of the most outstanding accomplishments of this saintly Pope were the inauguration of the liturgical renewal and the restoration of frequent communion from childhood. He also waged an unwavering war against the heresy and evils of Modernism, gave great impetus to biblical studies, and brought about the codification of Canon Law. His overriding concern was to renew all things in Christ.
Above all, his holiness shone forth conspicuously. From St. Pius X we learn again that "the folly of the Cross", simplicity of life, and humility of heart are still the highest wisdom and the indispensable conditions of a perfect Christian life, for they are the very source of all apostolic fruitfulness.
His last will and testament bears the striking sentence: "I was born poor, I have lived in poverty, and I wish to die poor."
Saturday-22nd August Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Great love and respect for Mary, the Mother of God, permeate numerous aspects of the Catholic Church. Even from a secular perspective, it is nearly impossible not to notice the reverence that Catholics hold for Mary; images of her adorn our churches and words about her remain within our prayers. This kind of devotion is often mystifying to non-Catholics, as it may seem from a certain viewpoint that Catholics worship the Mother of God in addition to God Himself, or even hold her in esteem above Christ. Honouring Mary in Her Assumption and Queenship
In the month of August, there are at least two ways in which we can meditate on Mary’s role in our lives. This is because two of her great feast days occur this month: the Feast of the Assumption, taking place on August 15, and the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, taking place just a week later on August 22. These two feast days cooperate beautifully to show how we should give Mary honour in our lives, just as Christ Himself gave her honour.