Dear Friends in Christ
We have just celebrated the Birth of the Lord into our lives once again this Christmas. An unprecedented year for all of us worldwide. The decisions to limit our access to family and loved ones over this Christmas period has been truly painful for many. Over the past week I have been contacted by so many parishioners who have contracted Covid-19, the stress an anxiety they felt was palpable, especially for their families this Christmas. People are confused and sometimes very angry at all the restrictions being imposed. But ultimately at the end of the day, Health & Safety of everyone is the main concern. Ensuring that we can provide safe homes, safe churches and safe environments for one and all. Manifestly, it is going to take some months before a vaccine can be distributed to the whole Nation, and in the meantime, we must do the best we can to remain responsible in our conduct and daily living. Jesus, Hope for Humanity was born for each one of us! That reality has never changed!
FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY: Today is the feast day of the Holy Family, but also every family’s feast day, since the Holy Family is the patron and model of all Christian families. Today should be a huge family feast, since it is devoted entirely to the Holy Family as a model for the Christian family life. As Rev. Edward Sutfin states: “The children must learn to see in their father the foster-father St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother as the perfect model for their own mother. The lesson to be learned is both practical and theoretical, in that the children must learn how to obey and to love their parents in thought, word and action, just as Christ was obedient to Mary and Joseph. Helping mother in the kitchen and in the housework and helping father in his odd jobs about the home thus take on a new significance by being performed in a Christ-like spirit.”
May I wish all our families of this Parish of St. Edmund of Canterbury a wonderful Feast Day. May the Holy Family of Nazareth inspire you always! All families will receive a general Special Blessing at the end of each Mass today!
My Dear Friends,
I would like to take this public opportunity of thanking the whole parish community for your ongoing support of our parish, not just this Christmas, but during the whole of this Pandemic since last March. We have all been challenged and tested to the limits. The first lockdown for fourteen weeks & then for another four weeks in November, certainly has taken its toll on the spirit of all people. It was very hard celebrating Holy Mass every day in an empty Church. Now we are in the situation of varients in the virus, which has perpetuated the spread of the virus, especially in London & the South East. Obviously, health & safety have always been at the top of the list of priorities. As a parish community we have endeavoured to ensure the safety of all of our parishioners. I would like to single out one parsihioner Iain McLay, who has been truly wonderful in everyhting that he has done over the past nine months in assisting myself and the whole parish community to ensure the smooth running of our parish daily & weekend celebrations of the Holy Eucharist. His enthusiasm, and commitment in ensuring that we have complied with all the requirements necessary has been of great benefit to the whole community. Thank you Iain.
Grateful thanks to all the Stewards who have been so faithful in their service to the parish Community, during the weekeday hour of private prayer, and at all the weekend masses, with the cleansing of the church after each service. Without your help we would have had to suspend masses. Also thanks to the new Stewards who volunteered for the additional masses over Chrsitmas.
Thank you to the ladies who decorated the Church for Christmas, as you have seen they did a wonderful job, unders difficult circumstances. The fact that we have been able to carry on doing the things we are accustomed to doing prior to the Pandemic, is a great tribute to one and all. My hearfelt thanks to all parishieorns who dontated Poinsettias in remembrance of deceased loved ones to decorate the Church for Christmas, there was an incredible response.
On a personal note note I would like to thank all of those who have sent Christmas greetings cards and gifts. I truly appreciate you thoughfulness and geneoristy. Also for your Christmas Offertory during these difficult times. I wish you and all your loved ones the ongoing beautify of this Chrsitmas Season, and a Very Happy, Healthy & Blessed New Year for 2021.
Wish Love & the Season’s Blessings
THANKING THE WHOLE PARISH COMMUNITY: I was completely overwhelmed by the incredible response from the whole parish community to the GRAND DRAW that we organised in place of our Annual Parish Bazaar. You truly embraced the spirit of the Draw by your generosity in not only supplying gifts and items for the Draw, but also in the sale of Draw Tickets over the past few weeks. During these difficult times, and it is a real tribute to the whole community in working together for the ongoing support of the parish. My grateful thanks to our Bazaar Committee for the innovation of making up Christmas Hampers as prizes; we had 45 different Christmas hampers and 12 larger prizes. I don’t have a final figure, but I believe we have raised approximately £4,000.00, which is truly wonderful! Congratulations to the whole parish community.
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 (email@example.com). The details of the bank account are:
Sort Code: 40-13-22
Account Number: 11019651
Account Name: Catholic Church Loughton St Edmund
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/
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!
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
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 opened 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 Parish for the past ten years. Sincere Congratulations!
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.
THE YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH
The 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as patron of the universal church was celebrated on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception this month.
In honour of that anniversary, Pope Francis declared this liturgical year to be dedicated to St. Joseph through his apostolic letter Patris Corde (“With a Father’s Heart”).
What a gift to the universal Catholic Church to have a year dedicated to the fatherhood of St. Joseph!
In Pope Francis’ apostolic letter, he expounds upon the qualities of St. Joseph’s fatherhood and how his fatherhood was an icon of God, the Father’s heart for us, his children. During this Advent season and during this Year of St. Joseph, may our hearts be led to reflect upon the Father through the fatherhood of St. Joseph.
St. Joseph is a beloved father. St. Joseph placed himself at the service of his vocation as husband and father. “He turned his human vocation to domestic love into a superhuman oblation of himself, his heart and all his abilities, a loved placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home” (PC, 1).
St. Joseph is a tender and loving father. Through St. Joseph’s fatherhood, Jesus saw the tender love of God. Joseph taught him how to walk and offered him his loving embrace when he fell. Joseph teaches us to tenderly look upon our falls, weaknesses, and poverties. “The evil one makes us see and condemn our frailty, whereas the Spirit brings it to light with tender love. Tenderness is the best way to touch the frailty within us” (PC, 2).
St. Joseph is an obedient father. In every message from the Father, St. Joseph did what was asked of him. “In every situation, Joseph declared his own ‘fiat’, like those of Mary at the Annunciation and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane” (PC, 3).
St. Joseph is an accepting father. Joseph trusted in the angel’s words to him and lovingly accepted Jesus as his own son. He provided a protective home for Mary and Jesus and accepted his call to be a husband to Mary and a father to the Son of God, even when he believed himself unworthy to do so. “Joseph’s attitude encourages us to accept and welcome others as they are, without exception, and to show special concern for the weak, for God chooses what is weak” (PC, 4).
St. Joseph is a creatively courageous father. God entrusted the Holy Family to Joseph and worked through his creative courage to guide and protect the Holy Family. “Arriving in Bethlehem and finding no lodging where Mary could give birth, Joseph took a stable and, best he could, turned it into a welcoming home for the Son of God come into the world” (PC, 5).
St. Joseph is a working father. Work is a means of participating in the work of salvation. Joseph’s work as a carpenter provided a means for the Holy Family to thrive and to remain hidden in Bethlehem. Joseph taught this work to Jesus. “St. Joseph’s work reminds us that God himself, in becoming man, did not disdain work” (PC, 6).
St. Joseph is a father in the shadows. St. Joseph’s fatherhood was a hidden fatherhood that he had to learn how to live. “Fathers are not born but made. A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child. Whenever a man accepts responsibility for the life of another, in some way he becomes a father to that person” (PC, 7).
At the conclusion of the apostolic letter, Pope Francis echoes the words of Pope St. John Paul II’s teaching on the spousal meaning of the body – when a man or a woman makes a fruitful gift of self, they fulfil the very meaning of their being and existence – when he writes of St. Joseph’s giving the gift of self to Mary and Jesus. “Joseph found happiness not in mere self-sacrifice but in self-gift… Every true vocation is born of the gift of oneself, which is a fruit of mature sacrifice” (PC, 7).
During this year of St. Joseph, may he guide your heart to live a life of fruitful self-giving!
St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church,
Pray for us.
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: Peggy McGillycuddy RIP, Helen Munro RIP and for all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescat in Pace.
MASS INTENTIONS – DECEMBER 2020 – JANUARY 2021
|Sat 26th St. Stephen||10.00am||Jean Moffatt Int’s (N Ironside & M Duffy)|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday: Church resumes regular Sunday Schedule|
|Sat 26th||6.00pm||Sr. Raphael’s Int’s (Maureen Perry)|
|Sun 27th Holy Family||9.00am10.00am||Karen, David & Neil Emslie Int’s (M Duffy)People of the Parish|
|Sun 27th Holy Family||11:00am||Kitty Mulvaney RIP (Eileen Lee)|
|Mon 28th||10.00am||Sarah & Peter McQuade RIP (M Duffy)|
|Tues 29th||10.00am||Margaret Whelen RIP (Nancy Hands)|
|Wed 30th||10.00am||Frances & Sam Murray & Family Int’s (Margaret Duffy)|
|Thurs 31st||10.00am||Joan Bright RIP (Private Donor)|
|Fri 1st Jan New Year’s Day||11.00am||Dec’d relatives of those who donated Poinsettias for Christmas. Requiescant in Pace|
|Sat 2nd||11.00am||Vera Watt RIP (Pat & Margaret)|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday|
|Sat 2nd||6.00pm||Rosemary Mahoney RIP (Bill & Helen Walsh)|
|Sun 3rd||9.00am10.00am||Christine Slisz RIP Stefan & Jacqui Slisz)People of the Parish|
|Sun 3rd||11:00am||Nell Hayes Int’s (Maureen Perry)|
PLEASE BOOK ANNIVERSARY MASSES IN ADVANCE. THANK YOU