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  • RCDOW Burnt Oak

Takehomenews Sunday 18 July 2021

Fr Colin writes:

This weekend we would have completed the First Communions for the year. We congratulate the 40 or so children who have reached this stage on their Sacramental journey. We pray that they may always appreciate the presence of Jesus in their lives through the Blessed Sacrament. It is a reminder to all of us of what a life-giving food the Blessed Sacrament is for us. The fact that we have been denied Holy Communion at various times over the last year may have made us more appreciative of what a great gift it is. We thank the catechists for the great work they have done over this shortened programme and indeed the parents who have been acting as teachers and guides at home. I would also like to mention older siblings who have also had a role to play in helping their younger brothers and sisters towards their First Holy Communion.

Applications for the 2021/22 programme will be available in the autumn. Although the schedule has not been arranged yet, the programme will probably be shorter in length but not in content than in the past. Please refer to Takehomenews in the autumn for details.

Applications for the Confirmation programme in 2022 will be available in November, ready to start the programme in the New Year.

We are pleased we have been able to catch up with the Sacramental programmes after lockdown delays and hope that things will get back to normal in 2022. We plan to start a new RCIA programme in the autumn for adults wishing to become Catholics. Fr Colin.

Baptism Preparation

There will be a session for parents who wish to have their baby baptised on Sunday 5th September at 4pm in the church.

Recently Deceased

Please pray for the repose of the soul of BRENDA CAHILL, formerly of this parish, whose cremation takes place on Thursday, also, pray for the repose of the souls of GERALD MASON, BRENDAN MOYLES and Harold Jerome Charles who have died recently.

16th Sunday of Year B

A couple of weeks ago we were looking at the role of Jesus as a prophet and how others in the past have fulfilled that role as well as how we are prophets of today. Today we look at the role of Jesus as a shepherd and how we can imitate Him in our care for one another. The need to have a shepherd is illustrated in today’s Gospel where Jesus was seeking to have some quiet time alone with his apostles, but the crowds hurried on foot to comfort Jesus when he had sailed to the other side of the lake. He recognised them like sheep without a shepherd.

It is good to go back to PSALM 22 to see what a Christ-like shepherd should do. Certainly the shepherd should know his sheep and realise that everyone in not the same. The good shepherd provides rest and revival for the weary. When our confidence and enthusiasm gets low, the Lord gives us an uplift. The shepherd is a guide, leading us on the right path, ready to rescue us if we go astray. Even when we face evil, the Lord is there all the time. The shepherd comforts us in our sorrow. But it is not all gloom and doom. He brings celebration, allowing us to share in his banquet. He has given us several good things through our anointing with chrism at baptism. He has given us all a role to play in shepherding others in their needs. A priest is a shepherd of the people and has a specific tole to play but the people too are required to fulfil that role because of their anointing at baptism.

The Theme of today’s first reading from the prophet Jeremiah is also about the role of the shepherd but refers to the bad shepherds. These are the ones who don’t care for their flock. They let their sheep go wandering off. They don’t care for them. They don’t know them as individuals. Jeremiah was warning those in authority if they did not care for their people, the Lord will choose others to fulfil that role. It was a wake-up call to those in authority and is a warning to all of us that we are given the role to serve one another.

Today’s second reading from St Paul to the Ephesians is an indication that it is essentially the blood of Christ that has brought us together as sheep of one fold. Through Christ dying on the cross and shedding his blood, he has brought us together through the forgiveness of our sins. The blood of Christ has brought about peace, reconciliation and communion. Jesus is the sacrificial lamb who has elevated us into sheep of his flock and fellow shepherds in the community.

Foodbank for the community

Non – perishable food is required for the foodbank, please leave your donations in one of the marked boxes in the church porch. This will be the last week and then we resume again at the beginning of September. Many thanks for your contributions to help families in need.

This Week’s Saints

Thursday—St Mary Magdalene, Patron saint of perfumers, converts, and hairdressers. Saint Mary Magdalene was among that troop of women who congregated on the outer edge of the twelve Apostles. These were probably women of means, who “provided for” Jesus and the Apostles “out of their resources” (Lk 8:3). When these women are named, Mary Magdalene is always named first, similar to Saint Peter’s position in the listing of the Apostles. Mary Magdalene is named many more times in the Gospels than most of the Apostles themselves, signalling her importance. The Gospel of Luke relates that seven demons were driven from her (Lk. 8: 2). But there is debate over whether Mary Magdalene is also the sinful woman who anoints Christ’s feet and if she is also Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Building on the presumption that the sinful woman was Mary Magdalene, medieval traditions wrongly described her as a repentant prostitute. Artistic depictions almost universally show her as sultry, forlorn, and repentant. Despite the dubious connection between Mary Magdalene and prostitution, this association continues today and will likely take centuries to purify.

Saint Mary Magdalene, assist all who seek your intercession to be humble followers of Christ, doing, from the margins, what is necessary to carry forward the ministry of Christ’s Church, quietly accomplishing God’s will without recognition except for its eternal reward.

Friday—St Bridget of Sweden, Patron Saint of Europe, Sweden, and widows. The details of the first half of the life of Saint Bridget of Sweden evoke a place long lost to history—Catholic Scandinavia. For hundreds of years, the true faith thrived in these lands and incubated great saints such as Bridget. She was married at the age of thirteen and lived happily with her husband for twenty-eight years, bearing eight children. They were a pious couple, even completing the famous pilgrimage to the Shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. But her husband died while Bridget was only halfway through her life’s journey. Bridget then spent three years in mourning in a Cistercian monastery. During this period, the spiritual visions she had experienced throughout her life increased in number and vivacity.

Saint Bridget, like Saint Catherine of Siena, laboured to convince the popes to return to Rome from Avignon. She invoked the Lord’s opinions about the papal exile as He expressed them in her visions. One letter she wrote to the pope was so strongly worded that her envoy refused to read it when he was in the Holy Father’s presence. An Italian woman Bridget had become friends with during the Jubilee of 1350 donated a large palace in central Rome to Bridget. Saint Bridget and her sisters established their Roman foundation in that centrally located palace and within its walls Saint Bridget died.


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