The Sixteenth Sunday of the Year, 2021

St. Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

LIFTING OF RESTRICTIONS: There has been so much on the news over the past week about the lifting of restrictions on Monday 19th July. But we have also seen an incredible upsurge in Coronavirus cases with this Delta variant, which remains worrying. It is recommended that on public Transport that face-coverings should continue to be worn, not only to protect ourselves, but also other people. Obviously, face coverings can sometimes be uncomfortable. I think we all have to be very sensitive to one another as we slowly try to resume some semblance of normality in our lives once again. Some people have been so frightened over the past 16 months that they have barely ventured out of their homes. But as the Prime Minister & Government Ministers now keep telling us, this is something that we are all going to have to live with for the foreseeable future. We will continue to provide hand sanitiser as you enter and leave the church. Face coverings are recommended (Fr John will wear a face covering to distribute Holy Communion). Holy Communion will continue to be given under the species of the Body of Christ only. (No chalice).  We will remove the alternate bench prevention tape as of next weekend. The 10.00am Mass will only continue until the end of the month Just being sensible and respectful to one another is the best way forward in this ongoing Pandemic.

Sadly, many people have not returned to the practice of their faith after these past 16 months, even though the Church opened on 4th July 2021. Although live streaming has been a life-saver during the Pandemic, it is not a substitute for Mass; nothing can ever replace being actually present at Holy Mass and receiving the Lord Jesus in Holy Communion. Live-streaming should now be for the sick and housebound, and we will probably live stream one Sunday Mass in future. Manifestly, there will possibly be a number of parishioners who will not return to the practice of faith, this is unfortunate, and of course, it affects children especially, as there is no regular routine in the practice of the faith. Please think seriously about all these issues. The ‘Salvation of Souls’ is fundamentally at the heart of these sentiments! 

Dear Friends in Christ,                       16th Sunday of the Year

First and foremost I would like to thank the whole parish community for such a wonderful Thanksgiving Mass last Sunday, as I celebrated 40 years of Sacred Priesthood. Words cannot express my gratitude to Almighty God for these past forty years, and I felt very humbled to be able to express that gratitude through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. After the past sixteen months, with our masses curtailed and shortened, it was incredible to celebrate a ‘full mass’ once again; and with the Choir being able to sing the various hymns, motets and parts of the mass certainly filled my heart with great joy. My thanks to Msgr Kevin Hale for preaching a wonderful homily, which I have published in this week’s Newsletter onlinehearts that say thank you clip art | Lazy Daisy Designs ...

My thanks to all those parishioners who sent in gifts and greetings cards. I was a little overwhelmed as I sat down last Sunday evening reading all the cards. Your kindness and generosity is overwhelming! I absolutely loved the beautiful Papal Blessing presented at the end of the Thanksgiving Mass; it will have a place of honour in my Office. 

As we were unable to have a fuller celebration with all my guests, family & friends from all over the world, hopefully next year within the twelve month period, which is how long a Jubilee lasts, we can gather together and have another beautiful Mass & Reception. Once again thank you to the whole parish community. I felt very humble last Sunday, and very fortunate and happy to be your Pastor.  As I said at the end of Mass in thanksgiving to God for the gift of Priesthood: “Not to us Lord, not to us, but to your name give the glory.” (Psalm 115 v.1).     

May God Bless You All, 

I’m extremely grateful to Steven Pover, who took photographs throughout the ceremony. 

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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

RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: If you know of anyone who may be interested in learning more about the Roman Catholic Faith possibly with the view of receiving the Easter Sacraments in 2022, please contact Fr. John at the Presbytery on Tel No: 020 8508 3492.

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PROGRAMME 2021/2022: If as yet, you haven’t returned your enrolment form for your child’s First Holy Communion Programme commencing in September, could you kindly do so immediately! This year children from years 3 & 4 will share the programme together. Please pray for the children. I do now expect to see the children with their families at Holy Mass at the weekends; attending Mass is not an optional extra, it is part of our commitment in faith to Jesus Christ.

ALTAR SOCIETY: Please can we appeal to all parishioners for help to keep our church clean. During lockdown we have only asked a few a few deep cleans but now things will be changing, we desperately need your help to keep a weekly rota going. Cleaning is split between the altar, santurary, main church, front porch/library, choir loft brass ware and candle racks. The duties include dusting, sweeping, mopping, polishing, window/door cleaning, hoovering, linens and polishing.    You can do as much or as little as you are able to do (1 hour at the most, per month) and all parishioners are invited to help, regardless of age or gender. To register your interest please contact Sharon Fitzmaurice on 07854919207 or THERE WAS NO RESPONSE LAST WEEKEND; CAN I MAKE AN IMPASSIONED APPEAL THIS WEEKEND. THANK YOU!

VICARIATE FOR ADULT FORMATION: Have produced a leaflet entitled ‘The Journey Home’ – Returning to Sunday Mass and the Practice of our Faith. Sunday is the Day of the Lord. It is on this day that we meet the Risen Christ and we are formed into a community of faith, hope and love by the power of His Holy Spirit. All of us have an opportunity to reflect honestly on the practice of our faith and to take the decision to make the journey home to the Celebration of Sunday Mass. The welcome will be assured and warm because it there that Christ waits for us and invites us into his life.  For more information about Sunday Mass, please got to the Parish Website for up to date information or contact your Parish Priest. Please visit the new Thresholds of Hope website at:

OFFERTORY COLLECTION: £529.05.  My ongoing thanks to the whole parish community for your weekly financial support! As you can see our Weekly Offertory bears no comparison to prior Pandemic income; many parishioners have signed up for the online giving and Gift Aid Scheme. I would like to encourage this even more.  My thanks to Michael Manzi our Accountant, who looks after the Parish Accounts & Maria Mosquera who looks after the Parish Gift Aid Scheme; they have both done a truly wonderful job this year.  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. Thanks!

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 have asked for support with the following items: Long-life fruit juice, tinned tomatoes, instant mash, tinned fish, tinned peas, tinned carrots, tinned potatoes, small jars of instant coffee, small or medium bags of rice, sponge pudding, snack bars, chocolate bars, chocolate spread and savoury crackers Thank you! You can also keep up to date with the Foodbank news via their facebook page:

RETURNING TO THE WEEKLY PRACTICE OF THE FAITH: With so many people having received their Vaccination against Covid, it would be wonderful to see many more return to the weekly practice of the faith. To be without the Sacrametns for such a long period of time is unprecedented. It’s true that many people have just got out of the habit of going to Church, and live-streaming is not a subsititute for being together with the worhsipping community. Our Church’s opened last July 4th, and many parishioners have returned. To get back into the routine of regular practice is up to the individual, but if you have children, it is so important that this routine recommence once again. Children are guided by their parents, and if chidlren witness that this is not important to you, it will, sadly, not be important to them. There are so many challenges and threats to our lives of faith, on so many fronts these days, please don’t let Covid be another of them!

PARISH REPOSITORY: There are a large number of gifts and cards available in the Repository. There are rosaries, statues, medals, candles, special cards, prayer crosses, Anniversary Cards for all occasions, and many other items that would be suitable gifts for all occasions. Please leave your money in the basket provided. Thanks

MASS INTENTIONS: It has always been a custom within the Roman Catholic Faith to have an Intention offered when celebrating Holy Mass. Intentions can be for all occasions: e.g. For a deceased member of a family; deceased anniversary mass; Birthday intention; Special Occasions; Get Well Mass; Success in exams; Special milestone anniversaries, Wedding, Ordination, Confirmation. In fact, you can offer a Mass for almost every occasion!  There are Mass Intention envelopes and Special Mass Cards for all occasions in the Repository at the back of the Church. (Please complete Mass envelope and enclose your Mass Offering and drop off at the Presbytery); I will always try to accommodate the date you have requested, or the nearest date to it.  It’s always beautiful to receive a Mass card from someone!

THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS – NOT A HOLIDAY FROM GOD: As our schools close for the summer recess, it is important for all of us to have a well-earned rest. Many people haven’t been able to get away for probably well over a year, and many ‘staycations’ will take place this summer. It is important to remember that as much as we all need a break, that our holidays are never a holiday from God. Wherever we go we take the Lord with us; and I’ve always believed that it’s wonderful exploring new places and new churches when we are away. Unfortunately, as yet I haven’t been able to find a substitute to be able to get away; so it looks like I’ll be around over the summer again this year! The new regulations for substitute priests in parishes, because of the pandemic, make it almost impossible to find someone.



Carmen Antaki, Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, Brian Beveridge, Karl Britz, Carlos Camacho, Jane Downs, Steve Dalgliesh, Pat Fenn,  Veronica Godsave, Bernadette Hall, Ann Hawkes, Claire Howes, Noel Johnson, Shaun Keel, Angela Long, Lilian Mothersole, John McKernan, Rosemary O’Rourke, Kathleen Pomeroy, Geraldine Taylor, Vera Taylor, Collette Wenborn, Mary Witten, James Wright. And all our loved ones. 

ANNIVERSARIES: Mary Cocklin RIP, June Happe RIP, Mary Moriarty RIP, and for all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescant in Pace. 

SACRAMENTS CELEBRATED DURING ALERT LEVEL 4 RESTRICTIONS: In accordance with Government & Diocesan Guidelines, we are allowed to celebrate Funerals with 100 people present, strictly observing social distancing. 30 people are allowed to be present at a wedding. Baptisms: you are now allowed up to 30 persons at a Baptism; not too sure what the restrictions are for social event after though! These are really difficult times, and many couples were disappointed last year not being able to celebrate their marriages. We are hoping with the distribution 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.

RECEIVING SACRAMENTS: Recently, 48 of our young people received the Sacrament of Confirmation. This is a milestone in a young person’s life. Sadly I haven’t seen many of them since the day they were Confirmed. This Sacrament of commitment and mission is about these young people assuming a certain amount of mature responsibility in their own Faith Journey. It’s not just about stamping the Sacramental Passport; I had it said to me recently, I quote “my parents said to me if I got Confirmed, I don’t have to go to church anymore.” This is not only an insult to the young person, but even more so, an insult to Almighty God. If faith means so little, why would you go through a Sacramental Programme knowing that you would walk away from the practice of that faith? This is a really serious issue, and not something to be dismissed lightly. I ask everyone to think seriously about what it means to be really committed in your life of faith! Life is not a dress rehearsal, it’s the real thing every day; and there can be so many missed opportunities!

IRREGULAR MARRIAGES: An irregualr marriage is one tht has taken place outside of the Catholic Church without dispensation. For example: Marriages in hotels, and secualr venues, on beaches or Las Vegas; marriage in a non Catholic Church without dispensation from the Bishop. These marriages are not recognised by the Catholic Church, and therefore are  non sacramental & irregular. But there is a facility in the Church to recetify these situations called a Convalidation (this is a strictly private facility that is offered by the church). As marriage and family life is what I specialised in while studying Canon Law, if anyone wishes to speak to me confidentially please don’t hesitate to contact me: Tel No: 0208 508 3492


Sat 17th9.00amOrdination to the Priesthood of Anthony Grant (The Laffey Family)
Vigil Mass for Sunday: Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 17th6.00pmJohn O’Reilly RIP
Sun 18th

Sun 18th

Kate & Tom Dennison RIP (Margaret Duffy)

People of the Parish
Sun 18th11:00amTony Duff RIP(Anni) (M Ryan)
Mon 19th10.00am

Norbert Widera RIP (Fr. John)

Holy Hour with Exposition of Bl. Sacrament
Tues 20th10.00amThe McCann Family (The Kendals)
Wed 21st10.00amAnn Campbell (B’day Ints) Brenda Bryant
Thurs 22nd

Rebecca Casey Int’s (Kathleen Faherty)

Holy Hour with Exposition of the Bl Sacrament
Fri 23rd10.00am

Violet Hall RIP (Mrs Short)

Holy Hour with Exposition of Bl. Sacrament
Sat 24th9.00amBreege & Michael Kerrane RIP (Mary)
Vigil Mass for Sunday Confessions 5.30pm
Sat 24th6.00pmDaria Kohls – B’day Int’s (K Faherty)
Sun 25th

Sun 25th

People of the Parish

Jack Kuss Int’s (John McMorrow)
Sun 25th11:00amPatrick Spratt RIP

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. 

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading : Jeremiah 23:1-6

‘Doom for the shepherds who allow the flock of my pasture to be destroyed and scattered – it is the Lord who speaks! This, therefore, is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds in charge of my people: You have let my flock be scattered and go wandering and have not taken care of them.

  Right, I will take care of you for your misdeeds – it is the Lord who speaks! But the remnant of my flock I myself will gather from all the countries where I have dispersed them, and will bring them back to their pastures: they shall be fruitful and increase in numbers. I will raise up shepherds to look after them and pasture them; no fear, no terror for them any more; not one shall be lost – it is the Lord who speaks!

‘See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks –

when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David,

who will reign as true king and be wise,

practising honesty and integrity in the land.

In his days Judah will be saved

and Israel dwell in confidence.

And this is the name he will be called:


Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 22(23)

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

The Lord is my shepherd;

  there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures

  where he gives me repose.

Near restful waters he leads me,

  to revive my drooping spirit.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

He guides me along the right path;

  he is true to his name.

If I should walk in the valley of darkness

  no evil would I fear.

You are there with your crook and your staff;

  with these you give me comfort.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

You have prepared a banquet for me

  in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil;

  my cup is overflowing.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me

  all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell

  for ever and ever.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

Second Reading : Ephesians 2:13-18

In Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, actually destroying in his own person the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law. This was to create one single New Man in himself out of the two of them and by restoring peace through the cross, to unite them both in a single Body and reconcile them with God: in his own person he killed the hostility. Later he came to bring the good news of peace, peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near at hand. Through him, both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father.

Gospel: Mark 6:30-34

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.   The Gospel of the Lord. 


John Canon Harvey—Fortieth Anniversary Mass

When Fr John asked me to preach on this anniversary, my first reaction was to think it would be better had he asked someone who has known him longer and better than I. And then I reflected that actually I have known him since I was sixteen when we shared a room on my first visit to Lourdes, that he was present at my Ordination in 1984, that I succeeded him as assistant priest in Colchester in 1990 and have shared many of the highs and lows of priestly life these past forty years; so perhaps I am well placed perhaps to say something significant on this great anniversary of his ordination.

We all know what the prefect priest is, and we all want the perfect Parish Priest. A recent survey disclosed that the perfect priest preaches exactly seven minutes. He condemns sin, but never upsets anyone. He works from 8am until midnight and is also church caretaker. He makes £70 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books, drives a good car, and gives about £50 each week to the poor. He is 29 years old and has fifty years experience. He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all of his time with senior citizens.  He makes 15 calls daily and visits the sick in hospital, and is always in the Parish Office. If you don’t know any priest like that, don’t worry, he doesn’t exist because there is only one perfect priest—Jesus Christ—and he has allowed us weak and frail human beings to have a participation in His eternal priesthood.

Let us think back to that moment forty years years ago, in St Bede’s, Chadwell Heath, when Bishop Thomas McMahon, laid his hands upon Fr John’s head, in a gesture that goes back to the beginning of the Church when the Apostles did the very same when they Ordained their fellow-workers, conferring on them the power and authority Jesus had given them.  It was the moment when Christ took possession of Fr John and said to him: You belong to me.  He also said: You are now under the protection of my Heart.  You are to be kept safely in the palm of my hands, stay in my hands and give me yours.  Because you see, the hands of a priest are something very important.  That is why as part of the Rite of Ordination, they are anointed with Chrism, to signify that they are being set-apart. That, in a sense, these hands no longer belong exclusively to yourself, but they are surrendered, consecrated for the service of the salvation of souls.  Fr John gave The Lord his hands; so that they could belong exclusively to Him; so that they can be put at the service of the world, not for taking, but for giving, for being the means whereby God’s divine touch can reach the world. 

From that moment those hands are to be used only for good: they are to pour the water in Baptism; to anoint souls in Confirmation and the sick and suffering; to invoke the Holy Spirit over the offerings at Mass and feed His people on the Bread of Life; and, to raise his hand in absolution, remembering at the same time that he is a recipient of the divine mercy.

But for all our frailties, the people of God have never ceased putting their trust in the power of God at work through our ministry. the ministry of Fr John. Today my mind also goes back to the retreat for priest which we made in the village of Ars in 2017. It was the home of famous Curé: St John Vianney. I recall some words he spoke of the priesthood as if incapable of understanding the greatness of the gift and task entrusted to him, a mere human creature:

Oh, how great is the priest! … If he realised what he is, he would die… God obeys him: he utters a few words and the Lord descends from heaven at his voice, to be contained within a small host…Explaining to his parishioners the importance of the Sacraments, he would say: Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if a soul should happen to die [as a result of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest… After God, the priest is everything! … Only in heaven will he fully realise what he is.

These words that welled-up from the priestly heart of the Saint, might sound excessive nowadays.  Yet they reveal the high esteem in which he held the sacrament of the priesthood.  He seemed overwhelmed by a boundless sense of responsibility, and all of us priests have that same sense, no less today than on the day of our Ordination. 

St Benedict—on whose feast Fr John was Ordained—is very strong and direct in what he says to his monks about the duty they have to seek holiness. 

In his Rule, St Benedict says: Just because he is a priest, he may not therefore forget the obedience and discipline of the rule, but must make more and more progress toward God.(RB 62.4)  All of us are called to holiness, but the holiness expected of the priest derives from the fact that he is the custodian of the mysteries of God, mysteries he handles every day at the Altar, and for which he must one day give an account of his stewardship. St Norbert puts it rather bluntly: Take care, oh Priest, lest what was said to Christ on the cross be said to you: He saved others, himself he cannot save!

That is why the main thing Fr John would ask of you today—and I do so on his behalf—is to pray earnestly for him daily. Pray for more priest, that there will be a priests to take his place one day so that the people of God may be feed and nourished on Jesus, the Bread of Eternal life. And as we pray we also thank. On behalf of the Bishop and our Diocese I thank Father John for everything he has done and continues to do, wearing a number of different hats, he has served the Church with fidelity and generosity these forty years.

When the mother of St John Paul II died, when he was only eight years old, he went to the Shrine of the Jasna Gora and said to Mary: Now you will be my Mother.  When as priests we no longer have our earthly mothers at our side, we know that we have the Mother of Our Lord assisting us.  I know Fr John has a love for Our Blessed Mother.  She has a special love for him, because she can see in him the image of her Son. We therefore go to her and commend the ministry of Fr John to her continued care and motherly help, that he and all priests, may be ever more faithful icons of the face of her Divine Son, Jesus Christ.

Msgr Kevin W Hale VG

Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Leigh-on-Sea

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