Fourth Sunday of the Year, 2023. Year A

Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Fourth Sunday of the Year, 2023. Year A

The Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes surpass even the Ten Commandments. They are the Magna Carta, the New Commandments, not etched on stone but written on our hearts. The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ teaching. They are the fulfilment of the teaching of the Torah, the most beautiful manifesto of what it means to live on earth as a new creation. They reveal that the kingdom of heaven isn’t about power or strength or land or wealth or possession but rather that the kingdom of heaven is within us. The kingdom of heaven is an attitude, a way of the heart, a way of thinking and acting which is shocking, radical and life-changing.

The Beatitudes can be said to reveal the face of Christ because he lived them perfectly. They are the pathway to happiness and true fulfilment. In short, the Beatitudes are beautiful. Do you know them off by heart? Have you secured them in your memory? Are they on the tip of your tongue? Here’s another question: are you happy? And another one: do you want to live a happy life? If you do, and God knows we all do, there is only one way and this is to live the Beatitudes.

The Beatitudes show us the goal of human existence, the ultimate end of every human act. We are called to beatitude by the Beatitudes and one day beholding the beatific vision. As St. Augustine so beautifully and eloquently expressed it: ‘There we shall rest and see, we shall see and love, we shall love and praise. Behold what will be at the end without end. For what other end do we have, if not to reach the kingdom which has not ended?’ We are put in this world to know, love and serve God, and at the end of our lives enter the joy of eternal life, where death is not the end, but the beginning.

When we put into practice the light yoke and burden of the Beatitudes we begin to taste the eternal life to which we are called. For in the kingdom of heaven we encounter the poor in spirit, those who mourned but now know the joy of Christ, the meek and not the prideful and haughty, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who whilst on earth hungered and thirsted for righteousness. 

Dear Friends in Christ,                   4th Sunday of the Year 2023

You will have seen the Parish Cribs remain in the Church and outside over the past weeks. Traditionally, the last chapter of the Nativity Narrative takes place next Thursday, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, known as Candlemas. Commemorating the occasion when the Virgin Mary, accompanied by St Joseph, in obedience to Jewish law, went to the Temple in Jerusalem both to be purified 40 days after the birth of her son, Jesus, and to present him to God as her firstborn (Luke 2:22–38).  

So the Presentation is a proclamation of Christ — Messiah and Priest, Lord and Saviour. He is the light who came into this world to dispel sin and darkness. For this reason, traditionally at least since the seventh century, candles have been blessed at Mass this day that will be used throughout the year, hence coining the term “Candlemas.” After the Gospel on the feast we will bless candles. 

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.

FIRST YEAR OF PREPARATION FOR THE HOLY YEAR OF 2025: Our Holy Father Pope Francis has announced a two-year preparation for the Holy Year 2025. This First Year, 2025, invites us to revisit the Four Constitutions of the Second Vatican Council, on the Sacred Liturgy, the Church, Divine Revelation and the Church in the Modern World. The motto for the Holy Year is ‘Pilgrims of Hope’. The two words Pilgrims & hope, both represent key terms of Pope Francis’s pontificate. A Holy Year is a special year of grace, in which the Church offers the faithful the possibility of obtaining a plenary indulgence

May God Bless You All, 

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION CLASSES:  Continues on Sunday 29th 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.  All parents would be present at this meeting!

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.

EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS & READERS: Since the Pandemic many of our Eucharistic Ministers & Readers have not resumed their ministries. It looks likely that the receiving the Precious Blood from the Chalice will not resume imminently. But a Minister to help distribute Holy Communion would be extremely helpful at each of the weekend Masses. If there are ministers who are happy to resume this important ministry at Holy Mass, please see Fr. John. Also, a regular rota of Lectors (Readers at Mass), would be really helpful. Please let Fr John know if you’re willing to read on a regular basis.  Clipart Panda - Free Clipart Images

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


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: Bruna Morelli RIP, Tony Rattigan RIP Maureen Barker RIP. 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 ...

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

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

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. 

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

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.  

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

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 .

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.

LEADERSHIP VACANCIES IN DIOCESAN SCHOOLS: Details of all positions can be found at the following link /vacancies/school-vacancies/

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! 

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 or email 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

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. 


Sat 28th     10.00amCharles Westcott RIP (Nancy Hands)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 28th     6.00pm Anne & 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 Bacani)
Mon 30th      10.00amReynaldo del Fiero RIP (Ingrid Bacani)
Tues 31st     9.30amJohn Kane RIP (M Ryan)
Wed 1stFebruary           10.00amFrances & Sam Murray & Family (M Duffy)
Thur 2nd     Presentation10.00amOf the LordCliff Poulter RIP (Kendal Family)
Fri 3rdSt Blaise                        10.00amMaureen Barker RIIP (Mark Barker)
Sat 4th       10.00am Peter Smith RIP (Paul Falco)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 4th       6.00pmMel O’Riley RIP (Maureen O’Riley)
Sun 5th                                       9.00amAlois Slisz RIP (Stefan Slisz)
Sun 5th       11:00amDavid Faud RIP (Teresa Faud & Family)

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

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading : Zephaniah 2:3,3:12-13

Seek the Lord,

all you, the humble of the earth,

who obey his commands.

Seek integrity,

seek humility:

you may perhaps find shelter

on the day of the anger of the Lord.

In your midst I will leave

a humble and lowly people,

and those who are left in Israel will seek refuge in the name of the Lord.

They will do no wrong,

will tell no lies;

and the perjured tongue will no longer

be found in their mouths.

But they will be able to graze and rest

with no one to disturb them.

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

How happy are the poor in spirit: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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.

How happy are the poor in spirit: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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.

How happy are the poor in spirit: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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.

How happy are the poor in spirit: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Second Reading : 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Take yourselves for instance, brothers, at the time when you were called: how many of you were wise in the ordinary sense of the word, how many were influential people, or came from noble families? No, it was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning, and to shame what is strong that he chose what is weak by human reckoning; those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen – those who are nothing at all to show up those who are everything. The human race has nothing to boast about to God, but you, God has made members of Christ Jesus and by God’s doing he has become our wisdom, and our virtue, and our holiness, and our freedom. As scripture says: if anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord.

Gospel : Matthew 5:1-12a

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

‘How happy are the poor in spirit;

  theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy the gentle:

  they shall have the earth for their heritage.

Happy those who mourn:

  they shall be comforted.

Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:

  they shall be satisfied.

Happy the merciful:

  they shall have mercy shown them.

Happy the pure in heart:

  they shall see God.

Happy the peacemakers:

  they shall be called sons of God.

Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:

  theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

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