Weekend message June 5
The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)
Many years ago a young parishioner told me that kissing was unhygienic, since it transferred germs between people. For the past fifteen months, we have even had to give up on hugs and handshakes for fear of spreading Covid. As restrictions are gradually being lifted, we may ask ourselves why we kiss and hug and cuddle and shake hands. What does it do for us?
If we reflect on the occasions when parents will hug or kiss or cuddle their children, we might think of the child having fallen, or perhaps having done something wrong and been told off and now being upset. The hug or the kiss is for the benefit of the child – but it also does something for the parent. It isn’t as though the child gains and the parent loses; both parties gain!
So when it is sincere, any such sign of friendship or affection is of value to the one giving as much as to the one receiving. I think that is because we do not merely need love and friendship and affection from others, but need also to be able to express our love and friendship and affection. If we are deprived (as we have been for fifteen months) we feel the absence.
As spiritual beings we have the need to express ourselves, and as bodily beings we need to express ourselves by bodily means – principally by speech and touch, but also in a variety of other ways, such as sending letters and presents. It isn’t enough for a lover to form a mental picture of the beloved and think ‘I love you’. The lover needs to express the thought outwardly, just as much as the beloved needs to receive it in some tangible (or audible) way.
God, of course, is spirit – so God also must express himself, otherwise God would not be God. But whereas our thoughts and words and actions are distinct from ourselves – no matter how much we ‘put ourselves into it’ – God is so great that for God there is no difference between God’s thoughts and words and actions and God as God. As we read at the start of St. John’s Gospel: In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God.
We also know that the Word of God became man in Jesus Christ. This means that God took on himself our bodily nature, and with it the need to express himself in a bodily manner. God does this, of course, for our benefit: we could not listen to God’s Word if it did not come to us in a form that we could hear. But because God chose not only to address us in various ways (as we read in the Letter to the Hebrews) but also to become one of us, God chose to bind himself to bodily communication with us. And this continues even though Our Lord has risen from the dead and ascended to his heavenly Father.
So the Word of God made flesh left us the sacrament of his Body and Blood, so that God does not merely communicate us by words (in the Scriptures) and by signs (for example the sacraments) but communicates himself to us. And whereas a hug or a kiss or a cuddle is very nice, it does not become part of us – but when we receive Our Lord in Holy Communion that is just what happens: we receive the Word of God as our food.
As with all our human signs of love or friendship, so also with Holy Communion, the actions are supported by the words. We do usually ‘say something;’ when we shake hands, or send a present. So also the ‘Eucharistic Prayer’ at Mass always contains a memorial of the Last Supper, and the words of Our Lord to his disciples – This is my Body, this is my Blood; take and eat, take and drink.
And just as our human words and actions do not fade away immediately but are intended to have some lasting effect, so also receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion is to have a lasting effect, bringing us all together to be the Body of Christ in the world, and, we hope and pray, to lead us to eternal life.
First Holy Communion: at this time of year we are usually gearing up to celebrate First Holy Communion with our young members. This year we have not been able to prepare our young people, which is a great sadness for us. Consequently we must look forward to (hopefully) better things this coming year. We hope to begin preparation for First Confession and First Holy Communion in September. 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). Please let me have any names and contact details so that a group can be organized.
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.
Mass in Spanish: Fr Limnyuy Gamsi will celebrate a Mass in Spanish at St. Peter’s Church, Hinckley Road, Leicester, on Friday 11th June at 7 p.m., with Confession available from 6:30 p.m. Advanced booking is not required. For more information, please contact him at email@example.com.
Booking Arrangements for next weekend:
At St. Pius X, Narborough:
You may book by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (0116) – 2863676
at the following times on the following days:
- between 7pm and 8pm on Monday 7th June;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday 8th;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Friday 11th.
Times of Mass next weekend:
- 10am Saturday 12th;
- 10am Sunday 13th;
- 10am Monday 14th.
At Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth:
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 June between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
- Wednesday 9th between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
- Friday 11th between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
Times of Mass next Sunday and Tuesday:
- 11am on Sunday 13th;
- 10.30am Tuesday 15th. .
Arrangements for attending Church for Mass and other services: For the time being – until we receive further information – these arrangements are still in force. More guidance from Public Health England is expected before the Step 4 relaxation is reached on 21st June. 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 other 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.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be: Saturday (5th June) Mary McNally RIP; Sunday (6th June) Intentions of the stewards and cleaners; Monday (7th June) Welfare of Geoff Wynne. Wednesday Deceased benefactors; Thursday Frank Scanlon RIP; Friday People of the Parishes. Next weekend Saturday (12th June) Jim Hadley RIP; Sunday (13th June) Alan Gower RIP; Monday (14th June) Peter Carter RIP.
At Lutterworth the intentions for Mass will be: Sunday (6th June) Robert Williamson RIP; Next Tuesday (8th June) Holy Souls; Next Sunday (13th June) Helen and Thomas Marr RIP; Next Tuesday (15th June) People of the Parish.
Prayers for the living and the dead:
Please pray for Doreen Sullivan, Sister Mary O’Riordan, Father Anthony Colebrook, Canon Owen O’Neill, and all who have died recently.
Please also pray for Jane Bolsover, Suzanne Foxon, Jim Oxley, Beulah Blomfield, Tom McDermott, Freda Williams, Joseph Armeni, Dave Knapper, Teresa Maugham, Elizabeth Fullerton, 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.
Caritas – Diocese of Nottingham: On Saturday 22ndMay we launched the diocesan Caritas organisation, with an online liturgy showcasing the work of volunteers around the diocese and hosted by the team at the Briars. ‘Caritas Diocese of Nottingham’ will help us to answer Christ’s call to mission, through giving practical expression to His love in our neighbourhoods and the promotion of fraternity, justice, peace, and the care of creation here in our local communities and in the wider world in which we live. ‘Caritas – Diocese of Nottingham’ has been launched at a most providential time, as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and seek to rebuild our lives and look to the future. It is my hope and prayer that ‘Caritas Diocese of Nottingham’ will help many people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, all people of goodwill, to play an important part in the building up of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
There are a number of resources now available following the launch:
- A 10-minute Youtube interview in which Paul Bodenham discusses the work of Caritas with Madeleine Strezynski, our new diocesan director of communications.
- A 15-page prospectus highlighting the work of Caritas planned up to 2024, which explains the six ‘ministries’ through which Caritas can support parish initiatives.
- A listening campaign, Lend an Ear, which, together with the online survey launched in April, will help us address the needs and opportunities created by the pandemic
- A network of Friends in Caritas through which volunteers in our parishes can find advice and support for new outreach projects.
Planned Giving Envelopes (Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth): The new boxes of envelopes started in April If you require your box, please ring June (01455 – 553730) or Ashley (01455 – 553493) or email Father John.
Planned Giving Envelopes (St. Pius X, Narborough): The new boxes of envelopes started in April. They are available from the sacristy in Church, or email Father John.
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.
Reminders from previous weeks:
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.
With best wishes to you all, and assuring you all of my prayers, Father John