Fourth Sunday of Easter. Year A, 2023

Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Although we are very familiar with the homely and comforting image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, today’s reading has a rather harder edge. It speaks not simply about the shepherd but also about the gate and the sheepfold, and about the sheep being led in and out of the sheepfold. This is much less easy to understand – not least, his words about people entering the sheepfold by another way than the gate being ‘thieves and robbers’! What do you think that Jesus was talking about? Is there anything that we can draw upon to help us realise what was in Jesus’ mind?

There are two things in particular. The first is the life and practice of shepherds at the time of Jesus, in fact, and even today in the Middle East. This author one day in the Holy Land witnessed a shepherd leading his sheep in a long line down a valley. And then later, about midday, he saw a shepherd sheltering from the heat of the sun under a tree with his sheep in a ring around him. A shepherd in the Middle Easter has a much more intimate relationship with each of his sheep than we see in Western Countries – knowing them by name would not be unusual.

But this leads to the other aspect of Jesus’ words: in the Old Testament, the shepherd was the classic image of the king of Israel – probably because David had been a shepherd boy. However, as the prophets, especially Ezekiel, make clear, many of Israel’s kings were far from being shepherds to their people. On the contrary, they used the people to satisfy their own personal motives, often greed. In that sense, they robbed the people of what they could rightfully expect, and fed off the people rather than leading them to good pasture! In Jesus’ words they were ‘thieves and robbers’. By implication, Jesus probably also had in mind the current Jewish leaders, including Herod, who had completely failed in their proper role.

But the radical thing is that Jesus was claiming not only to be the true shepherd-king of Israel but also the gateway – the way into God’s kingdom and place of feeding or pasture – as well as the source of life (the fullness of resurrection life) for his people.

Dear Friends in Christ:                                     4th Sunday of Easter 2023

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday and is the world day of prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. In the past forty years we have seen an incredible decline in vocations to the preisthood, especially here in our Diocese of Brentwood. We are also fortunate enough to have a seminarian from our own parish Frank Westcott who will be Ordained a Deacon on the Sunday 2nd July this year; please keep Frank in your thoughts and prayers. But with the age of the clergy in the diocese being very top-heavy, within a matter of five years, we are going to be consderably stretched. We really do need to ask the Lord of the Harvest to send laboureres into his Harvest

WELCOME! On behalf of the Parish I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Fr Aldo Tapparo, who will be supplying for me while I’m on my post Easter break. Fr Aldo is one of my oldest and dearest friends; we overlapped in the Seminary and have been friends for nearly 50 years. Please extend him your usual warm hospitality. Fr Aldo is a retired priest from the Archdiocese of Birmingham. 

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION CLASSES:  The next session for our children will take place on Sunday 30th April at 10.00am in the Parish Retreat. As we are rapidly coming to the end of the First Holy Communion Programme, first and foremost, I would like to express my sincere and grateful thanks to our Programme Director Kathryn Poulter, ably assisted by Elena Manara, and their young helpers. It’s no mean task to give of your time freely to help these children in their Sacramental Preparation, and the parish is very grateful.  The children are due to make their Frist Holy Communion on Saturday the 13th May at 12Noon, and Sunday 14th May at 1.00pm. The rehearsal date IS Wednesday 10th May at 5.00pm for Group 1; and 6.00pm for Group 2. This will be in the Church. The following Sunday 21st May the children will celebrate their Going Forth Mass at 11.00am Please keep the children and their families in your thoughts and prayers. This is a really special time in their young lives.

May God Bless You All,

REQUIESCANT IN PACE: In your mercy please pray for the repose of the soul of the late Lidia Cook RIP, who was a regular parishioner at St Edmund’s. Her Requiem Mass will be on Wednesday 17th Mat at 12.30pm at St Edmund’s and 2.00pm at Forest Park Crematorium.

Also, Mary Webber RIP, late of this parish who passed away recently. Her Requiem Mass will be on Wednesday 24th May at 12.15pm at St Edmund’s at 1.30pm at Parndon Wood Crematorium. 

We extend our condolences to both families in this time of great loss. 

FROM OUR GIFT AID ORGANISER: Our Parish Gift Aid Organiser is Abbie Akinfenwa – or text to 07754700934 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!

‘THE PRIESTS’ – CHARITY CONCERT: Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society is delighted to announce that the Northern Irish classical singing trio ‘The Priests’ will be performing a second charity concert on Friday 30th June 2023 at the Brentwood Cathedral at 7.30pm. All tickets can be purchased directly through Eventbrite and are £30 per person plus booking fee: We urge you to book early in order to avoid disappointment. Why not organise a minibus or a coach to bring a group from your parish to Brentwood Cathedral? It promises to be a great evening of entertainment. Full details are available on our website:

CORONATION WEEKEND: Next Weekend we will be celebrating the Coronation of King Charles III, this is a momentous and historic occasion in all of our lives. The Coronation will be televised around the world, and I’m sure many will want to witness this celebration. On Saturday 6th May the morning mass will be celebrated at 9.00am 

VISITING SEMINARIANS: On Coronation Weekend 6 seminarians from the Pontifical North American College will join us in the Parish. You are always extremely hospitable to our seminarians, and what a wonderful and historic opportunity for them to visit the UK on this Special Weekend. 

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  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  

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

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


Our practice (for the 11am Mass on Sunday, 7th May) has been changed from Tuesday, 2nd May to Thursday, 4th May at the same time of 7pm to 8pm in the Choir loft. We hope you can all be there for the 4th May practice as well as for the 7th May Mass. We would like to encourage more of our young parishioners and families to join our Group, so please consider coming along to our 4th May practice – you will be made very welcome!

Head of School – St John Fisher Catholic Primary School The Trustees of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Multi Academy Trust are seeking to appoint a Head of School for St John Fisher Catholic Primary.  This person will be an enthusiastic, inspirational leader, who is passionate about learning and who shares the schools values and lives their mission. Required: September 2023; Salary: L10 – 16 ;  Closing Date: Monday 8th May, 12 noon   Interviews: Wednesday 24th May

For further details please visit or alternatively call Mrs Irene Nelson, H.R. Manager on 01279 425383.


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: Brian & Paul Street 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.

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.

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.  

SICK & HOUSEBOUND: If there are any parishioners who have become sick or housebound, please notify Fr John, who will be only too happy to make a house call and bring Holy Communion on a regular basis. It’s important that we’re able to keep in touch with all of our parishioners, and especially those who are sick.  

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.

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.

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 (

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.  


Sat 29th           10.00amTony Ironside RIP (Margaret Duffy)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 29th   6.00pm Veronica Godsave RIP (Geraldine & Robert Taylor)
Sun 30th           9.00amPeople of the Parish
Sun 30th        11:00amRobert Taylor RIP (B’day Anni) Eileen Lee
Mon 1st May             10.00amDec’d of McMorrow & Perry families (Maureen Perry)
Tues 2nd                 10.00amPauric Kelly RIP (Sinead Briner)
Wed 3rd         10.00am Peter Smith RIP (Paul Falco)
Thur 4th                 10.00amCharles & Yvonne Westcott RIP (Frank Westcott)
Fri 5th            10.00amDympna McCabe Int’s, (Ian & Rosemary Johnson)
Sat 6th                 9.00amKing Charles III Coronation (Mass for the Crowned Monarch)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 6th                 6.00pmFr Kieran Dodd RIP (Geraldine & Robert Taylor)
Sun 7th                                                 9.00amMaureen Mully RIP (Karen Burrowes)
Sun 7th                 11:00amBernard & Muriel Gilley RIP (Eileen Ward)

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

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