Takehomenews Sunday 18th April
Fr Colin writes:
Eastertide is a beautiful season as springtime emerges. The scripture readings provide us with a detailed account of the early church from the Acts of the Apostles and much from St. John’s Gospel which was written in the light of the resurrection. We see the initial work of evangelisation was done by the Apostles, often meeting opposition from the authorities while crowds of people came forward for conversion and healing. When the lockdown measures begin to ease, there will be a great need for evangelisation in the Church of today. Many have not been able to come to Mass although the livestream service has been well used. There are others who may have let their faith slip during the pandemic. And it is to these that we will want to be in contact with once we are able to visit people in their homes. The housebound have not been visited nor those in sheltered homes. So, there will be plenty for us to do once the restrictions are lifted.
The death of the Duke of Edinburgh has reminded us of the importance of service and duty. I saw him as a very much St Joseph like character, doing what needed to be done, in the background but being reliable and indeed righteous. We are currently In the Year of St Joseph when we should reflect on his many righteous characteristics. In a couple of weeks time we keep the feast of St Joseph the Worker, as a day for reflecting on the value of work, duty and service. May Prince Philip rest in peace. Fr Colin.
Priest Training Fund
Next Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. I understand that there have been an increased number making enquiries about the priesthood since the pandemic started. We pray that these enquiries may bear fruit. As usual on Good Shepherd Sunday, we have the annual collection for the Priest Training Fund. The fund pays for the priestly formation of men for the Catholic priesthood in this diocese. We are blessed in reaping the fruit of the donations in recent years in having Fr. David with us, who was ordained last year on completing his priestly formation at Allen Hall. The fund also supports the ongoing enrichment and formation of our ordained priests. Envelopes should be available at the back of the church. Please take one and return it with your donation next weekend. Thank you.
St George’s Day
On Friday we celebrate the Feast of St George, Patron Saint of England. As it is a Solemnity in this country, there is no need to abstain from meat that day.
First Communion Programme
The parents of those who have applied to receive Holy Communion this year are asked to join a zoom meeting at 7.45pm on Tuesday. The link and code for this meeting will be sent to you by email. The first session for the children in Group A will be next Sunday at 9.15am in the Parish Centre. Group B have their session on 2nd May.
3rd Sunday of Easter (B)
Today’s Gospel Resurrection story follows on from the account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus who encounter a stranger who accompanies them on the road. Explaining the scriptures to them, it is not until he breaks bread with them that they discover that the stranger is in fact Jesus. The confusion that they had over various reports and rumours disappears and they realise that Jesus has risen from the dead. In their excitement they run all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples. It is there we pick up today’s Gospel with yet another resurrection appearance of Jesus. The resurrection appearance cause surprise, alarm and sometimes fright. The resurrection is such a life-changing event that it causes disturbance in those who witness it and believe in it. Just as Thomas wanted proof in last Sunday’s Gospel, that it was really Jesus, so in today’s appearance the disciples sought proof by touching Jesus and watching him eat. It was not a ghost but a real person.
Jesus then goes on to explain that his resurrection should not have come about as such a surprise as it was referred to in the scriptures and He had often spoken about it in his conversations with the disciples. It was a fulfilment of what had been written about in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms. Christians might have abandoned the Old Testament once Jesus had completed his mission. On the contrary, it has become even more relevant in understanding Christ’s mission. Peter and the other Apostles often refer to the scriptures to help the crowds understand what has happened. Peter does so today in the 1st reading when he explains that the prophets had foretold that the Christ would suffer. Most of the listeners would be familiar with the teaching of the Law and the Prophets so the Apostles constantly refer to them to explain how Jesus has fulfilled these scriptures. Peter leaves them with something for them to do. They must repent. This message of repentance was the first message that John the Baptist had brought, the first message of Jesus when he started his public ministry, and now the first message of the Apostles when they start theirs.
For those who have applied to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this year, if you have not done so already, please give us your email address.
Thank you to all the parishioners at the Annunciation for your generous support for CAFOD this year and for your latest donation of £579.23 which we received on 29 March 2021. It means so much to us that you have reached out to our brothers and sisters around the world, when life here at home is quite changed. Thank you so much for being there for our global family.
Right To Life UK.
We pray for all unborn children diagnosed with disabilities. We pray for protection for them and their mothers from the pressures of society to consider abortion, and that they and their mothers would instead experience overwhelming support from all who surround them. Lord hear us”
St George's Day
St George was born sometime around the year 280 in what is now Turkey. He was a soldier and rose up through the ranks of the Roman army, eventually becoming a personal guard to the Emperor Diocletian. He was executed for being a Christian on April 23, 303, and is buried in the town of Lod in Israel.
St George is most widely known for slaying a dragon. According to legend, the only well in the town of Silene was guarded by a dragon. In order to get water, the inhabitants of the town had to offer a human sacrifice every day to the dragon. The person to be sacrificed was chosen by lots. On the day that St George was visiting, a princess had been selected to be sacrificed. However, he killed the dragon, saved the princess and gave the people of Silene access to water. In gratitude, they converted to Christianity. It is thought that the dragon represents a certain type of pagan belief that included the sacrifice of human beings.
St George's Day was once celebrated as widely as Christmas. But the celebrations waned by the end of the 18th century after England had united with Scotland on May 1, 1707. In recent times, there has been a push, involving campaigns and petitions, to make the day a public holiday in England.
St George is the patron saint of a number of other places, such as Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Portugal and Russia. He is also remembered in some regional holidays, such as in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada and among the Gorani people who live in a mountainous area in the Balkans and were converted to Islam many centuries ago, but still observe St George's Day. Around the world, a number of days are devoted to St George, including April 23 and dates in November and December of the Gregorian calendar.
The most widely recognized symbol of St George's Day is St George's cross. This is a red cross on a white background, which is often displayed as a flag. It is used as England's national flag, forming part of the Union Flag, the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Saint George's cross was originally the flag of the maritime Republic of Genoa. Around 1190, the King of England started paying the Doge of Genoa to protect ships originally from the city of London and the rest of England that sailed in the Mediterranean.
During the crusades in the 1100s and 1200s, English knights used St George's cross as part of their uniform. It has been the official flag of England for centuries, but the Union Flag, a combination of St George's cross, St Andrew's cross and St Patrick's cross, is the national flag of the United Kingdom. Now Saint George's cross is used as a national symbol by fans of the English national football, rugby and cricket teams. At international matches, flags and scarves bearing this cross are worn and people paint it on their faces. It also has a prominent place on the arms of the City of London and the flags of the city of Barcelona, Spain, and the country of Georgia.
Happy St George’s Day!