Takehomenews Sunday 22 November 2020
Fr Colin Writes:
When I look through my diary, there are more crossings out than entries: Baptisms and Confirmation Masses postponed and this weekend would have been the time for our Annual Parish Bazaar. Once we find out what the situation is for Christmas, I will announce the arrangements we have in mind.
Although we cannot come to Mass this month, it is good to come to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. The times of opening are on the front page of the newsletter and the last paragraph on the web site. The reason we don’t open the church until9.00AM on a Sunday is that both Father David and I need to celebrate our own individual private Masses under closed doors. Hopefully after 2nd December we will be able to resume public Masses.
We are making steps towards having Masses live-streamed from this church, but it will take time for this to be set up. We are also planning to upgrade our telephone system. At the moment we do not have an automatic facility to tell us the number of those who leave answer-phone messages. So please give your number when leaving a message. Thank you. Father Colin
Sick and Retired Priests Fund
Thank you for so generously supporting the Sick & Retired Priests’ Fund collection last weekend. Our priests give us years of dedicated service and it is only right that, together, we ensure they live out their days with the care they need. If you didn’t get the chance to donate, it’s not too late. Envelopes are still available in the back of the church or from the parish office, and you can give online at www.rcdow.org.uk/donations. Thank you again. Please keep our sick and retired priests in your prayers.
Many of you will be familiar with Mary’s Meals charity which we have been supporting over the last few years. In the past we have brought our unwanted clothes which the charity has collected on one pre-arranged Sunday. Unfortunately, Covid regulations prevent us from doing that this year. However, we can make a donation in next Sunday’s collection and the amount we give will be doubled by the UK government. This double the love appeal lasts until 31st January 2021. This funding will bring new hope to families in Liberia who struggle daily to feed their children.
Liberia is just one of 18 countries in which Mary’s Meals feeds children one good meal every day at school. Because of the low costs this can be done for as little as £14.00 per child per year.
DANIEL RODRIGUEZ RIP
Please pray for the repose of soul of Daniel Rodriguez whose funeral Mass will be on Tuesday at 10.AM. Attendance will be at the invitation of the family.
Christ the King (A)
Today we reach the climax of the Church’s Year, the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Universal King. It is the climax of St Matthew’s Gospel too, as we have heard the parables from this Gospel over the last weeks. All these parables relate to the kingdom of heaven. Today’s parable concerns the Last Judgement. Are we amongst the sheep on the right who have followed God’s will and cared for the other sheep in the fold? Or are we amongst the goats who have rejected God’s word, not followed His will and not seen God present in others? It is the sheep who are the ones who will enter the kingdom of heaven. So what do we have to do to ensure that we are separated onto the right side with the sheep on Judgement Day? According to the parable it is those who give food to the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick and imprisoned who are amongst the virtuous who will receive eternal life. In doing these good deeds, we are serving Christ who is present in each one.
A thought does arise that some of these deeds are impossible to fulfil during COVID restrictions. We cannot visit the sick because we cannot enter another household. It is difficult to welcome the stranger when we are at least 2 metres apart wearing face masks. We can’t serve food that we may have touched ourselves. In his recent letter, Cardinal Vincent Nichols stresses the importance of prayer in these difficult times. Prayer should be at the root of our lives, as individuals, as families, as households. This is a major way in which we fulfil the demands of today’s parable. But we can still reach out to the needy through the phone and other means of communication. Indeed, there are more needy people around than before and the need is often of reassurance, encouragement and communication as much as anything else. May this parable encourage us to communicate with one another seeing it as a communication with God himself.
Today’s readings take up the theme of sheep, almost as much as they do on Good Shepherd Sunday in Eastertide. The first reading from the prophet Ezekiel has a very much ‘Good Shepherd’ touch. The Lord looks after his people, he keeps them in view, he rescues the ones who are lost in the mist and the darkness, he brings back the stray, heals the wounded, strengthens the weak and cares for the healthy as well. This reading reminds us of Christ’s role as a shepherd to us but today it is particularly urging us to be shepherd-like to one another, caring and loving in the different ways indicated in the Gospel. The Ezekiel reading is complemented by the Psalm of the day, the Lord’s my shepherd. In our difficult moments, we might well reflect on the words from the final stanza! ‘Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life; We can make this true for our fellow sheep.
Right to life UK
“In accordance with what our Lord told us, may we take on the responsibility of serving the voiceless in our society - especially those imprisoned, the homeless, the widowed, the sick and the unborn. We pray for the Lord to fill our hearts with a passion for justice, knowing it is truly Him we are serving in our efforts. Lord hear us”
There will be a session for parents who wish to have their baby baptised on Sunday 6th December at 4.PM in the church. This meeting will go ahead only if we come out of lockdown as suggested on 2nd December.
First Communion 2021
Children in Year 3 or above who would like to receive First Holy Communion next year are invited to complete a yellow—coloured application form from the table at the back of the church or from the office and return it by 13th December. At the moment we are uncertain how the preparation sessions will be arranged but it will certainly require more parental help at home. Once we have the number of applications, we can start making arrangements for the preparation and the First Communion days.
This Week’s Saint’s Days
Tuesday 24th November St Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions (Vietnamese Martyrs) Andrew Dung-Lac, a Catholic convert ordained to the priesthood, was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of the companions group gave their lives for Christ in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and received beatification during four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized during the papacy of Saint John Paul II.
Christianity came to Vietnam through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan.
Severe persecutions were launched at least three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries.
In 1832, Emperor Minh-Mang banned all foreign missionaries, and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful.
Persecution broke out again in 1847, when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons.
The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution.
By 1954, there were over a million Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees.