Weekend message Aug 15
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. What is the importance of today’s feast? What does it mean for us?
We start, as always when we look to Mary, with her motherhood: she believed God’s Word, she accepted God’s call, and she became the Mother of the Redeemer. She could not have believed and acted in this way without God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s power and wisdom; but in her belief and action, that grace and power and wisdom can be seen to have reached its high point among creatures.
Her motherhood has importance for the whole world, for all people who ever existed and who ever will exist – all are called to be saved. But Jesus was born at a specific time and place, into a specific family, with particular ties to family, to neighbours, to those who became friends, to fellow workers, to those who listened and believed and followed, and to those who reacted against him. He had personal relationships with people of his own time just as we have in our time.
Jesus experienced death for all people; he descended into the realm of the dead; and in so doing experienced the isolation from others and even isolation from our heavenly Father (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). In his Resurrection from the dead, he is restored to human relationships, as we know from the accounts of his appearances to his friends and disciples which we read in the gospels.
But these human relationships which, as we know in our sinful world, are wounded by sin and are so fragile, are themselves healed by Christ in his death and Resurrection. So he does not rise to new life alone: we read in the Gospel of St. Matthew that at the death of Our Lord “the tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and.after his Resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matt 27:52-3).
But first among his human relationships was that with his Mother; so it is only fitting that she also would rise again along with these ‘saints’, and, indeed, have pride of place among them as the highest creaturely exemplar (other than the humanity of Our Lord) of the grace of God.
Honouring Our Lady assumed into heaven, we look forward to eternal life, knowing that in the new heaven and the new earth the human friendships and relationships which we have formed in this life, the good we have done and the good we have received from others, the love we have shown and the love we have been shown, will all be transformed into a new plane, where there will be no more sin or sadness, but only light and joy and peace.
We look forward as the Church, as the body of Christ, to the promise of a new heaven and a new earth; and we do so from a world which is marked by evils, seen very clearly at present by the coronavirus, by the number of people who have died as a result of it, by the numbers of people who will be out of work, who will lose the chance of a good education, who will go short of food or shelter, even in our own country. We know that, as the body of Christ, the Church, we are called to show our faith in God’s love, and to show it in practice by the way we respond to the needs of others.
It is in this situation that we look to Mary, the Mother of the Church, assumed into heaven, and we see in her not only the promise of a new heaven and a new earth, but the assurance that that new heaven and that new earth are already a present reality for her, and we pray that it will also become a present reality for us.
Our Lady Assumed into heaven is proof for us not only that God calls us to a better life in the future, but also that that better life starts here and now on this earth, as God through us painstakingly builds the new heaven and the new earth to come.
With so many of you shielding, or looking after those who are extremely vulnerable to infection, or in the ‘vulnerable’ category due to age (over 70 years) or infirmity, the message of today’s feast is very timely. It is above all a message of hope, which is so much needed in the ‘lockdown’ we have all experienced.
Celebration of Mass in Public in our Churches:
Last week there were 49 attending over the three Masses in Narborough, and about 40 over the four Masses in Lutterworth. This week and next the Church of Our Lady of Victories and St. Alphonsus is being repainted, so cannot be open on weekdays.
Please be aware that it will be essential to book a place at Mass on every occasion that you wish to attend. Nobody will be allowed to attend who has not pre-booked. 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 –imposed restrictions are still in place. For some reason, the government appears to think that it is more dangerous to attend Mass than to go to the pub.
At Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus:
Please ring 079 0113 4564 on the following days, and at these times:
Monday 17th August between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
Wednesday 19th August between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
Friday 21st August between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
These arrangements will change for future weeks. Further announcements will be made later.
Times of Mass:
- 5.30pm on Saturday 22nd August;
- 11am on Sunday 23rd August;
Please note that Mass will not be celebrated on Tuesday or Thursday because the Church is being repainted.
At St. Pius X, Narborough:
You may book by email: [email protected] or by phone: (0116) – 2863676
at the following times on the following days:
- between 6pm and 7pm on Tuesday 18th August;
- between 6pm and 7pm on Thursday 20th August;
- between 10am and 11am & between 5pm and 6pm on Friday 21st August.
Times of Mass:
- 10am on Saturday 22nd August;
- 10am on Sunday 23rd August;
- 10am on Monday 24th August.
I am very grateful to those of both parishes who have volunteered to act as stewards or cleaners or both. The Churches would not be allowed to open for public Mass without you – so you are crucial to our success.
More volunteers required as cleaners after Mass at Our Lady of Victories please. The current group are very willing but would like a few more hands to share the load.
I am very grateful to those who have already volunteered to go on a ‘hoovering’ rota at St. Pius X. This is separate from the stewards & cleaners’ rota, and would be done when the Church is closed, so there would be no problem about ‘social distancing’. It also would not normally be necessary to dust the benches or attend to the toilets, because they would already have been disinfected.
However, we do need more – so please do volunteer if you are able and willing to swing a vacuum cleaner.
The ‘Sunday Obligation’ remains suspended until further notice. The Bishops remind us that people who have been ‘shielding’, or who are caring for anyone who is extremely vulnerable, should not attend Church. Those who are ‘vulnerable’, including those who are over 70 years of age, should think carefully before attending, to make sure that they feel they can do so safely. Children younger than 16 years old, and persons who are physically disabled or who have learning difficulties, must not attend Church unless they are accompanied by a responsible adult, who will be expected to look after them and ensure that safe practice is maintained. Toilets will not normally be open.
When Attending Mass in any Catholic Church:
Face masks must be worn. When you arrive at Mass, a steward will check that you have pre-booked. You will be asked to sanitize your hands in the porch, and to wear your face mask. There is no holy water in the porch, and there will be no newsletter to take into Church, though there will be one for you to take away with you at the end if you wish.
If you have brought an offering for the parish collection, please put it into the box which will be available in the porch. The collection will not be taken during Mass in the usual way. There will also be a box in the porch for items for the foodbank or for Mary’s Meals.
A steward will show you where you can sit. Places are marked on the benches or chairs, to ensure that all persons keep a safe ‘social distance’. Couples from the same household may occupy a single place. Families may sit together.
Holy Communion can only be received as the host, and must be received in the hand. There will be no ‘dialogue’ at that time. The chalice cannot be shared. Those receiving Holy Communion are requested to maintain the social distance in the line in the main aisle waiting to receive; and to come up to the line marked on the floor of the Church.
At the end of Mass, please do not stop in the porch. If you wish to talk to anyone, please wait until you are outside the Church building. This is to avoid causing an obstruction for those wishing to leave.
This week I will celebrate Mass in public at Our Lady of Victories and St. Alphonsus on Saturday (5.30pm), Sunday (11am) The intentions of these celebrations will be: Saturday the people of the parishes; Sunday the people of the parishes. Next Sunday (23rd August) Mass will be celebrated for Kevin Thompson RIP.
This week I will celebrate Mass in public at St. Pius X Narborough at 10am on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; and in private (the doors will not be open) at about 9am on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; and at 8.30am on Thursday. The intentions of these celebrations will be: Saturday Intentions of Susan Gould; Sunday Rachel Corcoran RIP; Monday Fr. Joseph Pham RIP; Tuesday the people of the parishes (Mass in time of pandemic); Wednesday Sylvia Leader RIP; Thursday John and Freda Pyle RIP; Friday (Feast of St. Pius X): the people of the parishes; Saturday 10am Intentions of Sam Jones; next Sunday 10am Rose Sullivan RIP.
Please pray for Michael Maloney, Teresa Maugham, Debbie Bourke, Sheila Knight, Elizabeth Fullerton, Mary Dunne, Ranjit Mann, Juanita Zaman, (all parishioners or relatives of parishioners), and Father Michael Horrax (retired priest of this Diocese) who are seriously ill; and for Nicholas Lash, Carolina Johnson, Elaine Smith, Mary Smith, and all who have died recently. Please let me know of any others who have died, or anyone who is ill and asks for prayers, so that I can add them to the list.
Recycling Textiles: If you are clearing out wardrobes and chests of drawers, or will be doing so at the end of the summer, remember that the parishes can earn money by recycling textiles. The firm we use will take clean clothes, shoes, handbags, belts, sheets and pillowcases, and curtains. Any such items (bagged of course) can be left on the doorstep of the presbytery, 52 Leicester Road Narborough, for us to recycle. In the past we have been paid 30p per kilogram. Please note that the firm will not take duvets, pillows, or cushions, and we cannot recycle those.
Contributions to the parish funds: I know that many of you who used the envelopes to make your contributions would like to continue to do so. The boxes of envelopes are available for those who use them. If you would like your box of envelopes, please let me know and I can produce it for you.
I mentioned some weeks ago that I have received a directive from the diocese that all parishioners must be encouraged to make their contribution to the Church collection by standing order or electronic means if possible. However, that is, of course, your choice, and I have arranged for a box to be available in the Church porch at every celebration of Mass so that you can make your contribution that way if you prefer to do so.
I will provide the parish Bank details to anyone who would like to donate in that manner – 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
With best wishes to you all, and assuring you all of my prayers, Father John