Third Sunday of the Year, 2023. Year A

Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

To fulfil the words of the prophet Isaiah Jesus began his public ministry in Galilee. One of the ironies of the situation – or was it a tragedy? – was that the chief priests and Pharisees familiar with the Scriptures, were so stubborn, blind and resistant, saying: ‘Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.’
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Jesus’ initial preaching began in the same way as the ministry of John the Baptist, with a simple proclamation about the need for conversion and change: ‘Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.’ The notion or idea of repentance is one that doesn’t sit very comfortable with us today. That’s because we have lost a sense of sin and consequently have also lost a sense of the need to repent and turn back to God. We strive for a different vocabulary of faith to replace concepts like sin, repentance, contrition and conversion. The problem is that this exercise is rather futile because the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church speak to the human condition and the human condition is fallen.

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The Greek word metanoia means to change one’s mind or change direction. The Holy Spirit works in us to convict us of sin and lead us towards repentance; in other words to change our minds and think differently. The Holy Spirit is the mind-changer, but more importantly the heart-changer. Repentance in this sense isn’t difficult because the Holy Spirit leads us to see how destructive and dark ways of thinking harm us and undermine our wellbeing and happiness.

God created us with the gift of free will. This is why repentance is so vital. God will assist us with grace but respects our free will and ability to choose and decide about whether to sin or not to sin, to turn back to God or to remain in our rebellion. Once we repent, once we turn back to God, once we take the first step, we open ourselves up to the healing mercy of God. Repentance will always be the key that unlocks the door to the royal road, the highway of holiness, the way of the Spirit.

Dear Friends in Christ,                 3rd Sunday of the Year 2023

It has been so encouraging over the past several weeks seeing the return of so many parishioners at our Sunday Celebrations of the Holy Eucharist. As we all well know the Pandemic caused a great upheaval in all of our lives, and it has taken a great deal of time to reach some semblance of normality once again. History will certainly include the Pandemic, which our children and grandchildren will read about for generations to come.  Sadly, many people and families did not return to the regular practice of the faith, which personally causes me great heart-ache! As I often say to you, we only pass this way but once, and it’s tragic to think of all those missed opportunities within the context of the life of faith. https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.b9k-964f8gzbcwKjajzuNAHaE-&pid=Api&P=0

Also, I find it a bit alarming with just parents being present at weekly Mass and their children absent; (and I mean children of Primary and Secondary School age). I was taught, and the teachings of the Catholic Church through the Catechism of the Catholic Church state, that to be present at the Weekly celebration of the Eucharist is obligatory for all those above the age of reason (7 years). This is not much to ask! In this secular world, commitment to football training, swimming, athletics, dancing classes and other various sports activities and clubs is obligatory, or the young person would soon realise very quickly they could lose their place if they’re not present. God is asking us for the same commitment for one hour a week to celebrate our faith and give thanks for so many graces and blessings.
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The Celebration of the Holy Mass. as the Second Vatican Council taught is the ‘source & summit’ of Christian spirituality. There is no greater expression of our faith. Holy Mass begins with the sign of the cross and concludes with the final blessing. Leaving the sacred celebration of the Holy Eucharist immediately after receiving Holy Communion doesn’t allow us to make the ‘act of thanksgiving’ to the Lord customary after receiving Him in the Sacrament. Please remain in Church until after the final blessing.     

Let us all try to make this a Special Year of the Holy Eucharist; making that extra special effort to give devotion to the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and receiving Holy Communion weekly at Holy Mass.

May God Bless You All, 

YOUR CRIB OFFERINGS: All your donations at the Cribs inside and outside will go towards the work of the Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society. This is one of the main forms of fund-raising for the BCCS. The Society usually sees about 5,000 clients every year from our diocese. Much of this work is done throughout Catholic Schools. The Cribs will remain up until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord 2nd February and the Special Annual Crib Collection for BCCS will take place next weekend 28th/29th January. Thanking you all in anticipation.  https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.Q40_crYpjHazxC3HA0M06gHaHt&pid=Api&P=0

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION CLASSES:  Continues on Sunday 22nd January 2023 at 10.00am in the Parish Retreat. 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, and some children have missed a number of the Sunday sessions. 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. If you are unable to attend any session for some reason please contact Fr. John directly (not Mrs Poulter) Tel: 02085083492 Next Parents’ Meeting Wednesday 8th February at 7.30pm. Dr Paul Doherty OBE, Headteacher at Trinity Catholic High School will be giving the talk on the Sacrament of Reconciliation  https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.3vV_AR8lY8_rWhQrrJ294AHaFc&pid=Api&P=0

CONTEMPORARY MUSIC GROUP – NOTE TO EVERYONE: We will be next singing and playing at the 11am Mass on Sunday, 5th February and look forward to seeing all our singers and musicians there in full force! Kindly arrive 20 minutes or so before Mass starts for us to quickly run through the hymns and music. Beforehand, we’ll be having a brief practice on Tuesday, 31st January, 7pm to 8pm, so please try to make the practice as well. Thank you. Any new singers in the Parish who might like to join us would be made very welcome.

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 run by Mrs Sharon Chalk. Baptisms take place on either Saturday or Sunday at 12.30pm

PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE SICK IN OUR PARISH

Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, Karl Britz, Brenda Bryant, 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: https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.PksgenkNVMwF2XWxHkXnzgHaHp&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

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

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. 

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.

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. Mass Cards for all occasions. Children’s books. Rosaries, medals, holy picture cards, candles, baptismal gifts, and many more items.  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. 

ST. JOHN FISHER ASPIRATIONS WEEK: St. John Fisher Catholic Primary school will be celebrating their Aspirations Week from Monday 30th January to Friday 3rd February. During the week the children will be thinking about their hopes and aspirations for the future and, as part of that, the school would like to involve the wider parish community to help. They are keen to hear from any parishioner, relative or friend who would be willing to come to the school to share information about their careers. Any time given would be greatly appreciated. Please contact the school at 

admin@st-johnfisher.essex.sch.uk

CHARITY JAZZ CONCERT AT ST EDMUND’S On 25th February (3.00-5.00pm) there will be an afternoon jazz concert at St Edmund’s Hall in aid of The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity. The wonderful Winnie Greer and her band will be performing Jazz classics and some contemporary pieces. Tickets are £20 each, please contact Kathleen Faherty 07305817658 or go to https://bit.ly/registerforjazzloughton

SCOUT WORLD JAMBOREE: On 11th February, 7.15pm St Edmund’s Hall,  there will be a Gin tasting Event to raise funds to send some of our Scouts to the World Scout Jamboree, a wonderful experience for them. Tickets are £20 each. For full details and how to purchase tickets please email WSJ2023gin@gmail.com .

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

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 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

LEADERSHIP VACANCIES IN DIOCESAN SCHOOLS: Details of all positions can be found at the following link https://www.dioceseofbrentwood.net/departments/education /vacancies/school-vacancies/

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

BCYS YOUTH MASS: with Caritas Diocese of Brentwood, Thursday 2nd February. Join us in the Brentwood Cathedral Parish Hall from 6.00 p.m. for pizza, refreshments and a chance to hear from guest speakers from Caritas and the SVP, helping us to think about charitable giving as we begin to prepare for the season of Lent. Youth Mass is in the Cathedral at 7.30pm, and will be celebrated by Fr Dan Kelly. Everyone is welcome! See http://www.bcys.net or email gabriellafusi@dioceseofbrentwood.org for more information.

RETROUVAILLE: Help Your Marriage – Do you feel alone? Are you frustrated or angry with each other? Do you argue … or have you just stopped talking to each other? Does talking about it only make it worse? Retrouvaille is a programme to support couples who have difficulties in their marriage. It brings a positive focus, new hope and helps nourish and grow your marriage. Tens of thousands of couples headed for divorce have successfully saved their marriages by attending and using the tools provided. The programme helps spouses uncover or reawaken the love, trust and commitment that originally brought them together. It helps them through difficult times whether they are disillusioned or in deep misery. There is no group therapy or group work. For confidential information about ‘Retrouvaille’ or to register for the next programme commencing with a face-to-face weekend in Welwyn Garden City on 24 – 26 February 2023, or a virtual weekend on 6 – 9 July 2023, call or text 07887 296983 or 07973 380443. Alternatively, email retrouvailleukinfo@gmail.com

RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: Journey of Faith. Is there anyone who may be interested in the RCIA Programme, possibly with the view of being received into full-communion with the Roman Catholic Faith, Please see Fr John who will explain the whole process to you. 

MASS INTENTIONS – JANUARY 2023

Sat 21st    10.00amFr Patrick Hayward’s B’day Int’s (Margaret Duffy)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 21st    6.00pm Reynaldo Del Fiero RIP (Bacuetes Family)
Sun 22nd    9.00amPeople of the Parish
Sun 22nd  11:00amTessie Houston RIP (Ann & Jean Cocklin)
Mon 23rd     10.00amCommunion Service
Tues 24th    10.00amCommunion Service
Wed 25th           10.00amCommunion Service
Thur 26th    10.00amCommunion Service
Fri 27th                        10.00amCommunion Service
Sat 28th      10.00am Charles Westcott RIP (Nancy Hands)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 28th      6.00pmAnne & Sean Connolly RIP (John Connolly)
Sun 29th                                      9.00amMary Walstow RIP (Esther Penn)
Sun 29th      11:00amErick Bacuetes 50th B’day Int’s (Rey & Ingrid Bacuetes)

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

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Isaiah 8:23-9:3

In days past the Lord humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in days to come he will confer glory on the Way of the Sea on the far side of Jordan, province of the nations.

The people that walked in darkness

has seen a great light;

on those who live in a land of deep shadow 

a light has shone.

You have made their gladness greater,

you have made their joy increase;

they rejoice in your presence

as men rejoice at harvest time,

as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.

For the yoke that was weighing on him,

the bar across his shoulders,

the rod of his oppressor –

these you break as on the day of Midian.

Responsive Psalm : Psalm 26(27):1,4,13-14

The Lord is my light and my help.

The Lord is my light and my help;

  whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

  before whom shall I shrink?

The Lord is my light and my help.

There is one thing I ask of the Lord,

  for this I long,

to live in the house of the Lord,

  all the days of my life,

to savour the sweetness of the Lord,

  to behold his temple.

The Lord is my light and my help.

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness

  in the land of the living.

Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.

  Hope in the Lord!

The Lord is my light and my help.

Second Reading : 1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17

I appeal to you, brothers, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to make up the differences between you, and instead of disagreeing among yourselves, to be united again in your belief and practice. From what Chloe’s people have been telling me, my dear brothers, it is clear that there are serious differences among you. What I mean are all these slogans that you have, like: ‘I am for Paul’, ‘I am for Apollos’, ‘I am for Cephas’, ‘I am for Christ.’ Has Christ been parcelled out? Was it Paul that was crucified for you? Were you baptised in the name of Paul?

  For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the Good News, and not to preach that in the terms of philosophy in which the crucifixion of Christ cannot be expressed.

Gospel : Matthew 4:12-23

Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!

Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,

Galilee of the nations!

The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;

on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death

a light has dawned.’

From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

  As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they left their nets at once and followed him. Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

  He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people.

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