Weekend message Nov 14
This pandemic has certainly reminded us all how fragile our defences are against unexpected or unknown diseases, as well as against severe and unexpected weather and other natural disasters, such as floods, famine, earthquakes, volcanoes, and so on. We can – and surely we must – do whatever we can to guard against such disasters. To be aware of global warming and its likely impact on the future of our planet, and to try to modify our own behaviour to recognize our own responsibility, is one part of our stewardship of God’s good creation. The heroic work of so many doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals, and so many other supporting them, is also a very practical aspect of care for their fellow human beings.
But none of this can earn God’s pleasure; and we know that is a good thing, because we realise that we cannot possibly earn salvation. How could anyone earn the right to God becoming one of us in Jesus Christ? How could any of us earn his death for us? It is a totally free gift. So St. Paul reminds us that “when the kindness and love of God our Saviour for mankind was revealed, it was not because of any righteous actions we might have done. It was for no reason at all but his own compassion that he saved us.”
Because of God’s wonderful generosity to us, St. Paul reminds us that it is so important that we repay this generosity by being generous ourselves; and part of that generosity is to work with others even though we would far prefer it if some other way could have been found. So, St. Paul says that it is our “duty to be obedient to the officials and representatives of the government; to be ready to do good at every opportunity…and to be courteous and polite to all kinds of people.” (Titus 3: 1-5)
I sent an email to our MP, Mr Gavin Costa, last week, urging him to press the Government to allow Churches to remain open for worship, assuring him of the steps we have taken to keep all our worshippers safe and secure. I received a very pleasant and polite response from him, acknowledging that the Churches provide a very important service for the people, but asking our forbearance during this difficult time. It is good to know that he takes our concerns seriously. All we can do is to comply, and hope that in December (and especially for Christmas) we may be able to open our Churches again, even if in restricted circumstances.
November: Month of Special Prayer for those who have died: 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 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.
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; Saturday (14th November) Winifred Foot RIP; Sunday (15th November) Dean McMillan RIP; Monday (16th November) welfare of Kim and Gerard. Tuesday the faithful departed (Lutterworth parish); Wednesday Deceased members of the Torrente family; Thursday Daphne Toogood RIP; Friday Mass in time of pandemic, for the people of the Parishes. Next weekend Saturday (21st November) Tony Lidgard RIP; Sunday (22nd November) Patricia Partridge RIP; Monday (23rd November) Deceased members of the d’Araujo family.
Holy Communion at Home for the Housebound: During these four weeks, due to the risk of transmitting the coronavirus, we are no longer permitted to take Holy Communion to the housebound. Hopefully these restrictions will be lifted in early December.
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.
Please pray for Joseph Armeni, Dave Knapper, Teresa Maugham, Debbie Bourke, Elizabeth Fullerton, Mary Dunne, Ranjit Mann, and Juanita Zaman (all parishioners or relatives of parishioners) who are seriously ill; and for Father Michael Horrax, Sharron Norton, Michael Maloney, 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:
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.
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 provide 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