Weekend Message Dec 5
THE SEASON OF ADVENT began on Sunday 29th November. Christmas is coming, and the Government has told us we can mingle in families for a few days over the Christmas Feast. People are putting up trees and lights, and no doubt buying the Christmas food and working out the weight of turkey they need this year.
But as we know, Christmas should be much more than that. Two and a half millennia ago, the prophet Isaiah was telling the people that God did not enjoy their Feasts, which had become a wearisome burden. Instead, the prophet told the people “Wash yourselves clean, remove the evil from your deeds; cease to do evil; learn to do good; seek justice; correct oppression; defend the fatherless; plead for the widow.”
So our preparation for celebrating Christmas should be the same: look at ourselves, ask ourselves whether we have been just, and whether we have been merciful; and to look around us and to see those many people who need justice and mercy from us. We have the poor with us; the homeless; the refugees; the asylum seekers; no doubt others who plead with us for justice and for mercy.
“Stir up your power, O Lord, and come to our help with mighty strength, so that what our sins impede, the grace of your mercy may hasten; through Christ our Lord. Amen.” (Opening Prayer at Mass: Thursday of Advent Week 1)
The Diocese has made some arrangements for our Spiritual Christmas preparation which we are all invited to share.
Praying with Our Lady through Advent – We invite you to pray one extra Hail Mary each day in Advent, asking for Our Lady’s prayers to help all of us as a diocese, open our hearts and minds to welcome Jesus afresh this Christmas. She was the first person to welcome Him into her life and her intercession can help us to draw closer to Him and feel His presence with us anew this Christmas. Every other day you will be able to watch people from our diocese pray the Hail Mary in different languages on the diocesan social media sites, search for Diocese of Nottingham or Bishop Patrick McKinney on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Living Advent Podcast – Living Advent is a weekly podcast series throughout Advent exploring the virtues of Hope, Love, Joy & Peace with people from across the diocese and how we can live them out. We speak to a young husband and father, a musician, a retired social worker and a police officer. Visit
www.dioceseofnottingham.uk/podcasts for links on how to stream or download it, or you can find it on your usual podcast service by searching ‘Living Advent Podcast’.
Diocesan Carol Service – Carol services are a wonderful family tradition of our Advent and Christmas celebrations, and often are a great opportunity to invite those who are not regular Churchgoers to connect with our parish or chaplaincy community. This can be quite challenging to do this year so we are offering a virtual diocesan carol service. We will celebrate a short online carol service on Friday 18th December at 6pm on Bishop Patrick’s YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/BishopPatrickMckinney) with readings, music, prayers and reflections. Please join us as a family and invite others to join us too. After the service grab a mince pie, something warm to drink and join us on zoom for our family Christmas Quiz (6:45pm-7:15pm). The link and access code will be given out during the service.
The corporal works of mercy: feed the hungry (and thirsty), clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, give shelter to the homeless, bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy: counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish the sinner, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear wrongs patiently, and pray for the living and for the dead.
Prayers for the living and the dead: please pray for Michael Garvey, Peggy Ward, Nicholas Coote, Father Michael Horrax, Sharron Norton, Michael Maloney, and all who have died recently; and for Joseph Armeni, Dave Knapper, Teresa Maugham, Debbie Bourke, Elizabeth Fullerton, Mary Dunne, Ranjit Mann, and Juanita Zaman (all parishioners or relatives of parishioners) who are seriously ill. Please let me know of any others who have died, or anyone who is ill and asks for prayers.
Thank You! from CAFOD for the Family Fast Day contributions to their work among the very poor in other countries. Between the two parishes we sent them £700.
Special Collection: next weekend (12th and 13th December) for the Poor Parishes of the Diocese. Some small parishes which have been badly affected by the coronavirus ‘lockdown’ will be struggling to pay their bills, so for them this year’s special collection will be more than usually valuable. Please be generous.
Churches open again for the public celebration of Mass: St. Pius X, Narborough, and Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth, will open for the public celebration of Mass from Saturday 5th December. Arrangements will be the same as before the recent lockdown began three weeks ago. Masks or face coverings will still be required for those attending Mass (except for those exempted from wearing them); it will still be necessary for those attending to sanitize their hands on entering; and all will still need to keep social distance from each other (unless they are members of the same household or family). We will still depend on the generosity and commitment of our volunteer stewards and cleaners.
The schedule will be the same as previously: Mass will be celebrated in public at St. Pius X, Narborough, at 10am on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; and at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth, at 11am on Sunday and at 10.30am on Tuesday (but not 8th December). It will be necessary to book a place if you wish to attend Mass; booking arrangements are given below.
The funeral of Peggy Ward who died on 16th November will be at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus on Tuesday 8th December. Government restrictions limit the total attending to 30 family and friends, who have already been invited, so it will not be possible for parishioners to attend Mass that day.
Booking Arrangements for next weekend:
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 Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus:
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 7th December between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
Wednesday 9th December between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
Friday 11th December between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
Times of Mass next weekend:
- 11am on Sunday 13th December
- 10.30am on Tuesday 15th December
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 8th December;
- between 5pm and 6pm on Thursday 10th December.
- between 5pm and 6pm on Friday 11th December.
Times of Mass next weekend:
- 10am on Saturday 12th December;
- 10am on Sunday 13th December;
- 10am on Monday 14th December.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be: Saturday (5th December) Deceased friends & relations of J&R Rampton; Sunday (6th December) the welfare of our young parishioners; Monday (7th December) Joan & Sid Simpkin RIP. Tuesday Father Simon Nolan RIP; Wednesday Betty Danaher RIP; Thursday Deceased friends & relations of M Tallis; Friday Mass in time of pandemic, for the people of the Parishes. Next weekend Saturday (12th December) Deceased friends & relations of S Doyle; Sunday (13th December) Deceased friends & relations of C&R Willars; Monday (14th December) Jim & Madge Ennis RIP.
Christmas Masses: Bishop Patrick has written to remind us that the ‘Sunday Obligation’ is suspended, and this extends also to Mass on Christmas Day. He also tells us that every Mass celebrated in Christmas week (that is, from 25th December to 1st January inclusive) is to be considered as a ‘Christmas Mass’ even if it is also the celebration of another Feastday (such as St. Stephen, or the Holy Family).
The Church must be sanitized after every public celebration of Mass, and stewards must also be on duty for those celebrations. If there are sufficient stewards & cleaners available and willing, I would like there to be a public celebration of Mass on the following days and times:
At St. Pius X, Narborough: 10am Thursday 24th December (Vigil Mass of Christmas); 8pm Thursday 24th (Christmas ‘Midnight’ Mass); 10am Friday 25th (Christmas morning Mass); 10am Saturday 26th; 10am Sunday 27th; 10am Monday 28th; 10am Friday 1st January (New Year’s Day); 10am Saturday 2nd; 10am Sunday 3rd: 10am Monday 4th.
At Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth: 4.30pm Thursday 24th December (Vigil Mass of Christmas); 10am Friday 25th (Christmas morning Mass); 11am Sunday 27th; 10.30am Tuesday 29th; 11am Sunday 3rd January; 10.30am Tuesday 5th January.
Please note that the Vigil Mass will be at 4.30pm and not as advertised in the Lutterworth Journal (where it is stated to be a provisional arrangement, subject to change). Further consultation will be needed to determine whether there will be a Mass on New Year’s Day in Lutterworth; and also to determine times of Mass for the Feast of the Epiphany (Wednesday 6th January).
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, and certainly before the start of December, of any candidates for these sacraments. So far I have received four applications for First Confession and Holy Communion, and five applications for Confirmation.
Recycling Textiles: At the moment the firm are no longer collecting in the Leicester area and have no plans to restart collections. If anyone knows of any other organization willing to collect clothes and other textiles in our area, please let me know.
Reminders from previous weeks:
MARRIAGE CARE: Our marriage preparation and support service enable couples to nurture faithful and fruitful marriages that last, as we draw on Catholic teaching and contemporary research to help couples focus on the quality of their relationship with each other.
Our latest resource, Preparing Together Anywhere, is facilitated by two trained volunteers via webcam. Groups of up to 7 engaged couples attend three 90-minute sessions over a period of 3 weeks, with additional resources to enable couples to reflect more deeply in between sessions on the commitment being entered into. Wedding plans may be on hold for some time, but couples need not put their preparation for marriage on hold.
Through our relationship counselling service (now available via webcam), we accompany, with compassion and practical wisdom, couples who find themselves in need of support on their journey. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, we know that increases in family stress and impending threat of relationship breakdown will plunge many more into financial difficulties. We are unique in asking couples who come to us for counselling only to pay what they can afford, reflecting our commitment to support those most in need. Please encourage couples to connect with us today at: www.marriagecare.org.uk.
Contributions to the parish funds: The boxes of Planned Giving envelopes are available. If you would like your box of envelopes, please let me know and I can provide it for you.
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.
With best wishes to you all, and assuring you all of my prayers, Father John