Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Fifth Sunday of Lent, 2023. Year A, 

Beginning of Passiontide

Today’s Gospel reading is intended to lead us more deeply into our baptism. It is important to realise that Lazarus was brought back to life – he was not resuscitated. This is not the same as resurrection, which in Scripture means a person being brought back to life in a brand new body! Lazarus would have had to go through death again at some later stage. However, his being brought back to life is a revelation of the power of Jesus over life and death, and is an intimation of the resurrection life that will be ours once the death and resurrection of Jesus himself has occurred. 

There are a few things that stand out in John’s account of the raising of Lazarus. In the first place, after hearing of the sickness of Lazarus Jesus delayed his visit by a few days – was he waiting for Lazarus to die precisely so that he could reveal his authority of death? This appears to have been Jesus’ intention, and the conversation with Lazarus’ sisters would seem to confirm this. Jesus wanted to encourage them to look towards him as the source of life and resurrection.   

The second thing that stands out is the profound concern and even distress of Jesus. There is mention also of a deep sigh that ‘came straight from the heart’. On the one hand, we are seeing here the profound concern of Jesus over the state of the human race. It was through the fall of humanity, and their sin, that the human race fell under the power of death. However, this does not simply mean physical death. The human race also became spiritually dead, cut off from God, and held in some sort of bondage to the Evil One. It was precisely from this condition that Jesus came into our world to deliver and redeem us. 

At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus entered into a confrontation with the Evil One himself. In that battle, Jesus claimed Lazarus back from the hold the enemy had over him. The whole event is an anticipation of Jesus’ own death & resurrection. By dying Jesus broke the enemy’s hold over the human race, and by rising established a new life and existence for us all.


Dear Friends in Christ,             Fifth Sunday of Lent 2023

Today we enter into Passiontide. You will notice that all of the statues and images have been draped in purple; this prepares us for the journey into Holy Week, where we will retrace step by step Our Lord’s last days before his Passion, Death & Resurrection. This sacred time in the Liturgical Calendar of the Church, is given to us to focus our attention of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. The saving action of Our Lord’s self-sacrifice for the whole of sinful humanity on Good Friday is the means whereby Salvation is achieved for each and every one of us.  I would like to seriously encourage all of our parishioners to enter into the true spirit of this Holy Season. Walk with the Lord in these days ahead, stand at the foot of the cross, and rejoice with Mary & the Apostles on Easter Day.

SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION: Lent is a Penitential Season; we are all encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). Fulfilling our Easter Duties has always been a part of the Church’s tradition. I seriously urge all parishioners to attend our Parish Penitential Service on Tuesday 4th April at 7.30pm, there will be visiting priest to assist and help with the celebration of the Sacrament. Also, Fr Aaron Kelly will be with us for Holy Week and will celebrate the Sacrament after every Mass. There will also be a Polish priest who will be able to hear confessions in Polish.  If you haven’t been to confession for a long time, please think seriously about attending this Penance Service. We all need the Lord’s loving and merciful forgiveness, and we should never fear God’s Love. Please come and join us in preparing yourself spiritually for the great solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection on Easter Day.Lent clipart confession, Picture #2909190 lent clipart confession

EASTER LILIES: It has always been a tradition at Easter to put lilies into our churches. If you would like to spurt us this year in sponsoring lilies in remembrance of you deceased loved ones, please complete the insert in your parish newsletter and return it to the Presbytery no later than Maundy Thursday 6th April.  Your contribution towards the lilies will defray the costs and also at the same time be a beautiful tribute to your deceased loved ones. A list of all the names will be posted in the porch of the Churchhttps://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.KbA9R5XGRKJK8nEqxrbirwHaFV&pid=Api&P=0

May God Bless You All,

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION CLASSES:  The next session for our children will take place on Sunday 26th March at 10.00am in the Parish Retreat. Our grateful thanks to the children & their Catechists who prepared them for lead our Parish Mass last Sunday. It would be truly wonderful to have some of our young children and teenagers reading at our 11.00am Mass. If there are any young people interested please see Fr. John r Kathryn Poulter. This week the children will focus on the Last Supper.https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.2eKxbUu9hDh-UkIjR2X3egHaF7&pid=Api&P=0

READERS & EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS: Thank you to those who contacted Julie to resume your Eucharistic Ministry.  Julie Callender, has sent out the Ministers’ Rota, but there may need to be a few adjustments. Julie’s ‘phone numbers are 07834 088661 (mobile – preferred) and 020 8502 3854 (land line) and her email is julie.callander@hotmail.com  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 especially some young readers Please contact Julie or Fr John  

URGENT! CAN ANYONE PLEASE HELP ME? 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

If you can help me please call or text me.  Tel No: 07307 190012 Thank you! 

CHURCH PARKING: Could we please encourage all our able-bodied parishioners to consider using the public car park when coming to Mass, particularly on Sunday. Although you need to get a ticket to place on your dashboard, parking on a Sunday is free for two hours.  A few occasions have arisen recently when disabled parishioners and those who have difficulty walking have been unable to park in the Church car park and they have either struggled to walk from the public car park, or have simply had to go home. We are sure you will agree that we need to ensure that our less-able parishioners will always have room to park close to the Church. We should also make allowance for space in the Church car park for drivers who are bringing disabled parishioners to Mass and also of course making sure that there is always access for emergency vehicles. Your consideration will be much appreciated. Thank you.

NOTE FOR OUR CONTEMPORARY MUSIC GROUP: Kindly note that we will not be playing and singing on the first Sunday in April as it is Palm Sunday which has a more solemn and formal liturgy best suited to our Parish choir. It is the start of Holy Week, with solemn masses and services leading to Easter Sunday, so if any of our singers are interested in taking part, please have a word with Sue Farrow!

We’ll next be singing and playing at the 11am Mass on the first Sunday in May (May 7th) and,  beforehand, we are holding a practice on Tuesday, 2nd May in the choir loft at 7pm to 8pm.  You’ve plenty of time to make sure that you can all come to the practice as well as the Mass!

As always, new singers and musicians would be made very welcome if you would like to join us!


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: 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: https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.PksgenkNVMwF2XWxHkXnzgHaHp&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

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 vocprom@dioceseofbrentwood.org

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 knockpilgrimages@gmail.com.

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: www.facebook.com/EppingForestFoodbank/ https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.CTO9qrnahUbWX6Uo2gY7XgHaHM&pid=Api&P=0

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 e_vismara@yahoo.com Thank you and we hope to hear from you soon.https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.KxgdS7dpVdlMC8SllI_8fgHaHa&pid=Api&P=0&w=174&h=174

FROM OUR GIFT AID ORGANISER: Our Parish Gift Aid Organiser is Abbie Akinfenwa – abbie.akinfenwa@btinternet.com 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! https://tse4.explicit.bing.net/th?id=OIP.82Iz4z848_74ROZ5P-evjQHaD8&pid=Api&P=0

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.  

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.   

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 retrouvailleukinfo@gmail.com

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 https://www.dioceseofbrentwood.net/departments/education /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 (tangneytours.com)

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.

CHILDREN’S EASTER HOLIDAYS & HOLY WEEK: This coming Friday 31st March our children at St John Fisher School will break up for the Easter Holidays. I would like all of our children to really enter into the spirit of Holy Week and join us for many of the beautiful ceremonies. I remember as a child being taken to these ceremonies, and the great affect it had on me, to journey with Jesus through the days of his Passion, Death & Resurrection. We are never too young to love and appreciate these beautiful liturgies, and we will always remember them.   


Sat 25th        10.30amREQUIEM MASS Jackie Ilines RIP
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 25th        6.00pm Sylvia & Norman Taylor RIP (Brenda Bryant)
Sun 26th        9.00amMeg & Alan Brown RIP (Laurie Schofield – Brown.           People of the Parish
Sun 26th      11:00am5.00pmHelen Cooper RIP (Betty & Family)Stations of Cross & Exposition of Bl Sac
Mon 27th         10.00amCOMMUNION SERVICE
Tues 28th            10.00amCOMMUNION SERVICE
Wed 29th      10.00am COMMUNION SERVICE
Thur 30th            10.00amCOMMUNION SERVICE
Fri 31st       10.00am10.30amMargaret Baldwin’s Int’sStations of the Cross with Expo of Bl Sac
Sat 1stApril            10.00amMaureen & John Bloomfield RIP (Brenda Bryant)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 1st            6.00pmKathy & John Forwood RIP (G Taylor)
Sun 2nd                                            9.00amSheila Tremble RIP (Tremble Family)
Sun 2nd            11:00am5.00pmPeople of the ParishStations of Cross & Exposition of Bl Sac

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: loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.org

The Brentwood Diocesan Trust     Registered Charity No. 234092

5th Sunday of Lent

First Reading : Ezekiel 37:12-14

The Lord says this: I am now going to open your graves; I mean to raise you from your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live, and I shall resettle you on your own soil; and you will know that I, the Lord, have said and done this – it is the Lord who speaks.

Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 129(130)

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,

  Lord, hear my voice!

O let your ears be attentive

  to the voice of my pleading.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,

  Lord, who would survive?

But with you is found forgiveness:

  for this we revere you.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

My soul is waiting for the Lord.

  I count on his word.

My soul is longing for the Lord

  more than watchman for daybreak.

(Let the watchman count on daybreak

  and Israel on the Lord.)

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Because with the Lord there is mercy

  and fullness of redemption,

Israel indeed he will redeem

  from all its iniquity.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Second Reading : Romans 8:8-11

People who are interested only in unspiritual things can never be pleasing to God. Your interests, however, are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you. In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him. Though your body may be dead it is because of sin, but if Christ is in you then your spirit is life itself because you have been justified; and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.

Gospel : John 11:1-45

There was a man named Lazarus who lived in the village of Bethany with the two sisters, Mary and Martha, and he was ill. It was the same Mary, the sister of the sick man Lazarus, who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair. The sisters sent this message to Jesus, ‘Lord, the man you love is ill.’ On receiving the message, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will end not in death but in God’s glory, and through it the Son of God will be glorified.’

  Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, yet when he heard that Lazarus was ill he stayed where he was for two more days before saying to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judaea.’ The disciples said, ‘Rabbi, it is not long since the Jews wanted to stone you; are you going back again?’ Jesus replied:

‘Are there not twelve hours in the day?

A man can walk in the daytime without stumbling

because he has the light of this world to see by;

but if he walks at night he stumbles,

because there is no light to guide him.’

He said that and then added, ‘Our friend Lazarus is resting, I am going to wake him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he is able to rest he is sure to get better.’ The phrase Jesus used referred to the death of Lazarus, but they thought that by ‘rest’ he meant ‘sleep’, so Jesus put it plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead; and for your sake I am glad I was not there because now you will believe. But let us go to him.’ Then Thomas – known as the Twin – said to the other disciples, ‘Let us go too, and die with him.’

  On arriving, Jesus found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days already. Bethany is only about two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to sympathise with them over their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said:

‘I am the resurrection and the life.

If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live,

and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

Do you believe this?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’

  When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in a low voice, ‘The Master is here and wants to see you.’ Hearing this, Mary got up quickly and went to him. Jesus had not yet come into the village; he was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were in the house sympathising with Mary saw her get up so quickly and go out, they followed her, thinking that she was going to the tomb to weep there.

  Mary went to Jesus, and as soon as she saw him she threw herself at his feet, saying, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ At the sight of her tears, and those of the Jews who followed her, Jesus said in great distress, with a sigh that came straight from the heart, ‘Where have you put him?’ They said, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept; and the Jews said, ‘See how much he loved him!’ But there were some who remarked, ‘He opened the eyes of the blind man, could he not have prevented this man’s death?’ Still sighing, Jesus reached the tomb: it was a cave with a stone to close the opening. Jesus said, ‘Take the stone away.’ Martha said to him, ‘Lord, by now he will smell; this is the fourth day.’ Jesus replied, ‘Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. Then Jesus lifted up his eyes and said:

‘Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer.

I knew indeed that you always hear me,

but I speak for the sake of all these who stand round me,

so that they may believe it was you who sent me.’

When he had said this, he cried in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, here! Come out!’ The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with bands of stuff and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, let him go free.’

  Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him.

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