Weekend message Feb 13
“Although you have no need of our praise … our thanksgiving is itself your gift, since our praises add nothing to your greatness but profit us for salvation” (Weekday Preface IV). This suggests that there are at least two reasons for us to pray to God: that God wants us to pray (so God gives us the ability to pray and, indeed, calls us to pray), and it is for our lasting benefit, our salvation.
Father James Martin SJ suggests that there are at least nine reasons for praying, of which these are two. Another reason is that we want to be in a relationship with God. We know that God has made us and the world we inhabit, and all the people we know and those we love and those who are important to us. So we want to be in a good relationship with God, but may not be sure how to go about it: and prayer is the way forward. Another good reasons is that none of us is self-sufficient, and nobody is perfect: we are all in need, and prayer is a way of recognizing that we depend totally on God.
This perhaps leads us to another reason for prayer: it helps us to keep everything (very much including ourselves) in perspective. Prayer helps to keep us in balance, by reminding us of our place in the universe and in God’s designs; it helps to stop us from becoming arrogant and deluding ourselves that we do not need God.
We also pray because we need to talk about our problems, troubles, difficulties, but also because we want (need) to talk about the good things that have happened to us and about our successes; we ask forgiveness for the many things we do wrong, and we also thank God for the things we have done right and for what has gone well in our lives. We also pray because we want God to transform us, to make us better people in this world, to help us to love others more and better and more effectively, to take away our selfishness or our pride or greed or anger, the aspects of our own personality which we feel harm the love and friendship which we wish to share with others.
This brings us back to where we started: we pray because we love God and we wish to love God more; and we know that we cannot love God without God drawing us to love him – drawing us to prayer.
If you wish to read Father James Martin’s reflections, they are summarised in this weeks’ edition of The Tablet.
Ash Wednesday: Lent begins this week. We have been given instructions on how to distribute ashes without saying anything and without making physical contact. Just as at Mass the priest now says ‘The Body and Blood of Christ’ while still at the altar, and all answer ‘Amen’, instead of the dialogue at Holy Communion, so also on Ash Wednesday the priest will say ‘Repent and believe the Good News’ before starting to distribute the ashes in silence. We will have to discover by experience whether the distribution by sprinkling can work. I will celebrate Mass at St. Pius X Narborough twice for the public to attend, at 10am and at 7pm. Anyone wishing to attend will have to book ahead, as for the weekend. Booking arrangements are given below. Please note that 10am Mass on Ash Wednesday is already full; there is plenty of room at 7pm. I am very grateful to the stewards and cleaners who have indicated that they are able and willing to support the community on Ash Wednesday.
Lenten Booklets: I have been sent about 85 copies of ‘Walk With Me’ for Lent, for distribution, free of charge, to those who would like one. They will be available at St. Pius X from this weekend. If you would like a copy but will not be attending Church please let me know and I will try to deliver a copy to you.
The Church of Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus in Lutterworth will be closed for public worship and private prayer until further notice. For the time being, however, the Church of St. Pius X in Narborough will remain open for Mass at 10am on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. However, this decision will be kept under review, and if it seems that safety is compromised, the Church of St. Pius X will also close.
Arrangements for attending Church for Mass: are the same as before the recent lockdown began. 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.
Booking Arrangements for Ash Wednesday & next weekend: ASH WEDNESDAY 10AM MASS IS ALREADY FULL, BUT THERE IS PLENTY OF ROOM AT THE 7PM MASS
At St. Pius X, Narborough:
You may book by email: email@example.com or by phone: (0116) – 2863676
at the following times on the following days:
- between 7pm and 8pm on Monday 15th;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday 16th ;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Thursday 18th:
- between 7pm and 8pm on Friday 19th.
Times of Mass for Ash Wednesday:
- 10am & 7pm Wednesday 17th;
Times of Mass for next weekend:
- 10am Saturday 20th;
- 10am Sunday 21st;
- 10am Monday 22nd.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be: Saturday (13th February) James & Johanna Crispin RIP; Sunday (14th February) Sean Moore RIP; Monday (15th February) June Marriott RIP. Tuesday For the people of the parishes in time of pandemic; Wednesday 10am Gordon Cotter RIP; 7pm Intentions of Catherine Grace; Thursday Intentions of Anna Morley; Friday Father Michael Horrax RIP. Next weekend Saturday (20th February) Ron & Audrey Baker RIP; Sunday (21st February) Peter Bartram RIP; Monday (22nd February) Michael Mears RIP.
Prayers for the living and the dead: please pray for Ranjit Mann, Maria Olga dos Santos, Sister Assumpta Mulroe, Canon Giles Goward, Sean Moore, Sheila Coupland, Robert Williamson, Susan Bettle, Michelle Bradshaw, and all who have died recently.
Please also pray for Dorothy Tiffin, Canon Owen O’Neill, Tom McDermott, Freda Williams, Susan Moore, Andrew Madden, Joseph Armeni, Dave Knapper, Teresa Maugham, Debbie Bourke, Elizabeth Fullerton, Mary Dunne, and Juanita Zaman who are seriously ill.
Please let me know of any others who have died, or anyone who is ill and asks for prayers.
Vaccination news: I know that a number of our parishioners have now received the first dose of this vaccine (and I was vaccinated last Sunday afternoon), and the intention of the Government is that many more will be vaccinated by mid-February. However, we must not lower our guard: but must still maintain social distance, wear face coverings (and perhaps gloves), wash and sanitize our hands frequently, and generally continue to take precautions against catching and spreading this disease.
For those with mobility issues, we do have a wheelchair in the parish hall, which you may borrow if you need it in order to visit the place of vaccination. Some of you may receive the vaccination at home but for those who need to visit a vaccination centre the wheelchair is available for you to borrow if need be.
Statement on Marriage: By order of the Bishop, the following statement is to be published in February.
Marriage is a lifelong vocation of a man and a woman to a community of life and love open to children, and, between the baptized, it is a Sacrament. Aware of the many pressures today which can endanger family life, the Church is constantly concerned to make sure that those of you planning to marry are prepared as well as possible. We would like to remind those who wish to marry of the following:
- It is important that a couple go to see their priest in good time before their wedding. Normally, at least six months notice should be given.
- Marriage preparation is carried out by the Priest, often assisted by a group from the parish. Courses arranged on a Deanery basis are recommended.
- Catholics are reminded of their obligation to preserve their faith and to do all they can within the unity of their partnership to have all their children baptized and brought up in the faith and practice of the Catholic Church.
- Non-Catholic partners will be informed of this promise, but they are not asked to make this or any similar promise.
- Dispensation for a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic to take place in a non-Catholic Church can only be granted for a serious reason. Couples who wish to marry in a non-Catholic Church should discuss the matter with their priest in good time before their wedding day to see whether a dispensation could be granted.
All couples marrying these days need the support of the local Church. In this way they will be strengthened in their preparation for marriage, in celebrating their marriage, and in living out their covenant with one another.
We wish to thank all those married people who show such constancy and fidelity to their vocation of marriage. May their example inspire those planning to marry in the Church.
Reminders from previous weeks:
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. I have obtained the books for use in these preparations; we will see how we may be able to start preparation for these sacraments in the New Year. Obviously no face to face preparation can possibly begin until March 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.
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.
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