Weekend message April 16
This Sunday is Easter Sunday (Year C), the Solemn Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord.
What does the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus mean for us?
Jesus really lived for us. The Son of God became one of us, and shared our life to the full. He experienced our difficulties and ‘was tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin’ (Hebrews 4:15), and because he suffered temptation, he is able to help us who are tempted (2:18).
Jesus really died for us. He not only became ‘as all men are’ but ‘was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross’ (Phil 2:7). St. Paul considered that the death of Our Lord was essential to his preaching: while the Jews demand miracles and the Greeks look for wisdom, ‘we are preaching a crucified Christ’ (1 Cor 1:22-3).
Jesus was really raised to life. St. Paul tells the Corinthians that he had handed on to them what had been handed on to him: that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, that he was raised to life on the third day, and that he appeared to various disciples (1 Cor 15: 3-8). This is the kernel of our faith: St. Paul says that the good news will save us if we believe this, but believing anything else will not lead to anything (v 2).
Jesus was raised to new life. Although it really was Jesus who appeared to various disciples, he was also different from how he had been. Mary of Magdala met him and thought he was the gardener (John 20: 14-15). He came among the disciples, although the doors were closed (John 20: 19). Two of his disciples walked with him some distance while he talked with him, but only recognized him ‘at the breaking of bread’ (Luke 24: 31).
We look forward to being raised to new life. “If there is no resurrection from the dead, Christ himself cannot have been raised, and if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is useless and your believing it is useless….if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor 15: 13-14, 16-17). “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep.” (v 20)
The Bishops of England and Wales are encouraging us all to return to Church to celebrate Holy Week and Easter. I know that many are still very wary of attending because of the (very real) fear of contracting disease, and in our parishes we will continue to do everything we can to minimize that risk.
· All are encouraged to be fully vaccinated (double vaccination and booster).
· All (except those who are exempt) are still required to wear masks or face coverings, to protect themselves and others.
· We are now permitted to sing; however, masks or face coverings must be worn during singing.
· Hand sanitizers must still be used on entry into the Church or hall.
· The windows must be open for ventilation whenever the Church or hall is being used by a number of people.
· It is no longer necessary to take the names of all who attend (and advance booking is also not needed).
· Holy water may be provided at the entrance once again – but needs to be refreshed at least once a week.
· Anyone who feels unwell or tests positive for covid-19 should not attend Church or any social activity in the parish.
Please think very carefully about whether you should attend Church if you are feeling unwell; and please do not attend if you may be infectious or if you have been in contact with anyone who has had a positive Covid test.
The times of the services during Holy Week are very different from usual, so please take special note.
Times of Mass this weekend
Holy Saturday 16th April
Easter Sunday 17th April
Easter Morning Mass
No evening Mass on Easter Sunday and no morning Mass on Easter Monday
At St. Pius X, Narborough:
Times of Mass next weekend:
· 10am Saturday 23rd;
· 9.30am Sunday 24th;
· 10am Monday 25th.
At Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth:
Times of Mass this week & next weekend:
· 10.30am Tuesday 19th; Requiem Mass for David Sygrove RIP
· 10.30am Thursday 21st;
· 10.30am Friday 22nd; Requiem Mass for Ashley Adams RIP
· 5.30pm on Saturday 23rd;
· 11am on Sunday 24th.
A prayer for Ukraine
Loving God, we pray for the people of Ukraine,
for all those suffering or afraid,
that you will be close to them and protect them.
We pray for world leaders,
for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices.
We pray for the world that in this moment of crisis,
we may reach out in solidarity to our brothers and sisters in need.
May we walk in your ways so that peace and justice
become a reality for the people of Ukraine and for all the world. Amen.
Pray for Peace is very important that we all pray for peace, pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire the aggressors with thoughts of peace, and above all pray for the people of Ukraine at this devastating time.
The following link is for the Leicester Ukrainian Community website set up to advise how to help:
Bishop Patrick wishes our two parishes to become a single parish:
What does this mean?
· There would be one parish committee for the whole parish, one parish finance committee, and one bank account for the whole parish.
· There would still be one parish priest (as at present); both Churches would still be open for worship (just as at present); and baptisms, weddings, First Holy Communion celebrations, and funerals would still take place in both Churches.
· Many of the activities which take place in each Church would continue to do so – for example, each community would still run its own First Holy Communion programme (and there would still be a celebration of First Holy Communion in both Churches when there were candidates), each Church could organize its way of worshipping as it does at present, and groups of people could still be concerned with ‘local’ Church matters such as social events and activities, local almsgiving, and repair and maintenance of the buildings.
· When Father Feeley died and I was asked to become parish priest of Our Lady of Victories, Lutterworth, in addition to the parish of St. Pius X, Narborough, many people in both parishes were understandably concerned that there might be a plan to close one of the two Churches. To merge the two parishes into a single parish would be a defence against the possibility in the future of splitting them again, joining each parish to another larger parish (Market Harborough? Hinckley & Earl Shilton? Blessed Sacrament & St. Peter’s, Leicester?) and then perhaps closing one or even both of the Churches. If the two parishes are united formally, then it becomes much more difficult to unite either of them with a larger neighbour and threaten the Church with closure.
· It will become easier to plan co-operative ventures between the two communities. This already does happen to some extent, but if there is one parish, then any initiative will automatically be offered to all parishioners of the united parish.
· Sharing resources (including finances) will ensure that they are used for the best for all the parishioners in the entire united parish. At present it could easily happen that needed development in one parish could not take place because of a lack of resources, while the other parish had unused resources.
· There would be a larger pool of parishioners who could come up with initiatives for the entire parish. At present any initiative raised in one parish then has to be explained to the other parish to see whether they are interested.
· There would be considerably simpler administration – one set of parish returns each year in January; one set of audited accounts to be submitted in July every year; one set of Gift Aid claims to be made every quarter.
· There will always be a danger that one Church community will feel ‘undervalued’, particularly if the parish priest lives near the other Church. I have lived in the presbytery in Narborough for the whole time that I have been parish priest in Lutterworth, and while doing so I have tried to show that I treat each parish community equally. But it may not always seem like that to parishioners, who may well feel that I could have done more, or that in some ways I favour the parish where I am living. Please do let me know if you think that I could do more to show that I do not favour either parish over the other.
· There will always be a danger that one of the two Church communities will have greater needs than the other, but the other have greater resources. While that should not be a problem for much of the time – Christian charity should enable a richer community to benefit a poorer community – it could happen that one community becomes a drain on the resources of the other. It is necessary to ensure that that does not happen.
Please let me know if there are other advantages or disadvantages of merging the two parishes into a single parish
In the meantime there are some steps that we must take:
· We need to compile and publish a combined ‘parish handbook’ for our two parishes, detailing who is responsible for the various aspects of parish life;
· We need to arrange a joint meeting of the two parish finance committees, to review our finances and resources, and to consider the spending priorities over the next five years (this should take place when the accounts for the current financial year, just ending, have been finalized);
· We need to consider how to form a parish committee covering both parishes.
· A parish trip will be arranged for members of both parishes this summer. (We would be very welcome to make a trip to Marlow in August – it is on the banks of the Thames, and if the weather is good I am told a very pleasant setting) Please let me know if you are interested – if so we can make a provisional booking
· Possible difficulties were raised concerning the idea that telephone contact would be made with those unable to join us at Mass at the present time. Consequently, this idea will have to be delayed for a while until those difficulties can be dealt with.
Confessions: I will hear confessions from 9 until 9.30am on Saturdays at St. Pius X, Narborough; and from 4.30pm to 5.00pm on the first Saturday of the month at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth.
Mass Intentions: At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will Saturday (16th) (8pm Easter Vigil) People of the Parishes; Sunday (17th) Father Stephan Foster RIP; Monday (18th) NO MASS TODAY. Wednesday Judith Gill RIP, Thursday People of the Parishes; Friday John Cooper RIP. Next weekend Saturday (23rd) Mary Copson RIP; Sunday (24th) Welfare of Steve Ball; Monday (25th) John Lawrence RIP.
At Lutterworth the intentions for Mass will be: Saturday (16th) Holy Souls; Sunday (17th) People of the Parishes. Tuesday (19th) Holy Souls. Thursday (21st) Holy Souls. Next Saturday (23rd) Holy Souls; Sunday (24th) People of the Parishes. Tuesday (26th) Holy Souls.
Prayers for the living and the dead:
Please pray for Bernadette Stean, David Janssens, Margaret Pugh ,Ashley Adams, David Sygrove, Noreen Merrion, Marie Almey, and for all who have died recently.
Requiem Mass for David Sygrove will be at 10.30am on Tuesday 19th April at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth, followed by burial. Requiem Mass for Ashley Adams will be at 10.30am on Friday 22nd April at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth.
Please also pray for Ann Spurrier, Beulah Blomfield, Diana Coughlin, Tony Thorlby, Hayley & Kaci Dunnill, John Southern, Monica Teeling, Peggy Merrell, Jane Bolsover, Suzanne Foxon, Jim Oxley, John Burns-Sweeney, Tom McDermott, Dave Knapper, Teresa Maugham, Mary Dunne, and Juanita Zaman and for all who are ill.
Please let me know of any others who have died, or anyone who is ill and asks for prayers.
Collection for the Holy Places in the Holy Land is traditionally taken on Good Friday.
Scrabble Group: Will restart meeting on 9th May. Mondays 2pm – 4 pm for relaxed scrabble. At Lutterworth Catholic Church Hall. No winners, beginners welcome, just fun playing scrabble; cake and hot drink. Please contact Jo 01455 554298.
Evergreens: Bingo on Tuesdays from 1.30 pm until 4pm approx., in St. Pius X Narborough Parish Hall. Entry £2. All welcome.
Next Sunday is the Second Sunday of Eastertide; the Feast of Divine Mercy
Parish Priest’s contact details address 52 Leicester Road, Narborough. Leicester. LE19 2DF; telephone (0116) 2863676; email [email protected]
With my prayers for every Easter blessing, Father John