Third Sunday of Advent, Year A, Matthew, 2022

 Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Faith isn’t always a bright glowing light but rather a faint flicker to which we cling. We walk by faith and by sight and perceive God as in a mirror, dimly and only in part. The truth is that, for many, faith is lived in a fog of darkness and is often put to the test. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church so eloquently expresses it: ‘The world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seems to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it’.

This was the experience of John the Baptist as he languished in Herod’s prison. As he awaited his fate, this great forerunner of the Lord, the last Old Testament prophet, probably shackled and no doubt hungry and tired, succumbed to doubt and uncertainty. Needing reassurance, he sent his disciples to ask the Lord, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? Jesus pointed to his miracles and the power of God as signs that he is the Messiah, the Lord’s anointed. 

Even John the Baptist, this outstanding herald of faith, wavered as his faith was tested. Nevertheless, Jesus held him up as the greatest man ever born while in the very next breath asserting that even the very least in Jesus’ kingdom is greater than this giant of faith. Clinging to Jesus through the ups and downs of life, the times of challenge and testing, the periods of darkness and near despair, is what makes even the least in the kingdom great. Faith we learn, it what most pleases God: faith in his Son Jesus. 

During this holy season of Advent we turn to the great witnesses of faith: to St. John the Baptist, to Abraham, our father in faith, who believed against hope, to Mary our Mother who often walked her pilgrimage in the light of faith, and many others.   AA_03G2

Come Lord Jesus, Come!’

Dear Friends in Christ,           3rd Sunday of Advent 2022

Today is Gaudete Sunday, and marks the mid-way point of our Holy Advent Season. The word ‘Gaudete’ means to ‘Rejoice’, and we look forward in anticipation rejoicing that the Saviour Jesus Christ will be born for us once again this Christmas. This is such a beautiful time of the year, as we prepare for Christmas. We are given the great mission to be able to ‘Prepare the Way for the Lord’, just like John the Baptist did. We can do this in so many ways in our homes and in our lives. Don’t let this Advent Season pass you by and do nothing!

OUR PARISH GRAND CHRISTMAS DRAW & HAMPERS: I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the whole parish community for your incredible generous giving for our Christmas Event. To all those who donated Prizes for the Grand Draw a BIG THANK YOU! There were three Colour Televisions donated, a Nintendo Switch, Air Pods, Echo & Alexa Devices, Air Fryer, Various Marco Pierre White London Restaurant Vouchers, Zizzi Restaurant Voucher. Also a BIG THANK YOU to all who donated food stuffs for the making of Hampers. Some parishioners made up Hampers themselves. 

Also this is a last call for the return of Draw Tickets please!  

If you have Cakes, Mince Pies, Apple Pies, please bring them to the Parish Hall Saturday or Sunday Morning. And finally please come and support us on Sunday 11th December after the 11.00am Mass.

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. As part of our Catholic Spirituality, the Catholic Church requires us to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once a year. This will be a wonderful opportunity to avail yourselves of the Sacrament of God’s healing and forgiving love through Confession. There will be visiting priests, including a Polish priest, to hear confessions. Please make every effort possible to attend the Penance Service. 

Attached to your Parish Newsletter this week is my Christmas Card to you all. I wish you all the Season’s Greetings.

May God Bless You All,  

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. 

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION CLASSES:  Continue on Sunday 11th 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 recently, a few had apologised. 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 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

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 or Fr John. 0208 508 3492 GRAND CLEAN OF CHURCH FOR CHRISTMAS THURSDAY 22nd DECEMBER 10.00am 

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. Also, if anyone has any spare bottles; Whiskey, Gin Port. If anyone could oblige over the Christmas period I’d be most grateful; they start arriving from 20th December onwards.Pontifical North American College, HD Png Download - harvard png



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.

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
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 ...

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.

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

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.

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!

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

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

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.

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

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, 1st January New Year’s Day. 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!

CHARITY JAZZ CONCERT AT ST EDMUND’S On 25th February (3.00-5.00pm) the here will be a an afternoon jazz concert at St Edmund’s Hall in aid of The Essex based Helen Rollason Cancer Charity. The wonderful Winnie Greer, “science teacher by day Jazz singer by night”, will be performing Jazz classics and some contemporary pieces. It should be a wonderful afternoon raising money for a great cause. Tickets are £20 each and available from the link below

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:

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 Thank you and we hope to hear from you soon.

FROM OUR GIFT AID ORGANISER: Our Parish Gift Aid Organiser is Abbie Akinfenwa – 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!


Sat 10th                 10.00amJoe Hynes RIP (Manley Family)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 10th                                                6.00pm PC Joseph RIP (Anni) (Kumar Family)
Sun 11th                        9.00amEllen & Eugene Carney RIP (Catherine Knight)
Sun 11th                       11:00amDavid Bloomfield RIP 1st Anni (Geraldine Bloomfield)
Mon 12th                                                   9.00amDeryk Dodd RIP (Anthony Family)
Tues 13th      9.00amVeronica Godsave RIP (Peter & Christine Burrowes)
Wed 14th                                                            10.00amTheresa, Tony, Lynn & Peter Faud’s Int’s
Thur 15th                                                          10.00amReuben Dorn’s Int’s (John O’Rourke)
Fri 16th                              10.00amVeronica Godsave RIP (Esther Penn)
Sat 17th                    10.00amRemy’s Int’s (Frank Westcott)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 17th                                                                             6.00pmPeople of the Parish
Sun 18th                                                                      9.00amLeonard & Phyllis Attard (Frances Beck)
Sun 18th                                              11:00amStephen Griffiths RIP (Mylena)

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:

The Brentwood Diocesan Trust     Registered Charity No. 234092

3rd Sunday of Advent

First Reading : Isaiah 35:1-6,10

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult,

let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,

let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,

let it rejoice and sing for joy.

The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,

the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;

they shall see the glory of the Lord,

the splendour of our God.

Strengthen all weary hands,

steady all trembling knees

and say to all faint hearts,

‘Courage! Do not be afraid.

‘Look, your God is coming,

vengeance is coming,

the retribution of God;

he is coming to save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

the ears of the deaf unsealed,

then the lame shall leap like a deer

and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy

for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.

They will come to Zion shouting for joy,

everlasting joy on their faces;

joy and gladness will go with them

and sorrow and lament be ended.

Responsive Psalm : Psalm 145(146):6-10

Come, Lord, and save us.

It is the Lord who keeps faith for ever,

  who is just to those who are oppressed.

It is he who gives bread to the hungry,

  the Lord, who sets prisoners free,

Come, Lord, and save us.

It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind,

  who raises up those who are bowed down,

the Lord, who protects the stranger

  and upholds the widow and orphan.

Come, Lord, and save us.

It is the Lord who loves the just

  but thwarts the path of the wicked.

The Lord will reign for ever,

  Zion’s God, from age to age.

Come, Lord, and save us.

Second Reading : James 5:7-10

Be patient, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. Think of a farmer: how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains! You too have to be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon. Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in submitting with patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Gospel : Matthew 11:2-11

John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’

  As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:

‘Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;

he will prepare your way before you.

‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’


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