Fifth Sunday of the Year, 2023. Year A

Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More


‘Oh, they are salt of the earth,’ we often say when we are referring to a person who is straightforward, honest and without guile. Another common saying in the same vein is ‘what you see is what you get’. In today’s reading, Jesus’ description of his disciples as ‘the salt of the earth’ would have struck a chord and meant something very specific to his listeners.

In Jesus’ day salt was a valuable commodity. In order to preserve food from decay in the heat salt was applied as a preservative. It also served to enhance flavour of the food. The ancient tradition of salting the sacrificial offerings denoted a purifying function. It was perhaps for this reason that new-born babies were rubbed with salt to denote purification of the addition to God’s people and as a reminder of the covenant.

Those who heard Jesus speak would have understood the meaning and tradition behind the idea of being ‘salt of the earth’. In the same way as salt prevents decay and corruption, so the witness of Spirit-led Christians protects society from decay and corruption. It also adds much needed flavour to society. And, drawing on the idea that too much salt in our food can make us thirsty. St. Augustine once wrote: ‘O Heavenly Father, you have put salt into our mouths that we may thirst for you.’ The work of the Holy Spirit id to create within us a thirst for the things of God: for union with God, communion with him and for grace to live a life which is holy and pleasing to him. When Jesus said ‘I thirst’ from the cross, his thirst wasn’t just physical, it was spiritual – God thirsts that we come into his presence as we long to come into him.

Jesus also calls us to be ‘the light of the world’. In this way we are to be like our Mater, for in John 8:12 Jesus describes himself as ‘the light of the world’. We are to be countercultural, signs of contradiction, heralds of the gospel of life in the world which, in so many respects, has lost its way. 

Dear Friends in Christ,                   5th Sunday of the Year 2023

This weekend we welcome some seminarians from the Pontifical North American College, who are in-between exams at this time. It is their first visit to the UK, please kindly make them welcome, as you always do! Both Deacons will preach at our Sunday Masses this weekend. For Deacon Kelby, it will be his first homily at a Sunday Mass (11.00am) in a Parish. Deacon John will preach at the 9.00am Mass. I know the seminarians love the opportunity to participate and celebrate in the sacred liturgy. Please continue to pray for an increase of vocations to the Priesthood, especially here in our own Diocese of Brentwood.

On Tuesday 14th February I will be attending the Candidacy Mass for our Seminarian Frank Westcott at St. Mary’s College, Oscott Seminary. This is the final stage before Ordination to the Transitional Diaconate which will be celebrated at the end of June this year. Frank will be a transitional deacon for a year before Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood in 2024 Please keep Frank in your thoughts and prayers at this time. 

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

PARISH ALTAR SERVERS: Quite a number of Altar Servers ceased serving at Mass since the Pandemic. I’m making a special appeal to all former Altar Servers to kindly return their Albs to the Sacristy.  Albs are extremely expensive to buy these days, and I believe there a quite a few still out there not being used anymore.  If any young person wishes to become an Altar Server, please see Fr. John as soon as possible; we can help to prepare you to serve at the Altar. This is a truly wonderful ministry, and it is a special way of serving God and the whole community of faith.

May God Bless You all,    

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION CLASSES:  Continues on Sunday 5th February 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 kindly 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. 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

UTIILITY BILLS: We have all experienced the terrible increase in our utility bills; and as you know I try to keep the Church warm, especially on Sunday’s. I recently received the Gas & Electric Bills for the month of December; they had gone up fourfold which completely shocked me! All of the proceeds from the Grand Christmas Draw 2022 will go towards the Utility Bills during these winter months. Thanking you all for your ongoing support for the upkeep of the 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: Celia Row RIP, Patricia Gardner RIP, Eileen Bevan RIP, Jim Kavanagh 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

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 ...

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

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.

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

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:

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 .

ST. ANTONY’S VACANCIES: The Governing Body of St. Antony’s Catholic Primary School, Woodford, wishes to appoint a Year 1 Class Teacher and also an Early Years Phase Leader, both starting in April 2023. The closing date for applications is Monday 20th February 2023 at 8am. 

For more information, please visit St Antony’s Website at

ST. JOHN FISHER VACANCY: St John Fisher Catholic Primary School, Loughton, is seeking to appoint a Head of School. This person will be an enthusiastic, inspirational leader, who is passionate about learning and who shares our values and lives our mission.

Please contact the Executive Headteacher, Mr Ian Kendal on 0208 508 6315 or alternatively email, Mrs Irene Nelson at for more information or to make an appointment to visit. To download an application pack please visit or

Closing Date:  Monday 27th February 2023, 12 noon

COFFEE MORNING FOR MISSIO: There will be a coffee morning on Sunday 19th February following the 11am Mass. This will be a chance for members of the parish family to meet and enjoy each other’s company while sharing tea and cake and raising money for our missions abroad. 

MISSIO “LITTLE RED BOXES”: Cathy Daly, our Missio organiser, would like to ask all box holders to bring their red boxes to mass on February 18th/19th and leave them at the back of the church. Please do ensure your name is on the box. 

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 .

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! 

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. 

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.  

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

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


Sat 4th      10.00amPeter Smith RIP (Paul Falco)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 4th      6.00pm Mel O’Riley RIP (Maureen O’Riley)
Sun 5th      9.00amAlois Slisz RIP (Stefan Slisz)
Sun 5th    11:00amDavid Faud RIP (Teresa Faud & Family)
Mon 6th       10.00amAnn Hawkes B’day Int’s. (Pat & Margaret)
Tues 7th      10.00am Rosemary & John O’Rourke’s Int’s (Pat & Margaret)
Wed 8th            10.00amEddie Reid RIP (M Ryan)
Thur 9th      9.00amRev Michael Wolfe RIP (Marjorie Fairlamb)
Fri 10th 10.00amMary Bowden RIP (Arthur Catterall)
Sat 11th        10.00am Norah, William & Terry Fitt RIP (Margaret Duffy)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demand
Vigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 11th        6.00pmAnne & Sean Connolly RIP (John Connolly)
Sun 12th                                        9.00amRosie & Paul Coletti RIP (Sue & John Campbell)
Sun 12th        11:00amKathleen Sheridan RIP (M Ryan) 

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

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading : Isaiah 58:7-10

Thus says the Lord:

Share your bread with the hungry,

and shelter the homeless poor,

clothe the man you see to be naked

and do not turn from your own kin.

Then will your light shine like the dawn

and your wound be quickly healed over.

Your integrity will go before you

and the glory of the Lord behind you.

Cry, and the Lord will answer;

call, and he will say, ‘I am here.’

If you do away with the yoke,

the clenched fist, the wicked word,

if you give your bread to the hungry,

and relief to the oppressed,

your light will rise in the darkness,

and your shadows become like noon.

Responsive Psalm : Psalm 111(112):4-9

The good man is a light in the darkness for the upright.

He is a light in the darkness for the upright:

  he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends,

  he conducts his affairs with honour.

The good man is a light in the darkness for the upright.

The just man will never waver:

  he will be remembered for ever.

He has no fear of evil news;

  with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.

The good man is a light in the darkness for the upright.

With a steadfast heart he will not fear;

open-handed, he gives to the poor;

  his justice stands firm for ever.

  His head will be raised in glory.

The good man is a light in the darkness for the upright.

Second Reading : 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers, it was not with any show of oratory or philosophy, but simply to tell you what God had guaranteed. During my stay with you, the only knowledge I claimed to have was about Jesus, and only about him as the crucified Christ. Far from relying on any power of my own, I came among you in great ‘fear and trembling’ and in my speeches and the sermons that I gave, there were none of the arguments that belong to philosophy; only a demonstration of the power of the Spirit. And I did this so that your faith should not depend on human philosophy but on the power of God.

Gospel : Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

  ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’

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