Weekend message Nov 1
Count your blessings! This is the advice we are often given in any set-back or adversity. What blessings should we count? Children are a gift from the Lord and a blessing; so is a good husband or a good wife; and so also are food, drink, and shelter. Before meals we pray that God will bless us and our families, and the food we are about to eat and those who provided it for us; and at Mass the priest always blesses God for providing the bread and wine, fruit of the earth, and work of human hands, which will become for us the Body and Blood of Our Lord.
In the Gospel for today, the Feast of All Saints, we hear once again of the blessings upon the poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn, or hunger for justice, the merciful, the pure in heart, peacemakers, and those who suffer for doing God’s will. These blessings are not of this world – children, family life, food, drink, and shelter – but of the Kingdom of God. These are the people who will be welcomed into God’s own household, where they will share in the inheritance promised to all those who follow God’s call.
In these difficult times, if we listen intently, we will hear Our Lord pronounce his blessings on those who work long hours to care for the sick and the elderly; those who have made themselves vulnerable to the coronavirus (and those who have died from it) in order to tend the suffering; those who have generously provided food and drink to their housebound neighbours; those who have put up with severe restrictions on their lifestyle for the common good; those who have sacrificed their own good for the good of others; those who have brought comfort to the distressed. No doubt we can all add others whose actions will be rewarded by God’s blessings.
Last evening, the Prime Minister announced further widespread restrictions in England beginning on Thursday 5th November. The Government have published their New National Restrictions Guidance on their website here. Whilst there was no formal announcement on Places of Worship by the Prime Minister, there is clear guidance on this website that places of worship will be required to end all acts of collective worship, except for funeral ceremonies. This is another serious restriction on our freedom to worship, as well as our freedom in many other ways to. Our response must be to offer up this sacrifice to God – make our inability to pray together in Church itself a prayer to God – for the benefit of the common good.
November: Month of Special Prayer for those who have died: On Monday November 2nd the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, Mass will be celebrated at10am at St. Pius X, Narborough for the faithful departed, and at 10.30am at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus for deceased parishioners, deceased relatives, and those buried in the cemetery. We are very grateful to Father John Joe Maloney for agreeing to celebrate this Mass, which is an addition to the normal routine because Monday is ‘All Souls’ Day’. After Mass there will be a visit to the cemetery where prayers can be said for Canon Hazeland and all who are buried there. You will be able to see the great work that Father Maloney has been doing in the cemetery.
November ‘Dead List’: If you would like a Mass to be celebrated for those who have died, please write down the names of any who you wish to be remembered in prayer during this month, and enclose it in an envelope together with any donation you wish to make for a Mass to be celebrated. This envelope can be dropped in at Church any weekend – in the collection box, or in the special ‘November List’ box when that is available, or in the Church post box (Lutterworth) or the presbytery (Narborough).
Despite the restrictions on celebrating Mass together in public, we can all still pray at home, and during this month of special prayer for those who have died, it will be a ‘spiritual work of mercy’ for us all to remember in prayer those of our families, our friends, and our parishioners and benefactors who have died.
TOGETHER, WE ARE CARITAS: Building social action in the Diocese of Nottingham – Saturday 7 November 2020 by Zoom (with a telephone option). Nottingham Diocese is joining Caritas, the Church’s worldwide ministry of charity. Soon our parish will be part of one of the biggest humanitarian organisations on the planet – and you are invited to be part of it. Join Bishop Patrick, Caritas Social Action Network, the diocesan Justice & Peace Commission and Catholics from all round our diocese. In two 90-minute online sessions at 11.00 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. we’ll take practical steps, in parishes and chaplaincies across the diocese, to bring the Gospel to life, locally and globally. For details and booking visit dioceseofnottingham.uk/faithintoaction or call 07470 907656 for further information.
HOLY CROSS SCHOOL: The Directors of St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Multi-Academy Trust are seeking to appoint a new headteacher at Holy Cross Catholic Voluntary Academy, Leicester, (salary scale L15-21). For an application pack please call the Trust’s HR department on 0116 296 8164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . To arrange a school visit please contact Elizabeth Routledge (school office) on 0116 283 3135 or email email@example.com CLOSING DATE: Monday 23 November 2020.
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.
Since the Government has closed Churches and all places of public worship, except for funerals, there will be no opportunity for us to celebrate Mass in public, though I will continue to do so privately (as Government restrictions permit). We hope to be able to open again in early December; I will advertise times of public Mass and booking arrangements when permission is given.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be: Saturday (31st October) 10am People of the Parish; Sunday (1st November) 10am Jean Hodgkinson RIP; Monday (2nd November) 10am The Faithful Departed. During the week the intentions will be: Tuesday welfare of the family of Ela Measures; Wednesday Eric Ford RIP; Thursday Mass in time of pandemic, for the people of the Parishes; Friday Dean McMillan RIP. Next weekend Saturday (7th November) 10am the welfare of Jamie, Stella, and family; Sunday (8th November) 10am Felix McConville RIP; Monday (9th November) 10am Father Terry Fellows RIP.
Holy Communion at Home for the Housebound: Further instructions have been issued regarding Holy Communion for those who are housebound. Priests over the age of 70 (which includes me) are for the time being not permitted to take Holy Communion to the housebound. I think these further restrictions are due to the increasing incidence of coronavirus infections; hopefully the rate of infection will be reduced soon, and these restrictions be eased.
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 two applications for First Confession and Holy Communion, and four applications for Confirmation.
Please pray for Joseph Armeni, Dave Knapper, Teresa Maugham, Debbie Bourke, Elizabeth Fullerton, Mary Dunne, Ranjit Mann, Juanita Zaman, (all parishioners or relatives of parishioners), and Father Michael Horrax (retired priest of this Diocese) who are seriously ill; and for Michael Maloney, Father Terry Fellows, Dennis Mansell, Hugh Mellor, Sheila Knight, and all who have died recently. Please let me know of any others who have died, or anyone who is ill and asks for prayers.
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:
The ‘Sunday Obligation’ remains suspended until further notice. The Bishops remind us that people who have been ‘shielding’, or who are caring for anyone who is extremely vulnerable, should not attend Church. Those who are ‘vulnerable’, including those who are over 70 years of age, should think carefully before attending, to make sure that they feel they can do so safely. Children younger than 16 years old, and persons who are physically disabled or who have learning difficulties, must not attend Church unless they are accompanied by a responsible adult, who will be expected to look after them and ensure that safe practice is maintained. Toilets will not normally be open.
When Attending Mass in any Catholic Church:
Face masks must be worn. When you arrive at Mass, a steward will check that you have pre-booked. You will be asked to sanitize your hands in the porch, and to wear your face mask. There is no holy water in the porch.
If you have brought an offering for the parish collection, please put it into the box which will be available in the porch. The collection will not be taken during Mass in the usual way. There will also be a box in the porch for items for the foodbank or for Mary’s Meals, and during October, an extra box for the special collections we have been asked to take, and during November for the ‘Prayers for the Faithful Departed’.
A steward will show you where you can sit. Places are marked on the benches or chairs, to ensure that all persons keep a safe ‘social distance’. Couples from the same household may occupy a single place. Families may sit together. If the Church is full to (Covid related) capacity, the steward may need to keep certain benches available for families.
Holy Communion will be distributed at the usual time during Mass. The host must be received in the hand. There will be no ‘dialogue’ at that time. The chalice cannot be shared. Those receiving Holy Communion are requested to maintain the social distance in the main aisle waiting to receive; and to come up to the line marked on the floor of the Church.
At the end of Mass, please do not stop in the porch. If you wish to talk to anyone, please wait until you are outside the Church building. This is to avoid causing an obstruction for those wishing to leave.
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 produce 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