Weekend message Nov 27
The Season of Advent
This weekend we begin Advent, the season of preparation for celebrating the birth of Our Lord and Saviour. It is a time of waiting for the Lord – but, we may ask, how can we wait for him, since we know that he has already been born, lived among us, died, and rose again? To try to ‘wait’ for him to come to us would be to indulge in make-believe. Then thinking along these lines, we might well ask a deeper question: why do we have this period of preparation, this waiting for the Lord, every year?
I think there are at least two good reasons: that it reminds us that we are all waiting for the Lord to come to us finally at the end of time – and for each one of us, at death; and that it also reminds us that Our Lord comes to each one of us every day – but perhaps all too often we fail to recognize him.
In one of his sermons on Advent, St. Bernard said: “In the first coming the Lord was seen on earth and lived among men and women in the days when , as he himself bears witness, they saw him and hated him. In his last coming ‘all flesh shall see the salvation of God’, and ‘they shall look on him whom they have pierced’.” But between these two there is another coming, which is hidden. “In it, only the chosen see him within themselves and their souls are saved…his first coming was in the flesh and in weakness, this intermediary coming is in the spirit and in power, the last coming will be in glory and majesty.”
To help us in our Advent preparations, the Diocese has arranged for a number of copies of the booklet ‘Walk With Me’. These are to be found in our two Churches and are available for everyone to take a copy. If you would like to leave a donation to help with the expense, that would be very acceptable – but much more important is that we take these booklets and make use of them to help us be ready for the great Feast of Christmas.
Preparing for the Synod: in our Parishes:
As mentioned over the past few weeks, Pope Francis wants all of us to be involved in preparing for the Synod. For the second stage in this preparation, Bishop Patrick asks us all to consider two further questions:
- Who feels marginalized or separated from our parish community?
- What two practical steps should we take as a community to reach out to the marginalized and separated people, and listen to them?
Bishop Patrick suggests that we try to think of one immediate step we can take and one longer term step. As with the first set of questions, we are encouraged to attend parish meetings to discuss these questions. As before, I propose that we all reflect on these questions, write down our thoughts, and there will be a box in both Churches to receive them. Also, I suggest that after all the Masses on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th December, the parish hall or the Church itself will be available for those who wish to meet and discuss these questions further. I will attend these gatherings, though after Sunday morning Mass in Narborough I will have to leave in time to go to Lutterworth for Mass at 11.
Face coverings – Sunday Obligation – feeling marginalized
Some of our parishioners may feel marginalized because they still don’t feel safe in Church, or in any enclosed space where people gather. They may also feel guilty because they have not been going to Church, and this may lead them to feel even more ‘on the margins’ of our community.
Our Bishops have suggested that we should all consider very carefully how important it is to attend Church with the community on the ‘first day of the week’ to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. But they also recognize that there are many who are still vulnerable, and that Christian charity requires of all of us that we take appropriate steps to try to avoid infecting others, or at least minimize the chances of doing so.
Our willingness to continue to wear face coverings in Church is one aspect of this Christian charity to others. Another aspect, however, is to understand that there are those who are exempt from face coverings for medical reasons, and that some may be unable to wear them (for example because of difficulties with breathing) even though they may not be officially exempt.
Another aspect of our Christian charity is to ensure that we do not attend Church if we are feeling unwell. In the past we may have been told that we should attend Church if (for example) we have a heavy cold – but that is no longer the case. If we feel unwell, we should stay at home and pray there – perhaps (if we wish) accessing Mass online, or otherwise ensuring that we read some passages from Scripture and say prayers for the community and for those in need. But we really should avoid, so far as possible, spreading our illnesses to others.
I usually still have to attend Church, even if unwell, because I need to preside at Mass – but even so I will take steps to avoid as much contact as I can, so hopefully will not have affected anyone from our community with the heavy cold I had two weeks ago!
I will print a passage from the statement from the Bishops of England and Wales in next week’s email.
Synod Preparation Part 1 (Narborough & Lutterworth)
Last weekend more than 40 parishioners stayed after the four weekend Masses to discuss the questions the Bishop had proposed. This was a great response. I have tried to summarise the suggestions made in writing and the discussions which took place. If anyone would like to change what I have written, please let me know.
Suggestions for the Universal Church, the Episcopal conference of England and Wales, and the Diocese of Nottingham
Vision: A Church which proclaims the Word of God using all the available communications media.
Action to Take: The Church in England and Wales (and the Universal Church) should put resources into training people with the appropriate knowledge of the Bible and of Church teaching in the methods of communication used nowadays by the young people to the middle-aged.
Then provide these people with the resources they need to communicate effectively with the people of our country – people with any faith or none.
Ensure that resources are earmarked for their continued training so that this expertise is not lost and develops as fast as the media themselves change.
Vision: A Church which responds to the needs of the people in its liturgical celebrations.
Action to Take: Sunday obligation – people should be permitted to attend Mass on any day during the week to fulfil the obligation.
Ensure the continuation of provision of ‘Mass online’ which has been such a benefit for those many people (by no means of all them Catholics) who regularly access such celebrations in their homes.
Reflect on the appropriate ways of forming community in the 21st century, and put them into practice, to develop more effective community formation and support befitting the contemporary scene.
Vision: A priesthood more in tune with the needs of the 21st century.
Action to Take: Remove the vow of celibacy for newly ordained priests (Note that about 10% of active priests in England and Wales are married men – former Anglicans).
Suggestions for the parishes of Narborough & Lutterworth and the Leicester Deanery
Vision: Young people (aged between 5 and 25) regularly attend Church for services and take full part in the liturgical celebrations and in the social aspect of the Church and its outreach.
Actions to Take: Ask parents of families what we need to do to attract young people to Church.
Restart the ‘Children’s Liturgy’.
Contact young people to determine what hymns they would like, and form a music group. Invite young people to a meeting to receive their ideas and determine ways to act on them.
Contact the Catholic secondary schools to determine how they may encourage those of our communities of secondary school age to attend them. Encourage the schools to greater liaison with our local parishes.
Devise some form of continuous instruction for young people, using contemporary communications media.
Involve young people in our social outreach work, such as inviting them to help pack ‘Mary’s Meals’ items.
Contact LACY for some assistance.
Vision: Greater joint activity of members of the two parishes.
Action to Take: Joint projects with Lutterworth parish: providing meals for those in need; offer services to those in need (such as gardening and small repair work).
Develop existing joint social care work of these parishes, such as the Lutterworth Foodbank, Mary’s Meals, Tools With a Mission, etc.
Develop the work of the SVP and outreach groups, and ensure that both parishes are aware of this work – ask for members to speak at Mass one weekend.
Vision: A more vibrant parish community.
Action to Take: Arrange more social activities, and encourage more of the community to take part.
Set up a ‘befriending service’.
Obtain new hymn books, and investigate the possibility of using media to display the words of hymns electronically.
Vision: The Churches should be welcoming communities.
Action to Take: Determine ways in which visitors, enquirers, and others not members of our communities are attracted and feel welcome.
Vision: Greater ecumenical involvement.
Action to Take: Rearrange the times of Mass on Remembrance Sunday so that the community can take part in Remembrance Day services.
Vision: Celebrate our diversity.
Action to Take: Acknowledge and find ways of celebrating – both liturgically and socially – the considerable diversity which exists in our communities (and which is very beneficial).
Vision: More prayerful celebrations of the Mass.
Action to Take: Ensure there is opportunity for silent prayer and reflection before and during Mass.
Rosary before Mass.
Gentle hymn music played before Mass.
This weekend is the First Sunday of Advent (Year C).
Seafarers’ Christmas Shoebox Appeal: Several shoeboxes, bags of products or knitted hats have already been received – so please help raise a wall of boxes and bring your contribution (boxes or products) anytime now. Can I ask for everything to be in by 5th December please. Leave either at the church or if collection is required contact the office or telephone Trevor on 01162773280.
Anyone who wants a shoebox please let us know, anyone with a spare shoebox please bring and leave at church. Many thanks for the wonderful contributions from the four Parishes now involved.
Items for Sea Farers – Christmas Boxes
Face Flannels Tissues Toothpaste Notepaper Toothbrushes Envelopes Shampoo Pens Shower Gel Hats After Shave Woollen Mittens Shaving Gear Socks Nivea Chocolate* Moisturisers Nuts* Lip Salve Biscuits*
*All foods must have a long use by date
Please include a Christmas card from:
‘Friends at St. Pius X Church Narborough/ Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth’
Confessions: I will hear confessions from 9 until 9.30am on Saturdays at St. Pius X, Narborough; and from 4.30pm to 5.00pm on the first Saturday of the month at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth.
Time of Mass on Sunday at Narborough: Mass on Sunday at St. Pius X will start at 9.30am. Mass on Saturday and on Monday will remain at 10am. This has enabled me to speak to some people after Mass at St. Pius X in the Parish Hall, and still arrive in Lutterworth in time to start Mass approximately on time. I am very grateful to you all for your understanding about the need for an earlier time of Mass at St. Pius X, which I have found very beneficial for my ministry to those attending Mass in both Churches.
For the time being there will be no advance booking for Mass at St. Pius X. Stewards and welcomers will be at the door of the Church as before, and your name will be noted on the list, or else you will be asked to provide your name and a contact. You will also be asked to sanitize your hands on arrival. If this works well for the next few weeks, it will not be necessary to return to the prior booking arrangement, unless government advice changes again.
At St. Pius X, Narborough:
Times of Mass for next weekend:
- 10am Saturday 4th December;
- 30am Sunday 5th;
- 10am Monday 6th.
At Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth:
Mass will also be celebrated on Thursday morning at 10.30am. We are grateful to Father Maloney for agreeing to celebrate this Mass.
Times of Mass next Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday:
- 30pm on Saturday 4th December;
- 11am on Sunday 5th;
- 30am Tuesday 7th;
- 30am Thursday 9th December.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be Saturday (27th November) Yvonne Newton RIP; Sunday (28th) Christopher Doyle RIP; Monday (29th) Raphael Aspinall. Wednesday Deceased members of the Smith family; Thursday Deceased members of the McGrady family; Friday Douglas Murray RIP. Next weekend Saturday (4th December) Deceased members of the Baxter family; Sunday (5th) Joan Ayres RIP; Monday (6th) Deceased members of the Ginnerty family.
At Lutterworth the intentions for Mass will be Saturday (27th) 5.30pm Mary Garnett RIP; Sunday (28th) People of the Parishes; Tuesday (29th) Holy Souls. Next Saturday (4th) 5.30pm Holy Souls; Next Sunday (5th) People of the Parishes; Next Tuesday (7th) Holy Souls
Prayers for the living and the dead:
Please pray for Father Isidore Clarke OP, Brigid Davies, Vincent Roe, Joseph McGrady, Jacob Crawshaw, and for all who have died recently.
Please also pray for John Southern, Monica Teeling, Peggy Merrell, Jane Bolsover, Suzanne Foxon, Jim Oxley, Beulah Blomfield, Tom McDermott, Dave Knapper, Teresa Maugham, 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.
First Holy Communion: Those preparing to make their First Confession and First Holy Communion will meet on Saturday mornings at St. Pius X Parish Hall, and on Sunday mornings at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus Parish Hall. 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).
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. I have tried to contact all candidates to arrange for preparation to begin. If you asked to be included in the preparation for Confirmation and have not received an email from me, please let me know.
Social Activities: can resume. However, “It is strongly recommended that a risk assessment for both the activity and the space is completed for the gathering.”
Ratcliffe College Community Carol Service:
The President of Ratcliffe College, Father Philip Sainter IC, invites members of our parishes to their Christmas Carol Service on Sunday 12th December, beginning at 4pm. Refreshments afterwards int he College Refectory.
Lutterworth Parish Social Event All are invited to a Shared Table being held in our Parish Hall on 12th December 2021 after 11.00 am mass. Refreshments will be provided. Please see notice board in the Church at Lutterworth for further information.
The Universe Catholic Weekly is thrilled to announce that we have launched our new online newspaper with the full support of our first subscriber none other than His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols. If you are interested in subscribing, go to www.universecatholicweekly.co.uk or call us on 0743661 7650 and ask for Michelle. Special offer: Only £20 for 3 months.
Discover how Jesus is speaking to you in Scripture – On Tuesday 7th December at 7:30pm Sr Hyacinthe a Dominican Sister, catechist, tutor, writer and joy filled follower of Jesus will lead a workshop on Zoom introducing the 4 senses of Scripture. These skills are great ways to help us see how we can use and understand scripture more in our own lives and in catechesis too. Register for the talk by visiting www.dioceseofnottingham.uk/onlineevents
Encountering God in your daily work – For four Wednesdays, starting on 12th January at 7pm, the diocese will be running an online course looking at how we can encounter Jesus in our daily work and how it can help us to grow in holiness too. We spend more hours in a week at work than doing most other activities (including going to church) so lets make an experience of daily glory rather than a daily grind. For more information visit: www.dioceseofnottingham.uk/onlineevents
Next weekend is the Second Sunday of Advent.
Reminders from previous weeks:
Home Visits, including Holy Communion for housebound people: These are now permitted, but anyone visiting a housebound person (whether to administer Holy Communion or just a visit) should not visit anyone else during the same morning or afternoon. Visits should be short (in order to minimize the likelihood of passing on an infection) and hand sanitization must be used before and after the visit. If you would like a home visit, or know anyone who would like to be visited, please let Father John 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.
Recycling Textiles: At the moment the firm are no longer collecting in the Leicester area and has no plans to restart collections here. I hope to have better news soon.
**Important notice concerning car parking** Please park in the Church car parks whenever possible. If that is not possible, for whatever reason, please ensure that you are not causing an obstruction of the roadway or driveways to properties, and please remember that homeowners may wish to park outside their own homes. Please exercise Christian Charity when parking your car.
With my prayers for your wellbeing and salvation, Father John