Weekend message April 24
Some years ago I was sent the following poster, to be displayed prominently near the Church entrance.
Do you know this man?
THE PERFECT PRIEST is 40 years old, tall, slim, athletic, and handsome. He has the vigour of a 25-year old and the wisdom of a 60-year old. He preaches for exactly ten minutes, frequently condemns sin and social evils, but never upsets anyone. He works from 6.00 am to 11.00 pm, is always available, and spends at least two hours a day in prayer. He earns no money but gives lots of it away to the poor. He is a man of patience, gentleness, and kindness, but is also strong, vigorous, and decisive. He gives himself completely to others, but never gets too close to anyone. He spends his entire day in parish visiting, comforting the sick and bereaved, and working in schools, yet is always at home when anyone phones or calls. He is a man of deep spirituality and wide learning, but is down-to-earth and practical, a capable administrator, and a wise counsellor.
If your priest does not measure up to these expectations, and has resisted all attempts to train him, send him back to the Bishop and ask for another one. There must be the right one somewhere.
POPE FRANCIS wrote to priests worldwide on 4th August 2019 as follows:
The prayer of a pastor embraces both the Spirit who cries out ‘Abba, Father’, and the people who have been entrusted to his care. Our mission and identity can be defined by this tension. The prayer of a pastor is nourished and made incarnate in the heart of God’s people. It bears the marks of the sufferings and joys of his people, whom he silently presents to the Lord to be anointed by the gift of the Holy Spirit.
This is the hope of a pastor, who with trust and insistence asks the Lord to care for our weakness as individuals and as a people. Yet we should also realize that it is in the prayer of God’s people that the heart of a pastor takes flesh and finds its proper place. This sets us free from looking for quick, easy, ready-made answers; it allows the Lord to be the one to point out a path of hope.
Let us not forget that at the most difficult times int he life of the earliest community, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, prayer emerged as the true guiding force. Brothers, let us indeed acknowledge our weaknesses, but also let Jesus transform them and send us forth anew to the mission. Let us never lose the joy of knowing that we are ‘the sheep of the flock’ and that he is our Lord and Shepherd.
WE CELEBRATE ‘GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY’ THIS WEEKEND. This is the weekend when we are encouraged to reflect on the ordained priesthood and diaconate and to pray that God should send us good and holy priests. What will the priesthood and the diaconate be like in England after the pandemic? I am sure that it will be very different in some ways from what we have been accustomed to. Priests and deacons will need to communicate much more effectively by electronic means; they will have to find new ways of forming the community of believers; they will need to find new ways of working with volunteers who will be crucial for keeping the community active and in good spirits. The priests will still pray for the people, proclaim the Gospel, celebrate Mass, administer the sacraments, care for those who are ill, lonely, dying, and bereaved. The deacons will still be ministers of charity. But the ways in which priests and deacons fulfil these essential ministries will change, and as yet I don’t think we know how far-reaching the change will be.
So I think we will need to pray to the Holy Spirit for courage and guidance so that we may respond appropriately to the challenges ahead.
Special Collection: next weekend, for the Clergy Formation Fund. This is the fund to pay for the training of priests and deacons. Please be generous.
Windows which can be opened to provide ventilation have been installed at the Church of Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth. 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.
Booking Arrangements for next weekend:
At St. Pius X, Narborough:
You may book by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (0116) – 2863676
at the following times on the following days:
- between 7pm and 8pm on Monday 26th;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday 27th.
- between 7pm and 8pm on Thursday 29th;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Friday 30th.
Times of Mass next weekend:
- 10am Saturday 1st May;
- 10am Sunday 2nd;
- 10am Monday 3rd.
At Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth:
Please ring 079 0113 4564 on the following days, and at these times. It is not possible to leave a message outside these times:
- Monday 26th April between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
- Wednesday 28th April between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
- Friday 30th April between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
Times of Mass next Sunday and Tuesday:
- 11am on Sunday 2nd May;
- 10.30am Tuesday 4th May.
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 (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. Wednesday Gerard Sullivan RIP; Thursday People of the Parishes; Friday Hilda Beer RIP. Next weekend Saturday (1st May) Ethel Jones RIP; Sunday (2nd May) Edward & Bridget Fox RIP; Monday (3rd May) Emmanuel Armeni RIP.
At Lutterworth the intentions for Mass will be: next Sunday (2nd May): The People of the Parishes.
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 26th April. Canon Owen will be buried in Ireland.
Prayers for the living and the dead: please pray for Father Anthony Colebrook, 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