Weekend message April 17
Jesus Christ is Risen! Let us rejoice!
“God has had a good lockdown.” That was the rather surprising opinion of a contributor to The Economist on April 3rd. The reason is that, while Churches have been closed, and even those which are open (like St. Pius X in Narborough) have very restricted attendance, many more people have been attending services online. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter sermon this year was expected to reach a combined audience of more than 5 million people (radio and television); which, it is said, is about the same number as watched Elton John perform ‘Rocket Man’ in an online concert during the winter. The Archbishop’s usual combined audience would have been perhaps a couple of thousand (radio, TV, and in person at Canterbury Cathedral). Many people access Mass streamed from a variety of locations, including Nottingham Cathedral; and it seems that Pope Francis’ twitter account (@Pontifex) now has over 50 million followers (the Pope tweets in several languages including English and Latin).
Not every streamed service will have many viewers, of course; the tendency will be to access celebrations in the most important locations, such as Cathedrals and Monasteries, and from among those, the ones which are most successful will be the most viewed. I haven’t gone into live streaming Mass for that reason: why duplicate what others are probably doing far better than I could? But my own contribution – this weekly message, with my reflections as well as news and information – is now being sent to 199 addresses (it was sent to 140 when I started a year ago).
There are difficulties, of course. There are many who do not have the technology to access a streamed Mass or other service, and it is very important to do what we can to ensure that all such people are included within the ‘reach’ of our celebrations and communications. There are also clear limitations in the use of cyberspace. As The Economist noted, “Transubstantiation…is not possible over the internet.” That is true also of Baptism, Confirmation, and Anointing the sick! It would not surprise me to learn that somewhere in the world a couple ’tied the knot’ over the internet (not possible in England, by law, but in other countries perhaps…) But there are limitations to cyber-communication which really cannot be overcome.
There is always a place for physical contact between people, and the ‘togetherness’ which we experience when we can worship together is an important ingredient in our becoming the Body of Christ in the world. But the pandemic has brought to the fore the fact that there are other ways of ‘making communion’ than physically being close to one another; and that we must, if we are to follow Our Lord’s command to preach to all nations, embrace the internet as a powerful means of communicating the Word of God. I am sure that we will not be going back to ‘how things were’ in the times before the pandemic. The Church must quickly find new ways of working and new means of communication, so that we can all be the communion of the Body of Christ and worship as such, in the (perhaps very) different circumstances that will be found in our post-coronavirus world.
Booking Arrangements for next weekend:
At St. Pius X, Narborough:
You may book by email: email@example.com or by phone: (0116) – 2863676
at the following times on the following days:
- between 7pm and 8pm on Monday 19th;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday 20th.
- between 7pm and 8pm on Thursday 22nd;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Friday 23rd.
Times of Mass next weekend:
- 10am Saturday 24th April;
- 10am Sunday 25th April;
- 10am Monday 26th April.
Windows which can be opened to provide ventilation are to be installed at the Church of Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth this week. The Church will be open for public worship on Sunday 2nd May at 11am and Tuesday 4th May at 10.30am. It is intended that public Mass will be celebrated there at these times on Sundays and Tuesdays from then onwards.
Arrangements for attending Church for Mass and other services: Masks or face coverings will be required for those attending Mass (except for those exempted from wearing them); it is necessary for those attending Church to sanitize their hands on entering; and all need to keep social distance from each other (unless they are members of the same household or family). Young persons under the age of sixteen years, and all persons who suffer from physical or mental disability, must be accompanied at all times by a responsible adult. We are not allowed to kneel down while in Church: please stand or sit as appropriate, but please do not kneel. All who attend (except for the cleaners who remain behind to sanitize the building) should leave immediately after Mass has finished, not stopping in Church to talk to people; and please also maintain a social distance as you follow others out of Church, avoiding any ‘congregating’ in the porch, or the lobby, or at the back of Church. I am very grateful to the stewards & cleaners who support the public celebration of Mass.
Please remember that it will be essential to book a place at Mass on every occasion that you wish to attend. It is not permitted to book for every Sunday, or even for a number of weeks. Please also remember to bring a mask to wear when coming to Mass.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be: Saturday (17th April) Deceased family & friends of C&R Willars; Sunday (18th April) Patricia & Doug Partridge RIP; Monday (19th April) Deceased members of the Coyle family. Tuesday Father Stephan Foster RIP; Wednesday Deceased benefactors of the Johnson Fund; Thursday Gerard Sullivan RIP; Friday Canon Owen O’Neill RIP. Next weekend Saturday (24th April) Harry, Edward, and Phyllis Bright RIP; Sunday (25th April) Deceased family & friends of K&M O’Connor; Monday (26th April) Mr & Mrs Canavan RIP.
The Requiem Mass for Canon Owen O’Neill will be held in Market Harborough, where he served as parish priest for many years. Because of the pandemic restrictions, attendance must be by invitation only. I will be representing the Deanery at the Mass of Reception on Sunday 25th April. Bishop Patrick McKinney will preside at the Requiem Mass on Monday 27th April. Canon Owen will be buried in Ireland.
Prayers for the living and the dead: please pray for Canon Owen O’Neill, Andrew Madden, Prince Philip, Debbie Bourke, Father James Earley, Deacon Robin Pollard (of the parish of St. Peter’s, Hinckley), Susan Moore, Bob Dorward, Ranjit Mann, Maria Olga dos Santos, and all who have died recently.
Please also pray for Jim Oxley, Beulah Blomfield, Tom McDermott, Freda Williams, Joseph Armeni, Dave Knapper, Teresa Maugham, Elizabeth Fullerton, 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.
Walk With Me Booklets for Easter season available free of charge from Church.
CAFOD thanks the parish for the £1050 received from the annual Lenten CAFOD collection. This year the money will be spent to help the people in Ethiopia, particularly to supply regular clean water, and also food and medical supplies.
Information from the Diocese:
A Father’s Heart – A Podcast for Catholic Dads The Diocese of Nottingham has launched a new Podcast to celebrate the Year of St Joseph. A Father’s Heart takes its name from Patris Corde (Pope Francis’ letter that launched this special year). This letter is split into 7 sections, each highlighting a different characteristic of St Joseph’s fatherhood. Each month the podcast will pick a section for 2 dads, from around the diocese, to reflect on and discuss. Find out how to listen (and subscribe) by going to: www.dioceseofnottingham.uk/podcasts’
Being a Missionary Disciple– After the great success of Bishop Patrick’s Lent Talks on Discipleship, the Formation for Mission Team are offering two talks on Zoom in May on ‘being a Missionary Disciple’. The first talk ‘The Ascension & the Great Commission’ will be given by Canon Christopher Thomas (General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales) on Thursday 13th May at 7pm. This talk will explore the importance of the Ascension and how we can live Jesus final instructions to us. The second talk ‘Pentecost & Mission’ will be given by Pippa Baker (A Catholic Missionary, Speaker & Musician) on Wednesday 19th May at 7pm. This talk will examine the significance of Pentecost for us and how the Holy Spirit equips us for mission in our every day lives. To register visit: www.dioceseofnottingham.uk’
Planned Giving Envelopes (Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth): The new boxes of envelopes start in April. If you require your box, please ring June (01455 – 553730) or Ashley (01455 – 553493) or email Father John.
Planned Giving Envelopes (St. Pius X, Narborough): The new boxes of envelopes start in April. They are available from the sacristy in Church, or email Father John.
Standing Orders: I will provide the parish Bank details to anyone who would like to donate by Standing Order or similar electronic means – many of you already do so (and I am very grateful indeed). I can provide standing order mandates for anyone who wishes – please just ask.
Gift Aid: I have copies of the form to complete, so if you are a taxpayer and would like the tax paid on your contributions to be given to the parish, please ask me for a form.
Reminders from previous weeks:
Bishop Patrick McKinney, Bishop of Nottingham, asks us to complete a survey: My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
This past year of the Coronavirus pandemic has been a tough and challenging time for Catholics across our diocese. In our parishes, chaplaincies, schools, religious houses, as well as in our own homes, we have all had to learn to adapt to this new and unchartered situation. Some have managed fairly well, while others have struggled.
It is now necessary that we reflect together as a diocese on our varying experiences, positive and negative, of the living out our faith during this period. This will enable us to explore what can be learned for the immediate future. So, I invite you to complete this simple survey, (https://forms.rcaos.org.uk/covid-19-survey-form/) which won’t take much of your time. Your responses will help us to get a more informed overview of the strengths, lessons learnt, and weaknesses of our current situation as a diocese. They will, in turn, also help us to move forward more creatively and more realistically.
Thank you for taking part in this survey. I look forward to reading your responses. With prayer and good wishes, +Patrick
First Confession and Holy Communion: Candidates must be in Year 3 at school (or above). Confirmation: Candidates must be in secondary school (or later). Please let me know as soon as possible about any candidates for these sacraments. So far I have received four applications for First Confession and Holy Communion, and six applications for Confirmation. I have obtained the books for use in these preparations; we will see how we may be able to start preparation for these sacraments. Obviously no face to face preparation can possibly begin until April at the earliest.
Recycling Textiles: At the moment the firm are no longer collecting in the Leicester area and has no plans to restart collections here. If anyone knows of any other organization willing to collect clothes and other textiles in our area, please let me know.
With best wishes to you all, and assuring you all of my prayers, Father John