Weekend message Feb 6
On Thursday this week, we celebrate the Feast of the Our Lady of Lourdes. For many years now this feast has been a day of special prayer for those who are ill and for those who care for them. Pope Francis writes that this day “is an opportunity to devote special attention to those who are ill and to those who provide them with assistance and care, both in healthcare institutions and within families and communities. We think in particular of those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, the effects of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. To all, and especially to the poor and the marginalized, I express my spiritual closeness and assure them of the Church’s loving concern.”
The Holy Father adds that the experience of sickness makes us realize our own vulnerability, our need for others, our dependence on God. “Sickness raises the question of the meaning of life, which we bring before God in faith”, and he counsels that we may not find an immediate answer to our questioning.
Pope Francis then considers those who feel ignored, excluded, or prey to social injustice. “The current pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in our healthcare systems and exposed inefficiencies in the care of the sick. Elderly, weak, and vulnerable people are not always granted access to care, or in an equitable manner.” On the other hand, he notes that “the pandemic has also highlighted the dedication and generosity of healthcare personnel, volunteers, support staff, clergy, men and women religious, all of whom have helped, treated, comforted, and served so many… with professionalism, self-giving, responsibility, and love of neighbour. A silent multitude of men and women, they chose not to look the other way but to share the suffering of patients, whom they saw as neighbours and members of our one human family. Such closeness is a precious balm that provides support and consolation to the sick in their suffering”
The Pope comments that Christians understand this closeness as founded on the unity of the Blessed Trinity. “United to Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit, we are called to be merciful like the Father and to love in particular our frail, infirm, and suffering brothers and sisters. We experience this closeness not only as individuals but also as a community…a community of healing, a community that leaves no one behind, a community that is inclusive and welcoming, especially to those most in need.” He notes that all effective therapy must have a relational aspect, so that the whole person is treated. “This creates a covenant between those in need of care and those who provide that care, a covenant based on mutual trust and respect, openness and availability.” He notes that “society is all the more human to the degree that it cares effectively for its most frail and suffering members, in a spirit of fraternal love. Let us strive to achieve this goal, so that no one will feel alone, excluded, or abandoned.”
Even while many of us are housebound, and others of us having to be very careful about our movements and activity, the Holy Father reminds us that we can still pray for one another – for those who are ill, for those who are housebound, for those who care for others, whether professionals or volunteers. The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is an excellent day for us all to redouble our efforts in prayer.
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 next weekend & Ash Wednesday:
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 7pm and 8pm on Monday 8th;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday 9th ;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Thursday 11th:
- between 7pm and 8pm on Friday 12th.
Times of Mass for next weekend:
- 10am Saturday 13th;
- 10am Sunday 14th;
- 10am Monday 15th.
Times of Mass for Ash Wednesday:
- 10am & 7pm Wednesday 17th;
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be: Saturday (6th February) Martin Johnson RIP; Sunday (7th February) Bridget Eliseou and Dolores Consadine RIP; Monday (8th February) Welfare of the Tobin & Freeman families.. Tuesday Intentions of the Swift family; Wednesday Bernadette Martin RIP; Thursday Jim Hadley RIP; Friday For the people of the parishes in time of pandemic. Next weekend Saturday (13th February) James & Johanna Crispin RIP; Sunday (14th February) Sean Moore RIP; Monday (15th February) June Marriott RIP.
Prayers for the living and the dead: please pray for Ranjit Mann, Maria Olga dos Santos, 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.
Ash Wednesday: Lent begins in one and a half weeks. 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 above. 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.
Vaccination news: I know that a number of our parishioners have now received the first dose of this vaccine, and the intention of the Government is that many more will be vaccinated by mid-February (including myself perhaps – my booking is for Sunday afternoon). However, we must not lower our guard: but must still maintain social distance, and 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.
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.
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.
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