Dear Friends in Christ
As we opened our Church this week once again after the lockdown, it is truly wonderful to be able to gather again as a Community of Faith. I have had so many comments from parishioners over many weeks, how much they have missed coming together to celebrate faith through the Holy Eucharist. Nothing whatsoever can take the place of being present at the celebration of Holy Mass, and to receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion. I truly believe that now, more than any other time; we really need our faith and Jesus Christ to be the centre of our lives.
We have embarked on our Advent Journey; and as we lite the second candle, which represent faith, often known as the ‘Bethlehem Candle’, it is a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The Faith that Our Blessed Lady & St Joseph had in God’s providence and making provision for them for the birth of Jesus is undoubted. Each one of us should pray for that same faith during this Holy Season. Once again, think about the different ways you can prepare for the Birth of Jesus into your lives again this Christmas. Some examples of things we can do in preparation: Be faithful to daily prayer; read St. Luke’s or St Mathew’s Infancy Narratives at the beginning of each of the Gospels; have some spiritual reading available; attend an additional Mass or two during the week; try to celebrate the Sacrament of Confession; donate to the Food Bank; Keep in touch with elderly relatives and neighbours; try to perform an act of charity every day; be charitable and kind to one another; and many more things you can do.
ATTENDING WEEKEND MASSES: As we are in Tier 2 in our locality, we must continue to follow the Governmental and Diocesan guidelines about Social Distancing, wearing Face Coverings, Hand Sanitisation. I once again thank all our parishioners who have kindly volunteered to act as Stewards at all our Masses and with the sensitisation of the church after each mass. After all masses this weekend Iain McLay will be present with his clipboard, asking for additional volunteers for the Christmas Masses. If you could assist with this, we would be most grateful. Thanking you in anticipation!
ADVANCED NOTICE FOR CHRISTMAS MASSES
PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS: Due to Governmental guidelines on social distancing, at present we are only able to accommodate 125 persons maximum at each mass. Chrstimas tends to be a time of year when more people make a visit to Church. In a bid to cope with numbers, I will add some additional masses. There will be no children’s mass this year; and I would ask all parishioerns to seriously think about masses they attend. Please don’t all turn up for the first mass, because we will have to turn away parishioerns once we have reached our capacity of 125.
Christmas Eve Masses: 5.00pm, 7.00pm, 8.30pm & 10.00pm
Christmas Day Masses: 8.00am, 9.00am, 10.00am & 11.00am
For our older parishioners, those in poor health and for families, it may be useful to have some certainty about the seating at these Christmas services. Therefore, there will be some seats at each service that can be booked in advance. To do that you must send an email to Iain McLay (email@example.com) stating which mass and for how many people. Your request must be made by Sunday 20th December and will be confirmed by email.
ELECTRONIC CHRISTMAS OFFERING: This year, as always, envelopes will be available for us to make our Christmas Offering, which, as you know, is an opportunity in every Catholic Church for parishioners to make a Christmas gift to their Parish Priest. This year our Christmas Offering can also be made electronically. We just need to transfer the money to the parish account with the reference ‘Xmas offering’. Any questions please ask Iain McLay (firstname.lastname@example.org). The details of the bank account are:
Sort Code: 40-13-22
Account Number: 11019651
Account Name: Catholic Church Loughton St Edmund
SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION FOR CONFIRMATION & HOLY COMMUNION 2021: If there are young people 14 years upwards who desire to enrol for Sacrament of Confirmation, could you personally write to Fr. John by 31st December. For those Year 3 children whose parents wish them to prepare for the Sacrament of Holy Communion please contact Fr. John also by the 31st December. Probably, both programmes will have to be conducted via Zoom. PS: Please note that candidates for both sacraments should be attending weekly Mass. The Church opened last July, and this past week for Public Masses. If you are not practicing your faith please don’t waste our time! Sacramental Preparation is a very serious act of faith and makes no sense whatsoever if you’re not attending Holy Mass.
GRAND CHRISTMAS DRAW 2020
As we have just come out of our second ‘lockdown’, this is our first weekend together once again. It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate Holy Mass with the Community of Faith. As you know there is No Annual Parish Bazaar this year. But we have been organising a Parish GRAND DRAW. I would like to thank most sincerely all those who have donated gifts and items for the Draw. We still need some larger Prizes: Money Prizes, Colour Television, I Pad, Kindle, X Box, Crate of Wine, Restaurant Vouchers, Various Hampers (large & small), Large Bottle of Champagne, Large Bottle of Whiskey/Brandy, Health Spa Treatment, Theatre Vouchers, Set of Crystal Glasses, Men’s / Ladies Watches, M & S Gift Cards. If you can donate a Prize please contact Fr. John. Tel No: 020 8508 3492
CHRISTMAS HAMPERS: Regarding the request for Christmas good items and sweets for Hampers, I’m grateful to one and all for your donations. But please still continue to donate: Bottles of wine, Bottles of Prosecco, boxes of biscuits, Shortbread, Boxes of mince pies, Jars of jam & marmalade, Jars of pickles, Jars of coffee, Tea, Christmas Puddings, Christmas Cakes, Boxes of Chocolates & Sweets, Candy Canes, Selection Boxes, Chocolate Oranges, Bags of Crisps, Popcorn Crackers for Cheese, Box of Dates, Turkish Delight, Christmas Nuts (Walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazilnuts). Etc. This week we are going to start to make up some of the Christmas Hampers. There are boxes to receive your gifts and items in the Porch of the Church, Fr. John’s Garage, & at the Presbytery Front Door. Thanking you in anticipation.
GRAND CHRISTMAS DRAW TICKETS: No matter how big or small gift items are everything will be used this year. GRAND DRAW TICKETS WILL GO OUT THIS WEEKEND 5TH/6TH DECEMBER, please take as many as you can. We have also worked out a Scheme for donating Online (see below). The Draw will take place on Sunday 19th December after the 11.00am Mass. PERHAPS WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE SPENT AT A BAZAAAR YOU COULD SPEND ON GRAND DRAW TICKETS. This is our only annual Fund-raiser.
ELECTRONIC GRAND DRAW TICKETS:
The traditional paper Grand Draw Tickets will be available after every mass this weekend 5th/6th and next weekend 12th/13th December. The Grand Draw will take place on Sunday 19th December after the 11.00am Mass. This year, because of the Covid-19 crisis, you can also purchase the tickets electronically. You just need to email your request for tickets to Iain McLay (email@example.com) and transfer the money to the parish account with the reference including the term ‘Raffle Tix’. We will then put the equivalent number of tickets, with your name on, into the live draw. The tickets are in books of 5, £5 for a book. The details of the Parish Bank Account are:
Sort Code: 40-13-22
Account Number: 11019651
Account Name: Catholic Church Loughton St Edmund
Thanking you all so much for your ongoing generosity!
PARISH REPOSITORY: Because the Church has been on lockdown over the past month, we have already entered into the Holy Advent Season. I would like to draw your attention to all the wonderful new Christmas stock that we have in our Parish Repository. There are a variety of Religious Christmas Cards, Candles, Bambino figurines, a large number of Cribs; Advent Colanders (even though we are in December I would still invest in a Religious Advent Calendar for your children). There are Christmas Mass Cards; and a variety of other religious cards for all occasions. There are Children’s Religious Christmas Books, (lovely gifts for the stocking). There are beautiful statues of Our Blessed Lady; Rosaries, medals, prayer cards. Please take some time to have a look at all the wonderful stock before or after Mass on the weekend. The Church is also open between 10.30am – 11.30am daily; there is a money box available for the proceeds of your purchase. This is emptied daily.
WEEKLY OFFERTORY OF THANKSGIVING TO GOD: My sincere thanks to those who are making their weekly contribution of Gift Aid envelopes and through the banking system that has been set up through the Diocese whereby your Offertory can be paid directly into the Parish Account, details below:
Or you can use Parish Bank Account: Using Online Banking
HSBC Sort Code 40-13-22
Account Number: 11019651
Please put your name as reference and your Gift Aid number if you have one. If you can set it up as a regular payment this would be excellent and save a lot of time in the future. If you don’t have GIFT AID this is a good time to start, you can do this by e-mailing Maria Mosquera (firstname.lastname@example.org).
With continued thanks for your generosity.
God Bless You All Fr. John
ST. JOHN FISHER CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL: (School Applications for September 2021) will not be offering any on-site tours to view our school this year. Instead we have prepared a virtual tour. Please visit our school website on www.st-johnfisher.essex.sch.uk (our admissions page is under the Statutory Info section). The virtual tour will give parents the opportunity to see what the school is like.
Admissions open on the Essex website on 9th November 2020, and the closing date is 15th January 2021. We ask parents to complete a supplementary form, also obtainable from the admissions page, (especially if they wish to be considered under criteria 2 or 3 of the admissions policy) and can be returned directly to the school. If you need further information, please contact Mrs McGrenra on email@example.com.
CHRISTMAS CRIB: When you come to Holy Mass this weekend you will notice that we have built a brand new Crib outside the Church. I would like to thank Teresa Wallace for nurturing the idea; and Iain McLay & Martin Laffey for spending many hours kindly building the new Crib. Next weekend 12th/13th December we will unveil the Crib to give the parish and the local community the opportunity to see the beautiful Nativity scene. I truly believe this year we need to have visible signs of the true meaning of Christmas in our lives. Parents please bring you children to the Crib; explain to them the significance of a Crib. If you have a Crib in your homes, please put it in a prominent place, where the whole family can see it. You can do something special with the children over these next weeks, by introducing new figures into the Crib every few days. This will help the children really understand the true meaning of Christmas, and of course on Christmas Day putting the Baby Jesus into the manger.
CATHOLIC CHIDLREN’S SOCIETY: CRIB COLLECTION Each year all the Crib offerings go to the CCS. This year especially when fund-raising has been at a minimum. Please be generous in your giving. Thank you!
RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: Our RCIA programme continues on Thursday 3rd December at 8.00pm unfortunately, due to the latest Government guidelines we cannot meet together in the Presbytery; therefore, there will be a Zoom meeting. Theme: Eucharist 2 – The need to worship God in Christs and through the Holy Spirit. Please pray for our enquirers. This programme is a systematic study of all aspects of the Roman Catholic Faith, with the view of the enquirer deciding to receive the Easter Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation & the Holy Eucharist.
and necessary with this virus being so virulent. We have good health & safety procedures in place at church.
DIOCESAN YEAR BOOK: Is now available for purchase from the Parish Repository. It cost £2.80. It really is worth investing in a Year Book, as it gives all the latest details of parishes, priests’ addresses, statistics, general information about the Catholic Faith and the Church. PLEASE BUY ONE!
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.
KEEPING OUR CHURCH CLEAN DURING THE PANDEMIC: In compliance with Governmental & Diocesan guidelines, our church is sanitised after every Mass. I’m truly grateful to our Stewards who are helping with this process each week.
CAN YOU HELP? This is an appeal to any parishioner, who would be willing to give half an hour or so for the Grand Christmas Clean on Tuesday 22nd December at 12Noon. Please contact Sharon Fitzmaurice if you’re able to help. Thanking you in anticipation.
EPPING FOREST FOODBANK DONATIONS: Thank you to all parishioners who continue to generously donate items for the Foodbank during these difficult times. The Foodbank are truly grateful for the generosity our parish has shown throughout the pandemic and our donations are still needed desperately as more and more people in our community are finding it hard to make ends meet. Basic staple items are always welcome including the unbranded supermarket basic ranges which can make your generous donations go even further. Currently they are in urgent need of the following items: tinned fruit, tinned ham, tinned carrots, sponge puddings, chocolate bars, Nutella, toilet rolls (2 or 4 pack), washing up liquid, laundry tablets/powder and shower gel. Thank you! You can also keep up to date with
the Foodbank via their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EppingForestFoodbank/
PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE SICK IN OUR PARISH
Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, Brian Beveridge, Karl Britz, Jane Downs, Steve Dalgliesh, James Geller, Veronica Godsave, Bernadette Hall, Ann Hawkes, Claire Howes, Pamela Houghton, Shaun Keel, Angela Long, Lilian Mothersole, Sheila Murphy, John McKernan, Rosemary O’Rourke, Kathleen Pomeroy, Barbara Pope, Geraldine Taylor, Vera Taylor, Mary Walstow, Mary Witten, James Wright. And all our loved ones.
ANNIVERSARIES: Nancy Burgess RIP, and for all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescat in Pace.
OFFERTORY COLLECTION: NO OFFERTORY. With continued thanks for your Weekly Offering. If you would like to join the Gift Aid Scheme, there are application forms in the Church Porch or ask Fr. John for a form. If you forget your envelope, there are spares in the Porch. Thank you!
MASS INTENTIONS – DECEMBER 2020
MASS WILL BE TRANSMITTED DAILY THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
|Sat 5th||10.00am||Andrew & Catherine Tucker RIP (Mills Family)|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday: Church resumes regular Sunday Schedule|
|Sat 5th||6.00pm||Sapper Raymond Marchant RIP (Pat Marchant)|
|Sun 6th||9.00am10.00am||People of the ParishMargaret McLaughlin RIP Peter & Christine Burrowes)|
|Sun 6th||11:00am||Peter Smith RIP ((Paul Falco)|
|Mon 7th||10.00am||Thomas & Mary Lamb RIP (M Duffy)|
|Tues 9th||10.00am||Bernard Gilley RIP (Veronica & Steve Short)|
|Wed 10th||10.00am||Eileen & George Whatmore RIP, Jose & John Leonard RIP (M Duffy)|
|Thurs 11th||10.00am||Ann Hawkes B’day Ints. (Pat, Margaret & Remy)|
|Fri 12th||10.00am 10.30am||Peter Smith RIP (Paul Falco)Holy Hour Exposition of the Bl. Sacrament|
|Sat 13th||10.00am||Florence & Carmelo Gargano RIP (Frank Westcott)|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday|
|Sat 13th||6.00pm||James Macnaboe RIP (Bill & Helen Walsh)|
|Sun 14th||9.00am10.00am||People of the ParishEdward & Rita Silwa RIP (Boddy Family)|
|Sun 14th||11:00am||Eugene & Ellen Carney RIP (Catherine Knight)|
Please consult the Newsletter for Christmas Masses