Weekend message Sep 11
Ministry in the Church: On Monday and Tuesday I attended (by invitation) a meeting of Diocesan officials. The intention was (among other things) to review the ways that we were working, consider how we would be working in an ideal world (and if we were ideal people!), and think about the steps we would take to try to come closer to this ideal. All of us who attended the meeting are, in our different ways, attempting to serve the parishes of the diocese and all the members of the parishes – the parishioners, their families, and the priests and deacons who serve them. We hoped that, by our meeting together, we would begin to serve all the people more effectively, and everyone would benefit.
One of the officials asked a question about ‘the Ministry of Lector’. The Lector is whoever reads the Scripture readings at Mass or at other ceremonies (other than the Gospel, which is always read by the Deacon or the Priest). But, we were asked, surely anyone can read at Mass – there is no need for an official ‘ministry’ of Lector.
Those who are training to be priests go through a number of ‘stages’ in which they are given further responsibilities. The first of these is the Ministry of Lector; then Acolyte, then Deacon, and finally Priest. This is because these responsibilities are so important in the Church, for forming the People of God in Catholic faith and practice. Reading the Scriptures in Church is to proclaim the Word of God, in such a way that God speaks to the people and calls each and every one to follow God’s ways. The next responsibility is Acolyte, which involves care for the Blessed Sacrament and all the holy vessels, and includes responsibility for administering Holy Communion. Our own Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are trained for this purpose in our parishes (and carry out their responsibilities wonderfully). The next stage, Deacon, is the first Order in the Church, geared above all to charity, and carries with it the role of baptizing, taking funerals, sometimes preaching, and witnessing marriages, as well as (in charity) visiting those in need, for example in hospitals. Finally comes Ordination to the Priesthood, and the extra responsibility of celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, and anointing the sick.
Father Paul, who was also at the meeting, mentioned that before 1977 those training to be priests received two further ministries – and the first of these, called ‘Porter’ (or sometimes ‘doorkeeper’) was the Ministry of Hospitality, not merely opening the door but, more importantly, welcoming people who came through it into Church.
Of course all of us should exercise Christian charity to others, welcome people into our community, read the Scriptures ourselves so that we could read the Scripture passages properly in Church, be willing to receive Holy Communion reverently and do our bit to look after the Church and (if necessary) the sacred vessels. But because these activities are so important for forming the People of God, it is sometimes necessary for the Church to ask those who volunteer for any of these tasks to take on such responsibilities officially, and to receive appropriate training.
So those who are willing to read at Mass should be commissioned as ‘Readers’ (or, if you prefer, ‘Lectors’), just as those who are willing to distribute Holy Communion to people who are ill or housebound are commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Equally, the ministry of hospitality – whether welcoming people into Church, or making and serving tea and coffee after Mass in the Parish Hall – is an important part of the Church’s work, even if we don’t go so far as to commission ‘Porters’ (or perhaps we should!).
It should be possible to welcome altar servers again now. Certainly there is room for them at St. Pius X. There is less room at Our Lady of Victories, but if any altar servers wish to start we will certainly find a way. The altar servers have their own organization (St. Stephen’s) and when they have served long enough they make a commitment and are awarded a medal. Singing also has an important place in our worship, usually under the patronage of St. Cecilia. I wonder whether there is a patron saint of flower arrangers? The best suggestion appears to be the Irish Saint Fiacre, or, of course, St. Theresa of Lisieux. The patron saint of cleaners is St. Zita.
Refreshments After Mass: We intend to offer refreshments after Mass in both venues as soon as possible. In Narborough we started to do so last weekend, after 10am Mass on both Saturday and Sunday. Refreshments will be offered in the Parish Hall. I am very grateful to those who are willing to help by making the tea and coffee and serving it. In Lutterworth refreshments will be offered soon after Mass on Thursday morning and Sunday morning.
Time of Mass on Sunday at Narborough Since 1st August last year, when we were permitted to celebrate Mass together again, the time of Mass at St. Pius X Narborough on Sunday has been 10am, the same as on Saturday and Monday. Mass in Lutterworth is at 11 o’clock, and it takes half an hour to remove my vestments, drive to Lutterworth (just over ten miles), and vest for Mass there. Consequently, I am usually a few minutes late starting Mass. However, now that more people will be able to attend Mass in Narborough, the time for Mass will probably increase; and if we are able to start the children’s liturgy again, this will lengthen the time of Mass at Narborough even further.
I have been asking for your views on starting Mass in Narborough at 9.30am on Sunday. I am grateful to all of you who responded to my questionnaire over the last three weekends.
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.
This weekend is the Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
**Responding to changed government guidelines, we have now been able to bring more benches back into use at St. Pius X, as well as at Our Lady of Victories. St. Pius X now has a maximum capacity of 74**
Booking Arrangements for next weekend:
At St. Pius X, Narborough:
You may book by email: [email protected] or by phone: (0116) – 2863676
at the following times on the following days:
- between 7pm and 8pm on Monday 13th September;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday 14th;
- between 7pm and 8pm on Friday 17th.
Times of Mass next weekend:
- 10am Saturday 18th September;
- 10am Sunday 19th;
- 10am Monday 20th.
At Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth:
It is no longer necessary to book your place at Mass at Our Lady of Victories. However, all who attend Mass will be required to sign in on arrival, and to sanitize their hands.
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 18th September;
- 11am on Sunday 19th ;
- 10.30am Tuesday 21st;
- 10.30am Thursday 23rd.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be Saturday (11th September) Michael Hart RIP; Sunday (12th) People of the Parishes; Monday (13th) Kate Marriott RIP. Wednesday People of the Parishes; Thursday Graham Sasse RIP. Next weekend Saturday (18th September) Intentions of Maud Bright; Sunday (19th) John Nealon RIP; Monday (20th) Jay Mallett RIP.
At Lutterworth the intentions for Mass will be: Saturday (11th September) 5.30pm Mrs. Johnstone RIP; Sunday (12th) Holy Souls; Tuesday (14th) the Holy Souls. Next Saturday (18th September) 5.30pm People of the Parish; Next Sunday (19th) Holy Souls; Next Tuesday (21st) Mary Hadley RIP.
Prayers for the living and the dead:
Please pray for Jay Mallett, Betty Foster, and for all who have died recently.
Please also pray for Monica Teeling, Peggy Merrell, Jane Bolsover, Suzanne Foxon, Jim Oxley, Beulah Blomfield, Tom McDermott, Joseph Armeni, 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.
Banns of Marriage Please pray for Siobhan Mary O’Connell and Carl Waterfield who intend to marry in Cork, Ireland, on 25th September 2021. If anyone knows of any reason why they should not marry in the Catholic Church, please inform Father John or Deacon Kevin straight away.
First Holy Communion: We hope to begin preparation for First Confession and First Holy Communion in September. 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). Please let me have any names and contact details so that a group can be organized.
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. Because of the continued restrictions, preparation for Confirmation will be delayed until the autumn.
Discernment Evenings for young people considering their future role in the Catholic Church, at the Vocations Centre, the Old Friary, 247 Gordon Road, Nottingham NG3 2LG, will be held each month starting 7pm Thursday 24th September.
Christus Vincit Following Pope Francis’ exhortation to young people, young people aged between 18 and 35 are invited to meet together. The first meeting will be start at 6.30pm on 7th October at St. Barnabas Cathedral, Derby Road, Nottingham, NG1 5AE; it is hoped that other groups can be set up elsewhere in the Diocese.
Social Activities: these can resume. However, “It is strongly recommended that a risk assessment for both the activity and the space is completed for the gathering.”
This Weekend: will be Home Mission Sunday and a second collection will be taken for the support of the work of the missionary work of the Church in our own country.
Looking Ahead: Looking back over the past 18 months, and emerging (we hope and pray) from the pandemic:
I have listened to advice from parishioners and others about how we may move forward as Catholic communities after these difficult times. To start with, I propose the following events:
Forgiveness and Reconciliation:
I intend to celebrate a service of reconciliation, in which we are all encouraged to reflect on God’s enduring offer of forgiveness, recognize the guilt we all feel for what we have done or failed to do – and for what we wish we could have done but were prevented from doing by circumstances, and lovingly receive and accept the forgiveness of God. This will take place at 4.30pm on Saturday 18th September at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth. I will also celebrate such a service of forgiveness and reconciliation at St. Pius X, Narborough, when a time and date can be arranged.
Confessions: I intend to hear confessions from 9 until 9.30am on Saturdays at St. Pius X, Narborough, starting Saturday 4th September; and from 4.45pm to 5.15pm on the first Saturday of the month at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth starting 2nd October.
We are invited to pray in thanksgiving for the harvest during the weekend of 25th and 26th September. In the current circumstances I think we should generalize to thanksgiving for all God’s gifts to us, and for all the graces we have received during this time of pandemic.
Remembering those who have died:
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 in the autumn.
Next weekend will be the Twenty-Fifth Sunday of the Year (Ordinary Time).
Reminders from previous weeks:
Planned Giving Envelopes (Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth): The new boxes of envelopes started in April If you require your box, please ring June (01455 – 553730) or Ashley (01455 – 553493) or email Father John.
Planned Giving Envelopes (St. Pius X, Narborough): The new boxes of envelopes started in April. They are available from the sacristy in Church, or email Father John.
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