Fifth Sunday of Lent 2021, Passiontide, Year B

St. Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Dear Friends in Christ                                 Fifth Sunday of Lent 2021

Personally, I have been a little shocked this week at the reaction by many of the larger European Countries at the suspension of use of the Oxford vaccine. Sadly, this means that there will be a halt in Europe to the ongoing vaccination programme, and with an incredible surge throughout many of the countries once again, this is going to have a devastating effect of the wellbeing and even the death of many more people. Following the science, those responsible for the Oxford vaccine have given a reassurance that it is safe, and with ongoing assessment all the time, people should not feel fearful about receiving their first jab. Here in the UK over twenty-five million people have now received the vaccine, and we are beginning to see the green shoots of recovery. This week it was reported that in the past month alone there was an 85% drop in Covid deaths in the 80’s plus age group. This is incredible! The vaccine is making a difference. Who knows whether the European situation is politically or socially motivated, but people’s lives are at risk and the resumption of inoculation is essential. Let us continue to pray for the success of the vaccine. If you’re invited to receive the ‘jab’, please don’t hesitate, we’re talking about matters of life and death here!

INVITATION TO HOLY WEEK SERVICES: This weekend you will receive a hard copy of the Parish newsletter along with the e-mail copies sent to your homes. Newsletter is also on the Parish Website. In addition to the Newsletter, I have included A Holy Week & Easter Card, stating all the times of the various Masses & Services over Holy Week & Easter. Please keep this in a safe place. During this difficult past 12 months, I know many parishioners have been very reluctant to attend Holy Mass, and possibly only livestream. But I am appealing to the whole parish community to enter into the spirit of this Holy Week, and attend as much as possible. In accord with Governmental & Diocesan guidelines, all Health & Safety measures are in place. We have been open for Sunday masses since last July, and many have returned. Many have now received the Vaccine, which enhances your health & safety. It would be wonderful to see everyone return to the regular practice of faith. We truly do miss our parish family! Please come Home!


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

Today’s Gospel takes place in the last days of Jesus’ life. The unusual request to see Jesus is met by an even more unusual answer by the Lord; he predicts his own Passion & Death. Those who seek to know Jesus must look within the Cross where his glory is revealed; to look within the Cross. Today’s Gospel invites us to turn our gaze to the Crucifix which is not an ornamental object or a clothing accessory — abused at times! Rather, it is a religious symbol to contemplate and to understand. Within the image of Jesus crucified is revealed the mystery of the death of the Son as a supreme act of love, the source of life and salvation for humanity of all ages. We have been healed in his wounds.

In order to explain the meaning of his death and Resurrection, Jesus uses an image and says: “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (v. 24). He wants to explain that his extreme fate — that is the Cross, death and Resurrection — is an act of fruitfulness — his wounds have healed us — a fruitfulness which will bear fruit for many. He thus compares himself to a grain of wheat which, rotting in the earth, generates new life. Jesus came to earth through the Incarnation, but this is not enough. He must also die to redeem man from the slavery of sin and to offer him a new life reconciled in love. I said “to redeem man”: but to redeem me, you, all of us, each of us. He paid that price. This is the mystery of Christ. Go towards his wounds, enter, contemplate, see Jesus — but from within. John 12:24 Unless A Grain Of Wheat Dies:red

SPECIAL REQUEST FOR HOLY WEEK: As you know Holy Week is the busiest week of the Liturgical Year. We will need additional help at all the Masses & Services this year with Stewarding and especially in ensuring the Church is cleaned in between Masses. There was a truly wonderful response at Christmas, I appeal to you all again for Holy Week. We have PPE equipment for all Stewards available at the back of the Church. This is truly a wonderful way to help service the whole parish community Can you help? Please

contact Iain McLayCan We Help You Clipart.

May God Bless You All

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 (
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!

SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION: As we have not been able to have a Penance Service since Advent 2019, I would like to encourage all of our parishioernes to avail yourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in preparation for Easter. Commencing this week, there will be Confessions after each of the masses; there will also be two brief Penance Services during Holy Week – Tuesday 30th & Wednesday 31st March at 7.00pm; Fr. John will be available for Confession in the ‘Back Sacristy’ after each of the services, enabling social distancing & privacy. Please make an extra special effort to celebrate the Sacrament.

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

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:


CONFIRMATION PROGRAMME 2021: We have completed several sessions together now; and I would like to take this oppportunity of thanking our Programme Director Mark Anthony, and all our Catechists for faithfully helping and assisting with our young people in their preparations for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Also a really big thank you to all our Confirmandi for participating weekly in the programme. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a very informative and interesting programme. Fr. Sthephen Wang & the Sycamore programme certainly gives us all plenty to think about. We will now be breaking for the Easter Holidays and won’t resume again until Wednesday 21st April. Please think carefully about the reason why you want to be Confirmed in your Catholic Faith. Also, think about your Sponsor and Confirmation Name during the break. Mark Anthony will contact you with Zoom details the next time we’re due to meet.

HOLY WEEK & EASTER: You’ll be breaking up fairly soon for the Easter holidays. I would like to encoruage you all to really enter into the spiriti of Holy Week & Easter. We’re all making this spiritual journey with Our Lord during the last days of his life; and the richness of the liturgy during Holy Week is very powerful and engaging. It’s not enough to just be some kind of casual onlooker, we have to really make the journey with Jesus through his Passion, Death & Resurrection as real companions. Ask for the grace to be able to make this journey with the Lord.

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!

NEW RECTOR: You may be interested to learn that Fr. Stephen Wang, who wrote the Sycamore Programme has just been asked by Cardinal Vincent Nichols to become the New Rector of Venerable English College in Rome. Many congratulations to Fr Stephen. 

EASTER LILIES: If there are any parishioners who would like to purchase an Easter Lily in rememberance of a deceased loved one, kindly complete the attached form in this Newsletter and return to the Presbytery, no later than Thursday 1st April. We want to decorate the Church for Easter, and this is a lovely way to remember our deceased loved ones in a special way. ThanksClip Art: Religious: Cross with Easter Lilies Color I.

Lilies at Easter 2021

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:……………..



Please Use Your Spare Gift Aid Envelopes

DIARY 2021


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: Robert Lockhart RIP, Helen Cooper 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! 

RCIA | Holy Spirit Parish

RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: Our RCIA programme continues Thursday 25th 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 

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.



Sat 20th    10.00am10.30am Peter Pereira RIP (I Fernandes & Family)Confessions
Vigil Mass for Sunday: Confessions 5.30pm
Sat 20th                    6.00pmDavid Faud RIP (Hornett Family)
Sun 21st        9.00am

People of the Parish

Stephanie (Eileen Lee)
Sun 21st                                                        11:00am

Gladys Hockley RIP (M Ryan)

Stations of the Cross with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & Holy Hour.
Mon 22nd  10.00am

Michael Scudder RIP (Margaret Duffy)

Holy Hour with Exposition of Bl. Sacrament
Tues 23rd                                                                                 10.00amMary Walstow RIP (Margaret Hopkinson)
Wed 24th                          10.00am

Winnie Dunger RIP (P & B Hatch)

Holy Hour with Exposition of Bl. Sacrament
Thurs 25th   10.00amEileen Newton RIP ((Bill & Helen Walsh)

Holy Hour with Exposition of Bl. Sacrament
Fri 26th                     10.00am

Canon Giles Goward RIP (Frank Westcott)

Holy Hour with Stations of the Cross & Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Sat 27th                                                          10.00am

Ann Wright RIP (Brenda Bryant)

Confessions in the Back Sacristy
Vigil Mass for Sunday Confessions 5.30pm
Sat 27th                                      Palm Sunday6.00pmVigil MassTessa Mansfield (sick) ( B & H Walsh)

Sun 28th            Palm Sunday9.00am

Yvonne Maria Westcott RIP (F Westcott)

People of the Parish
Sun 28thPalm Sunday                                                                              11:00am

Mary Walstow RIP (Carmen Antaki)

Stations of the Cross with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & Holy Hour.

Please kindly be patient with your mass requests. I will try to accommodate your requested dates, but there have been a large number of requests recently and we celebrate masses in the order in which we receive them. 

5th Sunday of Lent

First Reading : Jeremiah 31:31-34

See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel (and the House of Judah), but not a covenant like the one I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant of mine, so I had to show them who was master. It is the Lord who speaks. No, this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive – it is the Lord who speaks. Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people. There will be no further need for neighbour to try to teach neighbour, or brother to say to brother, ‘Learn to know the Lord!’ No, they will all know me, the least no less than the greatest – it is the Lord who speaks – since I will forgive their iniquity and never call their sin to mind.

Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 50(51):3-4,12-15

A pure heart create for me, O God.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.

  In your compassion blot out my offence.

O wash me more and more from my guilt

  and cleanse me from my sin.

A pure heart create for me, O God.

A pure heart create for me, O God,

  put a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

  nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

A pure heart create for me, O God.

Give me again the joy of your help;

  with a spirit of fervour sustain me,

that I may teach transgressors your ways

  and sinners may return to you.

A pure heart create for me, O God.

Second Reading : Hebrews 5:7-9

During his life on earth, Christ offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

Gospel : John 12:20-33

Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. These approached Philip, who came from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put this request to him, ‘Sir, we should like to see Jesus.’ Philip went to tell Andrew, and Andrew and Philip together went to tell Jesus. Jesus replied to them:

‘Now the hour has come

for the Son of Man to be glorified.

I tell you, most solemnly,

unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,

it remains only a single grain;

but if it dies,

it yields a rich harvest.

Anyone who loves his life loses it;

anyone who hates his life in this world

will keep it for the eternal life.

If a man serves me, he must follow me,

wherever I am, my servant will be there too.

If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.

Now my soul is troubled.

What shall I say:

Father, save me from this hour?

But it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.

Father, glorify your name!’

A voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ People standing by, who heard this, said it was a clap of thunder; others said, ‘It was an angel speaking to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not for my sake that this voice came, but for yours.

‘Now sentence is being passed on this world;

now the prince of this world is to be overthrown.

And when I am lifted up from the earth,

I shall draw all men to myself.’ By these words he indicated the kind of death he would die.

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