Weekend message Nov 7
Where can wisdom be found? We hear so much conflicting advice about how the pandemic can best be managed; scientists advising the Government, other scientists disagreeing with them, the Prime Minister saying that the ‘lockdown’ will last four weeks, and immediately afterwards another Minister in the Government saying that it could last longer. Churches have been included in the ‘lockdown’, except for private prayer and funerals; yet it seems that there is no evidence that the virus has been spread by or through Church worship, and the potential for its spread would be the same between people praying together in Church privately or celebrating Mass together. Where can wisdom be found?
An election has taken place for the President of the United States of America, and the votes are still being counted as I write. This is a momentous occasion, which will greatly affect not only the people of that Union but the people of every nation. Whoever is declared the winner of this election will need a generous share of wisdom, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, to enable him to govern the country effectively for the common good and to be a force for peace and co-operation among all peoples everywhere. But where will such wisdom be found?
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom – as we read in the Old Testament. This ‘fear of the Lord’ is the recognition of the greatness of God in all God’s works, to experience wonder at the works of creation, to desire above all to safeguard God’s good works by working for justice, peace, and for the fellowship of peoples everywhere. The Book of Wisdom reminds us that if we seek wisdom of this sort – if we long for the opportunity to enjoy God’s wonderful works, or earnestly wish for justice and peace – then wisdom herself will come to us, will show herself to us, will invite us into her house, provide us with all the nourishment that we need for true wisdom.
One aspect of true wisdom is the acceptance of our own mortality. ‘Make us know the shortness of life, so that we may gain wisdom of heart’ as the Psalmist puts it. St. Paul urges the Thessalonians not to grieve about those who have died ‘like the other people who have no hope’, for we believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and that all who live in Christ will rise with Christ. St. Paul did not say that we should not be sad – of course we should, when a loved one dies – but that in our sadness we still proclaim the resurrection and look forward to eternal life. It is that horizon – eternal life – which provides us with the true wisdom in this world, the wisdom which is God’s gift to those who love him.
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.
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; Saturday (7th November) the welfare of Jamie, Stella, and family; Sunday (8th November) Felix McConville RIP; Monday (9th November) Father Terry Fellows RIP; Tuesday welfare of the family of Ela Measures; Wednesday welfare of the family of Marie Fryer; Thursday deceased members of the Smyth and Millar families; Friday Mass in time of pandemic, for the people of the Parishes. Next weekend Saturday (14th November) Winifred Foot RIP; Sunday (15th November) Dean McMillan RIP; Monday (16th November) welfare of Kim and Gerard.
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, 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:
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