Sixth Sunday of the Year, 2023. Year A

Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Paul was a Pharisee. Before his conversion to Christ he could almost have been a poster boy for a religious sect. We know this because he tells us so – he wasn’t immune to a little bit of boasting, if it might help to further the gospel message. Reflecting on what an impressive Pharisee he had been, Paul writes:  ‘If someone else thinks that they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more; circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the Church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless’. That’s a clear message, isn’t it?OTA_06D

Nevertheless, in today’s Gospel Jesus confronts us with the truth that ‘unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven’. So where does that leave us? How does our righteousness exceed this impressive display of righteousness and pursuit of a holy life?

Well, if we go back to Paul we discover the secret of the righteousness that Jesus had in mind. Paul had come to understand that we don’t stand before God on the basis of our own righteousness. But rather we stand before God on the basis of Jesus’ righteousness. We tend to think of the things we do for God: we pray, we go to church, we fast, we give to charity, and we strive to be noble and good. This, however, isn’t what makes us righteous because righteousness cannot be earned – it can only be received. Paul put it like this: ‘For Jesus Christ’s sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith’. We can exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees by trusting in the saving death of Jesus, believing him to be our Saviour and Lord, and looking to the righteousness of Christ and not our own. OTA_06G

Dear Friends in Christ,       6th Sunday of the Year 2023

The terrible tragedy of the earthquakes that hit Turkey & Syria, and the scenes of devastation and loss of life that we have witnessed on our Television screens have certainly been shocking and heart-breaking. The humanitarian response from the whole world has been incredible, and the volunteers and aid agencies have certainly pulled all the stops out to try and assist the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their homes and also loved ones. Being so far away, one can often feel helpless, and the only thing we can do is to make a donation to one of the aid agencies to help alleviate the disastrous situation. CAFOD (Catholic Association For Overseas Development), has set up a means whereby we can make donations for the relief efforts. Just google Cafod website for ways to make donations. Also, the CARITAS Brentwood Site can be accessed, and it will indicate ways in which we can help, through prayer and financial donations:  

Instead of the designated retiring collection this weekend, we will have a very special collection for the relief situation in Turkey & Syria, following the terrible earthquakes and the horrendous loss of life and people’s homes and livelihood. All your donations will be forward to the Caritas Brentwood Relief Agency. 

PRAYERS PLEASE: 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.

HOLY SEASON OF LENT 2023: Ash Wednesday 22nd February marks the beginning of the Holy Lenten Season.  This is always a very special time of the Church’s liturgical year. It is a Penitential Season, when we think about Prayer; Fasting & Almsgiving (works of charity). Lent gives each one of us the special opportunity to personally, and privately journey with the Lord through this holy season leading us into Holy Week, where we retrace His last days, and his Passion, Death and Resurrection. Please see the Lenten Insert next weekend.

May God Bless You All,   

VACANCY FOR HEAD OF SCHOOL: Vacancy for Head of School at St John Fisher Catholic Primary, Loughton-Start date September 2023. Closing date for applications 27/2/23 Catholic Teachers Gazette (

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.

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION CLASSES:  The next session for our children will take place after the half-term break on Sunday 26th February at 10.00am in the Parish Retreat. The children are now going to be prepared for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Children’s First Confession will take place on Saturday 18th March at 10am & 11am.

MONTHLY CLEAN OF THE CHURCH: There is a ‘Big Clean’ once a month and we appeal to the whole parish community; if you can give half an hour on Thursday 16th February at 10.30am we would be truly grateful. If you would like to become part of the regular cleaning teams and the Altar Society, please contact Sharon Fitzmaurice 07854919207 or or Fr John. 0208 508 3492

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. 

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


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: 

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.

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

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

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.

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!

BCYS YOUTH MASS: with Caritas Diocese of Brentwood, Thursday 2nd March. 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, Everyone is welcome! See or email for more information.

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.  

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

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/

DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGE TO LOURDES 2023 Join Bishop Alan in Lourdes from Monday 24th to Saturday 29th July. We can support those with medical needs. For further information, please ‘phone Tangney Tours on 01732 886 666 or book online: Brentwood Lourdes – Lourdes – Tangney Tours (


Sat 11th       10.00amNorah, William & Terry Fitt RIP (Margaret Duffy)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 11th       6.00pm Anne & Sean Connolly RIP (John Connolly)
Sun 12th       9.00amRosie & Paul Coletti RIP (Sue & John Campbell)
Sun 12th     11:00amKathleen Sheridan RIP (M Ryan)
Mon 13th        10.00amJim Sullivan RIP (Celina Sullivan)
Tues 14th       10.00am COMMUNION SERVICE
Wed 15th             10.00amFr John’s 68th Birthday Intentions
Thur 16th       10.00amDinky Burke – Get Well Wishes (Leach Family)
Fri 17th  10.00amMargaret Beasley RIP (Fitzmaurice family)
Sat 18th        10.00am Vera Baker
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 18th        6.00pmBertha Randlesome RIP (Michael & Gemma)
Sun 19th                                        9.00am
Sun 19th        11:00amEllen Manley RIP (Anni) (Manley 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

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading : Ecclesiasticus 15:16-21

If you wish, you can keep the commandments,

  to behave faithfully is within your power.

He has set fire and water before you;

  put out your hand to whichever you prefer.

Man has life and death before him;

  whichever a man likes better will be given him.

For vast is the wisdom of the Lord;

  he is almighty and all-seeing.

His eyes are on those who fear him,

  he notes every action of man.

He never commanded anyone to be godless,

  he has given no one permission to sin.

Responsive Psalm : Psalm 118(119):1-2,4-5,17-18,33-34

They are happy who follow God’s law!

They are happy whose life is blameless,

  who follow God’s law!

They are happy who do his will,

  seeking him with all their hearts.

They are happy who follow God’s law!

You have laid down your precepts

  to be obeyed with care.

May my footsteps be firm

  to obey your statutes.

They are happy who follow God’s law!

Bless your servant and I shall live

  and obey your word.

Open my eyes that I may see

  the wonders of your law.

They are happy who follow God’s law!

Teach me the demands of your statutes

  and I will keep them to the end.

Train me to observe your law,

  to keep it with my heart.

They are happy who follow God’s law!

Second Reading : 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

We have a wisdom to offer those who have reached maturity: not a philosophy of our age, it is true, still less of the masters of our age, which are coming to their end. The hidden wisdom of God which we teach in our mysteries is the wisdom that God predestined to be for our glory before the ages began. It is a wisdom that none of the masters of this age have ever known, or they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory; we teach what scripture calls: the things that no eye has seen and no ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him.

  These are the very things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit, for the Spirit reaches the depths of everything, even the depths of God.

Gospel : Matthew 5:17-37

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.

  ‘For I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

  ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.

  ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.

  ‘It has also been said: Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a writ of dismissal. But I say this to you: everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

  ‘Again, you have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfil your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all, either by heaven, since that is God’s throne; or by the earth, since that is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the great king. Do not swear by your own head either, since you cannot turn a single hair white or black. All you need say is “Yes” if you mean yes, “No” if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the evil one.’

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