Third Sunday of Advent 2020

Dear Friends in Christ                        

As we continue in our Advent Journey, the reopening of our Churches once again is a moment of great joy. In these unprecedented times to be denied access to the Sacraments has been one of the greatest challenges to the faithful people of God. But even more tragic is that despite reopening our churches once again on two occasions now, many people have not returned to the formal practice of faith. I perfectly understand that many people are fearful of this Pandemic, and there are many who isolate who are vulnerable; but at the same time people are going out shopping, and socialising in restaurants and coffee bars. All our churches follow the strictest of rules from the Government and Diocesan guidelines. I was informed recently that there are many who cannot even be bothered to join in the Weekly celebration anymore on Social Media. This really breaks my heart! Most priests these days feel completely helpless in what to do in trying to encourage the faithful to return to the practice of faith. There are always consequences to all our actions, no matter how great or small, whether we see them now or in the future; but Eternal Life is offered to everyone, and it doesn’t start when we take our last breath, it’s rooted in the here and now. As a priest of Jesus Christ I have always tried to do my best in leading people to Christ; but it is Jesus who does the inviting to share in his life, and hopefully in our positive response the transformation of our lives of faith becomes manifest.  Image result for third sunday of advent clipart black & white

This Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday – meaning Rejoice), is truly a wonderful opportunity for all of us to review our lives, and especially our preparation for that Birth of Jesus Christ into our lives again at Christmas. The Christmas celebration is not just an opportunity to make an annual token appearance at one of the Christmas Masses, it’s an invitation to renew and really make commitment to Jesus Christ, born for us as Saviour. Never before in our lives have we needed that Hope only he can bring, especially during these past nine months of Pandemic. Hopefully we have been able to recognise that it ultimately God who is in complete control!


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 ( 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 ( The details of the bank account are:

Sort Code: 40-13-22

Account Number: 11019651

Account Name: Catholic Church Loughton St Edmund

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PARISH GRAND DRAW 2020: This is our final week for purchasing Grand Draw Tickets. There are plenty of Books of Raffle Tickets available, and if you couldn’t obtain any last week, may I appeal to your generosity in taking some books of tickets today. The monies and counterfoils need to be returned as soon as possible, as the Grand Draw will take place after the 11.00am next Sunday 20th December. Purchase of tickets may also be done online, please follow directions below.  If there are any parishioners who would be able to offer Prizes, Money Prizes, Gifts both big & small, everything will be gratefully received. With the Christmas food items we have been able to make up several Hampers. Please drop off anything you may have to the Presbytery as soon as possible.  I want to thank the whole parish community for your incredible generosity; even during these difficult times, you have responded incredibly THANK YOU! The Winners of the Grand Draw Prizes will be published immediately on the Parish Website, through the Email distribution and on Face Book. Hopefully we will be able to contact all winners immediately to collect your prizes before Christmas.  I would like to personally thank Cribbs Funeral Directors for kindly donating our top prize a 43-inch Colour Smart Television.  Final Appeal for some Restaurant Vouchers please. 
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THANK YOU: To our Bazaar Committee members who have been making up the various Christmas Hampers this week. Obviously, if you still have Christmas food gifts to donate these are gratefully received.  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.   

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 AGAIN THIS WEEKEND 12th / 13th 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.


The traditional paper Grand Draw Tickets will be available again after every mass this 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 ( 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! 

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. We will commence at 9.30am. 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:

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.

OFFERTORY: 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 (
With continued thanks for your generosity.

God Bless You All     

Fr. John 

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.RCIA | Holy Spirit Parish

and necessary with this virus being so virulent. We have good health & safety procedures in place at church.  

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!

DIARY 2020 


Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, Brian Beveridge, Karl Britz, Jane Downs, Steve Dalgliesh, Pat Fenn,  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: Helen Kay RIP, and for all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescat in Pace.

OFFERTORY COLLECTION: 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!

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 (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

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!

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.    


Sat 12th                                                                               10.00amFlorence & Carmelo Gargano RIP (Frank Westcott)
Vigil Mass for Sunday: Church resumes regular Sunday Schedule
Sat 12th                6.00pmJames Macnaboe RIP (Bill & Helen Walsh)
Sun 13th    9.00am10.00amPeople of the ParishEdward & Rita Silwa RIP (Boddy Family)
Sun 13th                                                11:00amEugene & Ellen Carney RIP (Catherine Knight)
Mon 14th     10.00amFr. Patrick Hayward B’day Int’s (M Duffy)
Tues 15th                                                                      10.00amJohn H Harvey RIP (Fr. John)
Wed 16th                    10.00amAoife Hogan RIP (21st B’day), (Frank, Sue, Jack & Ryan)
Thurs 17th                  10.00amMichael & Breege Kerrane RIP (Mary)
Fri 18th                                                 10.00am 10.30amEileen Christie RIP (Monica Maycraft)Holy Hour Exposition of the Bl. Sacrament 
Sat 19th                                                 10.00amEdward Duffy RIP (M Duffy)
Vigil Mass for Sunday
Sat 19th                         6.00pmLilian & Scott Driess RIP (Boddy Family)
Sun 20th       9.00am10.00amPeter McQuade RIP (M Duffy)People of the Parish
Sun 20th                                                                 11:00amPietro & Luigia Tisi RIP & Odila & Albert Maton RIP (Diana & Ferdi Tisi)

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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