Dear Friends in Christ,
The disciples were a quarrelsome bunch! Remarkably, against the backdrop of Jesus predicting his forthcoming death, it is clear that the disciples have their minds focused on more pressing matters – namely, their position in the kingdom of heaven (exhausting, isn’t it), which they perceived as earthly or worldly in some way. And so they argue about their position in the kingdom.
In response, Jesus takes a child, we shouldn’t sentimentalise his action: the child is not much a symbol of innocence and humility as someone without legal status and therefore helpless – in first century Palestine the child has no rights. Jesus invites his disciples to embrace this kind of selflessness and powerlessness. When he puts his arms around the child, it is a gesture of total identification with the powerless. The child can do nothing for the disciple, and so to receive a child is to do a good act for an insignificant person, without hope of earthly reward. The Aramaic word probably used here, talya, can mean both ‘servant’ and ‘child’. The last of all, the servant, the child, is the greatest.
The idea was as radical in Jesus’ time as it is today. Jesus is making a profound statement on greatness, and it’s a clear rejection of the way the world organises itself. In today’s world ‘big’ is often seen as beautiful. We can see it in the world around us. Supermarkets drive out small shop owners: multinationals swallow up local businesses. The corporate machine is king – small organisations are easy pickings, to be swallowed up and spat out as back are slapped in board meetings. Sadly, this kind of corporate attitude can permeate the Church as some Catholic charities and indeed some dioceses are multi-million pound organisations with huge assets and millions in reserve (a financial fact not always appreciated by their generous donors).
In this culture it’s easy for people to get the message that they are failures, that they are worthless. In fact, throughout history power and domination have been the goal of human ambition; the disciples’ argument is a demonstration of that! But according to Jesus’ criteria the least, the servants, the children are the greatest. Those with power need to look anew at their own attitudes. And those without power can learn to value themselves more, for they are of great value in God’s sight.
Dear Friends in Christ,
In conjunction with the ‘Stewards of the Gospel’ initiative taken up by our Diocese of Brentwood three years ago, and now, going forward with the ‘Forming Intentional Disciples’ Programme, St. Edmund’s is embarking upon one of the most challenges ventures in the history of the parish. In a time of great change within the Church and throughout the world – a time of secularism, materialism, individualism, indifference & great apathy, – the Church is challenging all Catholic Christians to nail their colours to the mast. We have to stand up and be counted! The strength of a community is in her faith in Jesus Christ. As the Gospel stated last Sunday “Who do you say I am?” As Roman Catholics we should endeavour to know as much about Jesus Christ as possible. Reading the Scriptures, especially the Gospels; personal prayer; attending weekly Mass & other devotions; really having a desire to know and understand the faith; understanding the Church’s teachings on moral issues. Making a daily commitment to Jesus Christ! In an age that’s pointing us in all sorts of different directions, having the courage of faith and the strength of commitment is the challenge that’s being presented to every Catholic Christian today! If we can echo the word of St. Peter and say: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”, we’re not far from the kingdom!
I commend to every parent in our congregation the challenge and task of inviting your lapsed children back to the practice of their faith. To all our parishioners, if you know of any lapsed Catholics in your locality, please take them a Parish Newsletter on a weekly basis; this is a simple gesture, and, if you know these people well, please invite them to accompany you to mass once again. The door is open to everyone! The Lord told the Parable of the lost sheep, how the shepherd leaves the 99 and goes searching for the lost one, and rejoices when he’s found it! There is more rejoicing in heaven over one lost soul, than anything else!
PARISH RENEWAL: Is about commitment to Jesus Christ. As we belong to a parish family, we each have a Christian responsibility to one another. In a bid to become engaged and ‘Intentional Disciples’ I would like to invite at least one member from each family to attend the important programme to commence on October 8th at 8.00pm in the Parish Hall.
May God Bless You All,
BAPTISMS IN THE PARISH: If you have a child due for Baptism please let me know as soon as possible. To avoid any disappointment with dates contact the Presbytery to book your date. If you are first-time parents, you need to contact Sharon Chalk, who will organise a Baptismal Preparation of two sessions, and then I will come and visit you in your homes. Please don’t forget to collect your Baptismal Information Form.
MARRIAGES: Fr. John needs at least six months’ notice for marriages, and nine months if you’re getting married abroad. Marriage preparation needs to be completed well in advance of the wedding.
PARISH WEEKLY OFFERTORY: At present the Weekly income is not meeting the weekly outgoing! The recent notice in the Newsletter does not appear to have made any difference to the Weekly Offertory. Please do consider your weekly offering to God and the Church, if you’re in a position to increase it, this would be gratefully received. Also during the summer holidays there is always a noticeable drop in the offertory; please try to keep your Weekly Offertory Envelopes up to date. As you all know utilities are set to rise over the summer. If it wasn’t for the Gift Aid returned tax, we would certainly be running at a deficit! We are currently looking at the budget to see where we can save on our funds!
ANNUAL PARISH BAZAAR COMMITTEE MEETING: Tuesday 2nd October at 8.00pm in the Parish Retreat. I would like to invite all those who are interested in helping with our Annual Parish Bazaar to this important meeting. This is a planning meeting for the Bazaar which will take place on Saturday 1st December 2018 at St. Edmund’s Parish Hall 11.00am – 3.00pm.
If any parishioners’ have gifts and items for the Bazaar they can be dropped off at the Church Porch or the Presbytery. Obviously, we need everything; Bottles of Wines & Spirits; Toiletries; Cuddly Toys; Children’s Toys; Fancy Goods; we need GRAND DRAW prizes and Prizes for Fr John’s Stall. You are a wonderfully generous community, and I trust your generosity will be matched again this year. With very grateful thanks & gratitude!
IN CASES OF EMERGENCY: Tuesday is usually Fr. John’s Day Off. In cases of emergency please call one of the local parishes, either in Epping – Tel: 01992 572516, or the St. Thomas of Canterbury Friary at Woodford Green – Tel: 020 8504 1688. This would also apply if Fr. John is away for a few days break or on Retreat. All the local funeral directors have a contact number for Fr. John if a funeral needs to be arranged in his absence.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC FAITH?
If so, please see Fr. John as soon as possible. It’s still not too late! Tel No: 020 8508 3492. Our next session takes place on Thursday 27th September at 8.00pm in the Parish Retreat. Theme – Sin and it effects – Original Sin
NOTE TO EVERYONE IN THE CONTEMPORARY MUSIC GROUP: Our next practice takes place on Monday, 1st October (6.30pm musicians / 7pm singers) to go over the hymns and music for the 11am Mass on Sunday, 7th October. We know it’s difficult for some of you to come to our Monday practices, but please do make every effort to come on the 1st October, even if it’s for a short time. We’d particularly like to practice the two new hymns we spoke about after our last Mass, so if you can all be there it would make the practice really worthwhile! New singers who may like to join us would be made very welcome and of course all our singers are also welcome to sing every week with Susan and our Parish choir.
‘CERTITIFCATE OF CATHOLIC PRACTICE’ DEFINITION: Means a certificate by the family’s parish priest (or the priest in charge of the Church where the family attend Mass) in the form laid down by the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales. It will be issued if the preist is satisfied that at least one Catholic parent or carer (along with the child, if he or she is seven years or over) have (except when it was impossible to do so) attended Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation for at least 5 years (or, in the case of a child, since the age of seven, if shorter). It will be issued when the practice has been continuous since being received into the Church if that occurred less than five years ago. It is expected that most Certificates will be issued on the basis of attendance. A Certificate may also be issued by the priest when attendance is interrupted by exceptional circumstance which excuse from the obligation to attend on that occasion or occasions. A strict interpretation will be used by all priests.
PARISH REPOSITORY: There are a variety of gift items and religious goods in our Parish repository: Statues, rosaries, children’s books, medals, Mass Cards, etc. Please do make use of the repository as it’s often quite difficult to get religious items elsewhere. October is the month of the Holy Rosary; there are a variety of rosaries on sale, also little instructions on how say the rosary. These would be invaluable during this month! Christmas Cards will also be on sale next month.
SCHOOL ADMISSIONS FOR SEPTEMBER 2019
Once again it is that time of year when parents of Year 6 children are looking at schools for their children to begin their secondary Education 2016. Please remember that if you are preparing to make an application to either Trinity Catholic High School or Davenant Foundation School, there are very strict Admissions Criteria. Trinity requires a Certificate of Catholic Practice (CCP) & Davenant a Supplementary Information Form (SIF) which has to be signed by your priest, stating that you are a practicing Roman Catholic (which means weekly practice of your faith by participating in the Eucharistic Celebration at Mass). This year you have to make your personal application to Essex County on line These applications have to be lodged by 31st October 2018
My Pastoral recommendation is that you do not complete the County Form making your choices, until you have attended the various Open Evenings. As Roman Catholics we do have a moral obligation to support our Catholic Education system, but all choices are respected!
The Open Evening for prospective year 7 pupils for Trinity Catholic High School will take place on Wednesday 3rd October there are two visits 4.00pm and 5.30pm in the Lower Site (Sydney Road. Dr. Paul Doherty OBE, (Head teacher). Will give presentations at both talks. CCP Forms can be obtained directly from Fr. John at the Presbytery.
The Open Evening for the Davenant Foundation School will take place on Thursday 4th October 2018. The school will open between 6.00pm – 9.00pm. There will be two presentations by the Head at 6.30pm & 7.30pm. SIF form to be obtained either from the website or directly from the school.
I will not be meeting with parents until the week commencing Monday 8th October – concluding Friday 12th October; by this time School visits should be completed. You will need completed CCP & SIF forms, plus a copy of your child’s Baptismal Certificate.
If you would like to book an appointment with Fr. John please contact him the week commencing 1st October 2018. If there are any problems or queries please contact all the respective schools directly. Thank you!
TRINITY CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL: “An Open Evening for prospective entrants to Trinity Catholic High School (Science & Sports College) will be held on Wednesday 3rd October 2018 at the Lower Site, Sydney Road, Woodford Green, Essex IG8 0TB. Parents are invited to look around the School, at their convenience in accordance with the following timetable: the School will be organising two opportunities for parents to visit at 4pm and 5.30pm. Both visits will commence with an address from Dr P C Doherty OBE (Headmaster) and will be followed by organised tours of the School. This is to allow parents to select the most convenient time for their attendance. We anticipate that there will be a high level of interest, and It would also be helpful if families could limit their attendance to parents and the child for whom they will be applying. If you have any special needs in relation to attendance, please contact the School in advance so that arrangements can be made on 020 8504 8946”. The closing date for applications is 31st October 2018. Please note that applicants will need to complete a common application form which will be provided by their own Local Authority. This application will then need to be returned to the applicants own Local Authority. For applicants wishing to submit a Certificate of Catholic Practice, this Diocesan document can be obtained through your parish priest, on the Diocesan website or the priest who will be signing your form.”
DAVENANT: Open evening for prospective candidates will take place on Thursday 4th October between 6.30pm & 7.30pm.
PARISH GIFT AID:
“Dear fellow parishioners, I have taken over running the Parish Gift Aid Scheme following Brian Carter’s retirement after 40 years’ service – wow! I’m writing to introduce myself and to let you know that I’m available for any enquiries relating to the Gift Aid Scheme. In a nutshell, the scheme increases the value of offertory donations made by basic rate tax payers by 25p per £1 donated, i.e. a £2 donation would become £2.50. All I need from you is 30 seconds to complete a form with your name and address and I will provide you with envelopes which you’ll then use to submit your donations in the usual way during weekly mass. It’s really as simple as that! Gift Aid Forms are available in the porch of the church in a green box on one of the hymn trolleys. Please, please do consider joining the scheme. With the ever increasing financial burdon placed upon the parish, every penny really does count and even the smallest donatios can make a big difference. I am contactable on 07799 475970 or email@example.com Thank you!” / Maria Mosquera.
FORMING INTENTIONAL DISCIPLES (FID) PROGRAMME
This autumn our parish is launching an exciting new programme based on Sherry Weddell’s book, ‘Forming Intentional Disciples’. In the light of the ongoing Brentwood Diocese ‘Stewards of the Gospel’ process, this is the most significant and challenging period for our parish in a generation. Mass attendances, priest numbers and vocations have been falling and, very soon, we will receive details of Diocesan plans to change and re-structure parishes, including Loughton, for the future. At the same time, Pope Francis has exhorted Catholics to go out and spread the joy of the Gospel!
So that our parish is ready to respond to these challenges and thrives as a welcoming and loving community that spreads the Good News, we shall be focusing on the Forming Intentional Disciples (FID) approach. This has been used fruitfully both in the USA and in other places, including the Diocese of Plymouth and parishes within our own Diocese of Brentwood.
We aim that at least one member of each family/household in our parish will take part. Please do all you can to come along and encourage friends and family members to be involved too?
The programme costs nothing and takes only an hour or so a week but you will need to buy a copy of Sherry Weddell’s book, ‘Forming Intentional Disciples’. You will hear more at our weekend Masses on September 29 and 30 and there will be a chance for you to sign up and get a copy of the book then.
The Introductory Meeting takes place in our parish hall on Monday 8th October. Please put in your diaries. The other sessions take place on Mondays too: October 15 and 29, November 5, 12, 19 and 26.
Volunteers! We would appreciate help with the programme. This might include helping with refreshments, setting up the hall or helping to facilitate discussions (no special training or expertise needed). Please speak to Fr John, or one of our Stewards Maureen Perry or Mark Poulter, if interested.
Forming Intentional Disciples Presentation Evening: Evangelisation and Discipleship Monday October 8 (8pm) St Edmund’s Parish Hall
Pope Francis tells us that when the church tells us to evangelise, she is simply pointing to the source of authentic personal fulfilment. For, ‘here we discover a profound law of reality: that life is attained and matures in the measure it is offered up in order to give life to others. This is certainly what mission means’. (Evangelii Gaudium)
Come and hear about an exciting new programme that is being launched in our parish, learn about discipleship and the joy of evangelization. ALL WELCOME!
WHAT DOES EVANGELISATION MEAN? Zealous proclamation of the Gospel in order to bring others to Christ and his Church. In the words of Pope Paul VI, “Evangelizing means to bring the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new, ‘Now I am making the whole of creation new’ (Revelation 21:5). But there is no new humanity if there are not first of all new persons renewed by baptism, and by lives lived according to the Gospel” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 18). Evangelization, therefore, includes three distinctive elements: 1. interior conversion to Christ and his Church; 2. affecting not only the individual person but the whole culture; and 3. as a result, changing this culture and its institutions to make them Christian and Catholic. (Etym. Latin evangelium; from Greek euangelion, good news, reward for bringing good news, from euangelos, bringing good news: eu-, good, + angelos, messenger.)
The ‘New Evangelisation’ initiated by Pope St. John Paul II & Pope Benedict XVI recognise the Church’s mission to proclaim Jesus Christ in the Twenty-First Century, and the various challenges involved in that process.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PROGRAMME 2018/2019:
Our parents met last Wednesday and, the children’s first session will take place on Sunday 16th September at 10.00am in the Parish hall; this will be followed by the children being presented formally by their parents as candidates for the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist at the 11.00am Mass. Please keep all the children and the families in your prayers as they prepare for the Sacramental Programme. The next Parents’ Meeting will take place on Wednesday 10th October 2018.
PARISH COUNCIL MEETING:
Monday 1st October at 8.00pm in the Parish Retreat. The Parish Council is a made up of various parishioners who represent the whole community. Each member has volunteered their time and commitment for a three year period. As we are about to embark upon this new evangelisation programme of Forming Intentional Disciples, it’s important that all of our Parish Council are up to speed on everything that will be taking place over the next months. Would all the various committees and organisations please kindly submit their reports Sunday 23rd September 2018. Thank you!