First Sunday of Lent, 2023. Year A

Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert for forty days to be tempted and tested. During Lent we too are led by the spirit into the mystery of Jesus’ sojourn in the desert. ‘By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert (CCC540). Lent, then, is a journey into the desert. We too, during this holy season, can expect to be tempted and tested. 

The name Satan means ‘adversary’. In the book of Job, we are given a vivid picture of Satan in God’s heavenly court, along with all the other angels, where he has the role of accuser or prosecutor. The Scriptures identify Satan as the serpent in the Garden of Eden who tempted Adam and Eve and, therefore, as the origin of sin and temptation. What the Scriptures and tradition make known is than humankind has a mortal enemy who, although a finite being created by God, is in a desperate struggle to overthrow God’s reign, usurp his Lordship and lead his creation into darkness and death. On Easter Sunday each of us will recite our baptismal promises and in doing so renew them. Bear this in mind as we move through Lent because, as you will be aware, a renewal of our baptismal promises involves us actively, freely and voluntarily rejecting Satan.Related image

Lent is also a time for us to discover anew and afresh the gospel, the Good News which Jesus began to proclaim immediately after his time of testing. What is the Good News? The Good News is a message in two parts; the first part is to repent, and the second part is to believe in the gospel. We walk together on this road marked out for us by the church and take up our call to stand firm and resist the devil, knowing that he will flee, and embracing freely and with love the gospel, which is Christ with us and in us, the hope of salvation.Image result for 1st sunday of lent clipart black & white

‘In these days, therefore, let us add something beyond the wonted measure of our service, such as private prayers and abstinence in food and drink. Let each one, over and above the measure prescribed for him; offer God something of our own free will in the joy of the Holy Spirit. (St. Benedict)

Dear Friends in Christ,           First Sunday of Lent 2023

As we have entered this Holy Lenten Season, let us embrace the disciplines of Lent of – Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. The personal decisions we make during this special period are important. It is a Penitential Season, meaning that we are examining our lives in every aspect to see where improvements can take place. We are encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation throughout Lent.  With regards to personal prayer; there are many things that we can do; – remember to pray our morning and evening prayers, read a chapter of the bible each day, attend an additional mass once a week (see Lenten Mass schedule), attend the Stations of the Cross on Friday’s, Holy Hour & Stations on Sunday’s.  With regards to Fasting – this weekend we will receive our CAFOD envelopes; next Friday 3rd March is Cafod Family Fast Day; what we save in our fasting we place in our envelopes and give to Cafod. You may like to donate to the Food Bank – once again our boxes will be present on the sanctuary during Lent for your offerings.See the source image

We have so many opportunities to do good in this life; one act of human kindness can change a person’s life. One kind word can transform a person’s day.  Perhaps during this Holy Season, we can practice one act of human kindness every day. You will be amazed at the difference it will make to you and to others. And as the Gospel told us on Ash Wednesday: ‘The Lord who sees all that is done in secret will reward you…!’ 

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: The traditional devotion during the Lenten Season. I would encourage all our parishioners to attend the Stations of the Cross either on Fridays at 10.30am or Sundays at 5.00pm. This beautiful devotion follows the last journey made by Jesus on Good Friday to Calvary.       

LENTEN COURSE:  The God who Speaks – ‘The Big Picture Course’, exploring the Sacred Scriptures to understand and deepen our awareness of God. Course dates: March 1st, 8th, 15th 22nd at 7.30pm in the Parish Retreat. Study Book with personal Diary & CD costs £10, but it’s not imperative that you have this! Please consider coming along!

RITE OF ELECTION: Will take place at Bentwood Cathedral today at 3.00pm Please pray for Elina Kalinina & her daughter Ksenija. Please keep them in your prayers as they prepare to be received into full communion with the Catholic Faith at the Easter Vigil/ 

May God bless you all throughout Lent    

BRENTWOOD CATHEDRAL LENT LECTURE: ‘The pain, passion and privilege of supporting Christians who are suffering persecution’ to be given by Baroness Caroline Cox at Brentwood Cathedral on Wednesday 1st March at 7.00pm. Free entry. No need to book. All welcome!

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 (

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. PLEASE NOTE: The Children’s First Reconciliation will take place on Saturday 11th March at 10am & 11am.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR OUR PARISH EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS AND READERS: Following the recent appeal for our ministers and readers to come forward, Julie Callander, who organised our minister and reader rotas pre-pandemic, has very kindly offered to set up a fresh rota. This rota will simply consist of one Eucharistic minister (to distribute the Host alongside Fr. John) and one reader to cover each of the weekend Masses – the 6pm Saturday Mass and the 9am and 11am Masses on Sunday. We hope that a good number of our ministers and readers are willing to join the rota and Julie would very much like to hear from you. Kindly speak to Julie or send her emails, letting her know if you would like to minister and/or read and giving her your Mass time preference. Julie’s ‘phone numbers are 07834 088661 (mobile – preferred) and 020 8502 3854 (land line) and her email is It would be very helpful if you could contact Julie by, say, the end of February so that she can set up the rota and then circulate it to everyone. Your involvement in these important ministries would be much appreciated and Julie looks forward to hearing from you shortly. Thank you.     Ferdi TisiClipart Panda - Free Clipart Images

REQUIESCAT IN PACE: In your mercy please pray for the repose of the soul of Jackie Ilines, long-time parishioner here in Loughton, who passed away this week. We extend our sincere condolences to her husband Gary & two sons Jack & Jimmy in this time of great loss. Jackie was only 57 years of age. She was well known in the parish; and also helped many families with the loss of loved ones, as she ran the local Cribbs Funeral Parlour. 


Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, Karl Britz, Brenda Bryant, Carlos Camacho, Jane Downs, Steve Dalgliesh, Pat Fenn, Bernadette Hall, Ann Hawkes, Claire Howes, 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: Thomas Mitchley 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. 

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 struggling during this cost of living crisis. The Foodbank have asked for support with the following items: sponge pudding desserts, custard, juice, tinned meat, noodles, snack bars, small chocolate bars, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toilet roll and deodorant. Please place any donations in the dedicated plastic boxes in the garage. 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

REQUIESCAT IN PACE: Please pray for the repose of the soul of Jean Dalgliesh who passed away recently, we extend our condolences to her husband and family in this time of great loss.  Funeral details to follow.

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 (

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.


Sat 25th       10.00amEileen & Richard Griffin’s Int’s (M Ryan)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 25th       6.00pm David Faud RIP (Anni) (Faud Family)
Sun 26th       9.00amPeople of the Parish
Sun 26th     11:00amMick Griffiths RIP (Maria Fray)
Mon 27th        12.15pmREQUIEM MASS Joan Insole RIP
Tues 28th         10.00am Yvonne Maria Westcott RIP (Frank Westcott)
Wed 1stMarch   10.00am Tessie Houston RIP (Cocklin Family)
Thur 2nd         10.00amRahiem Williams (Speedy recovery) (Maria Fray)
Fri 3rd    10.00am10.30amJay Magat RIP (Bacuetes Family)Stations of the Cross / Exposition of Bl Sac
Sat 4th          10.00am Mary Walstow RIP (Frank Westcott)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 4th          6.00pmCharlie Fitzsimons RIP (H & B Walsh, M & F Rathe)
Sun 5th                                          9.00amKeith (Get Well Soon) (Kendal Family)
Sun 5th          11:00amDennis Randall RIP (Contemporary Music Group)

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

1st Sunday of Lent

First Reading : Genesis 2:7-9,3:1-7

The Lord God fashioned man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus man became a living being.

  The Lord God planted a garden in Eden which is in the east, and there he put the man he had fashioned. The Lord God caused to spring up from the soil every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden.

  Now the serpent was the most subtle of all the wild beasts that the Lord God had made. It asked the woman, ‘Did God really say you were not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?’ The woman answered the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden. But of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, “You must not eat it, nor touch it, under pain of death.”’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘No! You will not die! God knows in fact that on the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil.’ The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye, and that it was desirable for the knowledge that it could give. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She gave some also to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realised that they were naked. So they sewed fig-leaves together to make themselves loin-cloths.

Responsive Psalm : Psalm 50(51):3-6,12-14,17

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.

  In your compassion blot out my offence.

O wash me more and more from my guilt

  and cleanse me from my sin.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

My offences truly I know them;

  my sin is always before me

Against you, you alone, have I sinned;

  what is evil in your sight I have done.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

A pure heart create for me, O God,

  put a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

  nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Give me again the joy of your help;

  with a spirit of fervour sustain me,

O Lord, open my lips

  and my mouth shall declare your praise.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Second Reading : Romans 5:12-19

Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin death, and thus death has spread through the whole human race because everyone has sinned. Sin existed in the world long before the Law was given. There was no law and so no one could be accused of the sin of ‘law-breaking’, yet death reigned over all from Adam to Moses, even though their sin, unlike that of Adam, was not a matter of breaking a law.

  Adam prefigured the One to come, but the gift itself considerably outweighed the fall. If it is certain that through one man’s fall so many died, it is even more certain that divine grace, coming through the one man, Jesus Christ, came to so many as an abundant free gift. The results of the gift also outweigh the results of one man’s sin: for after one single fall came judgement with a verdict of condemnation, now after many falls comes grace with its verdict of acquittal. If it is certain that death reigned over everyone as the consequence of one man’s fall, it is even more certain that one man, Jesus Christ, will cause everyone to reign in life who receives the free gift that he does not deserve, of being made righteous. Again, as one man’s fall brought condemnation on everyone, so the good act of one man brings everyone life and makes them justified. As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Gospel : Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, after which he was very hungry, and the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves.’ But he replied, ‘Scripture says:

Man does not live on bread alone

but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

The devil then took him to the holy city and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple. ‘If you are the Son of God’ he said ‘throw yourself down; for scripture says:

He will put you in his angels’ charge,

and they will support you on their hands

in case you hurt your foot against a stone.’

Jesus said to him, ‘Scripture also says:

You must not put the Lord your God to the test.’

Next, taking him to a very high mountain, the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. ‘I will give you all these’ he said, ‘if you fall at my feet and worship me.’ Then Jesus replied, ‘Be off, Satan! For scripture says:

You must worship the Lord your God,

and serve him alone.’

Then the devil left him, and angels appeared and looked after him.

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