Weekend message Dec 31
Christmas Message ‘Urbi et Orbi’ from Pope Francis
Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Christmas!
The Word of God, who created the world and who gives meaning to history and to humanity’s journey, became flesh and came to dwell among us. He came like a whisper, like the murmur of a gentle breeze, to fill with wonder the heart of every man and woman who is open to this mystery.
The Word became flesh in order to dialogue with us. God does not desire to carry on a monologue, but a dialogue. For God himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is dialogue, an eternal and infinite communion of love and life.
By the coming of Jesus, the Person of the Word made flesh, into our world, God showed us the way of encounter and dialogue. Indeed, he made that way incarnate in himself, so that we might know it and follow it, in trust and hope.
Sisters and brothers, “what would our world be like without the patient dialogue of the many generous persons who keep families and communities together?” (Fratelli Tutti, 198). In this time of pandemic, we have come to realize this more and more. Our capacity for social relationships is sorely tried; there is a growing tendency to withdraw, to do it all by ourselves, to stop making an effort to encounter others and do things together. On the international level too, there is the risk of avoiding dialogue, the risk that this complex crisis will lead to taking shortcuts rather than setting out on the longer paths of dialogue. Yet only those paths can lead to the resolution of conflicts and to lasting benefits for all.
Indeed, even as the message of the birth of the Saviour, the source of true peace, resounds in our hearts and in the whole world, we continue to witness a great number of conflicts, crises and disagreements. These never seem to end; by now we hardly even notice them. We have become so used to them that immense tragedies are now being passed over in silence; we risk not hearing the cry of pain and distress of so many of our brothers and sisters.
Let us think of the people of Syria, who for more than a decade have experienced a war that has resulted in many victims and an untold number of displaced persons. Let us look to Iraq, which still struggles to recover from a lengthy conflict. Let us listen to the cry of children arising from Yemen, where an enormous tragedy, overlooked by everyone, has silently gone on for years, causing deaths every day.
Let us recall, too, the continuing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians that drag on without a resolution, with ever more serious social and political consequences. Nor should we forget Bethlehem, the place of Jesus’ birth, which is experiencing hardship also from the economic repercussions of the pandemic, preventing pilgrims from visiting the Holy Land and adversely affecting the life of the people. Let us think of Lebanon, which is undergoing an unprecedented crisis, accompanied by very troubling economic and social conditions.
Yet, in the heart of the night, look! The sign of hope! Today, “the Love that moves the sun and the other stars” (Paradiso, XXXIII, 145), as Dante says, became flesh. He came in human form, he shared in our plight and he broke down the wall of our indifference. In the cold of the night, he stretches out his tiny arms towards us: he is in need of everything, yet he comes to give us everything. Let us ask him for the strength to be open to dialogue. On this festive day, let us implore him to stir up in the hearts of everyone a yearning for reconciliation and fraternity. Let us now turn to him in prayer.
Baby Jesus, grant peace and concord to the Middle East and the whole world. Sustain all those who provide humanitarian aid to peoples forced to flee from their homelands; comfort the Afghan people, who for more than forty years have been sorely tested by conflicts that have driven many to leave the country.
King of all peoples, help political authorities bring peace to societies roiled by tension and conflict. Sustain the people of Myanmar, where intolerance and violence not infrequently target the Christian community and its places of worship, clouding the peaceful countenance of that people.
Be a source of light and support for all those who believe in and strive, despite all obstacles, to advance encounter and dialogue. In Ukraine, prevent fresh outbreaks of a long-festering conflict.
Prince of Peace, help Ethiopia to find once again the path of reconciliation and peace through a forthright encounter that places the needs of the people above all else. Listen to the plea of those living in the Sahel region, who experience the violence of international terrorism. Turn your gaze to the peoples of the countries of North Africa, tormented by divisions, unemployment and economic inequality. Alleviate the pain of our many brothers and sisters who suffer from internal conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan.
Grant that, through dialogue, mutual respect and recognition of the rights and cultural values of every human being, the values of solidarity, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence may prevail in the hearts of the peoples of the Americas.
Son of God, comfort the victims of violence against women, which has increased in this time of pandemic. Offer hope to young children and adolescents suffering from bullying and abuse. Show consolation and warmth to the elderly, especially those who feel most alone. Give serenity and unity to families, the first educators of their children and the basis of the fabric of society.
God-with-us, grant health to the infirm and inspire all men and women of good will to seek the best ways possible to overcome the current health crisis and its effects. Open hearts to ensure that necessary medical care – and vaccines in particular – are provided to those peoples who need them most. Repay those who generously devote themselves to caring for family members, the sick and the most vulnerable in our midst.
Child of Bethlehem, grant that the many military and civilian prisoners of war and recent conflicts, and all those imprisoned for political reasons, may soon return home. Do not leave us indifferent before the tragic situation of migrants, displaced persons and refugees. Their eyes beg us not to look the other way, ignoring our common humanity, but instead to make their stories our own and to be mindful of their plight.
Eternal Word become flesh, make us attentive to our common home, which is suffering from the carelessness with which we so often treat it. Inspire political leaders to reach effective agreements, so that future generations can live in an environment respectful of life.
Dear brothers and sisters, amid all the many problems of our time, hope prevails, “for to us a child is born” (Is 9:6). He is the word of God, who became an infant, capable only of crying, and in need of help for everything. He wished to learn how to speak, like every other child, so that we might learn to listen to God, our Father, to listen to one another and to dialogue as brothers and sisters. O Christ, born for our sake, teach us to walk beside you on the paths of peace.
Happy Christmas to you all!
Father John and Deacon Kevin thank you all for your cards, gifts, and good wishes for Christmas, and we both wish you every blessing for the new year. God bless you all.
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 last 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!
This Sunday is the Second Sunday of Christmastide (Year C).
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 (including January 1st) at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth.
There is still no advance booking for Mass. Welcomers will be at the door of the Church, and your name will be noted on the list, or else you will be asked to provide your name and a means of 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 St. Pius X, Narborough:
Times of Mass for next weekend:
- 10am Saturday 8th January;
- 9.30am Sunday 9th;
- 10am Monday 10th.
At Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth:
Mass will also be celebrated on Thursday morning at 10.30am. We are grateful to Father Maloney for agreeing to celebrate this Mass.
Times of Mass next Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday:
- 5.30pm on Saturday 8th January;
- 11am on Sunday 9th;
- 10.30am Tuesday 11th;
- 10.30am Thursday 13th.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be Saturday (1st January) Gerry d’Araujo RIP; Sunday (2nd) Deceased relations of A&L McMillan; Monday (3rd) Deceased friends & relations of J Barr. Tuesday Deceased friends & relations of M Bright; Wednesday Deceased family& friends of M&A Bunyan; Thursday People of the Parish; Friday Holy Souls. Next weekend Saturday (8th)Danny & Robert Murphy RIP; Sunday (9th) Neville Wilson de Roze RIP; Monday (10th) Samuel Victor Burton RIP.
At Lutterworth the intentions for Mass will be the Holy Souls on Saturday and on Tuesday, and for the People of the Parishes on Sunday.
Prayers for the living and the dead:
Please pray for Ian Benson, Mario Maneggio, Father Isidore Clarke OP, Brigid Davies, Vincent Roe, 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.
LACY Have Your Say Synod ’21 ’23. Latest new from LACY (Leicestershire Active Catholic Youth).
Due to the current COVID situation we’ve changed the venue to ON LINE VIA ZOOM! We’ve changed the time to 4.00 P.M. A great opportunity for all young people, their families and friends to join us! All young people under the age of 18 should be present with an adult.
Link information: Topic: “Have Your Say Synod” with Young People Time: Jan 9 2022 at 4pm. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82612564814?pwd=Y1JzbW1VbkY0NXluZVg4d1FuSHNyUT09 : Meeting ID: 826 1256 4814: Passcode: 1guH1F
Bring your thoughts and ideas and tell us how you would like to share your Faith and become more engaged and involved in your parishes and in your area! We look forward to seeing you. Contact [email protected] for further information.
Exciting times with Exciting Young People! Sincere thanks for your continued support of LACY – let’s move forward in 2022 with more involvement with our young people. Pauline and the LACY Working Team Mobile: 07885 187374
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.”
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 Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord
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