St. Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More
Solemnity of St. Peter & St. Paul
Click here for newsletter: SS. PETER and PAUL FEAST 2020
Dear Friends in Christ ,
As you will have heard during the past week, there is a further easing of the lockdown, including a reduction of social distancing to one meter plus on the 4th July. This slow and gradual easing is designed to keep us safe and healthy. This is not the green light to forget how dangerous Covid 19 still is. There are still many people contracting the virus, and people are still dying daily. This is a dangerous virus. It’s so important that we don’t fall into the trap of thinking that ‘it’s all over’! Vigilance, and practicing social distancing is still important. All the health & safety advice should still be upheld, the washing of hands regularly; using hand sanitisers; the wearing of face masks in public places and on public transport. This life-changing virus has affected the whole world, and already some countries are experiencing a second wave, so we must remain attentive because the Covid 19 battle is far from over!
GOPEL REFELCTION: Today we celebrate the Solemnity of SS Peter & Paul. These two great giants of the faith chosen by Jesus to be his Apostles; Peter the rock on which the Church was founded, and Paul the great preacher and evangeliser. The Lord’s choice of these two flawed men shows that he was able to see beyond their faults and failings, and the potential for what they could become. Both bore witness to Jesus Christ right to the very end of their lives; both shared a martyr’s death and are now proclaimed Saints of the Church. Let us ask for their intercession in our own lives of faith today; for courage; deep faith; bearing witness to Jesus Christ by our way of life.
Click here for newsletter: 12th Sunday of the Year 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
Last Monday, 15th June, all places of Public Worship were opened for personal and private prayer. I would like to thank most sincerely the large team of parishioners who came to clean our church and prepare it for re-opening. I’m truly grateful for your generosity of spirit. Also, thanks to the parishioners who have kindly volunteered to act as stewards while the church is open for an hour each day. 12 Noon – 1.00pm. We are still looking for more stewards, and if you’re willing to give an hour once a week this would be wonderful, and we may even be able to extend the opening to two hours each day. Yet, we still have no idea when our churches will be open for public services. But I will endeavour to keep you all informed of any new information. We have an active WhatsApp Group, Facebook page & Parish Website, where the information is kept up to date. Please consult as necessary. The daily live streaming of Holy Mass will continue through the medium of Facebook & the Website. Let us continue to pray for an end to this virus and a return to some semblance of normality once again!
GOPEL REFELCTION: The greatest challenge presented in the Gospel is bearing witness to Jesus Christ. This is fundamentally at the heart of the Christian message. We all can bear witness to the Lord through example and holiness of our lives; through our marriages & family life; our relationships; our community; our places of work; even our recreation. Strength of faith is only gained through commitment, and this is something that no one else can do for us. It’s truly something that demands and individual response. In bearing witness to Christ, he will bear witness to us before God.
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Dear Friends in Christ,
During the past week it was announced that all places of worship will be opened on Monday 15th June for personal and private prayer. This is truly a wonderful move forward to our eventual return to regular worship in our churches. Manifestly, we will have to follow the Government guidelines with regard to social-distancing, and also health and safety regulations from our own Diocese of Brentwood. It has been nearly three months since we closed our churches, and it has been a really hard time for all faithful people; not to be allowed into our spiritual homes has been a real test of faith. But the fact that we’ve been able to live-stream every day, and to have so many parishioners tuning in daily, has been a wonderful innovation. I never would have believed that I would be able to facilitate this by means of daily communication via Social Media but needs must! We will continue in our daily live streaming of Holy Mass at 10.00am, as the church is still not providing public masses & service. We move forward slowly!
GOSPEL REFLECTION: On this Feast of Corpus Christi, we celebrate the great and eternal gift that the Lord Jesus gave to his disciples on the night of the Last Supper. As he took the bread, blessed it, broke it and shared it with his friends, and the same with the cup of wine, this simple gesture of love and friendship, was to become the powerful remembrance of that holy night, that would become the central feature of the gathering together to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of the Lord. He left us his body & blood, his soul & his divinity through the species of bread of wine. Through the miracle of the Mass we are privileged to share in this eternal gift.
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Dear Friends in Christ
As mentioned last weekend, I would like all our parishioners to be aware of the measures that will need to be put in place with the eventual opening of our Churches. Hopefully this should happen on Saturday 4th July. (Initially, the Church will only be open for private prayer). Manifestly, we will have to comply with all Government recommendations, and our Diocesan Guidelines about Health & Safety. Please read section in the Parish Newsletter about these guidelines. But I am appealing to the parish community for additional help where this is concerned. We will need teams of parishioners to continuously keep the Church clean, and to ensure that after every Mass this cleaning takes place. If you can help with this task and are willing to do so, please let Fr. John know as soon as possible. The Church will provide masks and rubber gloves; some people may bring their own. This is when we really come together as Community of Faith after the long lockdown. We need to get back home with Our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: The Doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity proclaims that in God there are three persons, the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit. The sacred scriptures substantiate this doctrine. When we are baptised, we are initiated into the Life of God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit. We are invited to develop a deep relationship with each member of the Trinity. Jesus shows us the way and points us always to the Father; and the Holy Spirit of Love guides us along that path of life and faith. Our longing is for God – as St. Augustine says: “You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You”.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, the Birthday of the Church. On that first day, when the promised Holy Spirit was sent to the Apostle; their lives were filled with the total presence of God. The Holy Spirit inspired them; gave them courage and strength to embark upon the work the Lord had prepared them for – to go out into the whole world and proclaim the Good News. Their lives would never be the same again. Strengthened and inspired by the Resurrection of Jesus, they now had all the tools they needed to continue his work in the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. And to this day that mandate has faithfully been carried out. There have always been hurdles and difficulties along the way, but the Church has always risen to the challenge. In these difficult times of Pandemic, our faith has certainly been tested, perhaps in a way that it has never been tested before. We now have a completely different mindset; we are going to have to adjust to a new way of life and living, and it affects all of us!
On that first day of Resurrection, Jesus appears to his friends and extends the gift of Peace. They are overawed by his presence, almost incredulous. He shows his wounds, and they are filled with Joy. Then he breathes on them and gives them the Gift of the Holy Spirit – the eternal gift that he had promised them at the Last Supper. The Apostles work must now begin. Jesus will be with them until the end of the age; as he is with us and his Church. Let us thank God for the gift of our faith & the gift of the Spirit.