Weekend message March 27
Why did the Son of God made man suffer for us? At the beginning of the 4th century, St Athanasius of Alexandria, a Greek city on the shores of the region we now call Egypt, reflected on the world as he knew it, and understood that it was not the way that God would have wanted it. For God created the world and saw that it was good, and he had created human beings to live and enjoy this good world. But human beings sinned, and brought evil into God’s good world, and the result was the destruction that he could see around him.
Human beings, “having invented wickedness in the beginning, and so involved themselves in death and corruption, had gone from bad to worse… Adulteries and thefts were everywhere, murder and rapine filled the earth, law was disregarded in corruption and injustice, all kinds of iniquities were perpetuated by all… Cities were warring with cities, nations were rising against nations, and the whole earth was rent with factions and battles..” (On the Incarnation of the Word of God, 1.5) If he had been alive today, no doubt he would have added a few sentences about corporate greed, plunder of the earth’s resources, disregard for the environment, and, of course, the pandemic.
What hope was there in all this destruction and mayhem? What could arrest this slide into greater evil and suffering? Athanasius was sure of the answer to those questions: the Son of God himself coming into our world, to share our lives, to share our suffering, to share even our death. Having done so, Our Lord is still fully and intimately involved in our world as it is today: he still experiences the evils wrought by the pandemic, he is with the suffering, with the bereaved, with the health workers, with the volunteers. God did not leave human beings to sort out their own mess, but the Son of God came into the world to be part of it; and that is still true today.
So when on we listen on Palm Sunday (the Passion according to St. Mark) and on Good Friday (the Passion according to St. John) we do not merely hear of the events of Holy Week 2000 years ago; we hear that Our Lord is still with us, still suffers with us, and is still very much Our Lord and Saviour.
HOLY WEEK ARRANGEMENTS IN OUR PARISHES
Holy Week Instructions from the Conference of Bishops of England and Wales: The duration of these celebrations should be kept as short as possible, and the congregation are not permitted to sing.
Palm Sunday: Mass will be celebrated at St. Pius X, Narborough at 10am on Saturday and Sunday, and at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth at 10.30am on Sunday. I will also celebrate Mass at 10am on Monday of Holy Week at St. Pius X Narborough. There must be no procession; the palms should be blessed at the start of Mass; the short form of the Passion according to St. Mark should be read, without any congregation participation.
Chrism Mass: Only priests may attend. (Father John will attend representing the Leicester Deanery.)
Maundy Thursday: Mass will be celebrated at 6pm at St. Pius X Narborough and at 7pm at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth. There will be no washing of feet, no procession, no altar of repose, and no ‘stripping the altar’.
Good Friday: The reading of the Passion, prayers of the Faithful, presentation of the Cross (without the usual veneration) and Holy Communion will be at 2pm at St. Pius X, Narborough and at 3pm at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth. There will be Stations of the Cross at 7pm at St. Pius X Narborough.
The Easter Vigil: Will be celebrated at St. Pius X Narborough at 6pm on Holy Saturday. The ‘new fire’ is not to be lit or blessed; the Paschal Candle should be lit at the start; the congregation are not permitted to hold candles. The Easter Water should be blessed, and the congregation renew their baptismal promises, but they should not be sprinkled, and the holy water stoups are not to be filled.
Easter Sunday: Mass will be celebrated at 10am at St. Pius X Narborough and at 10.30am at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus Lutterworth. The congregation may renew their baptismal promises, but must not be sprinkled with holy water. I will also celebrate Mass at 10am on Easter Monday at St. Pius X Narborough.
Please remember that it will be necessary to book to attend any of these ceremonies. Booking arrangements are given below.
Booking Arrangements for Holy Week:
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 29th;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday 30th.
Times of Holy Week services:
- 10am Sunday 28th March
- 10am Monday 29th March
- 6pm Maundy Thursday 1st April;
- 2pm Good Friday 2nd April;
- 7pm Stations of the Cross Good Friday 2nd April;
- 6pm Easter Vigil Saturday 3rd April
- 10am Easter Sunday 4th April
- 10am Easter Monday 5th April
At Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth:
Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are already full; there are a few spaces for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
Please ring 079 0113 4564 on Monday 29th March between 9.30am and 10.30am. It is not possible to leave a message outside these times:
Times of Holy Week services: Please take note of the times of these services.
- 10.30am Palm Sunday 28th March
- 7pm Maundy Thursday 1st April;
- 3pm Good Friday 2nd April;
- 10.30am Easter Sunday 4th April
Ways for us to show practical charity during Lent:
Walk for Water: Sharon Burman and Claire Harrold are walking 10 miles per week in support of CAFOD’s ‘Walk for Water’ appeal. If any parishioner would like to support their endeavour, please hand your donation to Sharon in person, or leave it in the ‘parish collection’ box in the St. Pius X Church porch, or put it through the presbytery letterbox.
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.
Support for the Holy Places in Palestine: The annual collection for the upkeep of the Holy Places is to be taken during the Good Friday afternoon service as usual.
Decorating the Church during the Easter Season: If anyone would like to contribute to decorating the Churches during the Easter season in memory of their loved ones who have died, please write the names of those to be remembered (by name, or ‘friends and relations of…’, as you wish) together with your contribution, and leave it in the box provided at St. Pius X, Narborough, or drop it into the letter box at Our Lady of Victories, Lutterworth. I will try to ensure that lists of those for whom we are praying are prepared.
Arrangements for attending Church for Mass and other services: 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.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be: Saturday (27th March) Welfare of Jim Oxley; Sunday (28th March) Deacon Robin Pollard RIP; Monday (22nd March) Deceased members of the McEntee family. Tuesday For the people of the parishes in time of pandemic; Thursday People of the Parishes. Next weekend Saturday (3rd April) People of the Parish; Sunday (4th April) Robert Williamson RIP; Monday (5th April) Father James Earley RIP.
Prayers for the living and the dead: please pray for Father James Earley, Deacon Robin Pollard (of the parish of St. Peter’s, Hinckley), Susan Moore, Bob Dorward, Ranjit Mann, Maria Olga dos Santos, and all who have died recently.
Please also pray for Jim Oxley, Beulah Blomfield, Canon Owen O’Neill, Tom McDermott, Freda Williams, Andrew Madden, Joseph Armeni, Dave Knapper, Teresa Maugham, Debbie Bourke, 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.
Walk With Me Booklets for Easter season available free of charge from Church.
Living Faith booklets with readings for every day in April, May, and June, available from Church, suggested donation £1.
Planned Giving Envelopes (Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth): The new boxes of envelopes start 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 start in April. They are available from the sacristy in Church, or email Father John.
Bishop Patrick McKinney, Bishop of Nottingham, asks us to complete a survey: My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
This past year of the Coronavirus pandemic has been a tough and challenging time for Catholics across our diocese. In our parishes, chaplaincies, schools, religious houses, as well as in our own homes, we have all had to learn to adapt to this new and unchartered situation. Some have managed fairly well, while others have struggled.
It is now necessary that we reflect together as a diocese on our varying experiences, positive and negative, of the living out our faith during this period. This will enable us to explore what can be learned for the immediate future. So, I invite you to complete this simple survey, (https://forms.rcaos.org.uk/covid-19-survey-form/) which won’t take much of your time. Your responses will help us to get a more informed overview of the strengths, lessons learnt, and weaknesses of our current situation as a diocese. They will, in turn, also help us to move forward more creatively and more realistically.
Thank you for taking part in this survey. I look forward to reading your responses. With prayer and good wishes, +Patrick
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 about any candidates for these sacraments. So far I have received four applications for First Confession and Holy Communion, and six 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. Obviously no face to face preparation can possibly begin until April 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.
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