Dear Friends in Christ First Sunday of Lent 2021
The Latest Statistics with regards the Covid situation in our country appear quite promising, but as the Prime Minister has stated, ‘we must proceed with caution’; the last thing we want to do is to come out too quickly from the lockdown, and within a few weeks find ourselves in a worse situation once again. Unfortunately, at times the way things are reported through the media, we are often presented with the worst case scenario, hence conspiracy theories about the vaccine, and the injection of microchips into the recipients, or altering our DNA. This peddling of misinformation undermines the incredible work that our scientists have done over the past year in producing a vaccine so quickly. You may have seen the recent TV promotion of the vaccine and the positive nature of its effects on the whole of our society dispelling these myths and conspiracy theories. This week I spoke to two scientists, one of whom works with Covid 19; they spoke about the effective nature of the first jab given to nearly 17 million people now; three weeks after the jab it should give up to 85% to 90% protection from the virus. Obviously, there are variants emerging all the time, and the scientific laboritoiries are working around the clock to address these variants. This should give us a great deal of hope for the future, and the returning to some semblance of normality by the end of the year.
The incredible safety guidelines that we have employed here at St. Edmund’s has certinaly been very effective during this Pandemic. The track & trace system hasn’t flagged up a single person over the past several months. This is thanks to our wonderful Stewards and helpers who have kept the Church spotlessly clean after each Mass and Service. I re-iterate once again the health and safety measures we have in place are there to protect each person who comes through the doors of the Church. Could I make a special appeal to the whole parish community; if you haven’t been coming to Church to seriously consider returning to the practice of faith. With the R level dropping rapiidly, many people are resuming their other daily tasks, such as Grocery Shopping etc. We are here for you!
Dear Friends in Christ: First Sunday of Lent,Year B
On this First Sunday of Lent we are presented with Our Lord’s temptations in the wilderness. Jesus has just been baptized by John, and now the spirit drives him out into the desert for 40 days and nights. He doesn’t succumb to the temptations of the devil; this test prepares him for the beginning of his Public Ministry where he will proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God and the repentance from sins. This Lenten Season takes up this important message, which still has as much relevance today as it did when Lord shared it so long ago.
How we personally enter this Holy Lenten Season is up to each one of us. The greatest tragedy would be to allow these weeks to pass by and not truly enter into the spirit of this Penitential Season. Even during this Pandemic we can practice the various disciplines of Lent. Personal Prayer: Morning and evening prayers; praying the Rosary; praying the Stations of the Cross; praying the scriptures; attending an additional Mass during the week; attending Holy Hour with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Fasting: is very personal to each individual. Some may decide to give up some food or alcohol luxury throughout Lent. But this sacrifice one day a week is a good way of associating ourselves with Our Lord during Lent; He gave up everything for us, including his life. Works of Charity: For example next Friday 26th February is CAFOD Lenten Fast Day – whatever we save we donate to Cafod. Works of charity are many and various:- keeping and eye on elderly relatives and neighbors, especially during lockdown; doing shopping for people unable to get out; helping our parents at home; providing items for the Foodbank weekly. Even during this Pandemic – we can enter into the spirit of this Lenten Season.
Please try to attend our Weekend Masses: Saturday Vigil Mass at 6.00pm. Sunday Masses at 9.00am & 11.00am. If there are parishioners who still feel apprehensive attending a Weekend Mass, there is the opportunity of coming during the week, where there are fewer people in the Church. We should all attempt to make an effort in one way or another. Livestreaming can never replace being present with the Community and receiving the Sacrament of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist
May God Bless You All,
MAKING LENT REALLY PERSONAL: Spiritual Reading has always been a part of our Christian Heritage. Lent is a wonderful opportunity for us to develop our expanse of spiritual literature and insights. Every spiritual book gives us a perspective on Jesus Christ from the life of the writer. At present I’m reading a wonderful Book called The Consecration to St. Josephe by Donald Calloway; In this Year of St. Joseph, designated by Pope Francis, it gives a truly wonderful perspective on Joseph’s role in the whole of God’s plan of Salvation, not only as the husband of Mary, but the only man singled out by God to be the earthly Father to his Son. There are so many wonderful books out there at present; all you have to do is consult the internet for current Catholic literature.
CAFOD LENTEN FAST DAY COLLECTION: Next Friday 26th February is Cafod Lenten Fast Day. Abdella lives in an extremely remote and mountainous part of Ethiopia. It takes him ten hours a day to collect water. He says his life is being wasted as he has no time for anything else. Please give today to reach vulnerable communities around the world with water and to provide other vital support. Donate online at cafod.org.uk/give or by using one of the envelopes available with this newsletter or as you leave the church. You can also give easily via text. Text LENT to 70460 to donate £10
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
FINANCIAL SITUATION IN THE PARISH: You may have noticed that the Weekly Offertory, on some occasions, is extremely low. Obviously, we are all experiencing financial issues during this Pandemic. Some parishioners have reverted to online giving since last year. Others have opted to join the Parish Gift Aid Scheme, and are using Direct Debit weekly/monthly payments. I would say that the Weekly Offertory has probably dropped by a half over the past twelve months. Manifestly we have to cut our cloth accordingly. I would like to thank all of our parishioners for your ongoing support of the parish and all its buildings. There is no other income, other than your weekly contribution. Thank you One and All!
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.
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 d 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/
REQUIESCAT IN PACE: In your mercy please pray for the Repose of the Soul of Patricia Gardener RIP, who passed away recently. Her Requiem Mass will take place on Wednesday 10th March at 12.15pm. We extend our condolences to her family in this time of great loss. May she rest in peace.
CONFIRMATION PROGRAMME 2021: Our third session in the Confrimation Programme will be streamed Via ZOOM on Wednesday 24th February. We are using the Sycamore Programme, and it’s imperative that you attend each session. If anyone missed the first two session, could you kindly catch up with the material. 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 programme is your opportunity to learn a lot about your faith, and also to prepare spiritually for the Sacrament of Confirmation. It’s so important that you engage in the programme, and not just keep your screens blank, which is quite rude to those who are leading each group. If you are talking to a friend, you wouldn’t expect to talk to a blank screen. Please make a contribution in your groups, this will not only be of benefit to you, but to the rest of the group also. I also encourage paretns to be present with your chidlren. This will be of great benefit to you also, and shows support and encouragement to your son or daughter.
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.
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 Roman Cathooic the Holy Eucharist & attendance at Holy Mass is the most impoortant thing we can ever do as a witness to our faith. Try to make an extra special effort during Lent.
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.
OUR NEXT THEME IS – JESUS CHRIST
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 any 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. Candidates should be visibly present, and not just a blank screen with your name on it
• 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.
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: Gerald Falco RIP, Thomas James McCarthy 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!
RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: Our RCIA programme continues Thursday 25th February 2021 at 8.00pm which will be a Zoom meeting. Theme: PRAYER – Why we need to Pray – Methods of Prayer. 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.
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.
MASS INTENTIONS – FEBRUARY 2021
|Sat 20th||9.00am10.00am||Leslie Patrick Moore RIP (Mark Anthony)Requiem Mass: David James Faud RIP|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday:|
|Sat 20th||6.00pm||Noel Anderson RIP (Pover Family)|
|Sun 21st||9.00am||Mary Walstow RIP (Sue & John Campbell)|
|Sun 21st||11:00am5.00pm||Dorothy Joan Goodman RIP (Haydee Ylaya)Stations of the Cross with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & Holy Hour.|
|Mon 22nd||9.00am||Gerald Kearney (In hospital with Covid)(Ray Kearney)|
|Tues 23rd||10.00am||Margaret & Robert Crooks RIP (M Duffy)MASS LIVESTREAMED ONLY TODAY|
|Wed 24th||10.00am||Michael & Breege Kerrane RIP (Mary)MASS LIVESTREAMED ONLY TODAY|
|Thurs 25th||12.15pm||Mary Walstow RIP (Nancy Hands)|
|Fri 26th||10.00am10.30am||Sarah McQuade RIP (M Duffy)Holy Hour with Stations of the Cross & Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament|
|Sat 27th||10.00am||Nancy Langan (Get Well) (Bridget Kinsella)|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday|
|Sat 27th||6.00pm||Mary Walstow RIP (Tina & David Hattrell)|
|Sun 28th||9.00am||Inauguration of President Joe Biden. (John & Sue Campbell)|
|Sun 28th||11:00am5.00pm||Stella Peace RIP (John Gormley & Family)Stations of the Cross with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & Holy Hour.|
FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT, YEAR B
First Reading : Genesis 9:8-15
God spoke to Noah and his sons, ‘See, I establish my Covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; also with every living creature to be found with you, birds, cattle and every wild beast with you: everything that came out of the ark, everything that lives on the earth. I establish my Covenant with you: no thing of flesh shall be swept away again by the waters of the flood. There shall be no flood to destroy the earth again.’
God said, ‘Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all generations: I set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth. When I gather the clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the Covenant between myself and you and every living creature of every kind. And so the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all things of flesh.’ The Word of the Lord – Thanks be to God
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24(25):4-6,7b-9
Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love for those who keep your covenant.
Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.
Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love for those who keep your covenant.
Remember your mercy, Lord,
and the love you have shown from of old.
In your love remember me,
because of your goodness, O Lord.
Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love for those who keep your covenant.
The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
He teaches his way to the poor.
Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love for those who keep your covenant
Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:18-22
Christ himself, innocent though he was, died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life, and, in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison. Now it was long ago, when Noah was still building that ark which saved only a small group of eight people ‘by water’, and when God was still waiting patiently, that these spirits refused to believe. That water is a type of the baptism which saves you now, and which is not the washing off of physical dirt but a pledge made to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has entered heaven and is at God’s right hand, now that he has made the angels and Dominations and Powers his subjects. The Word of the Lord – Thank be to God
Gospel : Mark 1:12-15
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.
After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.