Weekend Message Dec 24
The Incarnation of the Word of God We celebrate once again the birth, so long ago in Bethlehem, of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus, as a baby, so dependent in every way and for everything – life, health, comfort – on the care of human beings. Every time we profess our faith, the faith of the Church, we say that he ‘was born of the virgin Mary’.
St. Gregory, centuries ago, commented that the Word of God took upon himself our human nature in its entirety so that our fallen human nature could be entirely redeemed. It is characteristic of human beings (as opposed to the rest of the animal kingdom) that we are rational, that we wonder, ask questions, try in various ways to rise above ourselves and connect with ideas, emotions, and everything in the mysterious ‘beyond’, whether that be outer space or the depths of the human soul. It is also characteristic (but shared with many other forms of life) that human beings are social, gather together in groups which are organized, to a greater or less extent, for the benefit of themselves and of others. And human beings communicate by language, and although other beings also communicate in various ways and may have some ‘language’ to do so, it is only humans who use language to raise in the minds of others (and even in our own minds) abstract thoughts, emotions, ideas.
Our societies are always imperfect; our scientific endeavours always leave far more unknown than is known and our scientific understanding is always far short of complete. Stephen Hawking commented that it is asking questions and looking for understanding that brings human beings to ‘look on the face of God’.
The Word of God became a human being; took upon himself the characteristically human dependence upon others, and the need to strive to know and understand. God’s Word incarnate needed to learn a human language, just as any other baby does. In doing so, the Word of God showed that imperfect and sinful human beings could be raised up to see the face of God, could become part of a society committed always to carrying out God’s will, could praise God fittingly – and all this is possible because the Word of God not only show us how it is possible, in assuming human flesh, but thereby makes it possible for each of us – not by our own efforts, of course, but because the Holy Spirit of God gives us the power to do so.
When we celebrate Christmas, we commit ourselves once again to accept fully into our lives that the Word of God became human for us, so that we, in him, might become divine.
Face coverings – Sunday Obligation – feeling marginalized
Some of our parishioners may feel marginalized because they still don’t feel safe in Church, or in any enclosed space where people gather. They may also feel guilty because they have not been going to Church, and this may lead them to feel even more ‘on the margins’ of our community.
Our Bishops have suggested that we should all consider very carefully how important it is to attend Church with the community on the ‘first day of the week’ to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. But they also recognize that there are many who are still vulnerable, and that Christian charity requires of all of us that we take appropriate steps to try to avoid infecting others, or at least minimize the chances of doing so.
Our willingness to continue to wear face coverings in Church is one aspect of this Christian charity to others. Another aspect, however, is to understand that there are those who are exempt from face coverings for medical reasons, and that some may be unable to wear them (for example because of difficulties with breathing) even though they may not be officially exempt. Please note that from this weekend it is the law that all attending Church must wear face coverings unless exempt.
Another aspect of our Christian charity is to ensure that we do not attend Church if we are feeling unwell. In the past we may have been told that we should attend Church if (for example) we have a heavy cold – but that is no longer the case. If we feel unwell, we should stay at home and pray there – perhaps (if we wish) accessing Mass online, or otherwise ensuring that we read some passages from Scripture and say prayers for the community and for those in need. But we really should avoid, so far as possible, spreading our illnesses to others.
I usually still have to attend Church, even if unwell, because I need to preside at Mass – but even so I will take steps to avoid as much contact as I can, so hopefully will not have affected anyone from our community with the heavy cold I had a few weeks ago!
Arrangements for Mass on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day
St. Pius X Church Narborough
Please note that I will celebrate a Christmas Mass at 10am on Christmas Eve. I am hoping that enough people will come to that Mass, so that there will not be more people than we can presently cope with at 6pm or at 8pm.
Friday 24th December
10.00am: Morning Vigil Mass of Christmas
6.00pm: Evening Vigil Mass of Christmas
8.00pm: Christmas ‘Midnight’ Mass
Saturday 25th December
10.00am: Christmas Morning Mass
Sunday 26th December
9.30am: Sunday morning Mass
There will be no public Mass on Monday 27th December.
Our Lady of Victories Church Lutterworth
I am very grateful to Father Anthony Pateman who has agreed to celebrate Mass in Lutterworth this Christmas.
Friday 24th December
6.00pm: Vigil Mass of Christmas
Saturday 25th December
10.00am: Christmas Morning Mass
Sunday 26th December
11.00am: Sunday morning Mass
There will not be public Mass on Tuesday 28th or Thursday 30th December.
This Sunday is the Feast of the Holy Family (Year C).
Confessions: I will hear confessions from 9 until 9.30am on Saturdays (but not on Christmas Day) 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.
For the time being there will be no advance booking for Mass at St. Pius X. Stewards and welcomers will be at the door of the Church as before, and your name will be noted on the list, or else you will be asked to provide your name and a contact. You will also be asked to sanitize your hands on arrival. It will not be necessary to return to the prior booking arrangement, unless the law or government advice changes again.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be Christmas Eve 10am Deceased family & friends of J&J Oxley; 6pm Deceased family & friends of M Moore; 8pm People of the Parish. Saturday (25th December) William & Gonda Collopy RIP; Sunday (26th) Marcela Cortes RIP; Monday (27th) Holy Souls; Tuesday Deceased family & friends of M Taylor; Wednesday Deceased family& friends of M&A Bunyan; Thursday People of the Parish; Friday William Snowden RIP. Next weekend Saturday (1st January) Gerry d’Araujo RIP; Sunday (2nd) Deceased relations of A&L McMillan; Monday (3rd) Deceased friends & relations of J Barr.
At Lutterworth the intentions for Mass will be Friday (Christmas Eve) 6pm Holy Souls; Saturday (Christmas Day) 10am People of the Parishes; Sunday (26th) 11am People of the Parishes.
Prayers for the living and the dead:
Please pray for Mario Maneggio, Father Isidore Clarke OP, Brigid Davies, Vincent Roe, Joseph McGrady, Jacob Crawshaw, and for all who have died recently.
Please also pray for 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.
STOP PRESS! LATEST NEWS FROM LACY!!
Due to the rising number of infections with COVID at the present time LACY have decided that instead of meeting at St. Patrick’s Leicester for our event for young people entitled “HAVE YOUR SAY SYNOD ’21 – ‘23”, this will now take place on line via Zoom on 9th January 2022 at 4.00 p.m. A great opportunity for input about the SYNOD, discussion, fun time and a short liturgy will be shared together. Save the date! Save the time! We look forward to seeing all young people, families and friends. (Please note that all young people under the age of 18 should be present with an adult). Link in details for Zoom will be sent out at the beginning of January to schools and parishes and may also be found on our Facebook page @LACYcatholicyouthleics. Contact details: e mail [email protected]
or [email protected]. Let’s fan the flame and share our ideas with our Bishop, our Priests and each other!
First Holy Communion: Those preparing to make their First Confession and First Holy Communion will meet on Saturday mornings at St. Pius X Parish Hall, and on Sunday mornings at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus Parish Hall. I am very grateful to those who have already indicated that they wish to be included. Candidates should be in Year 3 at school from September (or older).
Confirmation: Bishop Patrick is willing to start administering the sacrament of Confirmation. I am grateful to those who have already said they wish to be confirmed. Are there any others who would like to join the group? Please let me have any names and contact details. Candidates for Confirmation should be in secondary education (or older) in September this year. I have tried to contact all candidates to arrange for preparation to begin. If you asked to be included in the preparation for Confirmation and have not received an email from me, please let me know.
Social Activities: can resume. However, “It is strongly recommended that a risk assessment for both the activity and the space is completed for the gathering.”
Lutterworth Parish Shared Table It has been decided to move this event to a date in January – more details later.
The Universe Catholic Weekly is thrilled to announce that we have launched our new online newspaper with the full support of our first subscriber none other than His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols. If you are interested in subscribing, go to www.universecatholicweekly.co.uk or call us on 0743661 7650 and ask for Michelle. Special offer: Only £20 for 3 months.
Encountering God in your daily work – For four Wednesdays, starting on 12th January at 7pm, the diocese will be running an online course looking at how we can encounter Jesus in our daily work and how it can help us to grow in holiness too. We spend more hours in a week at work than doing most other activities (including going to church) so let’s make an experience of daily glory rather than a daily grind. For more information visit: www.dioceseofnottingham.uk/onlineevents
Next weekend is the Second Sunday of Christmastide
Reminders from previous weeks:
Home Visits, including Confession, Holy Communion, Sacrament of Anointing, for housebound people: These are now permitted, but anyone visiting a housebound person (whether to administer Holy Communion or just a visit) should not visit anyone else during the same morning or afternoon. Visits should be short (in order to minimize the likelihood of passing on an infection) and hand sanitization must be used before and after the visit. If you would like a home visit, or know anyone who would like to be visited, please let Father John know. Please also let Father John know if anyone wishes to make confession or would like to receive the sacrament of anointing for the sick.
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.
Recycling Textiles: At the moment the firm are no longer collecting in the Leicester area and has no plans to restart collections here. I hope to have better news soon.
**Important notice concerning car parking** Please park in the Church car parks whenever possible. If that is not possible, for whatever reason, please ensure that you are not causing an obstruction of the roadway or driveways to properties, and please remember that homeowners may wish to park outside their own homes. Please exercise Christian Charity when parking your car.
With my prayers for your wellbeing and salvation, Father John