Weekend message Nov 6
November: Month of Special Prayer for those who have died: Why do we pray for the dead? We might immediately say “Because it is a holy and pious thought to pray for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sins” (2 Macc 12:45)
We understand that such prayer must be good for us: it reminds us both that we are sinners and that we are only in this world for a time. But what effect can our prayer have for those who have died? God knows their lives on earth, and our prayers cannot change that.
But we can and do implore God’s mercy – both for ourselves and for others. We remember how often Our Lord urged his disciples to forgive one another – not just seven times, but seventy times seven times – and that God will forgive us if we will forgive one another. So we implore the merciful and forgiving God to be merciful to our departed brothers and sisters and forgive them all their sins; and in doing so we remind ourselves to be forgiving in our turn, and to be merciful to our brothers and sisters still in this world.
But where does that leave God’s law, which we know we break on so many occasions? How can it be good for God to treat our wrong actions with mercy and forgiveness? If God’s law can be broken, and then the transgressors forgiven, does that not call God’s goodness and the goodness of God’s law into question?
Undoubtedly Our Lord himself did not only call on us to forgive one another, but also gave to the Church the power to forgive sins. “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you”. Then he breathed on them and said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20: 21-23)
It follows that there is no weakening of God’s law: sins are still ‘retained’, and the Church has an important role in publishing the fact that wrongdoing is still wrong, opposing the ways of the world, and insisting on the existence of a moral law that binds everybody.
In calling us to repentance, God still calls us to understand that we are sinners, and to recognize the harm we have done. There is no weakening of his law for those who repent. But at the same time he forgives, makes good, restores us to friendship with him, friendship which our sins forfeited.
But while sins are retained, for those who come before the Lord they are forgiven. Not only that, but Our Lord has given to the Church the power to confer God’s forgiveness. “If you forgive the sins…they are forgiven”. This means that the prayer of the Church for forgiveness is authoritative.
The authority of the Church in prayer comes from Our Lord himself, since the Church is the body of the Risen Lord, the great High Priest “who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God…For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with us in our weakness, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” (Heb 4: 14-16)
As one of us, Our Lord knows all our problems, even though he did not give in to temptation as we so often do; and as God he forgives. Wherever the Church is in the world, there we have Christ himself, and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and every grace. When Our Lord forgives, he does so through the Church; and when the Church forgives, it forgives with the power of Christ.
So let us pray with boldness and with certainty that our prayer will be heard, on behalf of our brothers and sisters who have died, that they may be forgiven their sins, and enjoy the blessedness for which we long.
Preparing for the Synod: in our Parishes:
Pope Francis wants all of us to be involved in preparing for the Synod. As a first stage in this preparation, Bishop Patrick asks us all to consider three questions:
- What is my dream for the Church, and in particular for this parish, so that it can become more outward-looking, more missionary?
- To achieve this dream, what do we need to stop doing?
- What do we need to do differently or to develop further?
We are encouraged to attend parish meetings to discuss these questions, before 8th November. Other questions will be proposed for our discussion at meetings later in November and early December, and again in January. Since late autumn and early winter are not the best times for asking people to come out to attend meetings (particularly in these covid-and flu affected times) 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 13th and Sunday 14th November the parish hall in each parish 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.
If anyone has any better ideas – and in particular ideas for other meetings to discuss these questions – please let me know by email (email@example.com).
This weekend is the Thirty-Second Sunday of the Year
Seafarers’ Christmas Shoebox Appeal:
Every year the Mission at Immingham pack shoe boxes full of items the seafarers will need and appreciate. We take the presents to the ships where we are met by many smiling faces, who are so happy to know someone is thinking of them. Most companies who own these ships don’t provide anything for them, so knowing someone out there cares is so important. We need your help to make a difference to someone’s Christmas. If you can provide any items on the provided list, please bring them to Church. Thank you for your continued support and for helping improve the lives of seafarers.
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 (but cannot do so on Saturday 6th November) 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 (usually – last Sunday the flood in the hall caused a hold-up!). I am grateful to you all for your understanding about the need for an earlier time of Mass at St. Pius X.
For the next few weeks 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 13th November;
- 9.30am Sunday 14th;
- 10am Monday 15th.
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:
- 5.30pm on Saturday 13th November;
- 11am on Sunday 14th;
- 10.30am Tuesday16th; ;
- 10.30am Thursday 18th.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be Saturday (6th November) Philomena Johnson RIP; Sunday (7th) Jacob Crawshaw RIP; Monday (8th) Judy Allanway RIP. Wednesday The Holy Souls; Thursday Jerry O’Connor RIP; Friday Theresa & Brian Foster RIP. Next weekend Saturday (13th November) Michael Teeling; Sunday (14th) David Smith RIP; Monday (15th) Mr D & Mrs B Martin RIP.
At Lutterworth the intentions for Mass will be: Saturday (6th November) 5.30pm Francis D’Mello RIP; Sunday (7th) People of the Parishes; Tuesday (9th ) Holy Souls. Next Saturday (13th) 5.30pm The Holy Souls; Next Sunday (14th) People of the Parishes; Next Tuesday (16th ) Holy Souls.
Prayers for the living and the dead:
Please pray for Joseph McGrady, Jacob Crawshaw, Father Hugh Doherty, Father Patrick O’Docherty, 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.
Remembering those who have died:
‘Dead List’ envelopes will be available at St. Pius X for you to write down the names of those who have died, who will be remembered in prayer throughout November, the month of special prayer for those who have died. If you wish Mass to be said for them, please enclose an offering for the Mass. At Our Lady of Victories, please do the same – though we do not have bespoke envelopes there.
During the month of November, it would be appropriate to celebrate Mass for those who have died in our communities, and from among our families, friends, and neighbours, during the past two years, whether directly due to the pandemic or not, and also to pray for all those who have died directly or indirectly from the coronavirus. Dates for these celebrations need to be arranged later.
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.”
St. Pius X Parish Bazaar: This will be held at the Parish Hall at St. Pius X Narborough this Saturday 6th November, from 11am until 2pm (approx.) Many of the stalls will remain until after Mass on Sunday.
Next weekend is the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time
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