Dear Friends in Christ
A week in the life of this Pandemic can change everything! Because of the incredible surge in cases in London and the South East, including many parts of Essex, the Government have elevated our locality to Tier 3. Manifestly, many people have not been adhering to the guidelines and hence we have a spike in cases, and an increase of deaths once again. Obviously, this situation is very disturbing, but health and safety for one and all should be our top priority. Here at the Church we have continued to employ the strict Governmental and Diocesan guidelines: Social Distancing, Hand Sanitisation, Wearing Face Coverings, and Stewards to help parishioners, one-way system in the Church. In fact, I would have to say it’s probably safer coming to church than going to the supermarket or a restaurant. But we all must still be vigilant. In Tier 3 the status quo remains; daily and weekend masses will be celebrated at the Parish Church.
FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT: Focuses on the role of Our Blessed Lady in the whole of God’s plan of Salvation. In the beautiful Gospel of the Annunciation we see the encounter with God’s messenger, the Angel Gabriel. The very young girl Mary, whose life had always been oriented to God, has, in that moment of revelation the greatest request ever made of any human being, to become the Mother of the Sone of God. In her humility, and even realising the implications and consequences of saying yes, she gives her ‘Fiat’ her personal ‘Yes’ to God; thus, changing the whole course of human history. Mary becomes a model of faith, and a model of the Church, which is why Our Blessed Lady is held in the highest esteem and reverence. As we journey with Mary & Joseph to Bethlehem once again, in these last few days before Christmas, let us pray for that same faith that enables them to humbly respond to God’s holy will
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
PARISH GRAND DRAW 2020: On this final Sunday of our Holy Advent Season, I would like to take this opportunity of expressing my heartfelt thanks to the whole parish community during this very difficult year for your incredible support in replacing our Annual Parish Bazaar with a Parish Grand Draw. Your generosity and kindness have been incredible; words cannot express how proud I feel of this wonderful parish family. As you know, we are not a Parish that has many fund-raising activities throughout the year, and in this Year of Pandemic, everyone’s lives have been tested and challenged in so many ways. But the incredible thing is that you always come up trumps! (no pun intended).
I would like to thank all those parishioners who kindly donated prizes, and food stuffs to make up so many wonderful hampers, (I think we have nearly twenty hampers). To all those who donated bottles of wines and spirits, the hampers a laden with wonderful goodies. To Cribbs, our local Funeral Director who donated a 43-inch Smart Colour Television as our top prize, to the many parishioners who donated Money gifts. To our Bazaar Committee for working so hard in making up the various Hampers over the past couple of weeks. And last by now means least, you our parishioners who have been so admirable in your purchases of Draw Tickets. As a Parish during this Pandemic we have tried to the best of our ability to maintain some semblance of normality, as hard as that has been; and our coming together in response to this Grand Draw has been a wonderful effort on the part of the whole parish community. THANK YOU!
THE GRAND DRAW: will take place after the 11.00am Mass on Sunday Morning. Please let us have your Draw Tickets today! All the Prizes are being stored in the Parish Hall. I would encourage all parishioners to kindly collect their prizes before Christmas, especially Hampers, as these will add to your Christmas family celebrations at home. Please contact Fr. John for your prize. A List of prize-winners will be published on the Parish Website (names only).
ELECTRONIC GRAND DRAW TICKETS: You can also purchase the tickets electronically. You just need to email your request for tickets to Iain McLay (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 details of the Parish Bank Account are:
Sort Code: 40-13-22
Account Number: 11019651
Account Name: Catholic Church Loughton St Edmund
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.
RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: Our RCIA programme continues Thursday 7th January 2021 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: The Sacrament of Confirmation – Sacrament of Mission. 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.
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: www.facebook.com/EppingForestFoodbank/
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: 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
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.
DIOCESAN YEAR BOOK: Is now available for purchase from the Parish Repository. It cost £2.80. It really is worth investing in a Yearbook, as it gives all the latest details of parishes, priests’ addresses, statistics, general information about the Catholic Faith and the Church. PLEASE BUY ONE!
FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN: Our Annual Altar Servers Mass at 11.00am Saturday 26th December. Even though our servers have been unable to serve during this Pandemic, we will still celebrate together. I ask all of our Altar Servers to kindly wear their Albs and Medals and sit with your families. Some of our Senior Servers will receive their Silver Medals for serving here in the Parisih for the past ten years. Sincere Congratulations!
PLEASE PRAY FOR THE SEMINARIANS: At the Pontifical North American College. This will be the first year in 15 years we haven’t had the seminarians with us. Unfortunately, due to the Pandemic, they are unable to leave the Lazio Region for Christmas; no travelling abroad. They will have their Christmas celebrations at the College itself. Let us keep them in our prayers, especially being so far from home at this special time of the year
WELCOME HOME: To Frank Westcott, who has just completed his first term at St. Mary’s College, Oscott. We have five seminarians at Oscott; please keep them in your prayers as they prepare for the Priesthood for our Diocese of Brentwood.
POINSETTIAS: This is an appeal for some Poinsettias to help decorate the Church for Christmas. If you would like to donate a Poinsettia in remembrance of a deceased loved one, please leave it off at the Church as soon as possible. Please also leave the name of the person you would like to be remembered. The Poinsettias will help to decorate the Crib in the Church, and the Sanctuary area. With sincere and grateful thanks.
CHRISTMAS CRIB: 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. Both Cribs will remain until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 2nd February. Thank you!
PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE SICK IN OUR PARISH
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: For all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescat in Pace.
OFFERTORY COLLECTION: £532.64 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
|Sat 19th||10.00am||Edward Duffy RIP (M Duffy)|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday: Church resumes regular Sunday Schedule|
|Sat 19th||6.00pm||Lilian & Scottt Driess RIP (Boddy Family)|
|Sun 20th||9.00am||Peter McQuade RIP (M Duffy)|
|Sun 20th||10.00am||People of the Parish|
|Sun 20th||11:00am||Pietro & Luigia Tisi RIP & Odila & Albert Maton RIP (Diana & Ferdi Tisi)|
|Mon 21st||10.00am||P C Joseph RIP (Kumar Family)|
|Tues 22nd||10.00am||Mary Walstow’s Int’s (Pat & Margaret)|
|Wed 23rd||10.00am||John & Rosemary O’Rourke (Pat & Margaret)|
|Thurs 24th Christmas Eve||5.00pm||People of the Parish|
|Thurs 24th Christmas Eve||7.00pm||Taylor Family Int’s (Eileen Lee)|
|Thurs 24th Christmas Eve||8.30pm||Tony Dixon RIP & Nancy Dixon Int’s|
|Thurs 24th Christmas Eve||10.00pm||John & Mary Harvey RIP (Fr. John)|
|Fri 25th Christmas Day||8.00am||Kay & Harry Thein RIP (B Thein)|
|Fri 25th Christmas Day||9.00am||Doreen Wiltshire RIP (M Caffrey)|
|Fri 25th Christmas Day||10.00am||Karl & Margaret Britz RIP (K Britz)|
|Fri 25th Christmas Day||11.00am||Peter Smith RIP (Paul Falco)|
|Sat 26th St. Stephen||11.00am||Jean Moffatt Int’s (N Ironside & M Duffy)|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday|
|Sat 26th||6.00pm||Sr. Raphael’s Int’s (Maureen Perry|
|Sun 27th||9.00am||Karen, David & Neil Emslie RIP (M Duffy)|
|Sun 27th||10.00am||People of the Parish|
|Sun 27th||11:00am||Kitty Mulvaney RIP (Eileen Lee)|