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Wishing you All a Very Happy & Holy Christmas

& A Heathy & Prosperous New Year for 2022

St. Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year C

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT: Focuses on the role of Our Blessed Lady in the whole of God’s plan of Salvation. In the beautiful Gospel of the Visitation we see the young Mary visiting her aged cousin Elizabeth, and sharing in her joy at having a child. The very young girl Mary, whose life had always been oriented to God, has humbly accepted God’s request to become the mother of his Son; and acceptance that changed the whole course of human history. Mary becomes a model of faith, and a model of the Church, which is why Our Blessed Lady is held in the highest esteem and reverence. As we journey with Mary & Joseph to Bethlehem once again, in these last few days before Christmas, let us pray for that same faith that enabled them to humbly respond to God’s holy will

Covid booster jab get yours now sign isolated on a white background. Covid booster jab with needles either side of the word jab on a white background vector illustrationONGOING PANDEMIC: I’m sure none of us would have imagined that for a second Christmas we would still be in the throes of this Pandemic. But this Omicron variant has taken hold in our country and numbers are increasing exponentially on a daily basis. I’m sure we all know people with Covid at present. Please continue to try and keep yourselves safe & healthy. It is extremely contagious. Ensure that you get your ‘Booster Jab’ as soon a possible, otherwise our hospitals will be filling up and again and the NHS will continue to be stretched to capacity. Let us respect one another. Face Coverings are mandatory in Church now; Hand sanitation on entry and exit from church is encouraged. Also please kindly respect each other’s space. Churches are allowed to remain open. Please think seriously about which Mass you attend at Christmas; also I would seriously advise everyone not to attend the first Mass, we don’t want to have to turn people away because it becomes overcrowded! Thank You!

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THANK YOU: Our Grand Draw this year raised £3,200.00, which is absolutely incredible under difficult circumstances. I’m so grateful to the whole parish community for your wonderful support. Thank you, to all who donated prizes and food items for Hampers. To Lorraine & Kelsey for making up all the Hampers; and to everyone who purchased Draw Tickets. I think there were a lot of Happy Winners on Sunday. There are still some outstanding Hampers to be picked up after the Masses this weekend. The hall will be open after all masses.    

Dear Friends in Christ,                                                                                    4th Sunday of Advent 2021

As we rapidly approach the great solemnity of the Incarnation of the Lord, we see today the important role of Our Blessed Lady. In these few remaining days, let us continue in our spiritual preparation of that Birth once again into our lives this Christmas. Jesus is the hope of all nations; he came to bring peace and reconciliation to the whole world. Let us thank God for the gift of his Son.

ADVANCED NOTICE & PREPARATION FOR CHRISTMAS MASSES

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PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS: As we have just entered a new phase of this Pandemic with the Omicron variant already spreading throughout the world. I would ask all parishioners to kindly observe our requests to wear face coverings at Mass, and use hand sanitisation on entry and exit of church. We are not only protecting ourselves, but also one another.

There will be NO children’s mass again this year; and I would ask all parishioners to seriously think about masses they attend. Please don’t all turn up for the first mass of Christmas.

Christmas Eve Masses:           5.00pm, 7.00pm, 10.00pm (sung) Friday 24th December              All With Christmas Carols.

Christmas Day Masses:           9.00am & 11.00am (sung)

Saturday 25th Deccember        Masses with Carols

I would like to thank the whole Parish Community for your incredible support of the parish over the past twleve months, and throughout the whole of the Pandemic. A big thank you to all who have helped throughout the year, Altar Soceity, MC’s & Altar Servers, Readers & Eucharistic Ministers. Special thanks to the Stewards who have looked after us during this Pandemic. Thank you to Stephen Richardson & Iain McLay who publish our weekly Newsletters.  

CATHOLIC CHIDLREN’S SOCIETY – Each year all the Crib Offerings go to the BCCS. This year especially when fund-raising has been at a minimum. Please be generous in your giving. Both Cribs will remain until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 2nd February. Thank you!

Fr

May God Bless You All This Christmas, Love & Peace    

ELECTRONIC CHRISTMAS OFFERING: This year, as always, envelopes will be available for us to make our Christmas Offering, which, as you know, is an opportunity in every Catholic Church for parishioners to make a Christmas gift to your Parish Priest, which forms the major part of his salary. This year our Christmas Offering can also be made electronically. We just need to transfer the money to the parish account with the reference ‘Xmas Offering’Please quote your Gift Aid Number also. Any questions please ask Iain McLay (bloggeriain@gmail.com). The details of the bank account are:

Reference: ‘Xmas Offering + GA Number’

Sort Code: 40-13-22                            

Account Number: 11019651

Account Name: Catholic Church Loughton St Edmund.

PARISH ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE: After consultation with the diocese, I have deemed it necessary to cancel the Penance Service on Monday 20th in light of this Omicron variant. I will hear confessions daily after morning Mass at 10.30am in the Confession Box in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. I will also be in the Confessional on Monday 20th at 8.00pm if anyone turns up. Apologies for the short notice; but health and safety at this time are extremely important. Thank you for your understanding!

PARISH ALTAR SOCIETY: The Grand Christmas Clean will take place on Tuesday 21st December at 9.30am. Please join us if you can for an hour or so to prepare the Church for our Christmas Masses. Also, if anyone would like to join the Altar Society please contact Sharon Fitzmaurice on 07854919207 or shazzafitzm@aol.com or Fr John

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RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS We will now break for Christmas and resume again on Thursday 13th January 2022. If you want to know more about the programme, and the whole RCIA process, please contact Fr John, Tel No: 0208 508 3492 or Email:  loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.org

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PROGRAMME: The classes will break for the Christmas holiday and resume again on Sunday 9th January 2022. My thanks to the Catechists and the children for leading us in the Sacred Liturgy last Sunday. Please keep all of the children in your prayers as their continue their scarametnal preparation.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

PARISH ALTAR SERVERS: FEAST OF ST STEPHEN: As this falls on a Sunday this year, the special mass for all of our Altar Servers will take place on Sunday 26th December, it will be the Feast of the Holy Family. This is awlasy a very special Mass for our Servers and thioe families. Being a Sunday it will give the whole parish community the opportunity t thank our Altar Staff for your commitment and regular attendance Serving at the Altar. Sadly, we have lost a lot of our Altar Servers during the Pandemic, many have decided to give up serving. If there are any girls and boys out there who would be interested in learning to serve, please let Fr John know as soon as possible

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

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MARRIAGES FOR 2022: If anyone is planning on getting married in 2022, please could you make contact with Fr. John at the beginning of January. For those getting married in the parish we normally ask for six months’ notice; for those getting married outside of the parish at least nine months’ notice. The documentation and preparation takes quite a long time and organising Marriage Preparation Courses through Marriage Care in the responsibility of the Couple. To avoid any disappointments, please make contact as soon as possible.

ST JOHN FISHER CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, LOUGHTON PRIMARY SCHOOL ADMISSIONS: As your parish school, St John Fisher provides a distinctively Catholic education for your children. St John Fisher is an excellent School where we teach your children, in accordance with our Mission Statement – “The love of God helps us all to live, learn, and grow to be a happy, caring and welcoming community.”  St John Fisher School is a place filled with love of learning. It is a place where, as a Catholic community, we celebrate the successes of our children in all areas of school life through our distinctive curriculum.  Visits to the school are warmly welcomed and encouraged. Please do see for yourself the excellent education and enhanced learning environment we provide. We welcome mid-year applications.

Visits are held every Monday at 9.30 am, with the Headteacher. Mr Kendal.  Please contact the school on 0208 508 6315 or email:         

admissions@st-johnfisher.essex.sch.uk to arrange a visit.

For admission to the school’s Reception Class, September 2022 please apply by 15th January 2022

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR OUR YOUNG PARISHIONERS CONFIRMED LAST JUNE

When we finished our zoom sessions just before you were confirmed in June, Fr. John, Mark Anthony and our catechists thought it would be good to follow up with some ideas for your interest and further involvement. These include:

A Sunday evening Parish Youth Mass: We’ve had a couple of these popular and enjoyable Masses over the past few years and hopefully we’ll be able to organise one, possibly early in the new year. The idea would be that you could get involved with the music and the readings and make it your own celebration.  Hopefully, we can also have a social gathering in the Hall afterwards.

Summer Lourdes 2022: The Brentwood Catholic Youth Service is organising this great trip for young people throughout the Diocese and it will take place during late July. We can get full details for you and also our Parish could help in financing some of the cost if needed. You can meanwhile check this out on the BCYS website and there is also more details below in another notice (“BCYS Summer Lourdes Pilgrimage”)

The BCYS monthly Youth Mass: This takes place on the first Thursday of each month at 6pm in Brentwood Cathedral. Many young people from around our Diocese attend this regular and happy celebration.  

Mark Anthony will shortly be sending you all an email to follow up on these ideas and he’ll be asking you to let him know of your interest in becoming involved in these ideas. Please chat among yourselves and decide to do something positive and worthwhile by saying ‘Yes, we’re interested!’

Thanks and God bless.

MESSAGE FROM OUR HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICER: Robin has highlighted two important points: (i) with the cold weather it is very wise for parishioners to wrap up when they come to mass as good ventilation will need to be maintained; (ii) it is very important that parishioners do not park in the central section of the car park as this blocks access that may be needed if an ambulance has to be called during mass.

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
HSBC Sort Code 40-13-22                                           PLEASE BE GENEROUS IN YOUR
Account Number: 11019651                                        GIFT TO GOD & HIS CHURCH

MASS INTENTIONS: It has always been a custom within the Roman Catholic Faith to have an Intention offered when celebrating Holy Mass. Intentions can be for all occasions: e.g. For a deceased member of a family; deceased anniversary mass; Birthday intention; Special Occasions; Get Well Mass; Success in exams; Special milestone anniversaries, Wedding, Ordination, Confirmation. In fact, you can offer a Mass for almost every occasion!  There are Mass Intention envelopes and Special Mass Cards for all occasions in the Repository at the back of the Church. (Please complete Mass envelope and enclose your Mass Offering and drop off at the Presbytery); I will always try to accommodate the date you have requested, or the nearest date to it.  It’s always beautiful to receive a Mass card from someone!

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.

BRENTWOOD CATHEDRAL: This Sunday afternoon at 4.00 p.m. in the Cathedral, the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols takes place with Bishop Alan. You and any members of your parish are very welcome to join us. For those people who cannot come to Brentwood, you may wish to direct them to this video which is on the Thresholds of Hope channel on YouTube https://youtu.be/4qsxJoZJulc or to share this link on Sunday on your own parish social media.

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MASS INTENTIONS – DECEMBER 2021

Sat 18th              10.00am  Ann Campbell RIP ((B Bryant)
  Vigil Mass for Sunday: Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 18th                   6.00pmDeirdre McShane RIP (Sheehy Family)
Sun 19th                           9.00amPeople of the Parish  
Sun 19th                                    11:00am  Malcolm Campbell (B’day anni)(B Bryant)
Mon 20th                      10.00amPeter McQuade RIP (Margaret Duffy) Confessions after Mass
Tues 21st                                                                             10.00am  Mary Murphy RIP (Maureen Kisley) Confessions after Mass
Wed 22nd                                10.00amMaurice Onwhuan (Nalan Hassan) Confessions after Mass
Thurs 23rd                    10.00am  Jospeh Nganda RIP (John O’Rourke) Confessions after Mass
Fri 24                         Christmas Eve5.00pm 7.00pm 10.00pmGerlando Burgio RIP (Sheehy Family) Archie Campbell RIP (Brenda Bryant) John & Mary Harvey RIP (Fr John)
Sat 25th Christmas Day                          9.00am 11.00am  Grace McAuliffe RIP (Noreen Smith) Peter Smith RIP (Paul Falco)
   
Sat 25th                                6.00pmNO VIGIL MASS CHRISTMAS DAY
Sun 26th                           9.00amPeople of the Parish
Sun 26th       11:00am  Peter Burns RIP, Bill Warnes RIP, Dan Bennett RIP, & Dec’d Altar Servers (D Knott)

Please kindly be patient with your mass requests. I will try to accommodate your requested dates, but there have been a large number of requests recently and we celebrate masses in the order in which we receive them.

Parish Phone No: 0208 508 3492  Email: loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.org

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4th Sunday of Advent

First Reading : Micah 5:1-4

The Lord says this:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

the least of the clans of Judah,

out of you will be born for me

the one who is to rule over Israel;

his origin goes back to the distant past,

to the days of old.

The Lord is therefore going to abandon them

till the time when she who is to give birth gives birth.

Then the remnant of his brothers will come back

to the sons of Israel.

He will stand and feed his flock

with the power of the Lord,

with the majesty of the name of his God.

They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power

to the ends of the land.

He himself will be peace.

Responsive Psalm : Psalm 79(80):2-3,15-16,18-19

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,

  shine forth from your cherubim throne.

O Lord, rouse up your might,

  O Lord, come to our help.

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,

  look down from heaven and see.

Visit this vine and protect it,

  the vine your right hand has planted.

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

May your hand be on the man you have chosen,

  the man you have given your strength.

And we shall never forsake you again;

  give us life that we may call upon your name.

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

Second Reading : Hebrews 10:5-10

This is what Christ said, on coming into the world:

You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation,

prepared a body for me.

You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin;

then I said,

just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,

‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.’

Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

Gospel : Luke 1:39-45

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD

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Wishing you All a Very Happy & Holy Christmas

& A Heathy & Prosperous New Year for 2022

St. Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year C

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT: Focuses on the role of Our Blessed Lady in the whole of God’s plan of Salvation. In the beautiful Gospel of the Visitation we see the young Mary visiting her aged cousin Elizabeth, and sharing in her joy at having a child. The very young girl Mary, whose life had always been oriented to God, has humbly accepted God’s request to become the mother of his Son; and acceptance that changed the whole course of human history. Mary becomes a model of faith, and a model of the Church, which is why Our Blessed Lady is held in the highest esteem and reverence. As we journey with Mary & Joseph to Bethlehem once again, in these last few days before Christmas, let us pray for that same faith that enabled them to humbly respond to God’s holy will

Covid booster jab get yours now sign isolated on a white background. Covid booster jab with needles either side of the word jab on a white background vector illustrationONGOING PANDEMIC: I’m sure none of us would have imagined that for a second Christmas we would still be in the throes of this Pandemic. But this Omicron variant has taken hold in our country and numbers are increasing exponentially on a daily basis. I’m sure we all know people with Covid at present. Please continue to try and keep yourselves safe & healthy. It is extremely contagious. Ensure that you get your ‘Booster Jab’ as soon a possible, otherwise our hospitals will be filling up and again and the NHS will continue to be stretched to capacity. Let us respect one another. Face Coverings are mandatory in Church now; Hand sanitation on entry and exit from church is encouraged. Also please kindly respect each other’s space. Churches are allowed to remain open. Please think seriously about which Mass you attend at Christmas; also I would seriously advise everyone not to attend the first Mass, we don’t want to have to turn people away because it becomes overcrowded! Thank You!

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THANK YOU: Our Grand Draw this year raised £3,200.00, which is absolutely incredible under difficult circumstances. I’m so grateful to the whole parish community for your wonderful support. Thank you, to all who donated prizes and food items for Hampers. To Lorraine & Kelsey for making up all the Hampers; and to everyone who purchased Draw Tickets. I think there were a lot of Happy Winners on Sunday. There are still some outstanding Hampers to be picked up after the Masses this weekend. The hall will be open after all masses.    

Dear Friends in Christ,                                                                                    4th Sunday of Advent 2021

As we rapidly approach the great solemnity of the Incarnation of the Lord, we see today the important role of Our Blessed Lady. In these few remaining days, let us continue in our spiritual preparation of that Birth once again into our lives this Christmas. Jesus is the hope of all nations; he came to bring peace and reconciliation to the whole world. Let us thank God for the gift of his Son.

ADVANCED NOTICE & PREPARATION FOR CHRISTMAS MASSES

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PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS: As we have just entered a new phase of this Pandemic with the Omicron variant already spreading throughout the world. I would ask all parishioners to kindly observe our requests to wear face coverings at Mass, and use hand sanitisation on entry and exit of church. We are not only protecting ourselves, but also one another.

There will be NO children’s mass again this year; and I would ask all parishioners to seriously think about masses they attend. Please don’t all turn up for the first mass of Christmas.

Christmas Eve Masses:           5.00pm, 7.00pm, 10.00pm (sung) Friday 24th December              All With Christmas Carols.

Christmas Day Masses:           9.00am & 11.00am (sung)

Saturday 25th Deccember        Masses with Carols

I would like to thank the whole Parish Community for your incredible support of the parish over the past twleve months, and throughout the whole of the Pandemic. A big thank you to all who have helped throughout the year, Altar Soceity, MC’s & Altar Servers, Readers & Eucharistic Ministers. Special thanks to the Stewards who have looked after us during this Pandemic. Thank you to Stephen Richardson & Iain McLay who publish our weekly Newsletters.  

CATHOLIC CHIDLREN’S SOCIETY – Each year all the Crib Offerings go to the BCCS. This year especially when fund-raising has been at a minimum. Please be generous in your giving. Both Cribs will remain until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 2nd February. Thank you!

Fr

May God Bless You All This Christmas, Love & Peace    

ELECTRONIC CHRISTMAS OFFERING: This year, as always, envelopes will be available for us to make our Christmas Offering, which, as you know, is an opportunity in every Catholic Church for parishioners to make a Christmas gift to your Parish Priest, which forms the major part of his salary. This year our Christmas Offering can also be made electronically. We just need to transfer the money to the parish account with the reference ‘Xmas Offering’Please quote your Gift Aid Number also. Any questions please ask Iain McLay (bloggeriain@gmail.com). The details of the bank account are:

Reference: ‘Xmas Offering + GA Number’

Sort Code: 40-13-22                            

Account Number: 11019651

Account Name: Catholic Church Loughton St Edmund.

PARISH ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE: After consultation with the diocese, I have deemed it necessary to cancel the Penance Service on Monday 20th in light of this Omicron variant. I will hear confessions daily after morning Mass at 10.30am in the Confession Box in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. I will also be in the Confessional on Monday 20th at 8.00pm if anyone turns up. Apologies for the short notice; but health and safety at this time are extremely important. Thank you for your understanding!

PARISH ALTAR SOCIETY: The Grand Christmas Clean will take place on Tuesday 21st December at 9.30am. Please join us if you can for an hour or so to prepare the Church for our Christmas Masses. Also, if anyone would like to join the Altar Society please contact Sharon Fitzmaurice on 07854919207 or shazzafitzm@aol.com or Fr John

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RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS We will now break for Christmas and resume again on Thursday 13th January 2022. If you want to know more about the programme, and the whole RCIA process, please contact Fr John, Tel No: 0208 508 3492 or Email:  loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.org

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PROGRAMME: The classes will break for the Christmas holiday and resume again on Sunday 9th January 2022. My thanks to the Catechists and the children for leading us in the Sacred Liturgy last Sunday. Please keep all of the children in your prayers as their continue their scarametnal preparation.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

PARISH ALTAR SERVERS: FEAST OF ST STEPHEN: As this falls on a Sunday this year, the special mass for all of our Altar Servers will take place on Sunday 26th December, it will be the Feast of the Holy Family. This is awlasy a very special Mass for our Servers and thioe families. Being a Sunday it will give the whole parish community the opportunity t thank our Altar Staff for your commitment and regular attendance Serving at the Altar. Sadly, we have lost a lot of our Altar Servers during the Pandemic, many have decided to give up serving. If there are any girls and boys out there who would be interested in learning to serve, please let Fr John know as soon as possible

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

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MARRIAGES FOR 2022: If anyone is planning on getting married in 2022, please could you make contact with Fr. John at the beginning of January. For those getting married in the parish we normally ask for six months’ notice; for those getting married outside of the parish at least nine months’ notice. The documentation and preparation takes quite a long time and organising Marriage Preparation Courses through Marriage Care in the responsibility of the Couple. To avoid any disappointments, please make contact as soon as possible.

ST JOHN FISHER CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, LOUGHTON PRIMARY SCHOOL ADMISSIONS: As your parish school, St John Fisher provides a distinctively Catholic education for your children. St John Fisher is an excellent School where we teach your children, in accordance with our Mission Statement – “The love of God helps us all to live, learn, and grow to be a happy, caring and welcoming community.”  St John Fisher School is a place filled with love of learning. It is a place where, as a Catholic community, we celebrate the successes of our children in all areas of school life through our distinctive curriculum.  Visits to the school are warmly welcomed and encouraged. Please do see for yourself the excellent education and enhanced learning environment we provide. We welcome mid-year applications.

Visits are held every Monday at 9.30 am, with the Headteacher. Mr Kendal.  Please contact the school on 0208 508 6315 or email:         

admissions@st-johnfisher.essex.sch.uk to arrange a visit.

For admission to the school’s Reception Class, September 2022 please apply by 15th January 2022

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR OUR YOUNG PARISHIONERS CONFIRMED LAST JUNE

When we finished our zoom sessions just before you were confirmed in June, Fr. John, Mark Anthony and our catechists thought it would be good to follow up with some ideas for your interest and further involvement. These include:

A Sunday evening Parish Youth Mass: We’ve had a couple of these popular and enjoyable Masses over the past few years and hopefully we’ll be able to organise one, possibly early in the new year. The idea would be that you could get involved with the music and the readings and make it your own celebration.  Hopefully, we can also have a social gathering in the Hall afterwards.

Summer Lourdes 2022: The Brentwood Catholic Youth Service is organising this great trip for young people throughout the Diocese and it will take place during late July. We can get full details for you and also our Parish could help in financing some of the cost if needed. You can meanwhile check this out on the BCYS website and there is also more details below in another notice (“BCYS Summer Lourdes Pilgrimage”)

The BCYS monthly Youth Mass: This takes place on the first Thursday of each month at 6pm in Brentwood Cathedral. Many young people from around our Diocese attend this regular and happy celebration.  

Mark Anthony will shortly be sending you all an email to follow up on these ideas and he’ll be asking you to let him know of your interest in becoming involved in these ideas. Please chat among yourselves and decide to do something positive and worthwhile by saying ‘Yes, we’re interested!’

Thanks and God bless.

MESSAGE FROM OUR HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICER: Robin has highlighted two important points: (i) with the cold weather it is very wise for parishioners to wrap up when they come to mass as good ventilation will need to be maintained; (ii) it is very important that parishioners do not park in the central section of the car park as this blocks access that may be needed if an ambulance has to be called during mass.

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
HSBC Sort Code 40-13-22                                           PLEASE BE GENEROUS IN YOUR
Account Number: 11019651                                        GIFT TO GOD & HIS CHURCH

MASS INTENTIONS: It has always been a custom within the Roman Catholic Faith to have an Intention offered when celebrating Holy Mass. Intentions can be for all occasions: e.g. For a deceased member of a family; deceased anniversary mass; Birthday intention; Special Occasions; Get Well Mass; Success in exams; Special milestone anniversaries, Wedding, Ordination, Confirmation. In fact, you can offer a Mass for almost every occasion!  There are Mass Intention envelopes and Special Mass Cards for all occasions in the Repository at the back of the Church. (Please complete Mass envelope and enclose your Mass Offering and drop off at the Presbytery); I will always try to accommodate the date you have requested, or the nearest date to it.  It’s always beautiful to receive a Mass card from someone!

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.

BRENTWOOD CATHEDRAL: This Sunday afternoon at 4.00 p.m. in the Cathedral, the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols takes place with Bishop Alan. You and any members of your parish are very welcome to join us. For those people who cannot come to Brentwood, you may wish to direct them to this video which is on the Thresholds of Hope channel on YouTube https://youtu.be/4qsxJoZJulc or to share this link on Sunday on your own parish social media.

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MASS INTENTIONS – DECEMBER 2021

Sat 18th              10.00am  Ann Campbell RIP ((B Bryant)
  Vigil Mass for Sunday: Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 18th                   6.00pmDeirdre McShane RIP (Sheehy Family)
Sun 19th                           9.00amPeople of the Parish  
Sun 19th                                    11:00am  Malcolm Campbell (B’day anni)(B Bryant)
Mon 20th                      10.00amPeter McQuade RIP (Margaret Duffy) Confessions after Mass
Tues 21st                                                                             10.00am  Mary Murphy RIP (Maureen Kisley) Confessions after Mass
Wed 22nd                                10.00amMaurice Onwhuan (Nalan Hassan) Confessions after Mass
Thurs 23rd                    10.00am  Jospeh Nganda RIP (John O’Rourke) Confessions after Mass
Fri 24                         Christmas Eve5.00pm 7.00pm 10.00pmGerlando Burgio RIP (Sheehy Family) Archie Campbell RIP (Brenda Bryant) John & Mary Harvey RIP (Fr John)
Sat 25th Christmas Day                          9.00am 11.00am  Grace McAuliffe RIP (Noreen Smith) Peter Smith RIP (Paul Falco)
   
Sat 25th                                6.00pmNO VIGIL MASS CHRISTMAS DAY
Sun 26th                           9.00amPeople of the Parish
Sun 26th       11:00am  Peter Burns RIP, Bill Warnes RIP, Dan Bennett RIP, & Dec’d Altar Servers (D Knott)

Please kindly be patient with your mass requests. I will try to accommodate your requested dates, but there have been a large number of requests recently and we celebrate masses in the order in which we receive them.

Parish Phone No: 0208 508 3492  Email: loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.org

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4th Sunday of Advent

First Reading : Micah 5:1-4

The Lord says this:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

the least of the clans of Judah,

out of you will be born for me

the one who is to rule over Israel;

his origin goes back to the distant past,

to the days of old.

The Lord is therefore going to abandon them

till the time when she who is to give birth gives birth.

Then the remnant of his brothers will come back

to the sons of Israel.

He will stand and feed his flock

with the power of the Lord,

with the majesty of the name of his God.

They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power

to the ends of the land.

He himself will be peace.

Responsive Psalm : Psalm 79(80):2-3,15-16,18-19

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,

  shine forth from your cherubim throne.

O Lord, rouse up your might,

  O Lord, come to our help.

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,

  look down from heaven and see.

Visit this vine and protect it,

  the vine your right hand has planted.

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

May your hand be on the man you have chosen,

  the man you have given your strength.

And we shall never forsake you again;

  give us life that we may call upon your name.

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

Second Reading : Hebrews 10:5-10

This is what Christ said, on coming into the world:

You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation,

prepared a body for me.

You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin;

then I said,

just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,

‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.’

Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

Gospel : Luke 1:39-45

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD

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Christmas Letter 2021

St. Edmund of Canterbury and St. Thomas More

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CHRISTMAS 2021

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

Dear Friends in Christ,                   Christmas 2021

As we rapidly approach the Birth of the Christ-child once again, I would like to take this opportunity of sending you all my annual Christmas Greetings. Once again we have faced a very difficult year with regards the Global Pandemic, with all sorts of variants affecting our world. It has been challenging in so many ways. Obviously, we have all been trying to maintain some semblance of normality in our lives, but health and safety for all are the prime concerns in our homes, families and community. Sadly this year we have lost parishioners to Covid, and our hearts go out to their families. I think the main thing that we can all do is be vigilant and ensure all are vaccinated, not only giving protection to ourselves but to everyone else as well.

One thing I would say about this Pandemic it has certainly focused the mind on to what are the most important values of life. Family, health and faith all go hand in hand. The fact that we belong to the Family of God through the practice of our faith has been the great sustaining factor throughout this difficult period of time. I thank God that we are now able to gather together as God’s family to celebrate our faith through the Holy Eucharist on a weekly basis. Although, sadly, many have not returned to the practice of faith. I thank the whole parish community for your continuing support of the parish during pandemic; your weekly contributions have helped to sustain parish life. 

On a personal note it has been quite a difficult 12 months period, as I have had two cancer surgeries. The last one really took it out of me, but I have tried to remain positive throughout all of this. My surgeon is very pleased with me and the prognosis is very good. Obviously, I have to continue to be monitored on a regular basis. Please say a little prayer for me.  

I would like to take this opportunity to thanking so many people who have kindly volunteered their services during these difficult times. For our Stewards who have been faithful each week ensuring the safety of parishioners and the sanitation of our church after each Mass. To the Altar Society who continue to ensure cleanliness of the Altar and Sanctuary, the Sacred Vessels, and linens. To all those parishioners who have been so generous this year in providing Gifts and items for the Christmas Grand Draw. It’s been a tough year for everyone.  Let us pray that 2022 will be a brighter year for all of us!

I take this opportunity of wishing you and all your loved ones a Very Happy, Holy & Blessed Christmas. Keep Safe and Well, and Always be Kind & Loving to one another. A Happy & Healthy New Year for 2022   

Fr

With Love & Peace to You All                         

TIMES OF SERVICES & MASSES OVER CHRISTMAS 2021

Monday 13th Dec          10.00am St. Edmund’s

Penance Service:     8.00pm St. Edmund’s

Tuesday 14th Dec   10.00am St. Edmund’s

Wednesday 15th Dec   10.00am St. Edmund’s

Thursday 16th Dec   10.00am St. Edmund’s.

Friday 17th Dec   10.00am St. Edmund’s 

HOLY HOUR   10.30am St. Edmund’s

Saturday 18th   Dec       10.00am St. Edmund’s

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Saturday  18th   Dec       6.00pm St. Edmund’s

Sunday    19th    Dec       9.00am St. Edmund’s

Sunday    19th    Dec     11.00am St. Edmund’s

CHRISTMAS EVE 

FRIDAY 5.00pm St. Edmund’s (Family Mass)

24th December 7.00pm St. Edmund’s

                        10.00pm St. Edmund’s  

CHRISTMAS DAY

SATURDAY

25th December 9.00am St. Edmund’s

          11.00am St. Edmund’s (Family Mass)

HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY & JOSEPH

SUNDAY 

26th December  11.00am Family Mass.  Enrolment into the

Altar Servers Mass Guild of 

St. Stephen 

NEW YEAR’S DAY

Saturday January 2021 11.00am Mass All welcome! Come and ask the Lord to Bless your families in this Your New Year.

Your Christmas Offertory is your Personal Gift to your 

Parish Priest and makes up the major part of his salary throughout the year!   Please use your Gift Aid envelopes

ADVANCED NOTICE FOR CHRISTMAS MASSES
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PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS: As we have just entered a new phase of this Pandemic with the Omicron variant already spreading throughout the world. I would ask all parishioners to kindly observe our requests to wear face coverings at Mass, and use hand sanitisation on entry and exit of church. We are not only protecting ourselves, but also one another. 

There will be NO children’s mass again this year; and I would ask all parishioners to seriously think about masses they attend. Please don’t all turn up for the first mass of Christmas.

Christmas Eve Masses: 5.00pm  Simple Christmas Mass

Friday 24th Decmeber With Carols 

7.00pm, Simple Christmas Mass

With Carols

10.00pm Sung Christmas Choral Mass

With Carols.

Christmas Day Masses: 9.00am Simple Christmas Mass 

Saturday 25th December    11.00am Sung Choral Mass 

With Carols

ELECTRONIC CHRISTMAS OFFERING: This year, as always, envelopes will be available for us to make our Christmas Offering, which, as you know, is an opportunity in every Catholic Church for parishioners to make a Christmas gift to your Parish Priest, which forms the major part of his salary. This year our Christmas Offering can also be made electronically. We just need to transfer the money to the parish account with the reference ‘Xmas Offering’Please quote your Gift Aid Number also. Any questions please ask Iain McLay (bloggeriain@gmail.com). The details of the bank account are:

Sort Code: 40-13-22

Account Number: 11019651

Account Name: Catholic Church Loughton St Edmund.

St. Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Third Sunday of Advent, Year C

Gaudete Sunday
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What does God want for you during this Advent season? What does the Spirit want to do within and for you? What blessings await you? What grace and anointing will be poured out upon you? We don’t tend to think in this way, having learnt not to expect or hope for too much so that we won’t be disappointed. However, this isn’t a Christian way to think because Christians expect great things. 

Many centuries before Jesus came, the prophet Zephaniah said: The Lord God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.’ This Advent, God wants to renew you in his love. We can anticipate and rely on the truth that this is what God wants for us.

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John the Baptist shows us how this renewal occurs: through repentance and turning away from sin. Of course, we cannot confess our sins to God on our own, but the best way to do this is through the sacrament of reconciliation; truly the sacrament of mercy and forgiveness. 

It can be hard to acknowledge our sinfulness and weakness. It takes courage and a willingness to let God’s light shine into the deepest and darkest parts or us. This can be a lonely and daunting journey, but God is with us. There is no sin that God cannot forgive. There is not sinner beyond his mercy and forgiveness. There is only grace, mercy and forgiveness as we are renewed in God’s love. So don’t be afraid; take courage and be assured of his love and mercy.

Our brokenness is the wound through which the full power of God can penetrate our being and transfigure us in God. Loneliness is not something from which we must flee but the place from which we can cry out to God, where God will find us and we can find God…Yes, through our wounds the power of God can penetrate and become like rivers of living water to irrigate the arid earth within us. Thus we may irrigate the arid earth of others, so that hope and love are reborn.’ (Jean Vanier)

Dear Friends in Christ,         3rd Sunday of Advent 2021

I have just received the new guidelines from the Catholic Bishops Conference with regards the Guidance for Churches in light of the new Omicron variant. Effective immediately, the wearing of face coverings in Churches; which is now mandatory in all places of worship. Singing is permissible, but it is recommended that face coverings continue to be worn.

The scientific advice is that the Booster Jab will give up to 75% protection against this Omicron variant, which manifestly, is becoming the new variant overtaking Delta. The general advice is to get your Booster Jab as soon as possible. It’s quite alarming how quickly the numbers are rising once again this season.

We will continue to provide hand sanitiser as you enter and leave the church; also the benches are sanitised after the masses. We all need to be sensible and respect each other during this Pandemic.      

PARISH GRAND DRAW: On Sunday 12th December after the 11.00am Mass we will have the Parish Grand Draw. I would like to thank all those parishioners who have kindly donated some truly wonderful prizes, your generosity is extraordinary. Also to the many parishioners who have donated Christmas Food Items to make up Christmas Hampers, also many donated various bottles of spirits and wine; there are some truly incredible hampers.  https://tse3.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.e8cpDsMi7SttWSM85JYS9gHaEI&pid=Api&P=0&w=289&h=162

Unfortunately, due to the present Covid situation, we thought it prudent not to go ahead with a Coffee Morning after the 11.00am Mass. The Draw will take place and winners will be notified by phone to collect your prizes. 

I would like to thank Kelsey, Lorraine & Iain for the hard work going on in the background; on advertising, and the making up of Hampers. It’s no mean task putting all this together, and I’m truly grateful for their extraordinary generosity of spirit. 

PARISH ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE: As you know, due to the Pandemic many parishioners have not had the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. At our recent Deanery Meeting we decided to go ahead with a Penance Service here at St. Edmund’s. It will be on Monday 20th December at 8.00pm. There will be visiting priests to assist with the Confessions, also a Polish Priest if any of our polish parishioners would like to celebrate the sacrament in Polish.

Wishing you all a Happy & Blessed Week,  

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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
HSBC Sort Code 40-13-22 PLEASE BE GENEROUS IN YOUR
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.  
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RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS The Presbytery at 7.30pm next session on Thursday 16th December. We will now break for Christmas and resume again on Thursday If you want to know more about the programme, and the whole RCIA process, please contact Fr John, Tel No: 0208 508 3492 or Email:  loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.org

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PROGRAMME: The next session is on Sunday 12th December at 10.00am. Our Theme this week is Caring – This week the children will lead the Sunday Liturgy, reading, prayers of intercession, Offertory. This acquaints them with the different parts of the Mass and teaches them that everyone can be involved. 

ST JOHN FISHER SCHOOL: JOB VACANCY – Full time, School Site Manager. The School are seeking to appoint a caring, resourceful, reliable, and self-motivated Site Manager, who will take great pride in the school premises and grounds. Please email school for further details Admin@st-johnfisher.essex.sch.uk 

REPOSITORY:  It’s still not too late to purchase your religious Christmas items! Available this weekend, a large selection of Religious Christmas Cards, (please think about sending religious cards, signifying the true meaning of Christmas). Christmas Mass Cards, Advent Calendars, Christmas Candles, Cribs – there are some truly wonderful Nativity Scenes for your homes; and other Christmas Items.  All items are marked with prices, and there is a box available for the money for items. Thank you!    Thank you Teresa for all the wonderful ordering of Christmas items this year!

CHRISTMAS MASSES: In light of ongoing restrictions due to Covid the Christmas Masses will be family simple this year. We will have some well-known Carols that people can sing without hymn books. Sadly, there will be no Children’s Mass with Tableau. But I do invite all of our parishioners to make that extra special effort to celebrate the Lord’s Birthday. It’s been a hard year for all of us; we really need the presence of the Lord in our lives at this time.  https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.vCWeuaLSGwhmCZ4cvcX8uwHaHt&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

I’ve attached my annual Christmas Card with message, and times of Masses over the Christmas / New Year period.

There is a Newsletter for every family this Weekend

Christmas Eve Masses: 5.00pm, 7.00pm & 10.00pm (Choral Mass)

Christmas Day Masses: 9.00am & 11.00am (Choral Mass) 

BAPTISMS: It is now permissible once again to have Baptisms with larger groups of family & guests. Manifestly, there are many people who haven’t been able to have baptisms over the past 20 months. Kindly contact Fr. John to arrange your child’s baptism as soon as possible please. There is a Baptism Programme for first time parents. 
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ALTAR SOCIETY: If anyone else would like to join the Altar Society please contact Sharon Fitzmaurice on 07854919207 or shazzafitzm@aol.com It probably works out to about an hour a month, and you can do as much or as little as you wish; the more help we have the easier it is to keep the church really clean. Thanking you in anticipation! The Grand Christmas Clean will take place on Tuesday 21st December at 9.30am. Please join us if you can for an hour or so to prepare the Church for our Christmas Masses. 

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 throughout the pandemic and our donations are still needed desperately as more and more people in our community are finding it hard to make ends meet. The Foodbank have asked for support with the following items: tinned soup, tinned spaghetti, tinned tomatoes, savoury crackers, sponge puddings, chocolate bars, small and medium bags of rice, snack bars and razors. Thank you! You can also keep up to date with the Foodbank news via their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EppingForestFoodbank/

THE THRESHOLDS OF HOPE QUESTIONS:  are a series of talks for adults who want to grow in understanding and confidence when questioned or speaking about their Catholic Faith. The talks and discussion take place on Zoom from 4.00 – 5.00 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.  

The next talk will be on the 12th December and the question being explored is, What does the Incarnation of Christ mean? The input and discussion will be led by Fr David Pearce. For more information about The Thresholds of Hope Questions go to events www.thresholdsofhope.co.uk 

ADVENT CAROL SERVICE: You are warmly invited to join us at Walsingham House at Abbotswick for our annual Advent Carol Service on Sunday 12th December. We will have Christmas carols both classic and contemporary performed by our incredibly talented BCYS musicians, accompanied with readings from scripture and Christmas poems & stories. This year we are running two concerts, at 3pm or 7pm, however there will be limited capacity at each event and this will be dependent on any current Government restrictions or social distancing, in place at the time. Tickets are £10 and the money will go towards supporting our pilgrimages to Lourdes. To book your place please contact Joe Beattie, Walsingham House manager on josephbeattie@dioceseofbrentwood.org or 01277 373 959. 

BCYS SUMMER LOURDES PILGRIMAGE: 2022: 23rd – 30th July 2022.

Applications are now open for our summer pilgrimage to Lourdes for those in Years 11-13, with those of school leaver age (18+) invited to join us as young leaders. This is one of our most popular events and after a 2 year gap we are excited to be returning next year.  The week is spent travelling alongside the main Diocesan pilgrimage as we assist the elderly and infirm with going to Masses and services, as well as visiting shops and cafes within the town.  For those travelling with the BCYS the week will also include a retreat, reconciliation service, as well as social events and a party.  Please see www.bcys.net/events/sl22/ for more information including visas, vaccinations and how to apply

A SUNDAY EVENING PARISH YOUTH MASS: We’ve had a couple of these popular and enjoyable Masses over the past few years and hopefully we’ll be able to organise one, possibly in the New Year. The idea would be that you could get involved with the music and the readings and make it your own celebration. Hopefully, we will also have a social gathering in the hall afterwards

PARISH ALTAR SERVERS: It had taken a number of years to build up a good team of Altar Servers. Sadly, since the Pandemic, many have not returned to serving at the Altar. As a matter of courtesy I would be sincerely grateful to know if you have any intention of returning to the regular practice of  Altar Serving? If you have no intention of serving anymore more it would be good to know; and also, if you could kindly return your albs, laundered please. I really feel saddened by this, as this is a most truly wonderful ministry for our young pepople to participate in. If there are any other young pepople in the parish who would liike to start serving, could you let Fr John know as soon as possible.https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.s7-pS7ljlHJkxAexkmsZ7AAAAA&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

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 

ST JOHN FISHER CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, LOUGHTON PRIMARY SCHOOL ADMISSIONS: As your parish school, St John Fisher provides a distinctively Catholic education for your children. St John Fisher is an excellent School where we teach your children, in accordance with our Mission Statement – “The love of God helps us all to live, learn, and grow to be a happy, caring and welcoming community.”  St John Fisher School is a place filled with love of learning. It is a place where, as a Catholic community, we celebrate the successes of our children in all areas of school life through our distinctive curriculum.

Visits to the school are warmly welcomed and encouraged. Please do see for yourself the excellent education and enhanced learning environment we provide. We welcome mid-year applications. 

Visits are held every Monday at 9.30 am, with the Headteacher. Mr Kendal.  Please contact the school on 0208 508 6315 or email:          

admissions@st-johnfisher.essex.sch.uk to arrange a visit.

For admission to the school’s Reception Class, September 2022 please apply by 15th January 2022

DIARY DECEMBER 2021

PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE SICK IN OUR PARISH

Carmen Antaki, Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, Karl Britz, Carlos Camacho, Jane Downs, Steve Dalgliesh, Pat Fenn,  Veronica Godsave, Bernadette Hall, Ann Hawkes, Claire Howes, Noel Johnson, Shaun Keel, Angela Long, Lilian Mothersole, John McKernan, Rosemary O’Rourke, Kathleen Pomeroy, Geraldine Taylor, Vera Taylor, Mary 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.

REQUIESCAT IN PACE: Please pray for the repose of the Soul of Noreen Burrowes, who passed away last week. Noreen was a long time parishioners at St. Edmund’s and was married her over 60 years ago. We extend our condolences to her husband Colin and family in this time of great loss. The Cremation Service will take place at Forest Park Crematorium on Tuesday 14th December at 3.45pm

REQUIESCAT IN PACE: In your mercy please pray for the repose of the Soul of Dennis Randall RIP, long-time parishioner at St Edmund’s. His Requiem Mass will take place on Friday 17th December at 1.30pm. Followed by cremation at Forest Park Crematorium at 3.00pm We extend our condolences to his wife Maureen and their family in this time of great loss.  

MESSAGE FROM THE CONTEMPORARY MUSIC GROUP: We were very saddened to hear that our musician and friend, Dennis Randall, died last Saturday, 4th December.  We are honoured to have been asked to play and sing at Dennis’ funeral Mass, which will take place at St. Edmund’s at 1.30pm this coming Friday, 17th December and we do hope that many of us can be there.  Also, on our behalf, Fr. John will be offering up the 11am Mass for Dennis on Sunday, 2nd January, which is our next Group Mass.  Until just before the first lockdown, Dennis regularly played his guitar at our monthly 11am Sunday Mass. He was a founder member of our Group from the very early days when we were known as the Folk Choir; this was around 1973, close to 50 years ago.  Dennis was always kind, gentle and unassuming and his many, many years of serving our Parish in this musical way will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, dear friend Dennis.

MASS INTENTIONS – DECEMBER 2021

Sat 11th              10.00amVeronica & Steve Short Int’s. ((Remi)
Vigil Mass for Sunday: Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 11th                 6.00pm Kathleen McDowell RIP (Gunn Family)
Sun 12th                           9.00amMarie-Yvonne Poulter RIP (Kendal Family)
Sun 12th                                  11:00amMichael John Bullock RIP (Steven Bullock)
Mon 13th                     10.00amEileen & George Whatmore RIP. Rose & John Leonard RIP (M Duffy)
Tues 14th                                                                           10.00amMaria & Joao Servo RIP. Modesta & Joaquim  RIP (Adelaide Alves)
Wed 15th                                10.00amJohn Anthony Harvey RIP (Fr John)
Thurs 16th                 10.00amFr Tom Kearney SMA, RIP (Marjorie Fairlamb)
Fri 17th                        10.00am10.30am1.30pmFr Patrick Haward B’day Ints. (M Duffy)Holy Hour with Exposition of Bl. SacramentRequiem Mass.   Dennis Randall RIP 
Sat 18th                          10.00amAnn Campbell RIP ((B Bryant)
Vigil Mass for Sunday Confessions 5.30pm
Sat 18th                               6.00pmDeirdre McShane RIP (Sheehy Family)
Sun 19th                          9.00amPeople of the Parish
Sun 19th     11:00amMalcolm Campbell (B’day anni)(B Bryant)

Please kindly be patient with your mass requests. I will try to accommodate your requested dates, but there have been a large number of requests recently and we celebrate masses in the order in which we receive them. 

Parish Phone No: 0208 508 3492  Email: loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.org

ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE: Monday 20th December at 8.00pm 

3rd Sunday of Advent

First Reading : Zephaniah 3:14-18

Shout for joy, daughter of Zion,

Israel, shout aloud!

Rejoice, exult with all your heart,

daughter of Jerusalem!

The Lord has repealed your sentence;

he has driven your enemies away.

The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst;

you have no more evil to fear.

When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem:

Zion, have no fear,

do not let your hands fall limp.

The Lord your God is in your midst,

a victorious warrior.

He will exult with joy over you,

he will renew you by his love;

he will dance with shouts of joy for you

as on a day of festival.

Responsorial Psalm : Isaiah 12

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Truly, God is my salvation,

  I trust, I shall not fear.

For the Lord is my strength, my song,

  he became my saviour.

With joy you will draw water

  from the wells of salvation.

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!

  Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!

  Declare the greatness of his name.

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Sing a psalm to the Lord

  for he has done glorious deeds;

  make them known to all the earth!

People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,

  for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Second Reading : Philippians 4:4-7

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.

  There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.

Gospel : Luke 3:10-18

When all the people asked John, ‘What must we do?’ he answered, ‘If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’ There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master, what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate.’ Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’

  A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fan is in his hand to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’ As well as this, there were many other things he said to exhort the people and to announce the Good News to them.

St. Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

Second Sunday of Advent, Year C
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St Augustine of Hippo said, ‘Before God can deliver us we must undeceive ourselves.’ Repentance is precisely this process of undeceiving ourselves. The ministry of John the Baptist was focused on proclaiming the message of repentance and turning back to God – probably not the most popular message in any age and certainly not in ours! 

Pope Saint John Paul II, who was one of the prophets of the Christian life, urges us to examine how we, as a society and as individuals, have lost the sense of sin and, consequently, could lose the impetus to receive the grace of forgiveness available to us in the sacrament of reconciliation.

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Was the society, culture and the time in which John the Baptist ministered any different from ours in this regard? We all have an inbuilt self-righteousness which makes it hard, if not impossible, to say, ‘I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am not longer worthy to be called your son/daughter.’ We instinctively resist the idea that we are sinful and need to repent. This resistance and self-righteousness are whey God has to prepare the way. He did so firstly through the ministry of John the Baptist, and secondly in the liturgy of the Church today. The message and call will always be the same: repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

How do we examine our conscience? We don’t want to get immersed in introspection and a kind of pseudo mea culpa attitude, as if repentance was simply about the word ‘sorry’. 

St John Chrysostom said: ‘Repentance ranges from regretting obvious sins like murder, adultery, abuse, swearing and stealing to the realisation that not loving (your neighbour as yourself) is a murder. “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15), and that an evil look is adultery and the love of praise is stealing God’s glory.’

Dear Friends in Christ,                     2nd Sunday of Advent 2021

It’s amazing what can happen in seven days! The whole world has now been put on alert to the Omicron South African variant. It makes us realise that Covid is with us all for the foreseeable future, and we have to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our families. Obviously, this new variant is in its early stages, and as yet we still do not know how severe it will be, and whether our vaccines can protect us from this particular strain of Covid.

The last thing anyone wants again this year is the cancellation of Christmas. Let us all protect ourselves and one another by getting the vaccine our booster jabs, and flu jabs. We are still maintaining certain precautions at church, with the sanitising of hands at entry and exit of the church; the wearing of face-coverings in respect of one another, and social distancing where necessary. Thank you to everyone for kindly respecting these requests! 

GRAND DRAW ONLY ONE WEEK AWAY, 12th DECEMBER

GRAND DRAW TICKETS: There are still plenty of Grand Draw Tickets available for purchase £5 a book. We want to see as many as possible, as this is our parishes only fund-raiser throughout the year.  We have been donated some truly wonderful prizes, Two Colour Televisions; A Nintendo Switch; Apple Air Pods Pro; £150 of Theatre Tickets; Gin Afternoon Tea for Two at London’s Iconic Gherkin; Fortnum & Mason Champagne Tea for Two in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon; £100 Gift Cash; £100 Gift Voucher for Tom, Dick & Harry’s; £80 Gift Vouch for Zizzi’s; Amazon Echo Dot; Various Amazon Vouchers: £100, £50, £25, £20; £50 M & S Voucher; There will be numerous Hampers of Food & Drink; also some children’s Hampers. https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.p7eFG5vb77Ox4SjGaqqUHAHaGn&pid=Api&P=0&w=188&h=169

I would like to thank all those parishioners who have kindly donated some truly wonderful prizes and food and drink items for the Hampers. It’s still not too late to donate as this is the final week before the Grand Draw. You can drop off your Gifts and all other items, either in the Church Porch, Fr John’s Garage, or at the Presbytery at any time throughout the week. 

There will be a Coffee Morning after the 11am Mass next Sunday where the Grand Draw will take place. I invite our parishioner to come along. Also we are looking for some voluntary help with the catering, teas and coffees, could any parishioners make some cakes and mince pies please.

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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
HSBC Sort Code 40-13-22 PLEASE BE GENEROUS IN YOUR
Account Number: 11019651 GIFT TO GOD & HIS CHURCH

PARISH FINANACES: 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.  

RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS The Presbytery at 7.30pm next session on Thursday 9th December Theme: The Sacraments – The Eucharist Part 2 If you want to know more about the programme, and the whole RCIA process, please contact Fr John, Tel No: 0208 508 3492 or Email:  loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.orghttps://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.7xXPp4SxDqSildwWjCO-fAHaF5&pid=Api&P=0&w=227&h=182

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PROGRAMME: The next session is on Sunday 5th December at 10.00am. Our Theme this week is Caring – The Beatitudes. Please pray for all our children preparing for the sacraments. This is truly a wonderful moment of time in their lives. 

ST JOHN FISHER SCHOOL: JOB VACANCY – Full time, School Site Manager. The School are seeking to appoint a caring, resourceful, reliable, and self-motivated Site Manager, who will take great pride in the school premises and grounds. Please email school for further details Admin@st-johnfisher.essex.sch.uk 

REPOSITORY: Available this weekend, a large selection of Religious Christmas Cards, (please think about sending religious cards signifying the true meaning of Christmas). Christmas Mass Cards, Advent Calendars, Christmas Candles, Cribs – there are some truly wonderful Nativity Scenes for your homes; and other Christmas Items.  All items are marked with prices, and there is a box available for the money for items. Thank you!

THE THRESHOLDS OF HOPE QUESTIONS:  are a series of talks for adults who want to grow in understanding and confidence when questioned or speaking about their Catholic Faith. The talks and discussion take place on Zoom from 4.00 – 5.00 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.  

The next talk will be on the 5th December and the question being explored is, What are the unique insights of Catholic Social Teaching?  Fr Dominic Howarth, Romford, will consider this question. 

For more information about The Thresholds of Hope Questions go to www.thresholdsofhope.co.uk 

ADVENT CAROL SERVICE: You are warmly invited to join us at Walsingham House at Abbotswick for our annual Advent Carol Service on Sunday 12th December. We will have Christmas carols both classic and contemporary performed by our incredibly talented BCYS musicians, accompanied with readings from scripture and Christmas poems & stories. This year we are running two concerts, at 3pm or 7pm, however there will be limited capacity at each event and this will be dependent on any current Government restrictions or social distancing, in place at the time. Tickets are £10 and the money will go towards supporting our pilgrimages to Lourdes. To book your place please contact Joe Beattie, Walsingham House manager on josephbeattie@dioceseofbrentwood.org or 01277 373 959. 

BCYS SUMMER LOURDES PILGRIMAGE: 2022: 23rd – 30th July 2022.

Applications are now open for our summer pilgrimage to Lourdes for those in Years 11-13, with those of school leaver age (18+) invited to join us as young leaders. This is one of our most popular events and after a 2 year gap we are excited to be returning next year.  The week is spent travelling alongside the main Diocesan pilgrimage as we assist the elderly and infirm with going to Masses and services, as well as visiting shops and cafes within the town.  For those travelling with the BCYS the week will also include a retreat, reconciliation service, as well as social events and a party.  Please see www.bcys.net/events/sl22/ for more information including visas, vaccinations and how to apply

A SUNDAY EVENING PARISH YOUTH MASS: We’ve had a couple of these popular and enjoyable Masses over the past few years and hopefully we’ll be able to organise one, possibly in the New Year. The idea would be that you could get involved with the music and the readings and make it your own celebration. Hopefully, we will also have a social gathering in the hall afterwards

PARISH ALTAR SERVERS: It had taken a number of years to build up a good team of Altar Servers. Sadly, since the Pandemic, many have not returned to serving at the Altar. As a matter of courtesy I would be sincerely grateful to know if you have any intention of returning to the regular practice of  Altar Serving? If you have no intention of serving anymore more it would be good to know; and also, if you could kindly return your albs, laundered please. I really feel saddened by this, as this is a most truly wonderful ministry for our young pepople to participate in. If there are any other young pepople in the parish who would liike to start serving, could you let Fr John know as soon as possible.https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.s7-pS7ljlHJkxAexkmsZ7AAAAA&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

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 

ST JOHN FISHER CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, LOUGHTON  PRIMARY SCHOOL ADMISSIONS: As your parish school, St John Fisher provide a distinctively Catholic education for your children. St John Fisher is an excellent School where we teach your children, in accordance with our Mission Statement – “The love of God helps us all to live, learn, and grow to be a happy, caring and welcoming community.”  St John Fisher school is a place filled with love of learning. It is a place where, as a Catholic community, we celebrate the successes of our children in all areas of school life through our distinctive curriculum.

Visits to the school are warmly welcomed and encouraged. Please do see for yourself the excellent education and enhanced learning environment we provide. We welcome mid-year applications. 

Visits are held every Monday at 9.30 am, with the Headteacher. Mr Kendal.  Please contact the school on 0208 508 6315 or email:          

admissions@st-johnfisher.essex.sch.uk to arrange a visit.

For admission to the school’s Reception Class, September 2022 please apply by 15th January 2022.

GRAND CHRISTMAS DRAW & CHRISTMAS HAMPERS

Only one more week to go until the GRAND DRAW. I would like to make a final appeal to all of our parishioners to participate in our only fund-rising event of the year. As you are well aware, finances have dropped considerably, as many people are not attending church anymore. The Bazaar Committee believe that the Grand Christmas Draw & Hampers, which was such a great success last year, can be repeated again this year. Manifestly, we are wholly dependent on your generosity. No matter how great or small a gift or item may be it will be gratefully received.     Xmas Raffle Clipart , Png Download - Christmas Raffle, Transparent Png, Free Download

Some ideas for the Grand Draw are Flat Screen TV, Laptop, Other New Electrical Goods, Restaurant Vouchers, Hotel Vouchers, National Trust Family Memberships, Crate of Wine, and Department Store Vouchers. Also Smart Tech Wearables: Fit Bits, Garmins, Air Pods, Beats.

Suggested Hamper Donations:  Luxury Brand Christmas Cakes & Christmas Puddings; Bottles of Champagne, Prosecco, Spirits, Port & Wine; Tinned Meats – Gammon Ham, Potted Duck Pates; Tinned Fish – Salmon, Dressed Crab & Lobster; Jars of Fruit in Syrup; Jars of Pickles, Chutneys & Olives; Festive Marmalades; Tea & Coffee, Hot Chocolate. Biscotti, Ginger Snaps & Shortbread. Diced Fruit & Nuts; Chocolate Nut selections. Sweetmeats – Turkish Delight. Biscuits & Crackers for Cheese. Boxes of Luxury Chocolates & truffles. 

There are boxes in the Porch of the church, at the Presbytery front door & in Fr John’s Garage to receive your gifs and items, and or course you can always drop off personally at the Presbytery throughout the week.  If there are any parishioners who would like to donate ‘Money Gifts’ these will be gratefully received. Also, if anyone has any gift baskets you could let us have, these will be good to make up the Christmas Hampers.  If you can, please help us once again this year. This is the whole parish working together. The Grand Draw will take place on Sunday 12th December in the Parish Hall at about 12.30pm there will be refreshments available. 

GRAND DRAW TICKETS WILL BE DISTRIBUTED THIS WEEKEND

PLEASE BE GENEROUS IN YOUR RESPONSE IN TAKING THEM

KINDLY RETURN ALL COUNTERFLOILS & MONIES BY 

NEXT SUNDAY THE 12th DECEMBER.  THANK YOU!

DIARY NOVEMBER 2021

PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE SICK IN OUR PARISH

Carmen Antaki, Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, Brian Beveridge, Karl Britz, Carlos Camacho, Jane Downs, Steve Dalgliesh, Pat Fenn,  Veronica Godsave, Bernadette Hall, Ann Hawkes, Claire Howes, Noel Johnson, Shaun Keel, Angela Long, Lilian Mothersole, John McKernan, Rosemary O’Rourke, Kathleen Pomeroy, Geraldine Taylor, Vera Taylor, Mary Witten, James Wright. And all our loved ones. 

ANNIVERSARIES: Peter Smith RIP, Please pray for all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescant in Pace. 

BAPTISMS: It is now permissible once again to have Baptisms with larger groups of family & guests. Manifestly, there are many people who haven’t been able to have baptisms over the past 20 months. Kindly contact Fr. John to arrange your child’s baptism as soon as possible please. There is a Baptism Programme for first time parents. 

ALTAR SOCIETY: If anyone else would like to join the Altar Society please contact Sharon Fitzmaurice on 07854919207 or shazzafitzm@aol.com It probably works out to about an hour a month, and you can do as much or as little as you wish; the more help we have the easier it is to keep the church really clean. Thanking you in anticipation! The Grand Christmas Clean will tak place on Tuesday 21st December at 9.30am. Please join us if you can for an hour or so to prepare the Church for our Christmas Masses. https://tse3.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.MjTfuC3J02gRYGtnSWAE7QHaM_&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

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 throughout the pandemic and our donations are still needed desperately as more and more people in our community are finding it hard to make ends meet. The Foodbank have asked for support with the following items: tinned soup, tinned spaghetti, tinned tomatoes, savoury crackers, sponge puddings, chocolate bars, small and medium bags of rice, snack bars and razors. Thank you! You can also keep up to date with the Foodbank news via their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EppingForestFoodbank/

MASS INTENTIONS – DECEMBER 2021

Sat 4th             10.00amNancy Ironside RIP (Maree Kavangh)
Vigil Mass for Sunday: Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 4th                6.00pm Sandy Sandhu RIP
Sun 5th                          9.00amColin Orr RIP (Catherine Mills)
Sun 5th                                 11:00amYvonne Poulter RIP (Steve & Teresa Wallace)
Mon 6th                    10.00amPeter Smith RIP (Anni) Paul Falco
Tues 7th                                                                          10.00amJim Sullivan (Sick) (Joan O’Sullivan)
Wed 8th                                10.00amAnn Hakes (B’day Int’s) (Pat & Margaret)
Thurs 9th                10.00amThomas & Mary Lamb RIP (Margaret Duffy)
Fri 10th                        10.00am10.30amDr Brian Beveridge RIP (Beveridge Family)Holy Hour with Exposition of Bl. Sacrament 
Sat 11th                          10.00amVeronica & Steve Short RIP (Remi)
Vigil Mass for Sunday Confessions 5.30pm
Sat 11th                               6.00pmKathleen McDowell RIP (Gunn Family)
Sun 12th                          9.00amMarie – Yvonne Poulter RIP (Kendal Family)
Sun 12th     11:00amMichael John Bullock RIP (Steven Bullock & Family)

Please kindly be patient with your mass requests. I will try to accommodate your requested dates, but there have been a large number of requests recently and we celebrate masses in the order in which we receive them. 

Parish Phone No: 0208 508 3492  Email: loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.org

ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE: Monday 20th December at 8.00pm. With visiting Clergy 

2nd Sunday of Advent

First Reading : Baruch 5:1-9

Jerusalem, take off your dress of sorrow and distress,

put on the beauty of the glory of God for ever,

wrap the cloak of the integrity of God around you,

put the diadem of the glory of the Eternal on your head:

since God means to show your splendour to every nation under heaven,

since the name God gives you for ever will be,

‘Peace through integrity, and honour through devotedness.’

Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights

and turn your eyes to the east:

see your sons reassembled from west and east

at the command of the Holy One, jubilant that God has remembered them.

Though they left you on foot,

with enemies for an escort,

now God brings them back to you

like royal princes carried back in glory.

For God has decreed the flattening

of each high mountain, of the everlasting hills,

the filling of the valleys to make the ground level

so that Israel can walk in safety under the glory of God.

And the forests and every fragrant tree will provide shade

for Israel at the command of God;

for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory

with his mercy and integrity for escort.

Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 125(126)

What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.

When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,

  it seemed like a dream.

Then was our mouth filled with laughter,

  on our lips there were songs.

What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.

The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels

  the Lord worked for them!’

What marvels the Lord worked for us!

  Indeed we were glad.

What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.

Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage

  as streams in dry land.

Those who are sowing in tears

  will sing when they reap.

What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.

They go out, they go out, full of tears,

  carrying seed for the sowing:

they come back, they come back, full of song,

  carrying their sheaves.

What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.

Second Reading : Philippians 1:4-6,8-11

Every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present. I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes; and God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you. My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.

Gospel : Luke 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the lands of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas the word of God came to John son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah:

A voice cries in the wilderness:

Prepare a way for the Lord,

make his paths straight.

Every valley will be filled in,

every mountain and hill be laid low,

winding ways will be straightened

and rough roads made smooth.

And all mankind shall see the salvation of God.

Pastoral Letter for the First Sunday of Advent

(Please read and/or make available at all Masses during the weekend of the 27/28th December 2021)

My dear People,

On this, the First Sunday of Advent, we embark on a journey together with the Universal Church. Every diocese throughout the world has been invited by Pope Francis to walk the Synodal Pathway. The journey begins now and will conclude in Rome in 2023.

The Holy Father invites us to enter this Synodal Journey, moving towards greater Communion, Participation and Mission within the Church. These three themes reflect both our calling and ultimately our destination as Catholic Christians.

We begin in Advent, a season of listening, reflected in the most perfect example Our Blessed Mother, Mary. Listening was central to the Annunciation. First, God speaks to Mary; she loves God and she listens to him with an open heart and a willingness to participate in His plan. Later, at the Visitation, Mary cares for and listens to her cousin, Elizabeth. Our Lady shows us what it means to be fully attentive to God and to neighbour.

Now it is our turn. We are being asked to pray together, to talk with, and listen to each other, and to share our dreams for a future Church that is enhanced by communion, participation and mission.

The Holy Father has made it clear that each diocese ought to tailor the pathway to their unique, local situation and with this in mind I would like to encourage you to undertake this task within your Parish Partnerships. These were established as part of our Stewards of the Gospel process, which led, three years ago in the Advent of 2018 to the publication of our Vision Document: Shaping Our Future.

As a diocese, we now have some experience of collective discernment of the will of the Holy Spirit, as the common theme of listening together runs between the Stewards of the Gospel process and the Synodal Pathway. Pope Francis puts it beautifully, saying, “Our journeying together is what most effectively enacts and manifests the nature of the Church as the pilgrim and missionary People of God”. My hope is that the Synodal pathway will help us to discern and implement our own vision and manifest our missionary nature.

Now I urge you to come together in your parish partnership; to pray and to dream of the future of our church, to listen with care and respect to one another, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide your conversations.

Everyone should be included in this prayerful listening and discernment and there will be notices in your parish bulletin or on social media with further information.

As we journey together in our pilgrimage to the house of God our Father, I invite you to use the Synod Prayer which will be available in print form and also on diocesan and parish web sites.  Attributed to St Isidore of Seville (560-636), it has been traditionally used at Councils and Synods for hundreds of years. This version has been designed specifically for the Church’s Synodal Pathway. Please pray it, inviting the Holy Spirit into your busy lives and homes and know that I will be praying for you also.

Yours in Christ and Mary,

+Alan Williams, sm

Bishop of Brentwood