25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Home Mission Sunday
Sunday 20 September 2020
Please contact the parish to receive the newsletter by email each week.
Message from Canon Kristian
I hope this email finds you well, notwithstanding the continuing increase in the number of COVID-19 infections across the country and around the world. Please do keep yourselves safe and hold in prayer those most vulnerable to the impact of the virus.
Along with the newsletter this weekend, there are a number of important documents available to download (see links in the newsletter):
- A Letter from Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican Department which oversees worship and sacraments throughout the world, in which he reflects on the impact of the pandemic on our worship as a community, especially at the Eucharist. Based on the ancient teachings of the Church, the Cardinal underlines the importance for the health of the Church and of our own spiritual lives of our weekly participation at Mass and the reception of Christ in Holy Communion and, where circumstances now permit, he strongly encourages us to rediscover this central aspect of our lives as Catholics and to return to the celebration of Sunday Mass each week. The letter has been approved by Pope Francis himself and he has asked that it be published throughout the world. I am sure you will take time to reflect carefully on the Cardinal’s words and start to take concrete steps to take part again regularly at Sunday Mass, if you haven’t done so already.
- The text of a personal commitment to nonviolence. Within the Season of Creation which we are celebrating for the first time this year throughout the Church, we are being invited by Pax Christi International, the official worldwide Catholic organisation which promotes prayer and action for peace, to dedicate the days between 21 September and 2 October to the renewal of our commitment to active nonviolence – something which has deep roots in the teaching of Jesus Himself, particularly in the Sermon of the Mount and the Beatitudes. Unfortunately, the rich and well-thought out information about this arrived rather late for us to reflect on this together as a parish community for these days which are almost upon us, but over the coming year I hope that we will have the opportunity to consider together the proposals more deeply so that we can come to some concrete decisions about how we as individuals and as a parish can put Jesus’ teaching into practice and respond to Pope Francis’ invitation to be people of “active nonviolence”(a copy of the Holy Father’s Message for World Peace Day 2016, where this invitation is made is available here). As we all know too well from the news and from our own experience, violence between people and against God’s creation is a sad and pervasive reality in our world today, so this invitation is a key part of our call to live the values of the Gospel. As a starting point, we are invited to reflect on the forms of violence that may be within our own hearts and personal lives – something which the Letter of St James regards as a fundamental prerequisite for peace – and to make a personal commitment to nonviolence to God by means of the “vow of nonviolence”.
- The annual Report on the finances of the parish for the Financial Year 2019/2020. In the normal way, this would be presented by the Parish Treasurer to a meeting of the Parish-in-Council, but this is not possible this year. You will see that, thanks to two legacies which the parish received this year, we are in a robust financial position, despite the reduction of normal parish income due to the impact of COVID-19. However, it is important to bear in mind that, without these legacies, we would have been in deficit at the end of the last Financial Year. Since the end of that Financial Year there have been a number of significant expenses, including the renovation of the damaged stained glass windows in St Boniface, and other repairs and alterations to the church in St Boniface which are still pending. Work will also soon be starting on the preliminary investigations for the proposed rebuilding of the church in Tiverton and, whilst the major part of the cost of this will be covered by the Trustees of the Diocese, we will still incur costs with regards to the maintenance of the grounds – particularly the tress and hedgerows – around the church and presbytery for which quotes are presently being sought. So your continued support and generosity to the parish is still vital as we look towards the future. Remember that we now also have the capacity to accept your donations “contactlessly”, which, as we know, is the way that has become common in our transactions in our daily lives.
Plans are now in process to reconnect with the children who were preparing to celebrate First Confession and First Holy Communion before the “lockdown” and it is hoped that these children will be able to celebrate these Sacraments in small groups over the coming months. In the meantime, we are starting to gather the details for those children who are due to receive these Sacraments in 2021, so do let me or Deacon Michael have these details as soon as possible if you have a child who falls into this category. You can also give these details to Rosie in the Parish Office.
We should also have a good group of young people who should start preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Due to the impact of “lockdown”, the Bishop will be playing “catch-up” with the celebration of the Sacrament with those young people who were prepared this year, so it is not possible at this point to give a firm indication of when the Bishop will be able to come to the parish to confirm those we will start to prepare soon. However, it is really important that we do start that preparation soon, so I would again invite any young person within the parish who is due to be confirmed over the next year or so to give their details to me or to Deacon Michael either in person or through Rosie in the Parish Office.
I am grateful as always to Monika Manser for sharing her passion for Imaginative Contemplation through her aid to prayer with the Sundays’ Gospel
Blessings to you all
Masses at St James
Mass is celebrated at St James on :
- Tuesday at 10.00am
- Wednesday at 12noon
- Thursday at 6.30pm
- Friday at 12noon
- Saturday at 6.00pm
- Sunday at 10.00am and 11.30am.
Please let the Parish Office know that you would like to come to a particular Mass. Sometimes there are spare seats at some of the weekday Masses, but there is no guarantee that there will be a seat available. You may make a “rolling booking” for a particular Mass, but please let the office know if you are not able to come, so that the place may be released for someone else.
Home Mission Sunday
This weekend is Home Mission Sunday and there will be a second collection to support the work of the Home Mission Office of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, which supports parishes and projects to spread the Gospel in our own country.
The Season of Creation and the World Day of the Poor
During the Season of Creation we are being asked to take concrete steps to care for the gift of creation and for the Earth, our common home. You can find useful information and resources on the Bishops’ Conference Website, and the Diocesan Website and on Facebook, and at https://cafod.org.uk. On Saturday 24 October, 10.30am-12.30pm Bishop Mark invites you to take part in an online event – How are we reaching out to the poor and marginalised? to reflect on World Day of the Poor. Read more about it and register to take part at Caritas Plymouth. Booking is essential.
“Let us return to the Eucharist with joy!”
Bishop Mark has asked that the recent Letter from Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship, on the celebration of the liturgy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, be made available to all parishioners and is available to read here. In his letter, approved by the Holy Father, Cardinal Sarah gives an encouraging exposition of the importance of returning to church and to the celebration of the Eucharist.
Annual Parish Financial Report
The Report for the Financial Year 2019/2020 is now available. Please contact the parish for a copy. Special thanks to Margaret Found, our Parish Treasurer, for her unstinting work on our behalf, and to Siobhan Gilroy, the Parish Gift Aid Organiser.
Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action
In support of the Season of Creation, this is the first year for the Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action, organised by Pax Christi International, between 21 September (International Day of Peace) and 2 October (International Day of Nonviolence and Gandhi’s Birthday), to encourage solidarity actions around the world to promote and celebrate nonviolence. In his Message for the World Day of Peace in 2016, Pope Francis asks God “to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values” so that it may “become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms”.
Amongst the most pressing issues facing our world today is climate change and the need for Governments and every individual to take decisive and immediate action to avert a climate catastrophe. Working alongside other groups within the Church and in society at large, a new group Catholics for Christian Climate Action is being launched on 4 October, the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, to call for:
(1) full divestment from fossil fuels by 2022 by all Catholic organisations, such as dioceses and religious orders;
(2) the Catholic Church in England and Wales to aim for net zero carbon emissions in its own operations by 2030 at the latest, in line with a similar decision already made by the Church of England;
(3) the Catholic Church in England and Wales to educate Catholics and the general public on the need to push the UK Government to aim for zero carbon emissions by 2030 at the latest.
When reflecting on what concrete steps you feel called to take to protect God’s precious gift of creation, supporting the aims of Catholics for Christian Climate Change might be an example of one way of responding to the Holy Father’s invitation to “make active nonviolence our way of life”.
Over the next year or so, it is planned to explore with the parish ways in which we can become a community committed to nonviolence in all its forms and in all the many areas of our life, within the limits imposed on us by COVID-19. In the meantime, during these first days of Catholic Nonviolence Days of Actions, you are invited to make your own personal commitment to nonviolence using the “Vow of Nonviolence” :
RECOGNIZING THE VIOLENCE IN MY OWN HEART, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, I vow for one year to practice the nonviolence of Jesus who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God…You have learned how it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy’; but I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven.”
I vow to carry out in my life the love and example of Jesus:
- by striving for peace within myself and seeking to be a peacemaker in my daily life;
- by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence; by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart;
- by living conscientiously and simply so that I do not deprive others of the means to live;
- by actively resisting evil and working nonviolently to abolish war and the causes of war from my own heart and from the face of the earth.
God, I trust in Your sustaining love and believe that just as You gave me the grace and desire to offer this, so You will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it.
Preparing for First Holy Communion and for Confirmation
Although the new cohort will not start until the New Year, would parents who would like their children, aged 7 and over, to be prepared to receive the Sacraments of First Confession and First Holy Communion in 2021, please give their details to Canon Kristian or Deacon Michael, or directly to the Parish Office as soon as possible.
We are also planning to start the preparation of those wanting to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. If you are 13yrs or older – or have a young person of this age – and would like to be confirmed, please have a word with Canon Kristian or Deacon Michael, or contact the Parish Office ASAP.
One Hope Project – Exploring your relationship with God
Are you aged between 14 and 25? Would you like to work with One Hope Project to explore who God is and how God is part of your life? There will be four sessions starting on Wednesday 30 September on Zoom from 7.30pm-8.30pm. You will need to book in order to get the log-in details. Feel free to bring a friend. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The annual Chrism Mass, during which the Sacred Oil of Chrism is consecrated and the Holy Oils of Catechumens and of the Sick are blessed, which would normally have taken place during Holy Week but was postponed due to COVID-19, will be celebrated by Bishop Mark in the Cathedral this Tuesday, 22 September, at 12noon. Due to the continuing restrictions, the Mass will be broadcast on YouTube and you are warmly invited to take part online. Direct links can be found on the Diocesan website and on the Cathedral website.
Canon Kristian will make the September draw after 6.00pm Mass on Saturday.
Masses and Events this week
Saturday 19 September – Weekday
- Vigil Mass of Sunday at 6.00pm
Sunday 20 September – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
- Holy Mass at 10.00am and at 11.30am (pro populo)
Tuesday 22 September – Feast of the Dedication of the Cathedral
- Holy Mass at 9.00am Geoffrey Xavier RIP
Wednesday 23 September – St Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)
- Holy Mass at 12noon
Thursday 24 September – Our Lady of Walsingham
- Holy Mass in Polish at 6.30pm
Friday 25 September – Weekday
- Holy Mass at 12noon
Saturday 26 September – Weekday
- Vigil Mass of Sunday at 6.00pm