Fourth Sunday of Lent, 2023. Year A, 

Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Laetare Sunday

Every 5 seconds someone in the world goes blind. Every day 100 people in the UK start to lose their sight. Almost 2 million people in the UK are living with significant sight loss. Around 360,000 people in the UK are registered blind or partially sighted. An estimated 25,000 children in Britain are blind or partially sighted. In the UK 86 per cent of people value their sight above any other sense.

Jesus’ healing of the man born blind takes up the whole of John chapter 9. This remarkable miracle is a sign pointing to the mystery that Jesus is the Light of the World. We can divide the chapter into three parts: the first, the account of the miracle itself, the second, the investigating by the Pharisees, and finally the problem of spiritual blindness. We shall focus on the final part of the chapter, the problem of spiritual blindness.

It is said that there are none so blind as those who will not see. When someone doesn’t understand our point of view or what we are trying to say we protest, ‘You just don’t see, do you?’ What is seen is temporary but what is unseen it eternal and God wants us to see with eyes of faith. Perhaps the following story might help to explain this. A man once stood on a soapbox at Hyde Park Corner, pouring scorn on the Christian faith. A gifted orator, he mocked, ‘People tell me that God exists, but I can’t see him. People tell me that there is life after death, but I can’t see it. People tell me that there is a heaven and a hell, but I can’t see them.’ The gathered crowd cheered and congratulated him, loud and effusive in their praise. Suddenly, a second man was helped onto the soapbox. He tottered on the fragile podium before collecting himself. He too was a gifted orator: ‘People tell me tell me that there is green grass all around me, but I can’t see it. People tell me that there is a blue sky above, but I can’t see it. People tell me that there are trees nearby, but I can’t see them. You see, I’m blind.

Dear Friends in Christ,                   Fourth Sunday of Lent 2023

Today is ‘Laetare Sunday’, the word ‘Laetare’ means to ‘Rejoice’. It marks the mid-way point of our Holy Lenten Season.  This gives us all a wonderful opportunity to review our Lenten resolutions. If we have been remiss in our resolve to renew and improve our lives of faith, it’s still not too late to make an extra special effort over the next few weeks of Lent. Obviously, this is a very personal journey that we make during this Lenten season. There is no one looking over our shoulder telling us what we should, or shouldn’t do. But personal self-discipline is very much at the heart of this Holy Season.  Our Prayer, our fasting, our works of charity, our personal penance, all of these areas certainly help us on our spiritual journey to the Joy of Resurrection faith on Easter Day. To look forward in Rejoicing in the Lord Jesus is at the heart of our Liturgy today. Let us all really look forward to the remaining weeks of Lent as we anticipate the Joy of Easter!

Our First Holy Communion Children on Sunday will lead in the celebration of Holy Mass. As part of their preparation for the Holy Eucharist the children have been systematically learning about each part of the Mass; this is their opportunity to participate in a tangible way by reading at mass, praying the prayers of Intercession, joining in the Offertory Procession. My sincere thanks to our Catechists Katherine Poulter, and her great team of helpers who are doing the most wonderful job in preparing the children for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist.

Today is also Mothering Sunday: We thank God for the gift of our mothers and motherhood. Let us make an extra special effort today to do something special for our mothers. For all those whose mothers are no longer with us, but are with God in heaven, we ask them to continue to pray for us, and we remember them with great love and respect, and think of all the wonderful things they were able to teach and share with us. 

May God Bless You All,

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION CLASSES:  The next session for our children will take place on Sunday 19th March at 10.00am in the Parish Retreat. Congratulations to the children who made their First Reconciliation last week. Today they are being prepared to host the 11.00am Mass next Sunday 19th March (Gaudete Sunday – Mothering Sunday). 

LENTEN COURSE:  The God who Speaks – ‘The Big Picture Course’, exploring the Sacred Scriptures to understand and deepen our awareness of God & Jesus Christ. Course dates: March 22nd at 7.30pm in the Parish Retreat. Theme: The Incarnation. There is a Study Book with personal Diary & CD costs but it’s not imperative that you have this! It would be truly wonderful to see as many people as possible 

REQUIESCANT IN PACE: In your mercy please pray for the repose of the soul of Jackie Ilines RIP, long-time parishioner here in Loughton, who passed away recently. 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. Jackie’s Requiem Mass will take place on Saturday 25th March at 10.30am

Also, Please pray for the repose of the soul of Jean Dalgliesh RIP, whose Requiem Mass will take place on Thursday 23rd March at 12.15pm, we extend our condolences to her husband Steve and family in this time of great loss. 

READERS & EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS: Thank you to those who contacted Julie to resume your Eucharistic Ministry.  Julie Callender, will be sending out the Ministers’ Rota. Julie’s ‘phone numbers are 07834 088661 (mobile – preferred) and 020 8502 3854 (land line) and her email is  READERS: We are in need of some new Readers at our weekend and weekday masses. We’ve contacted our former Readers, but it would be good to have some new readers. Please contact Julie or Fr John  

CAN YOU HELP ME PLEASE? We have a priest, Fr Aaron Kelly, joining us for Holy Week, he arrives at Stansted Airport on Saturday 1st April at 12.15pm, I have a Baptism at the same time. I’m appealing for a volunteer to pick up Fr Aaron for me, I’d truly be grateful if someone could help in this situation. The North American College Students spend alternate years at the Seminary, this year it’s ‘in house’, but there are six coming for Easter Week, I may be asking for a little more help then. Thank you!  Fr. John 


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: Robert Lockheart RIP, Helen Cooper 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. NEW: There are a variety of New Easter Cards. 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

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! 

GIDEA PARK TALK ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST: Wednesday 22nd March, 7.00pm in Parish Hall at Christ the Eternal High Priest, Gidea Park. Fr Adrian Graffy will speak about the Eucharist. The talk is entitled ‘Do this in memory of me’, the New Testament material, and trace the understanding of the Eucharist through the centuries, including the latest teaching of Pope Francis. This talk is in person, and can also be followed by livestream by going to 

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? Every year we run this programme leading to reception into the Church at the Easter Vigil. It is a systematic programme of every aspect of Catholcism, including Scripture, Sacramental Life, and The Dogma’s of our Faith, Catholic Practice & traditions, Christology & Mariology, Study of the Church.   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. 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 18th        9.00amAnne Wright RIP (Brenda Bryant)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 18th        6.00pm Frederick George Burgess RIP (Foundation Mass)
Sun 19th        9.00amMichael Stavrinidou RIP (Sue & John Campbell)
Sun 19th      11:00amRey & Ingrid in Thanksgiving. (Rey & Ingrid)
Mon 20th         10.00amNancy Hands Int’s (Pat & Margaret)
Tues 21st           10.00am Special Intentions for John (Maureen Perry)
Wed 22nd     9.00am Michael Lawson RIP (Anthony Family)
Thur 23rd           12.15pmREQUIEM MASS Jean Dalgliesh RIP
Fri 24th      10.00am10.30amMargaret Baldwin’s Int’sStations of the Cross / Exposition of Bl Sac
Sat 25th            10.30amREQUIEM MASS Jackie Ilines RIP
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 25th           6.00pmSylvia & Norman Taylor RIP (Brenda Bryant)
Sun 26th                                           9.00amPeople of the Parish
Sun 26th           11:00amHelen Cooper RIP (Betty & 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 of Lent (Laetare Sunday)

First Reading : 1 Samuel 16:1,6-7,10-13

The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen myself a king among his sons.’ When Samuel arrived, he caught sight of Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands there before him,’ but the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Take no notice of his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him: God does not see as man sees: man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.’ Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.’ He then asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ He answered, ‘There is still one left, the youngest; he is out looking after the sheep.’ Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send for him; we will not sit down to eat until he comes.’ Jesse had him sent for, a boy of fresh complexion, with fine eyes and pleasant bearing. The Lord said, ‘Come, anoint him, for this is the one.’ At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on.

Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 22(23)

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

The Lord is my shepherd;

  there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures

  where he gives me repose.

Near restful waters he leads me,

  to revive my drooping spirit.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

He guides me along the right path;

  he is true to his name.

If I should walk in the valley of darkness

  no evil would I fear.

You are there with your crook and your staff;

  with these you give me comfort.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

You have prepared a banquet for me

  in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil;

  my cup is overflowing.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me

  all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell

  for ever and ever.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

Second Reading : Ephesians 5:8-14

You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth. Try to discover what the Lord wants of you, having nothing to do with the futile works of darkness but exposing them by contrast. The things which are done in secret are things that people are ashamed even to speak of; but anything exposed by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated turns into light. That is why it is said:

Wake up from your sleep,

rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.

Gospel : John 9:1-41

As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?’ ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered ‘he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

‘As long as the day lasts

I must carry out the work of the one who sent me;

the night will soon be here when no one can work.

As long as I am in the world

I am the light of the world.’

Having said this, he spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man, and said to him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (a name that means ‘sent’). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.

  His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘Yes, it is the same one.’ Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him.’ The man himself said, ‘I am the man.’ So they said to him, ‘Then how do your eyes come to be open?’ ‘The man called Jesus’ he answered ‘made a paste, daubed my eyes with it and said to me, “Go and wash at Siloam”; so I went, and when I washed I could see.’ They asked, ‘Where is he?’ ‘I don’t know’ he answered.

  They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. It had been a sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man’s eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had come to see, he said, ‘He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see.’ Then some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man cannot be from God: he does not keep the sabbath.’ Others said, ‘How could a sinner produce signs like this?’ And there was disagreement among them. So they spoke to the blind man again, ‘What have you to say about him yourself, now that he has opened your eyes?’ ‘He is a prophet’ replied the man. However, the Jews would not believe that the man had been blind and had gained his sight, without first sending for his parents and asking them, ‘Is this man really your son who you say was born blind? If so, how is it that he is now able to see?’ His parents answered, ‘We know he is our son and we know he was born blind, but we do not know how it is that he can see now, or who opened his eyes. He is old enough: let him speak for himself.’ His parents spoke like this out of fear of the Jews, who had already agreed to expel from the synagogue anyone who should acknowledge Jesus as the Christ. This was why his parents said, ‘He is old enough; ask him.’

  So the Jews again sent for the man and said to him, ‘Give glory to God! For our part, we know that this man is a sinner.’ The man answered, ‘I don’t know if he is a sinner; I only know that I was blind and now I can see.’ They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He replied, ‘I have told you once and you wouldn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it all again? Do you want to become his disciples too?’ At this they hurled abuse at him: ‘You can be his disciple,’ they said ‘we are disciples of Moses: we know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ The man replied, ‘Now here is an astonishing thing! He has opened my eyes, and you don’t know where he comes from! We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but God does listen to men who are devout and do his will. Ever since the world began it is unheard of for anyone to open the eyes of a man who was born blind; if this man were not from God, he couldn’t do a thing.’ ‘Are you trying to teach us,’ they replied ‘and you a sinner through and through, since you were born!’ And they drove him away.

  Jesus heard they had driven him away, and when he found him he said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied ‘tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said, ‘You are looking at him; he is speaking to you.’ The man said, ‘Lord, I believe’, and worshipped him.

 Jesus said:

‘It is for judgement

that I have come into this world,

so that those without sight may see

and those with sight turn blind.’

Hearing this, some Pharisees who were present said to him, ‘We are not blind, surely?’ Jesus replied:

‘Blind? If you were,

you would not be guilty,

but since you say, “We see,”

your guilt remains.

 IN CASES OF EMERGENCY: Tuesday is usually Fr. John’s Day Off. In cases of emergency please call one of the local parishes, either in Epping – Tel: 01992 572516, or the St. Thomas of Canterbury Friary at Woodford Green – Tel: 020 8504 1688.  This would also apply if Fr. John is away for a few days break or on Retreat. All the local funeral directors have a contact number for Fr. John if a funeral needs to be arranged in his absence.   

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