St. Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More
Dear Friends in Christ
As we have reached over a hundred & ten thousand deaths from the Coronavirus in the UK since the beginning of the Pandemic; in spite of over ten million vaccinations, there are still people who are very sick in the Covid Wards in our hospitals on ventilators fighting for thieir livies. Our hearts go out to families who have lost their loved ones thtrough this terrible disease, and to those who are vigilent with sick ones still in hospital. The scientific experts have informed us that thingss are slowly beginning to improve, but sadly, there will continue to be deaths until the whole country in vaccinated. Obviously, this is an unknown quantity for the whole world; and the fact that scientists all over the world have managed to formulate several vaccines in such a short space or time is a marvel in itself.
I have spoken to a lot of people over the past several weeks, and there are many who have found the past 12 months an absolute nightmare. Many are suffering from anxiety and depression. Being locked down on three separate occasions has certainly taken its toll on many. Some people handle things better than others. Obviously, families have found it difficult juggling their work from home, and child care and on line education. Many feel inadequate to be teachers as well as trying to hold down their employment from a back bedroom in the house. The stresses and strains it puts on the human spirit are enormous. Ultimately, the preservation of life is one of the strongest and innate human responses in times of trial and threat to life. Certainly, our faith can help us; at times, we never really know why God allows things to happpen in our world, and perhaps some have questioned this during the Pandemic, but to keep faith is a sign of strength and trust, even in the darkets moments.
I have spent a lot of time speaking with families of deceased loved ones of late; but if there is anyone at all who just needs to talk privately and confidentially, just call me. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I have a good listening ear. Tel No: 020 8508 34492. Fr. John
Dear Friends in Christ: Fifth Sunday of the Year,B
At the house of Simon Peter, which was literally a stone’s throw from the Synagogue in Capernaum. We are introduced to his mother in law who is sick with a fever. We know very little about Peter’s family other than his brother Andrew. Having preached in the Synagogue and cast out a demon, now Jesus assists and restores her to full health. Jesus didn’t want to be seen as some kind of magician or wonder worker. Something much more profound was to be understood in Jesus’ activities. The point of his miracles is pastoral and messianic. In other words, salvation has come to all in the person of Jesus Christ, extending far beyond physical cure, encompassing the entire person, body, soul and spirit.
The world today in so many ways is still gripped with fever and sickness. We are caught in the grips of a devastating pandemic. Today many are plagued too with the fever of intolerance and hatred, injustice and war, slavery and addiction in so many forms. No less than at the time of Jesus, the world today needs the powerful cure which only Christ can give, freedom from what is not of God. The goal is to belong completely to God’s Kingdom and to share in the eternal life being offered to all people, rich and poor, young and old alike.
ASH WEDNESDAY: 17th February, marks the beginning of Lent. There will be three Holy Masses with the distribution of Ashes. 10.00am, 12.15pm & 8.00pm. Due to the Pandemic the distribution of Ashes will be very different this year. We will be using the Italian custom. The Ashes will be blessed with the sprinkling of holy water – the words “remember you are dust and to dust you shall return”, will be addressed to the people.
May God Bless You All,
CONFIRMATION PROGRAMME 2021: Our second session in the Confrimation Programme will be streamed Via ZOOM on Wednesday 10th February. We are using the Sycamore Programme, and it’s imperative that you attend each session. THE THEME THIS WEEK – THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
If anyone missed the first session, could you kindly catch up with the matrial. A few practical notes; you will be notified of the meeting by Mark Anthony the day before our meeting. Whichever email you submitted to Fr. John & Mark Anthony should be maintained throughout the programme, because your email addresses have been fed into the programme so we can break you up into your groups. If you intend using another e.mail you must let us know immediately. At each session of the programme you will be registered present. If you are unable to be present at a particular session through sickness please get a parent to contact Fr. John directly. I would once again encourage parents of our candidates to be present at the sessions. It shows how we conduct the programme, but will also be a great support to your son or daughter. In our Catechists Meeting after the session it was discussed that all Candidates should kindly make themselves visibly present, and not just have a blank image only with your name. And kindly refrain from using your phone for texting during the session. We only have a little over an hour for each session, and have to cover a lot of material.
This is truly a wonderful time in a young person’s life. It’s when you personally make a decision about your ongoing life of faith. Basically, it’s about becoming a young mature adult. The decisions that we make in our lives will always affect the future for all of us. The decision to be Confirmed in Faith is no exception to that rule. It affects the decision to marry in the future; to become a committed Catholic Christian; to assume our rightful place within the life of faith and the Church.
We ask of all our candidates for total commitment to the programme. None of this will make any sense whatsoever if you’re not genuinely committed. In addition, if you are able to attend Holy Mass, (and we have three on the weekend), please kindly do so. I notice many are already attending, but some I haven’t seen for the past year. Our presence at Holy Mass is not only our personal witness to Christ and our faith, but also affords us the grace that we need to become a real strong young Catholics in the Church today. As the Late Pope St. John Paul II, said on his pastoral Visit to the UK back in 1982 of our young people: “In the Church of today, you are the hope of tomorrow.”
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the Sacrament of Mission. Think of the first Apostles, who at Pentecost received the gift of the Holy Spirit, empowering them to, ‘Go out into the whole world and procalaim the Good News.’ The Catechism tells us that we become a Soldier of Christ at Confirmation.
All Candidates have now received a Copy of the Programme with dates and times etc. Please ensure that you start to check in about 7.20pm for each session, so that we can start on time at 7.30pm. Hopefully this will help to avoid and technical hitches
All Zoom sessions will be attended by at least two adults – Mark Anthony and Fr John. Where break-out rooms are used, each of these will be attended by an adult catechist and these will be monitored by Mark Anthony and Fr John. For all sessions, the following guidelines must be followed:
• No 1:1s, groups only
• Catechists and children must wear suitable clothing, as should anyone else in the household.
• Any computers used should be in appropriate areas, for example, not in bedrooms; and the background should be blurred, if possible.
• All Zoom sessions will be set up with a password, to reduce the chance of hacking.
• Language must be professional and appropriate, including any family members in the background.
• The catechists will record, the length, time, date and attendance of any sessions held.
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/
CRIB COLLECTION: Each year is for the Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society. They do incredible work up and down the Diocese with thousands of children and their families. As you can appreciate most of the Aid Agencies over the past twelve months have been unable to fund-raise due to the Pandemic, so this annual Crib Collection is extremely important. For those who Gift Aid, there should be a Special Envelope in your boxes for Crib Collection on 2nd February. If you wish to use the online Banking System to make a Crib Offering just use the Heading Crib BCCS. You are extremely generous every year, could I make this extra special appeal this year under these difficult circumstances. My thanks to Iain McLay & Martin Laffey for the beautiful Crib outside the church. It was visited by many people passing by, which is a great witness to the faith and the Christmas Story.
REQUIESCANT IN PACE: There have been several deaths in the Parish
Margaret White RIP Forest Park Crematorium 8th February at 12.00pm
Michael Barrass RIP Requiem Mass Monday 15th February at 12.30pm
Mary Walstow RIP Requiem Mass Tuesday 16th February at 12.15pm
Kathleen Whitty RIP Funeral Service Thursday 18th February at 12.15pm
David Faud RIP Funeral arrangements to be made
I commend all the deceased to your prayers, and please remember their families at this great time of loss. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Amen
RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: Our RCIA programme continues Thursday 11th February 2021 at 8.00pm which will be a Zoom meeting. Theme: Mary – Mother of God – Mother of the Church. Please pray for our enquirer. 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.
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
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PROGRAMME 2021: There has been little response this year to applicants for the First Holy Communion Programme. I have spoken at length to Kathryn Poulter who runs the programme; and in light of the Coronavirus restrictions at this present time, it is going to be almost impossible to run any kind of meaningful interactive programme for the children. We considered the prepration for the Sacraments of Reconciliation & the Holy Eucharist far too important to run a programme with no engagment from the children. Therefore, we will postpone the Programme this year until we know when it is safe to gather again as a community. I know this may sound very disappointing; but your Health & Safety are our first priority at this very difficult time. Please pray for all the families of our Parish. Thank you. Fr. John.
HOLY SEASON OF LENT: I know we are barely out of the Christmas Season, but each of the Liturgical Seasons of the Year help to prepare us for the great events in the Life of Our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ. Sadly, last year, we locked down during Lent & Easter. Hopefully, we will be able to remain open this year. Manifestly, we will have to be attentive to Governmental Guildelines. Ash Wednesday is on 17th February. I would presume that this lockdown will continue to be in place. But there will be various different ways that each one of us can enter the Lenten Season. Please continue to refere to the Parish newsletter and I will give you a whole programme for Lent 2021. With thanks, Fr John.
5 SPIRITUAL WAYS TO STAY ACTIVE DURING LOCKDOWN:
a) Let there be a spiritual structure to your day: Morning & Evening Prayers on your own or with your family are important. Personal prayer is our lifeline with God.
b) Reading a chapter of the Bible each day from the Old or New Testament’s keeps you in touch with the Word of God.
c) Spiritual Reading – There are many spiritual Books in our Library at the back of the Church
d) Pray the Rosary or learn to pray the rosary – This is a really beautiful prayer and it really does help to focus our prayer life.
e) Attend an additional mass each week. Holy Mass is the most important spiritual thing we do as Catholics – It unites us with Christ and one another.
SACRAMENTS CELEBRATED DURING ALERT LEVEL 5 RESTRICTIONS: In accordance with Government & Diocesan Guidelines, we are allowed to celebrate Funerals with 30 people present, strictly observing social distancing. 12 people are allowed to be present at a wedding. Baptisms are allowed to take place in the context of a Sunday Mass setting. These are really difficult times, and many couples were disappointed last year not being able to celebrate their marriages. We are hoping with the advent of the vaccine, that things will change dramatically this year. If there are any couples who are thinking about getting married, please notify the parish immediately. Thank you. Obviously until restrictions are lifted all of the above applies for the foreseeable future.
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, Geraldine Taylor, Vera Taylor, Mary Witten, James Wright. And all our loved ones.
ANNIVERSARIES: Jim Kavanagh RIP and for all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescant 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!
MASS INTENTIONS – FEBRUARY 2021
|Sat 6th||10.00am||Margaret Tucker RIP ((Maree Kavanagh)|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday:|
|Sat 6th||6.00pm||People of the Parish|
|Sun 7th||9.00am||Jacqueline Dodd RIP (S & J Campbell)|
|Sun 7th||11:00am||Dorothy Walker RIP (Marjorie Fairlamb)|
|Mon 8th||10.00am||Mary Walstow RIP (Noreen Smith)|
|Tues 9th||10.00am||Dorothy Joan Goodman (Haydee Ylaya)|
|Wed 10th||10.00am||Maureen Barker RIP (Mark Barker)|
|Thurs 11th||10.00am||Peter Smith RIP (Paul Falco)|
|Fri 12th||10.00am||Sarah McQuade RIP (Margaret Duffy)|
|Sat 13th||10.00am||Dean Staggs RIP (Mark Anthony)|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday|
|Sat 13th||6.00pm||Mary Walstow RIP ((The Pover Family)|
|Sun 14th||9.00am||John Molloy RIP (John & Sue Campbell)|
|Sun 14th||11:00am||Mel O’Reilly RIP (Maureen O’Reilly)|
SUNDAY MASS AT 10.00am: I introduced the additional 10.00am Sunday Mass some months ago to accommodate the numbers attending, and to assist with the social distancing. There are so few attending now that I have decided to revert back to our 9am & 11am masses only, where there are still plenty of spaces. If, after the lockdown (March 8th), the numbers increase again, I will reintroduce it. Thank you!