St. Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Third Sunday of Advent, Year C

Gaudete Sunday
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What does God want for you during this Advent season? What does the Spirit want to do within and for you? What blessings await you? What grace and anointing will be poured out upon you? We don’t tend to think in this way, having learnt not to expect or hope for too much so that we won’t be disappointed. However, this isn’t a Christian way to think because Christians expect great things. 

Many centuries before Jesus came, the prophet Zephaniah said: The Lord God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.’ This Advent, God wants to renew you in his love. We can anticipate and rely on the truth that this is what God wants for us.

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John the Baptist shows us how this renewal occurs: through repentance and turning away from sin. Of course, we cannot confess our sins to God on our own, but the best way to do this is through the sacrament of reconciliation; truly the sacrament of mercy and forgiveness. 

It can be hard to acknowledge our sinfulness and weakness. It takes courage and a willingness to let God’s light shine into the deepest and darkest parts or us. This can be a lonely and daunting journey, but God is with us. There is no sin that God cannot forgive. There is not sinner beyond his mercy and forgiveness. There is only grace, mercy and forgiveness as we are renewed in God’s love. So don’t be afraid; take courage and be assured of his love and mercy.

Our brokenness is the wound through which the full power of God can penetrate our being and transfigure us in God. Loneliness is not something from which we must flee but the place from which we can cry out to God, where God will find us and we can find God…Yes, through our wounds the power of God can penetrate and become like rivers of living water to irrigate the arid earth within us. Thus we may irrigate the arid earth of others, so that hope and love are reborn.’ (Jean Vanier)

Dear Friends in Christ,         3rd Sunday of Advent 2021

I have just received the new guidelines from the Catholic Bishops Conference with regards the Guidance for Churches in light of the new Omicron variant. Effective immediately, the wearing of face coverings in Churches; which is now mandatory in all places of worship. Singing is permissible, but it is recommended that face coverings continue to be worn.

The scientific advice is that the Booster Jab will give up to 75% protection against this Omicron variant, which manifestly, is becoming the new variant overtaking Delta. The general advice is to get your Booster Jab as soon as possible. It’s quite alarming how quickly the numbers are rising once again this season.

We will continue to provide hand sanitiser as you enter and leave the church; also the benches are sanitised after the masses. We all need to be sensible and respect each other during this Pandemic.      

PARISH GRAND DRAW: On Sunday 12th December after the 11.00am Mass we will have the Parish Grand Draw. I would like to thank all those parishioners who have kindly donated some truly wonderful prizes, your generosity is extraordinary. Also to the many parishioners who have donated Christmas Food Items to make up Christmas Hampers, also many donated various bottles of spirits and wine; there are some truly incredible hampers.  https://tse3.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.e8cpDsMi7SttWSM85JYS9gHaEI&pid=Api&P=0&w=289&h=162

Unfortunately, due to the present Covid situation, we thought it prudent not to go ahead with a Coffee Morning after the 11.00am Mass. The Draw will take place and winners will be notified by phone to collect your prizes. 

I would like to thank Kelsey, Lorraine & Iain for the hard work going on in the background; on advertising, and the making up of Hampers. It’s no mean task putting all this together, and I’m truly grateful for their extraordinary generosity of spirit. 

PARISH ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE: As you know, due to the Pandemic many parishioners have not had the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. At our recent Deanery Meeting we decided to go ahead with a Penance Service here at St. Edmund’s. It will be on Monday 20th December at 8.00pm. There will be visiting priests to assist with the Confessions, also a Polish Priest if any of our polish parishioners would like to celebrate the sacrament in Polish.

Wishing you all a Happy & Blessed Week,  

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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 PLEASE BE GENEROUS IN YOUR
Account Number: 11019651 GIFT TO GOD & HIS CHURCH

PARISH FINANCES: As you can appreciate, during this pandemic the parish income took a severe hit, and we are still not back at the same levels as we were prior to 2020. My sincere and grateful thanks to those who have signed up for online giving and Gift Aid, this is helping. Many parishioners have not returned to the regular practice of faith, and many Gift Aid boxes were not collected this year. Please consider your weekly offertory to God.  
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RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS The Presbytery at 7.30pm next session on Thursday 16th December. We will now break for Christmas and resume again on Thursday If you want to know more about the programme, and the whole RCIA process, please contact Fr John, Tel No: 0208 508 3492 or Email:  loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.org

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PROGRAMME: The next session is on Sunday 12th December at 10.00am. Our Theme this week is Caring – This week the children will lead the Sunday Liturgy, reading, prayers of intercession, Offertory. This acquaints them with the different parts of the Mass and teaches them that everyone can be involved. 

ST JOHN FISHER SCHOOL: JOB VACANCY – Full time, School Site Manager. The School are seeking to appoint a caring, resourceful, reliable, and self-motivated Site Manager, who will take great pride in the school premises and grounds. Please email school for further details Admin@st-johnfisher.essex.sch.uk 

REPOSITORY:  It’s still not too late to purchase your religious Christmas items! Available this weekend, a large selection of Religious Christmas Cards, (please think about sending religious cards, signifying the true meaning of Christmas). Christmas Mass Cards, Advent Calendars, Christmas Candles, Cribs – there are some truly wonderful Nativity Scenes for your homes; and other Christmas Items.  All items are marked with prices, and there is a box available for the money for items. Thank you!    Thank you Teresa for all the wonderful ordering of Christmas items this year!

CHRISTMAS MASSES: In light of ongoing restrictions due to Covid the Christmas Masses will be family simple this year. We will have some well-known Carols that people can sing without hymn books. Sadly, there will be no Children’s Mass with Tableau. But I do invite all of our parishioners to make that extra special effort to celebrate the Lord’s Birthday. It’s been a hard year for all of us; we really need the presence of the Lord in our lives at this time.  https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.vCWeuaLSGwhmCZ4cvcX8uwHaHt&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

I’ve attached my annual Christmas Card with message, and times of Masses over the Christmas / New Year period.

There is a Newsletter for every family this Weekend

Christmas Eve Masses: 5.00pm, 7.00pm & 10.00pm (Choral Mass)

Christmas Day Masses: 9.00am & 11.00am (Choral Mass) 

BAPTISMS: It is now permissible once again to have Baptisms with larger groups of family & guests. Manifestly, there are many people who haven’t been able to have baptisms over the past 20 months. Kindly contact Fr. John to arrange your child’s baptism as soon as possible please. There is a Baptism Programme for first time parents. 
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ALTAR SOCIETY: If anyone else would like to join the Altar Society please contact Sharon Fitzmaurice on 07854919207 or shazzafitzm@aol.com It probably works out to about an hour a month, and you can do as much or as little as you wish; the more help we have the easier it is to keep the church really clean. Thanking you in anticipation! The Grand Christmas Clean will take place on Tuesday 21st December at 9.30am. Please join us if you can for an hour or so to prepare the Church for our Christmas Masses. 

EPPING FOREST FOODBANK DONATIONS: Thank you to all parishioners who continue to generously donate items for the Foodbank. They 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: tinned soup, tinned spaghetti, tinned tomatoes, savoury crackers, sponge puddings, chocolate bars, small and medium bags of rice, snack bars and razors. Thank you! You can also keep up to date with the Foodbank news via their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EppingForestFoodbank/

THE THRESHOLDS OF HOPE QUESTIONS:  are a series of talks for adults who want to grow in understanding and confidence when questioned or speaking about their Catholic Faith. The talks and discussion take place on Zoom from 4.00 – 5.00 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.  

The next talk will be on the 12th December and the question being explored is, What does the Incarnation of Christ mean? The input and discussion will be led by Fr David Pearce. For more information about The Thresholds of Hope Questions go to events www.thresholdsofhope.co.uk 

ADVENT CAROL SERVICE: You are warmly invited to join us at Walsingham House at Abbotswick for our annual Advent Carol Service on Sunday 12th December. We will have Christmas carols both classic and contemporary performed by our incredibly talented BCYS musicians, accompanied with readings from scripture and Christmas poems & stories. This year we are running two concerts, at 3pm or 7pm, however there will be limited capacity at each event and this will be dependent on any current Government restrictions or social distancing, in place at the time. Tickets are £10 and the money will go towards supporting our pilgrimages to Lourdes. To book your place please contact Joe Beattie, Walsingham House manager on josephbeattie@dioceseofbrentwood.org or 01277 373 959. 

BCYS SUMMER LOURDES PILGRIMAGE: 2022: 23rd – 30th July 2022.

Applications are now open for our summer pilgrimage to Lourdes for those in Years 11-13, with those of school leaver age (18+) invited to join us as young leaders. This is one of our most popular events and after a 2 year gap we are excited to be returning next year.  The week is spent travelling alongside the main Diocesan pilgrimage as we assist the elderly and infirm with going to Masses and services, as well as visiting shops and cafes within the town.  For those travelling with the BCYS the week will also include a retreat, reconciliation service, as well as social events and a party.  Please see www.bcys.net/events/sl22/ for more information including visas, vaccinations and how to apply

A SUNDAY EVENING PARISH YOUTH MASS: We’ve had a couple of these popular and enjoyable Masses over the past few years and hopefully we’ll be able to organise one, possibly in the New Year. The idea would be that you could get involved with the music and the readings and make it your own celebration. Hopefully, we will also have a social gathering in the hall afterwards

PARISH ALTAR SERVERS: It had taken a number of years to build up a good team of Altar Servers. Sadly, since the Pandemic, many have not returned to serving at the Altar. As a matter of courtesy I would be sincerely grateful to know if you have any intention of returning to the regular practice of  Altar Serving? If you have no intention of serving anymore more it would be good to know; and also, if you could kindly return your albs, laundered please. I really feel saddened by this, as this is a most truly wonderful ministry for our young pepople to participate in. If there are any other young pepople in the parish who would liike to start serving, could you let Fr John know as soon as possible.https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.s7-pS7ljlHJkxAexkmsZ7AAAAA&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

IRREGULAR MARRIAGES: An Irregualr Marriage is one that 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 

ST JOHN FISHER CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, LOUGHTON PRIMARY SCHOOL ADMISSIONS: As your parish school, St John Fisher provides a distinctively Catholic education for your children. St John Fisher is an excellent School where we teach your children, in accordance with our Mission Statement – “The love of God helps us all to live, learn, and grow to be a happy, caring and welcoming community.”  St John Fisher School is a place filled with love of learning. It is a place where, as a Catholic community, we celebrate the successes of our children in all areas of school life through our distinctive curriculum.

Visits to the school are warmly welcomed and encouraged. Please do see for yourself the excellent education and enhanced learning environment we provide. We welcome mid-year applications. 

Visits are held every Monday at 9.30 am, with the Headteacher. Mr Kendal.  Please contact the school on 0208 508 6315 or email:          

admissions@st-johnfisher.essex.sch.uk to arrange a visit.

For admission to the school’s Reception Class, September 2022 please apply by 15th January 2022

DIARY DECEMBER 2021

PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE SICK IN OUR PARISH

Carmen Antaki, Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, 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, Mary Witten, James Wright. And all our loved ones. 

ANNIVERSARIES: Please pray for all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescant in Pace.

REQUIESCAT IN PACE: Please pray for the repose of the Soul of Noreen Burrowes, who passed away last week. Noreen was a long time parishioners at St. Edmund’s and was married her over 60 years ago. We extend our condolences to her husband Colin and family in this time of great loss. The Cremation Service will take place at Forest Park Crematorium on Tuesday 14th December at 3.45pm

REQUIESCAT IN PACE: In your mercy please pray for the repose of the Soul of Dennis Randall RIP, long-time parishioner at St Edmund’s. His Requiem Mass will take place on Friday 17th December at 1.30pm. Followed by cremation at Forest Park Crematorium at 3.00pm We extend our condolences to his wife Maureen and their family in this time of great loss.  

MESSAGE FROM THE CONTEMPORARY MUSIC GROUP: We were very saddened to hear that our musician and friend, Dennis Randall, died last Saturday, 4th December.  We are honoured to have been asked to play and sing at Dennis’ funeral Mass, which will take place at St. Edmund’s at 1.30pm this coming Friday, 17th December and we do hope that many of us can be there.  Also, on our behalf, Fr. John will be offering up the 11am Mass for Dennis on Sunday, 2nd January, which is our next Group Mass.  Until just before the first lockdown, Dennis regularly played his guitar at our monthly 11am Sunday Mass. He was a founder member of our Group from the very early days when we were known as the Folk Choir; this was around 1973, close to 50 years ago.  Dennis was always kind, gentle and unassuming and his many, many years of serving our Parish in this musical way will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, dear friend Dennis.

MASS INTENTIONS – DECEMBER 2021

Sat 11th              10.00amVeronica & Steve Short Int’s. ((Remi)
Vigil Mass for Sunday: Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 11th                 6.00pm Kathleen McDowell RIP (Gunn Family)
Sun 12th                           9.00amMarie-Yvonne Poulter RIP (Kendal Family)
Sun 12th                                  11:00amMichael John Bullock RIP (Steven Bullock)
Mon 13th                     10.00amEileen & George Whatmore RIP. Rose & John Leonard RIP (M Duffy)
Tues 14th                                                                           10.00amMaria & Joao Servo RIP. Modesta & Joaquim  RIP (Adelaide Alves)
Wed 15th                                10.00amJohn Anthony Harvey RIP (Fr John)
Thurs 16th                 10.00amFr Tom Kearney SMA, RIP (Marjorie Fairlamb)
Fri 17th                        10.00am10.30am1.30pmFr Patrick Haward B’day Ints. (M Duffy)Holy Hour with Exposition of Bl. SacramentRequiem Mass.   Dennis Randall RIP 
Sat 18th                          10.00amAnn Campbell RIP ((B Bryant)
Vigil Mass for Sunday Confessions 5.30pm
Sat 18th                               6.00pmDeirdre McShane RIP (Sheehy Family)
Sun 19th                          9.00amPeople of the Parish
Sun 19th     11:00amMalcolm Campbell (B’day anni)(B Bryant)

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. 

Parish Phone No: 0208 508 3492  Email: loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.org

ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE: Monday 20th December at 8.00pm 

3rd Sunday of Advent

First Reading : Zephaniah 3:14-18

Shout for joy, daughter of Zion,

Israel, shout aloud!

Rejoice, exult with all your heart,

daughter of Jerusalem!

The Lord has repealed your sentence;

he has driven your enemies away.

The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst;

you have no more evil to fear.

When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem:

Zion, have no fear,

do not let your hands fall limp.

The Lord your God is in your midst,

a victorious warrior.

He will exult with joy over you,

he will renew you by his love;

he will dance with shouts of joy for you

as on a day of festival.

Responsorial Psalm : Isaiah 12

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Truly, God is my salvation,

  I trust, I shall not fear.

For the Lord is my strength, my song,

  he became my saviour.

With joy you will draw water

  from the wells of salvation.

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!

  Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!

  Declare the greatness of his name.

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Sing a psalm to the Lord

  for he has done glorious deeds;

  make them known to all the earth!

People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,

  for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Second Reading : Philippians 4:4-7

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.

  There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.

Gospel : Luke 3:10-18

When all the people asked John, ‘What must we do?’ he answered, ‘If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’ There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master, what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate.’ Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’

  A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fan is in his hand to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’ As well as this, there were many other things he said to exhort the people and to announce the Good News to them.

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