Second Sunday of Advent, Year A, Matthew, 2022

Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Once again the phrase ‘the kingdom of heaven’ features in our reading. If we are to understand this phrase as a sort of shorthand summary standing for ‘the place where the Father’s will is being done’, then our reading today can be seen to continue teaching us the steps of the journey of placing ourselves under the Father’s will.

John the Baptist’s message was a call to repentance: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’ It is as if he was saying: ‘We are on the very edge of really letting ourselves live under the Father’s will. But there is a big obstacle. We need to repent!’ When it comes to doing the Father’s will. There is a huge obstacle – we have discussed this already when we looked at the house built on sand. The big obstacle is the power of our own self-will. But the text tells us that the people came to John to be baptised in the River Jordan, and that they were confessing their sins! Is there a difference between the sins and self-will? Look at what John said to the Sadducees and Pharisees. He accused them of being a brood of vipers. Strong stuff! What made him use such a bitter metaphor? The image is gruesome – we cringe at images of writhing, hissing snakes. https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.sh9t02aEF9hDajn-982ZgAAAAA&pid=Api&P=0

Surely, it is not much to do with the failings and weakness we usually think of as sins. There is something more powerful at work, and we can and may overlook it, but on a daily basis we experience it.  

Surely, it is not much to do with the failings and weakness we usually think of as sins. There is something more powerful at work, and we can overlook it. We may overlook it, but on a daily basis we experience it. As soon as anything in our day comes up against our self-will, the reaction is immediate. And it turns us in an instant from being a happy, peaceful, kindly human being into a seething ball of reaction and anger. We are really only conscious of our self-will and its power when something or someone challenges or comes up against us. Reflect for a moment on those incidences that happen in a car, or in the supermarket, or in any situation where we get upset. What is really happening? It is not that my self-will is being exposed? Suddenly, the veneer of my kindly façade is torn down and the viper is revealed. Strong stuff indeed!

Dear Friends in Christ,         2nd Sunday of Advent 2022

GRAND DRAW TICKETS: May I appeal to the whole Parish Community to kindly return your sold Draw Tickets and Stubbs as soon as possible please. The Grand Draw will take place on Sunday 11th December after the 11.00am Mass in the Parish Hall. There are some truly Wonderful Prizes! There will be a Coffee Morning and Bake Sale. Can I make a special appeal to all bakers for home-made cakes and pies; Cupcakes, Bread-pudding, and various other pastries? If you can help with baking please sign the list in the porch. Also volunteers on that Sunday would be most welcome!

A BIG THANK YOU to all who have donated Grand Draw Prizes, also food items to make up the Christmas Hampers. In these difficult times, you never cease to amaze me with your kindness and generosity. It’s still not too late to donate Prizes & Food items. Flat Screen TV, Laptop, Other New Electrical Goods, Restaurant Vouchers, Hotel Vouchers, National Trust Family Memberships, Crate of Wine, and Department Store Vouchers. Also Smart Tech Wearables: Fit Bits, Garmins, Air Pods, Beats, Echo & Alexa Devices. These can be left in the Christmas Box in Church Porch or Presbytery Christmas Boxes.  Most important please come and join us on Sunday 11th December in the Parish Hall.

PARISH PENITENTIAL SERVICE: Monday 19th December at 7.30pm. As part of our spiritual preparation for Christmas, it’s so important to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There will be visiting priests, including a Polish priest, to hear confessions. Please make every effort possible to attend the Penance Service.

ADVANCED NOTICE OF CHRISTMAS MASSES: Christmas Eve there will be two Masses at 6.00pm Family Mass & 10.00pm (with carols at 9.45pm).  Christmas Day two Masses at 9.00am & 11.00am. Please note the times of all the Christmas Masses this year.https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.f3Dybiij-xnKe7D8amsmGgHaHt&pid=Api&P=0

REQUIESCAT IN PACE: In your mercy please pray for the repose of the soul of Charles Westcott RIP, father of Frank Westcott our parish seminarian. The body will be received into the Church on Thursday 8th December at 4.30pm, and the requiem Mass will take place on Friday 9th December at 2.00pm. There will be no morning mass or Exposition that day.  Sincere condolences to Frank & his sister Lorraine in this time of great loss.

May God Bless You All, 

TO ALL OUR CAKE MAKERS AND BAKERS: This is an appeal to everyone in the Parish who Bake. We need Cakes, cup-cakes, lemon-drizzle, bread pudding, apple pies, crumbles, etc. We would like these for a Bake Sale at our Grand Christmas Draw Event next Sunday 11th December after the 11.00am Mass.  I encourage all of our parishioners to come along and support us for the Parish’s only fund-raising event of the year.  

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION CLASSES:  Continue on Sunday 4th December at 10.00am in the Parish Retreat. It is imperative that all children attend each of the Communion Classes. Very sadly, a large number of parents didn’t attend the Parents’ Meeting last Wednesday, a few had apologised. These meetings are not optional, and there are only a few each year. It’s extremely embarrassing when a guest speaker is invited to talk to parents and the parents aren’t even present. It’s also come to my attention that some children are not attending Weekly Sunday Mass. If this is the case, I would think very seriously about putting your child forward for Communion; the last thing I want to do is have a weekly register, like many of the parishes throughout the diocese. It really is not fair on the child if they are absent from the weekly celebration. This is really a serious issue! Next Sunday, 11th December, the Children will be leading the 11.00am Mass, all the children will be present.   If you are unable to attend any session for some reason please contact Fr. John directly (not Mrs Poulter) Tel: 02085083492  https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.BPQt7mIS0IR5uDR3P4Ft_gHaHa&pid=Api&P=0

CAN YOU HELP? We are desperately in need of additional help for the Altar Society; over the past year or so, we’ve lost a number of our regular helpers who clean the church. If you are able to give half an hour or so every month to help keep our Church beautifully clean and tidy, this is all we ask. If you’re able to help please contact Sharon Fitzmaurice 07854919207 or shazzafitzm@aol.com or Fr John. 0208 508 3492 
Pontifical North American College, HD Png Download - harvard png

WELCOME:  I would like to let you know in advance that we have four Seminarians from the Pontifical North American College joining us for Christmas and the New Year. It’s always a great pleasure welcoming the Seminarians. One of them is a Deacon, which is extremely helpful to me. As you can appreciate these young men all have healthy appetites, and love English desserts, apple pies, crumbles, trifles, etc. If anyone could oblige over the Christmas period Id be most grateful; they start arriving from 20th December onwards.

DAILY MASS AT ST EDMUND’S: I would like to make this special appeal, especially to those who may be retired, to think seriously about attending one or more of our daily masses at 10.00am Monday – Saturday. Daily Mass is truly a wonderful gift that is offered in nearly every parish. I get saddened sometimes as to how few people attend our weekday masses. We teach that the Holy Mass is the ‘source & summit’ of our Catholic Lives of faith. There is no greater gift that Christ gave us before his Passion, Death & Resurrection. Please think seriously about attending an additional Mass during the week; the Lord will afford you many graces and blessings.

REGISTERING AT THE PARISH: It’s always important to have details of all of our parishioners. There are Parish Registration Forms in the Porch of the Church. Please complete and return to the Presbytery.

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN A VOCATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD? At present we only have five seminarians training for the Priesthood in the Diocese of Brentwood. The period of formation for each is several years. If you know of anyone who may be interested in learning more about the priesthood, or who feels they may have a vocation to the Priesthood   please contact Fr Mark Swires vocprom@dioceseofbrentwood.org

ESCORTED PILGRIMAGE TO KNOCK SHRINE, IRELAND on 29th May 2023, led by Bishop Alan Williams. £699.00 per person, sharing; single supplement £150.00. Price includes flight, all transfers, 4 nights in Knock House Hotel with full board. All entertainment and excursions included. Day trips to Westport, Ballintubber Abbey, Croagh Patrick, Fr. Peyton Centre & National Museum. Contact Patricia on 01268 762278 or 07740 175557 or email knockpilgrimages@gmail.com.

PARISH REPOSITORY: There is a lot of new stock in the repository. Christmas Greetings Cards, Cribs, Advent Calendars, Christmas Candles. Mass Cards for deceased. Children’s books. There are also a number of CTS little books in a special stand on all sorts of different issues, the saints etc. There are Statues, rosaries, medals, bracelets. Teresa Wallace is happy to order anything your request; it usually takes about a week to arrive. 

BAPTISMS: If there are parents wishing to have their children baptised at St Edmund’s could you kindly contact Fr John as soon as possible. For first time parents there is a Baptismal Programme. Mrs Sharon Chalk runs our Baptismal Programme. Baptisms take place on either Saturday or Sunday at 12.30pm
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THIS IS AN APPEAL TO ALL THOSE WHO HAVEN’T RETURNED TO THE PRACTICE OF FAITH SINCE THE PANDEMIC: The greatest tragedy of the Pandemic is that so many of the faithful haven’t returned to the practice of their faith. It’s so easy to get out of the routine and habit of going to church, and as the passage of time passes, the conscience eases, until you reach a point when you don’t even think about it anymore. We all have so much to be grateful to Almighty God for; and being part of a Catholic Christian Community gives us all a great sense of belonging and identity. As we enter the Advent season I would like to invite all those Catholics who have not returned to the regular practice of faith to seriously think about your Catholic Vocation to be part of the life of Jesus Christ. As we prepare for his birth once again into our lives this Christmas, it would be a wonderful opportunity to return to the practice of faith. When you reflect on the shortness of our lives, you begin to realise that life is not a dress-rehearsal, every day counts, and before you know it life and passed and we stand alone before God accounting for our life. Never let there be missed opportunities!

CONTEMPORARY MUSIC GROUP: Will be singing and playing at the 11am Mass on Sunday, 4th December which is the second Sunday of Advent. Kindly arrive 20 minutes or so before Mass starts. We hope that many of you can make the practice and that all of you will be at the Mass. Thank you. New singers and musicians who may like to join us will be made very welcome! https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.5XtfCB2HO5X7f8sOD7OSugHaE5&pid=Api&P=0

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 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: pasta sauce, rice pudding, jam, tinned fruit, snack / breakfast bars, chocolate bars, shower gel, toilet roll and deodorant. URGENTLY NEEDED: Small jars of coffee, washing up liquid, sponge pudding desserts and instant mash. Thank you! You can also keep up to date with the Foodbank news via their facebook page: www.facebook.com/EppingForestFoodbank/

DIARY DECEMBER  2022

PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE SICK IN OUR PARISH

Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, Karl Britz, Carlos Camacho, Jane Downs, Steve Dalgliesh, Pat Fenn, Bernadette Hall, Ann Hawkes, Claire Howes, Jackie Ilines, Noel Johnson, Shaun Keel, Bridget Kinsella, Angela Long, Lilian Mothersole, John McKernan, Rosemary O’Rourke, Remy, Geraldine Taylor, Vera Taylor, Mary Witten, James Wright. And all our loved ones.   

ANNIVERSARIES: Peter Smith RIP & All our Holy Souls.  Please pray for all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescant in Pace.

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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

SPECIAL APPEAL To all our parishioners who contribute to your parish weekly. Would you please consider to transferring your Weekly Offertory over to a Direct Debit. With the closing of the local HSBC Bank it has been quite difficult paying in the Offertory, and with many banks now only offering a machine deposit service. Please think about this request. Thank you! 

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.  Giving & payments go online at Mt. Olive – Mount Olive ...

ALTAR SERVERS: Recently we had over 30 children make their First Holy Communion. A couple of them have already started Altar Serving. I would like to make an appeal to the whole parish community for some more children to volunteer to become Altar Servers. It is a wonderful way of serving God and the community. Just speak to Fr John directly and he will arrange for training and for you to receive and Alb & Cincture.

If there are children who no longer serve at St Edmund’s, would you kindly return your Alb & Cincture as soon as possible please

PARISH UTILITIES: Thankfully, the weather has been pretty mild up to now. May I make an appeal to the whole parish community to kindly remember in your weekly offertory, and especially during these winter months, the use of the utilities in our very big buildings. We are now all on the receiving end of larger Utility Bills. I’m sure we’re all being very careful with the usage of heating and lighting. I don’t think this is something that is going to go away!

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

CHILDREN’S SUNDAY LITURGY: Thank you for starting children’s Sunday Liturgy again. But we need more help. Parents, can you spare one Sunday every two months to help the children during the 11.00am Mass? We need more parents to join our lovely group. Please contact Mrs Elena Manara at e_vismara@yahoo.com Thank you and we hope to hear from you soon.https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.KxgdS7dpVdlMC8SllI_8fgHaHa&pid=Api&P=0&w=174&h=174

FROM OUR GIFT AID ORGANISER: Our Parish Gift Aid Organiser is Abbie Akinfenwa – abbie.akinfenwa@btinternet.com or text to 0775470934 with your name and gift aid number.  I would encourage all parishioners to join the Parish Gift Aid Scheme. If you are a Tax Payer, it’s a really painless process, all we need is you name and address, there are Gift Aid Application Forms in the Porch of the Church, and Abbie can give you all the help you need re information. We are able to claim back 25 pence in every pound donated to the church, when you use you envelopes or pay by Standing Order.  Please think about joining, and thanks to those who already belong! https://tse4.explicit.bing.net/th?id=OIP.82Iz4z848_74ROZ5P-evjQHaD8&pid=Api&P=0

MASS INTENTIONS – DECEMBER 2022

Sat 3rd                10.00amRemy’s Int’s (Frank Westcott)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 3rd                                               6.00pm Jacqueline Bonaventure Sheehy RIP (Mike Sheehy)
Sun 4th                       9.00amDennis Randall RIP (The Randall Family)
Sun 4th                      11:00amMaria Trillana (Get Well) (Sarah Ruiz)
Mon 5th                                                  10.00amFr Kieran Dodd RIP (Veronica & Steve Short)
Tues 6th     9.30amPeter Smith RIP (Paul Falco)
Wed 7th                                                           10.00amGrace Skinner Int’s (John O’Rourke)
Thur 8th                                                         10.00amJoaqim Alves RIP (Adelaide Alves)
Fri 9th                             2.00pmRequiem Mass. Charles Westcott RIP
Sat 10th                   10.00amJoe Hynes RIP (Manley Family)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 10th                                                                            6.00pmPC Joseph RIP (Anni) (Kumar Family)
Sun 11th                                                                     9.00amDavid Bloomfield RIP 1st Anni (Geraldine Bloomfield)
Sun 11th                                             11:00amEllen & Eugene Carney RIP (Catherine Knight)

Please kindly put your Mass requests in early for anniversaries etc., this is to avoid any disappointment if a particular date has already been booked,

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

The Brentwood Diocesan Trust     Registered Charity No. 234092

2nd Sunday of Advent

First Reading : Isaiah 11:1-10

A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse,

a scion thrusts from his roots:

on him the spirit of the Lord rests,

a spirit of wisdom and insight,

a spirit of counsel and power,

a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

(The fear of the Lord is his breath.)

He does not judge by appearances,

he gives no verdict on hearsay,

but judges the wretched with integrity,

and with equity gives a verdict for the poor of the land.

His word is a rod that strikes the ruthless,

his sentences bring death to the wicked.

Integrity is the loincloth round his waist,

faithfulness the belt about his hips.

The wolf lives with the lamb,

the panther lies down with the kid,

calf and lion feed together,

with a little boy to lead them.

The cow and the bear make friends,

their young lie down together.

The lion eats straw like the ox.

The infant plays over the cobra’s hole;

into the viper’s lair

the young child puts his hand.

They do no hurt, no harm,

on all my holy mountain,

for the country is filled with the knowledge of the Lord

as the waters swell the sea.

That day, the root of Jesse

shall stand as a signal to the peoples.

It will be sought out by the nations

and its home will be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm : 

Psalm 71(72):1-2,7-8,12-13,17

In his days justice shall flourish, and peace till the moon fails.

O God, give your judgement to the king,

  to a king’s son your justice,

that he may judge your people in justice

  and your poor in right judgement.

In his days justice shall flourish, and peace till the moon fails.

In his days justice shall flourish

  and peace till the moon fails.

He shall rule from sea to sea,

  from the Great River to earth’s bounds.

In his days justice shall flourish, and peace till the moon fails.

For he shall save the poor when they cry

  and the needy who are helpless.

He will have pity on the weak

  and save the lives of the poor.

In his days justice shall flourish, and peace till the moon fails.

May his name be blessed for ever

  and endure like the sun.

Every tribe shall be blessed in him,

  all nations bless his name.

In his days justice shall flourish, and peace till the moon fails.

Second Reading : Romans 15:4-9

Everything that was written long ago in the scriptures was meant to teach us something about hope from the examples scripture gives of how people who did not give up were helped by God. And may he who helps us when we refuse to give up, help you all to be tolerant with each other, following the example of Christ Jesus, so that united in mind and voice you may give glory to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  It can only be to God’s glory, then, for you to treat each other in the same friendly way as Christ treated you. The reason Christ became the servant of circumcised Jews was not only so that God could faithfully carry out the promises made to the patriarchs, it was also to get the pagans to give glory to God for his mercy, as scripture says in one place: For this I shall praise you among the pagans and sing to your name.

Gospel : Matthew 3:1-12

In due course John the Baptist appeared; he preached in the wilderness of Judaea and this was his message: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’ This was the man the prophet Isaiah spoke of when he said:

A voice cries in the wilderness:

Prepare a way for the Lord,

make his paths straight.

This man John wore a garment made of camel-hair with a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers, who warned you to fly from the retribution that is coming? But if you are repentant, produce the appropriate fruit, and do not presume to tell yourselves, “We have Abraham for our father,” because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones. Even now the axe is laid to the roots of the trees, so that any tree which fails to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire. I baptise you in water for repentance, but the one who follows me is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to carry his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fan is in his hand; he will clear his threshing-floor and gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’

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