St. Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More
Jesus’ birth occurred against a backdrop of scandal and disappointment. As we immerse ourselves in the mystery and drama of Jesus’ birth, we touch the crushing disappointment Joseph endured on learning that his beloved Mary was pregnant. As a devout Jew he knew that the marriage could not proceed, and that the law, if rigidly applied, would result in punishment and judgement for his fiancée. Joseph’s anguish threatened to crush and break him. He was a righteous man, zealous in keeping God’s law, and must have felt shame and embarrassment. His prerogative under the Jewish law was either to insist on the letter of the law or to divorce Mary quietly, which meant signing legal papers to dissolve the union.
Into this seemingly all-too-human tragedy and scandal broke the illuminating light of God through the agency of a dream. In the dream an angel spoke to Joseph, informing him that Mary’s pregnancy was the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the son she bore was to be named Jesus. Scandal, shame and tragedy gave way to light, truth, dignity and salvation. This is God’s way. He makes the crooked straight, redeems the seemingly lost desperate situation, and replaces the anguish of scandal with dignity and joy. In the midst of every human tragedy and scandal we learn that Jesus is with us because Jesus is Emmanuel, which means, ‘God with us’.
At the dawn of history God’s plan of Salvation began with a couple, Adam and Eve, and at the heart of God’s emerging plan of salvation we also find a couple, Joseph and Mary. This teaches us that the family is sacred ground. Intended as a safe place where we can work out our salvation. Here we learn that God is with us. We learn that no scandal, drama, disappointment, hurt or upset, no tragedy, disgrace, indignity or outrage is beyond the healing mercy and forgiveness of God.
Today we rejoice in Mary and Joseph’s witness – especially their obedience and responsiveness to God’s will. Mary’s ‘yes’ to God began our salvation and Joseph’s acceptance of God’s plan ensured the safety and protection of mother and child.
Dear Friends in Christ, 4th Sunday of Advent 2022
As we enter into this fourth week of Advent, we continue to prepare ourselves for the Birthday of Our Lord & Saviour once again into our lives this Christmas. This is not just some nostalgic remembering, but a real journey of faith. If Jesus Christ is truly our Saviour, then the remembering of these significant events in his life, are also significant moments of faith in our own lives. The fact that God, the Creator of all, deigned to share our human nature in the innocence of the Christ child of Bethlehem, is the greatest event in the whole of the history of creation and the world. God who becomes one of us, in all things but sin, invites us to share in his life forever; this truly is something to celebrate and savour. Let us pray in these day head of the Incarnation ‘COME LORD JESUS!’
PARISH ADVENT 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.
CHRISTMAS MASSES 2023: Please note all the times of the Christmas Masses this year:
This Christmas Eve – Saturday 24th December the evening Christmas Masses will be at 6.00pm, this is a Family Mass with Christmas Tableau acted out by the little children. There will be a 10.00pm Mass, preceded by Sung Carols at 9.45pm. This will be a sung Choral Mass with Choir. – I encourage people to attend this Mass, as the numbers were quite low last year.
On Christmas Day Sunday 25th December Masses will be celebrated at 9.00am & 11.00am which will be a Sung Mass. Please make a very special effort to attend Holy Mass at Christmas. There is no more fitting way to welcome the Saviour Christ Child into our lives than the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
May God Bless You All,
A VERY BIG THANK YOU: Since Covid our lives have changed dramatically; also in light of the latest political and economic situation in our country, I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the whole parish community for your incredible response and generosity in our recent Christmas Grand Draw and Hampers. You donated some incredibly generous prizes. Also the food items and bottles helped to make up over thirty hampers. It’s true, that many people miss the Community and Social aspects of a Parish Bazaar, but in light of circumstances over the past few years, we have tried to do our best. Obviously, these events cannot happen without the efficient and helpful co-ordination and guidance of our Bazaar organisers. I personally thank Kelsey Howard & Lorrain Leith and their many helpers, who do so much in the back ground in preparation for such an event. Also, the many volunteers who helped us on the day with Teas & Coffees and a Bake Sale. It was truly wonderful to see so many people in the Parish hall last Sunday. With Donations and the Sale of Draw Tickets and Coffee morning we raised nearly £4,500.00 which is phenomenal! The money this year will be used to offset the increase in utility bills; lighting and heating in the Parish Church & Hall & Presbytery. Thank you, one and all!
WELCOME TO OUR GUESTS: This week we welcome 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. For some it’s their first time to the UK. As you can appreciate these young men all have healthy appetites, and love English desserts, apple pies, crumbles, mince pies, 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.
POINSETTIAS: If anyone would like to donate a Poinsettia to the Church in remembrance of a deceased loved one, please bring them to the Church at your convenience, and kindly put the name of your deceased loved one on the pot. This is a lovely and tangible way to remember our deceased loved ones at Christmas. They will help to decorate the Church and the Crib on the Sanctuary. There are some really full beautiful Poinsettias at Marks & Spencer’s.
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 & Steve 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.
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
THESE DETAILS CAN BE ALSO BE USED FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS OFFERING TO Fr JOHN, PLEASE QUOTE CHRISTMAS OFFERING & YOUR GIFT AID NUMBER. THANK YOU!
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.
ALTAR SERVERS: 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. With enrolment of New Altar Servers Monday 26th December at 11.00am. A beautiful Mass for the Family
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 18th December at 10.00am in the Parish Retreat. There will be Christmas Activities. It is imperative that all children attend each of the Communion Classes. 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. After next Sunday the children will break for the Christmas holidays and return on Sunday 8th January at 10.00am 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 email@example.com or Fr John. 0208 508 3492 GRAND CLEAN OF CHURCH FOR CHRISTMAS THURSDAY 22nd DECEMBER 10.00am
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
CONTEMPORARY MUSIC GROUP: Will be singing and playing at the 11am Mass on Sunday, 1st January 2023 which is 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!
DO YOU LIKE SINGING? As you know we have a wonderful Choir and Choir Director in Sue Farrow. We are looking for new choir members who like singing with others. We learn traditional and contemporary pieces of music, and also sing Motets in four parts. If you’re interested please speak to Sue or Fr John. Choir practice on Wednesdays & Saturdays.
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/
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you and we hope to hear from you soon.
FROM OUR GIFT AID ORGANISER: Our Parish Gift Aid Organiser is Abbie Akinfenwa – email@example.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!
MASS INTENTIONS – DECEMBER 2022
|Sat 17th||10.00am||Remy’s Int’s (Frank Westcott)|
|Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm|
|Sat 17th||6.00pm||People of the Parish|
|Sun 18th||9.00am||Leonard & Phyllis Attard RIP (Frances Beck)|
|Sun 18th||11:00am||Stephen Griffiths RIP (Mylena)|
|Mon 19th||10.00am7.30pm||David Faud RIP (The Faud Family)Parish Advent PENITENTIAL SERVICE|
|Tues 20th||10.00am||Giordano Mattea RIP (Peter & Christine Burrowes)|
|Wed 21st||10.00am||Matt McLoughlin RIP (Celine Sullivan)|
|Thur 22nd||10.00am||Michelina Ziolkowska (Ewa Michalik)|
|Fri 23rd||10.00am||Jim Sullivan RIP (Celine Sullivan)|
|Sat 24th Christmas Eve||6.00pm||Tommy Luby RIP (R Walsh)Family Christmas Mass with Tableau|
|Sat 24th Christmas Eve||9.45pm10.00pm||Carols Before Christmas MassJohn & Mary Harvey RIP (Fr John)|
|Sun 25th Christmas Day||9.00am||David Faud RIP (The Faud Family)|
|Sun 25th Christmas Day||11:00am||Peter Smith RIP (Paul Falco)|
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Brentwood Diocesan Trust Registered Charity No. 234092
4th Sunday of Advent
First Reading : Isaiah 7:10-14
The Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.’ ‘No,’ Ahaz answered ‘I will not put the Lord to the test.’
Then Isaiah said:
‘Listen now, House of David:
are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men
without trying the patience of my God, too?
The Lord himself, therefore,
will give you a sign.
It is this: the maiden is with child
and will soon give birth to a son
whom she will call Immanuel,
a name which means “God-is-with-us.”’
Responsive Psalm : Psalm 23(24):1-6
Let the Lord enter! He is the king of glory.
The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all its peoples.
It is he who set it on the seas;
on the waters he made it firm.
Let the Lord enter! He is the king of glory.
Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
who desires not worthless things.
Let the Lord enter! He is the king of glory.
He shall receive blessings from the Lord
and reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the men who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Let the Lord enter! He is the king of glory.
Second Reading : Romans 1:1-7
From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus who has been called to be an apostle, and specially chosen to preach the Good News that God promised long ago through his prophets in the scriptures.
This news is about the Son of God who, according to the human nature he took was a descendant of David: it is about Jesus Christ our Lord who, in the order of the spirit, the spirit of holiness that was in him, was proclaimed Son of God in all his power through his resurrection from the dead. Through him we received grace and our apostolic mission to preach the obedience of faith to all pagan nations in honour of his name. You are one of these nations, and by his call belong to Jesus Christ. To you all, then, who are God’s beloved in Rome, called to be saints, may God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send grace and peace.
Gospel : Matthew 1:18-24
This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son
and they will call him Emmanuel,
a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.