Twenty-Sixth Sunday of the Year 2018

Dear Friends in Christ, 

Possessiveness and insularity are not attractive characteristics. They are uncharitable, inward-looking and ultimately selfish; they prevent us from seeing the good in others. Eventually they can corrupt and destroy. Yet unfortunately this kind of attribute is something we’re all too familiar with. It happens wherever human beings gather and our parishes and church organisations are not immune from it – in fact, sadly they can be worse!

receiveIn today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals and exposes the dangers of exclusivity even among his followers. The disciples have come across someone performing exorcisms in Jesus’ name. Because they don’t recognise him as one of their number, they seek to prevent him. Jesus’ response mirrors that of Moses when dealing with Eldad and Medad, two ‘unregistered’ prophets: in the face of the prejudice shown against the outsider, Jesus’ attitude is of tolerance and acceptance. ‘Do not forbid him…He that is not against us is for us’. The Spirit is not the preserve of any one person or group, but ‘blows where he wills’. God is free to act as, when, where and in whom he wills – he isn’t bound to act only through ‘official channels’.

We too must be open to receive from unexpected sources. The Church must be open to receive from those outside. We may be irritated by the disciples’ narrowness of outlook, but be should stop before we become too critical. How much of them do we recognise in ourselves? All they could see was that the man was an outsider, ‘not one of us’. He was not of their tribe, their family, their little group and of they were quick to write him off.

But how do we respond to outsiders in our society? How do we react to refugees, asylum seekers? What do we think of those whose faith is different from our own? How do we relate to members of other Churches or parishes or organisations? The disciples’ failure has deep roots which we all share: it’s a failure in faith, a failure to see and acknowledge the power and the freedom of God’s Spirit. The Spirit works wherever he wills. We need to look at how we welcome those on the outside. How eager are we to open ourselves to them?

Forming Intentional Disciples

26th Sunday of the Year

Dear Friends in Christ,

Over the past several weeks I have been speaking a lot about the ‘Stewards of the Gospel’ initiative, set up by our diocese three years ago. This is an ongoing programme of addressing the issues of our age in the Church, not only in our own diocese, but throughout the country. The declining numbers of the faithful practicing their faith now probably about 17% of the Catholic population; fewer priests and, those preparing for the priesthood; the secularisation of society in general; apathy & indifference. All the contributing factors that have made the church sit up and try to plan a way forward. This weekend you are going to hear about the ‘Forming Intentional Disciples’ Programme of Evangelisation. Don’t let the word ‘Evangelisation’ put you off – all it means is the Preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Three of our parishioners involved in the programme will address all the parishioners’ at our masses this weekend, inviting you to become a part of this ongoing initiative of ‘Intentional Discipleship’.

Forming Intentional Disciples – explores the five thresholds of postmodern conversion and how local parish leaders can guide others through the process. The five steps include: how to open a conversation about faith and belief, how to ask thought-provoking questions and establish an atmosphere of trust, when to tell the Great Story of Jesus, how to help someone respond to God’s call to intentional discipleship, and much more. In Forming Intentional Disciples, readers will learn of places where conversion is active, and where the presence of many intentional disciples is beginning to change everything: spiritual tone, energy level, attendance, almsgiving, and what parishioners ask of their leaders.  Because when life at the local parish level changes, the life of the whole Church changes with it.

The sub-title of Sherry Weddell’s book of ‘Forming Intentional Disciples’ is, the ‘Path to Knowing and following Jesus’. This is fundamentally at the heart of the Catholic Christian faith. Our lives as Catholics is always about Jesus Christ, and anything that can assist and help us to get close to the Lord Jesus can only be a good thing! This is our way forward in the Church. If we are truly sincere in our desire for Christ, then we will most definitely want to hear about this programme of Evangelisation.

I would like to invite at least one member from each family to attend the Meeting on Monday 8th October at 8.00pm in the Parish Hall. The meeting will last one hour. This initiative is going to affect the whole of the parish in the future. Please come along to the meeting! God bless you all

Fr John Sig

Forming Intentional Disciples: After all Masses this weekend there will be a chance to sign up for our exciting new programme which begins on Monday 8th October (8pm). Also, after the 11am Mass on Sunday 30th September (this weekend), there will be coffee, refreshments and a chance to socialise with fellow parishioners and find out more. Refreshments will be served in the parish hall immediately after Mass. 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:

firstcommunionThe next session will take place on Sunday 30th September at 10.00am in the Parish hall. The next Parents’ Meeting will take place on Wednesday 10th October at 8.00pm 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:

parishcouncilMonday 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!

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!

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC FAITH?

journeyIf so, please see Fr. John as soon as possible. It’s still not too late! Tel No: 020 8508 3492. The RCIA Programme will continue next Thursday at 8.00pm in the Parish Retreat. Session 4 – Restoration of Friendship with God.

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.

OCTOBER – THE MONTH OF THE HOLY ROSARY:

roasary.pngAs we enter into the month of the Rosary, I would like to encourage all of our parishioners to say at least a decade of the rosary every day. Parents’ I ask you to teach your children the rosary throughout this month. At the end of our Weekday Masses a decade of the Rosary will be prayed for the intentions of the parish. This beautiful devotion to Our Bless Lady was given to the Church by St. Dominic (AD 1214) back in the 11th century, and has certainly been the source of great faith in the Church for nearly nine hundred years.

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 priest 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.

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 in 2019. 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. 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.

ST. ALBAN’S CATHOLIC ACADAMY: in conjunction with other initial teacher training providers, are hosting  a “Train to Teach” event  for  Epping Forest and Harlow district.

We are seeking to encourage Catholic graduates into the wonderful vocation of teaching.  

Please join us at Harlow Study Centre, Netteswellbury Farm, Harlow CM18 6BW  October 13th 2018,   1pm – 6pm

You will find out everything you need to know about training to be a teacher

You’ll get the chance to:

• meet representatives from schools that deliver teacher training in Epping Forest and Harlow 

• speak to teaching experts to receive one-to-one advice on your training options 

• receive personalised advice on your UCAS application – and advice on your personal statement (please bring it with you)

• receive advice about funding

• attend presentations on primary and secondary teacher training 

This event will operate on a drop-in basis so you can arrive and leave at any time.

For further information, 

Please contact Anne-Marie Black

Email:  black@ourladyoffatimatrust.essex.sch.uk Phone:    01279 423499

PARISH GIFT AID:

giftaid“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 burden placed upon the parish, every penny really does count and even the smallest donations can make a big difference. I am contactable on 07799 475970 or mjm70@hotmail.com Thank you!” / Maria Mosquera.

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.

PARISH WEEKLY OFFERTORY: At present the Weekly income is not
meeting the weekly outgoing! 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!
September Outgoing: Monthly Diocesan Quota £2,200.00. Monthly Salaries
for Staff – £1,200.00. Roof Repairs – £1,020.00. Recent Organ Repairs and
Tuning £830.00. 2 Caskets of Altar Wine £384.40. Donation to St. John Fisher
School to help with Stationery, Office Supplies, etc. £3,000.00. Cleaning
Materials for Hall & Church £110.00. The annual Insurance will be in at the
end of the month costing approximately £2,500.00 A heavy layout this month!

ANNUAL PARISH BAZAAR COMMITTEE MEETING:

Tuesday 2’nd October at 8.00pm in the Parish Retreat. I woul’ 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 1 st 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.

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