Fourth Sunday of Lent 2021, Year B

St. Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Dear Friends in Christ                                               Fourth Sunday of Lent 2021

The past twelve months have probably been the most testing time that any of us could ever have imagined within our lives. Many families have lost loved ones, even here in our own parish. Life has changed dramatically. The disruption to almost every aspect of our everyday existence has led to all sorts of difficulties and problems. Learning to master computer online learning; Zoom calls & conferences; not being able to meet in person; social distancing and the wearing of face coverings; loved ones not being able to visit care homes and nursing homes; the psychological effect that this has had on many people will be with us for a long time to come. Obviously, our schools opened last Monday, much to the joy of the children and students themselves. Many months of classroom learning have been lost over the past twelve months. How you recapture or regain that lost learning is going to be an ongoing problem. https://png.pngtree.com/png-clipart/20200701/original/pngtree-fight-covid-19-together-png-image_5346829.jpg

In contrast to the above; we have witnessed incredible responses from the NHS and those in the Care Sectors. I would like to think that people would have become a little more tolerant and kinder to one another. Have we been consciously aware of those who are suffering; those out of work and those who have been furloughed for nearly a year? Hope against hope, I pray that our people would have developed a deeper relationship with God. Truly, we are nothing without the Lord in our lives. It’s easy to think that we can achieve everything on our own; but as people of faith, it is the Lord who affords us all of the opportunities in our lives. And even in the most difficult situations of life, the Lord never leaves us. There are many lessons that we can learn from the past twelve months; the danger is that we slowly and gradually come to terms with this world-wide Pandemic, and as the vaccines roll out for everyone, that we will easily forget and become complacent. Coronavirus may well be something that we have to learn to live with for the foreseeable future. If you’re invited for the ‘jab’ please don’t refuse it! It will save lives! https://i.pinimg.com/736x/40/36/55/403655aa0bf4a8b98aebf722c88dc943--faith-hope-love-tattoo--corinthians-.jpg

Dear Friends in Christ:                                       Fourth Sunday of Lent,Year B

Today is ‘Laetare Sunday’- meaning ‘Rejoice’. It marks the midway point in the Lenten Season. We look forward in anticipation to the great Joy of Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the day when traditionally, the austerity of the Lenten Season is lessened. We change the colour of our Vestments to Rose. The rigours of Lent can be relaxed today. Laetare Sunday always coincides with Mothering Sunday. We pray for our dear Mothers; and also remembering all of our deceased mothers who are now with God. Let us all savour this relaxation today and truly ‘Rejoice’!https://tse3.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.1QzRObpA4ZrOKb2IcvwtlwHaHa&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

As mentioned, I have also reintroduced the additional 10.00am on Sunday mornings. Thankfully, with the increase of the number of people attending our Weekend Masses, and of course, in a bit to maintain social distancing, I deemed it necessary to put this Mass back on again. Could I encourage Parishioners to avail themselves of this Mass. Over the past couple of weeks the 11.00am Mass has been full to capacity, and some parishioners had to remain outside. There is plenty of space at the 6.00pm Saturday Vigil Mass and the 10.00am Sunday Mass. We will never turn anyone away. Please always follow the direction of the Stewards. Thank you!  Clip Art for Religious Education - Site Reviews

IS GOD CHALLENGING YOU? Lent is very much a time of reflection and renewal. Every single person has so much to be thankful for. Even in spite of this Pandemic, let us thank God of our families, our health & happiness. Hopefully, you are still immersed in the Holy Lenten Season, and haven’t fallen by the wayside. Think of the different challenges that have presented themselves to you during Lent. Have you stuck to your Lenten resolutions? Have you prayed daily? Do you ever read the Scriptures? Have you attended an additional Mass during the Week? Have you prayed the Rosary? Do you ever read a spiritual book? Have you been kind & generous to one another? Have you remembered the Poor? You can personally add to this litany. “The Lord who sees all that is done in secret will reward you”!
Fr

May God Bless You All This Week,   

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 (mjm70@hotmail.com).
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!http://morethankyounotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Donation-Thank-You-Card.png

RETURNING TO THE PRACTICE OF THE FAITH: Never before in the history of Christianity have we been prevented from attending Holy Mass on Sunday’s; not even during the war years, the Mass was always celebrated and available to everyone. This Pandemic has certainly changed the game-plan in most people’s lives. But at the same time it’s also very easy to get out of the habit; one person recently told me it was ‘far more convenient to watch mass through social media’. I appreciate that priests and parishes had to learn very quickly how to livestream our masses; and from day one we have transmitted Holy Mass. Many of our housebound and sick parishioners, and those who have had to self-isolate, have truly appreciated the benefit of social media. It maintains a spiritual connection with the parish community. But I’m sure everyone would agree nothing can replace the physical presence and being together as community, and actually receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. Many people have now received their vaccine, and I would appeal to our parishioners to make every effort possible to return to the weekly practice of your faith. The Church is a very safe place, as we follow all the necessary guidelines to protect the health & safety of everyone. Please think about these sentiments. Thank you!  Fr. John https://tse3.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.qk1-DSHAkUc5kUB1h0YD_AHaGB&pid=Api&P=0&w=209&h=170

CONFIRMATION PROGRAMME 2021: Our sixth session in the Confirmation Programme will be streamed Via ZOOM on Wednesday 17th March. At 7.30pm. Please check in at 7.20pm There were a few of our young people missing from the programme last week. As a matter of courtesy kindly notify Fr. John if you’re unable to attend the Zoom meeting. Thank you! You can catch up on this session, Mark Anthony wiill be able to forward you the details. Parents please remind your sons and daughters of the importance of each session; you are also welcome to attend the sessions, and see how the programme is taught.  

THIS WEEK’S TALK: The Sacraments of Baptism & Confirmation. It will help to really explore the meaning of these two Sacraments; one you have already received, the second you are prearing for at present. As an infant your paprents brought you in love to the Church to initiate you in the life of God who is Father, Son & Holy Spirit. You began your journey of faith, and along that journey there are many milestones. As young people, in faith, you have made a decision to receive the Sacraemnt of Confirmation. It is the Sacrament of Mission, empowering you and strengthening you to go out and become a really strong and active member of God’s Church. Ask yourselves daily ‘Why do I want to be Confirmed’? https://clipartart.com/images/catholic-confirmation-clipart-4.jpg

As you begin grow in your understanding of the whole meaning of the Sacrament of Confirmation, hopefully this will give you the information necessary to make the right decisions in your young lives. Every action has a consequence; e.g. every time we say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ it has a domino effect in our lives, and can profoundly touch the lives of so many different people. Even the most private actions of our lives, effect, not only our person bu the lives of those around us. We all make mistakes, but our lives are not determined by our faults and failings, but on how much we learn can learn and grow through these issues. That’s why the Church has always advocated the Sacrament of Reconciliation to assist and help us.   

You may not always consider your presence at Holy Mass important, but it is. You are part of this bigger familiy, God’s family; and to be an active participant in the family can only enrich the whole family. You are precious in the sight of God, and your expressions of your love for him, even for half and hour each week, is something that will continue to transform your lives. Being a Roman Catholic isn’t just an Sunday exercise, it affects everything that we are, and who we are trying to become in life. Let God in!http://clipground.com/images/mass-clipart-5.jpg

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SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION: Lent is a Penitential Season – which means that every Catholic should avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We all need to celebrate Christ’s forgiveness, Confession and Penance. This has always been a spiritual custom during the Special Holy Seasons of the Year. Not one of us is perfect, and our faults and failings can mount up over a period of time. The Sacrament affords us the opportunity to be released from the burden of sin, to be free or those things which create barriers between ourselves and Almighty God. I will be hearing Confessions throughout the weeks of Lent on various different days, please try to prepare for Easter by celebrating the Sacrament. Thank you! 

DIARY 2021 

PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE SICK IN OUR PARISH

Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, Brian Beveridge, Karl Britz, Jane Downs, Steve Dalgliesh, Pat Fenn,  Veronica Godsave, Bernadette Hall, Ann Hawkes, Claire Howes, Pamela Houghton, Noel Johnson, 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: For all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescant in Pace.

OFFERTORY COLLECTION: £534.18 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 18th March 2021 at 8.00pm which will be a Zoom meeting. Theme: The Paschal Mystery. Please pray for our Catechumen Steven Bullock who is preparing to receive the Easter Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation & the Holy Eucharist. This is a wonderful moment in his life as he will join our Parish Family through Initiation. If anyone is interested in learning about the Catholic Faith please contact Fr. John RCIA | Holy Spirit Parish

SACRAMENTS CELEBRATED DURING ALERT LEVEL 4 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. http://infantjesus.org/home/images/articles/2016/sacraments/sacraments_-_clipart-_-150x200.png

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. The Foodbank has a list of 40 items needed during Lent and they are also supporting families with packed lunches and food parcels during the Easter holidays. Here are the 40 items being requested during Lent: Laundry tablets, anti-bacterial spray, washing-up liquid, UHT milk, long-life fruit juice, squash, instant coffee, tinned ham, corned beef, vegetarian tinned meal, microwave rice, instant noodles, packet mashed potato, tinned carrots, tinned potatoes, tinned sweet corn, custard, sponge pudding, rice pudding, chocolate bars, tinned spaghetti, cous-cous sachet, packet soup, hot chocolate powder, peanut butter, chocolate spread, jam, breakfast bars, cereal bars, biscuits, halal tinned meat, hand sanitiser, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face masks, strong carrier bags.  Thank you! You can also keep up to date with the Foodbank news via their facebook page: www.facebook.com/EppingForestFoodbank/

MASS INTENTIONS – MARCH 2021

Sat 13th    10.00am10.30am David Faud RIPConfessions
Vigil Mass for Sunday: Confessions 5.30pm
Sat 13th                    6.00pmPatrick O’Donoghue (G O’Donoghue)
Sun 14th       9.00am10.00amBernie (Get Well) (Bridget Kinsella)People of the Parish
Sun 14th                                                       11:00am5.00pmMary Walstow RIP (The Poulter Family)Stations of the Cross with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & Holy Hour.
Mon 15th 10.00am10.30amDuncan Lowther RIP (Brenda Bryant)Holy Hour with Exposition of Bl. Sacrament
Tues 16th                                                                                10.00amRosemary O’Rourke’s Int’s (O’Rourke daughters)
Wed 17th                         10.00am10.30amDanny Pereira RIP (I Fernandes & Family)Holy Hour with Exposition of Bl. Sacrament
Thurs 18th  10.00amSusan O’Toole RIP (Mike Sheehy)Holy Hour with Exposition of Bl. Sacrament
Fri 19th                    10.00am10.30am Mary Walstow RIP (Catherine Mills)Holy Hour with Stations of the Cross & Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Sat 20th                                                         10.00am10.30amPeter Pereira RIP (I Fernandes & Family)Confessions
Vigil Mass for Sunday Confessions 5.30pm
Sat 20th                                     6.00pmDavid Faud RIP (Hornett Family)
Sun 21st           9.00am10.00amPeople of the ParishStephanie (Eileen Lee)
Sun 21st                                                                             11:00am5.00pmGladys Hockley RIP (M Ryan)Stations of the Cross with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & Holy Hour.

MASS INTENTIONS: If you wish to book a Mass for a particular intention, please let us have it well in advance of the date. This will avoid disappointments if that date has already been taken. Thank you! 

Lilies at Easter 2021http://www.fotosearch.com/bthumb/LIQ/LIQ123/vl0012b046.jpg

Every year at Easter we remember 

our deceased loved one by decorating 

the Church with White Lilies.

If you would like to have a stem of lilies placed in 

the arrangements throughout the Easter Season, 

in memory of a deceased loved one, relatives or friends.

Please complete this form below and return to the 

Presbytery in an envelope by Maundy Thursday 1st 

April 2021

…………………………………………………………………

St. Edmund of Canterbury: _________

Names: of those remembered: (Please print clearly)

………………………………        ………………………………

………………………………        ………………………………

………………………………        ………………………………

……………………………….        .……………………………..

Amount enclosed     £……………… Gift Aid No:……………..

From:……………………………………………………

ALL DONATIONS CAN BE GIFT AIDED

Please Use Your Spare Gift Aid Envelopes

4th Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday)

First Reading : 2 Chronicles 36:14-16,19-23

All the heads of the priesthood, and the people too, added infidelity to infidelity, copying all the shameful practices of the nations and defiling the Temple that the Lord had consecrated for himself in Jerusalem. The Lord, the God of their ancestors, tirelessly sent them messenger after messenger, since he wished to spare his people and his house. But they ridiculed the messengers of God, they despised his words, they laughed at his prophets, until at last the wrath of the Lord rose so high against his people that there was no further remedy

  Their enemies burned down the Temple of God, demolished the walls of Jerusalem, set fire to all its palaces, and destroyed everything of value in it. The survivors were deported by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon; they were to serve him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. This is how the word of the Lord was fulfilled that he spoke through Jeremiah, ‘Until this land has enjoyed its Sabbath rest, until seventy years have gone by, it will keep Sabbath throughout the days of its desolation.’

  And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, to fulfil the word of the Lord that was spoken through Jeremiah, the Lord roused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation and to have it publicly displayed throughout his kingdom: ‘Thus speaks Cyrus king of Persia, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; he has ordered me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all his people, may his God be with him! Let him go up.”’

Resposorial Psalm : Psalm 136(137):1-6

O let my tongue cleave to my mouth if I remember you not!

By the rivers of Babylon

   there we sat and wept,

   remembering Zion;

on the poplars that grew there

we hung up our harps.

O let my tongue cleave to my mouth if I remember you not!

For it was there that they asked us,

  our captors, for songs,

  our oppressors, for joy.

‘Sing to us,’ they said,

  ‘one of Zion’s songs.’

O let my tongue cleave to my mouth if I remember you not!

O how could we sing

  the song of the Lord

  on alien soil?

If I forget you, Jerusalem,

  let my right hand wither!

O let my tongue cleave to my mouth if I remember you not!

O let my tongue

  cleave to my mouth

  if I remember you not,

if I prize not Jerusalem

  above all my joys!

O let my tongue cleave to my mouth if I remember you not!

Second Reading : Ephesians 2:4-10

God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy: when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ – it is through grace that you have been saved – and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus.

  This was to show for all ages to come, through his goodness towards us in Christ Jesus, how infinitely rich he is in grace. Because it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God; not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit. We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it.

Gospel : John 3:14-21

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘The Son of Man must be lifted up

as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,

so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,

so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost

but may have eternal life.

For God sent his Son into the world

not to condemn the world,

but so that through him the world might be saved.

No one who believes in him will be condemned;

but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,

because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.

On these grounds is sentence pronounced:

that though the light has come into the world

men have shown they prefer darkness to the light

because their deeds were evil.

And indeed, everybody who does wrong

hates the light and avoids it,

for fear his actions should be exposed;

but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light,

so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’

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