27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Sunday 4 October 2020

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Message from Canon Kristian

Dear Parishioners

With the drawing in of the evenings and the appearance of the colder and wetter weather it definitely feels like we have entered into Autumn!  I hope you are all keeping well and continuing to keep as safe as you can.

NHS Test and Trace App

You will have heard that, if we have a suitable mobile phone, we are being strongly encouraged to download the new NHS Covid-19 Test and Trace app.  This is an important way in which the spread of the

Parish QC code at St James Church

coronavirus can be both monitored and contained.  Should you come into contact with someone who has the virus, the app will tell you and then, by law, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days in order to protect others.  Every public building, including churches, has been issued with a “QR code” – something that looks like a square filled with a pattern of black and white smaller squares – which will be recognised by the app through your phone camera.  Everything you enter a building with one of these codes, you are asked to log this on your app.  This information is then stored on your phone.  The NHS Guidance that was issued to introduce the app, which gives fuller information about how it works, what other information it can give you and why it is important that we use it is available to view HERE.   Obviously, there will be people who do not use a mobile phone, or have a model which is not capable of downloading the app.  As a result, we are being asked to continue to take tracking details manually alongside the use of the app, so please still give your details to the stewards as you enter church if you have not already booked a space with Rosie in the Parish Office.

World Day of the Poor

This Sunday brings the Season of Creation to a close.  Hopefully we have used this time well to consider what negative impact each of us as individuals has on our environment and have made concrete changes to our how we live in order to enhance and protect our common home.  Clearly, the close of the Season of Creation is not a sign that we can forget about all this until next year.  It is something which should be an integral and on-going part of our lives and mission as Christians.  This Sunday also sees the publication of another Encyclical by Pope Francis, Brothers and Sisters All, which will set out his teaching regarding global human solidarity and co-operation, something which is badly needed in this increasing fractured and divided world of ours at the present time.  I am sure we will be reflecting a lot more of what the Holy Father says to us in this Encyclical over the next few months.  One local initiative, which will include reflections on the Pope’s teaching contained in this new document, as well as in his teaching on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which he has been giving at the weekly Wednesday Audiences in Rome, is the diocesan-wide online event in preparation for the World Day of the Poor (15 November 2020).  Participation in this event is free and I strongly encourage those parishioners who can to take a look at the presentation of the event on the Diocesan Website and to register to take part.

First Communion Preparation

Our parish catechists have started to make plans to restart the preparation for our children who were preparing for the First Communion before the Covid lockdown.  Due to social distancing rules, it will be necessary to continue the rest of the preparation in smaller groups.  The participation of the family in the preparation will be even more importance than it was before as on-going support at home for what the children are being taught will be vital.  We will be providing help to parents alongside the sessions with the children and I cannot emphasise to parents how important that this will be and there will be an expectation that at least one parent or family member will attend these sessions.

Confirmation Preparation

As yet only two teenagers have registered their interest in preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation.  I am aware that there is a greater number of our teenagers than this who are at the age to prepare for this Sacrament, so I urge them and their parents to give importance to this and to pass details onto myself or Deacon Michael as soon as possible.  The Sacrament of Confirmation is important as it is the time when we complete our Christian initiation which began at our baptism.

Responding to the Psalms and Praying with the Sunday Gospel

Hopefully you will remember that we are still in the Year of the Word – as the front of the Newsletter reminds us week-by-week, although it has been somewhat disrupted by the unforeseen impact of the coronavirus.  However, the Spirituality Committee of the Bishops’ Conference has been reflecting on how best to support and sustain our prayer life at this challenging time, particularly for those who may not have easy access to the internet or streaming services.  So the Committee has looked to the Psalms as the inspiration for its new resource.  “Responding to the Psalms” is a simple initiative that a Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm – an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word – and invites and encourages further reflection on each verse.  Short questions are provided to encourage deeper thought on the verse for a few days or so before the focus moves on to the psalm’s next verses.  Once each verse has been considered, we arrive at next Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm.  The aim is that this will sustain us throughout the week.  The resource can be used both by individuals and in small groups.  The Psalms for October are available to download here, but they can also be downloaded from the website of the Liturgy Office of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.  The Psalms for the coming months will be posted on that site two weeks before the beginning of the month and I will attach them to the Newsletter as well for those who find it easier to get them in this way.

Monika Manser has produced her weekly handout to assist those who find it helpful to pray with this Sunday’s Gospel – the Parable of the Dishonest Tenants – using their imaginations. This can be downloaded from the parish website under the Resources > Reflections section.

Monthly Coffee Morning

Our monthly Coffee Morning on Zoom will take place this coming Thursday, 8 October, at 11.00am.  All parishioners who have the capability to use Zoom are invited to pop in and have a chat.  Access details are available by contacting the parish.

Feast of St John Henry Newman

This Friday we celebrate the Feast of St John Henry Newman, who was canonised last October.  Let us all take that opportunity to ask for his intercession for the Church and for our country as we look to the future with hope, that we will embrace positively and willingly the changes that we will be called to make to both our life as a parish community and to the way we live our everyday life as we learn to live the new reality that the presence of Covid-19 has brought.  Let us make our own the prayer of the Collect for the Mass of the Feast:

O God, who bestowed on your Priest Saint John Henry Newman
The grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church;
Graciously grant that, through his intercession and example,
We may be led out of shadows and images
Into the fullness of your truth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.


The reference to the leading of God’s “kindly light” in this prayer is taken from the well-known  hymn written by St John Henry “Lead, kindly Light” in 1833, originally as a poem titled “the Pillar of the Cloud” based on Exodus 13:21-22: “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”

Before he became a Catholic in 1845 and when still a young priest of the Church of England, Newman became sick while in Italy and was unable to travel for almost three weeks. As he tells us in Part III in Apologia Pro Vita Sua – his autobiographical account of the development of his understanding of the Faith – and speaking of the time of the start of the Oxford Movement within the Church of England in 1833:

I was aching to get home; yet for want of a vessel I was kept at Palermo for three weeks. I began to visit the churches, and they calmed my impatience, though I did not attend any services. I knew nothing of the presence of the Blessed Sacrament there. At last I got off in an orange boat, bound for Marseilles. We were becalmed a whole week in the Straits of Bonifacio. Then it was that I wrote the lines, “Lead, kindly light,” which have since become well known. I was writing verses the whole time of my passage. At length I got to Marseilles, and set off for England. The fatigue of travelling was too much for me, and I was laid up for several days at Lyons. At last I got off again and did not stop night or day till I reached England, and my mother’s house. My brother had arrived from Persia only a few hours before. This was on the Tuesday. The following Sunday, July 14th, Mr. Keble preached the assize Sermon in the University Pulpit. It was published under the title of “National Apostasy.” I have ever considered and kept the day, as the start of the religious movement of 1833.

Perhaps we could take some time this week to meditate on the words of his hymn too, which are very apt for our own challenging times:

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom;
lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene—one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that thou
shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.

So long thy pow’r hath blest me, sure it still
will lead me on
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
the night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
which I have loved long since, and lost awhile

As always, be assured of my prayers for you all, and do please let me or Rosie know if you would like a visit.

With every blessing

Fr Kristian

Coming to Mass

As we are limited due to COVID restrictions in the number of people that can come to Mass at the weekends, it will no longer be possible to make “rolling” bookings for these Masses in order for the system to be fair for all parishioners.  Therefore, it will be necessary to book a place through the Parish Office in order to be sure that there will be a space for you.  Unfortunately, we are not permitted by law to exceed the maximum socially-distanced number allowed for each church.  “Rolling” bookings will still be possible for weekday Masses.

Re-Opening of St Boniface, Cullompton

From this weekend, St Boniface Church will be open again for Mass.  The 11.30am Mass on Sundays and the 12noon Mass on Wednesdays will be moved from St James to St Boniface.  A maximum of 22 people, depending on family “bubbles”, can be accommodated, so it will be important to let the Parish Office know if you are intending to come to a particular Mass.

NHS Test and Trace

Both St James and St Boniface have been issued with their specific QR code by the Government and are posted at the entrance and exit of each church.  If you have downloaded the NHS Test and Trace App, please use the “check in” option each time you come to church.  We have been asked to continue to take people’s details manually as well, as there are some who are not able to download the App.

CAFOD Coronavirus Appeal – Survive, Rebuild, Heal

As next Sunday will be our Sunday of Thanksgiving for the Harvest, this Friday, 9 October, is the CAFOD Harvest Family Fast Day on which, this year, we are being asked to stand together with families in the poorest countries facing the worst of coronavirus.  As Pope Francis reminds us: “Only together can we do this”.  A sheet from Jane Trott is available to download here with information recently shared at a local CAFOD “Zoom” meeting by a Caritas worker from Sierra Leone about the work they are doing and the challenges they face.

Please take an envelope with you today and return it next week, completing the Gift Aid slip if you are a taxpayer. Alternatively, you can use our contactless “tap and donate” facility, give your donation directly to CAFOD online at, or text “CAFOD” to 70085 to donate £10.  The text will cost £10 plus one standard rate message.  If you do not want to receive further marketing communications on your telephone text “CAFODNOINFO”.

Retiring Collection for Peter’s Pence

This weekend we are being asked to hold the annual “Peter’s Pence” Collection, normally taken at Masses on the Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul.  This collection is our opportunity to contribute personally and directly to supporting the charitable works undertaken by the Holy Father Pope Francis. There is a basket by the entrance for this collection.  Your donations can also be given using our contactless donation device.

Preparation for the World Day of the Poor

In preparation for the World Day of the Poor, you are invited to take part in the first diocesan-wide online Caritas event on Saturday 24 October, 10.30am-12.30pm: “How are we reaching out to the poor and marginalised?”   Bishop Mark will share thoughts about how we are reaching out, both spiritually and through acts of charity, to the poor and vulnerable. The event will also share messages from Pope Francis’ Encyclical Fratelli tutti (issued today, 4 October) and from his COVID catechesis where he sets out his thoughts about how we need to respond to the changing world situation following the Coronavirus pandemic. Read more about it and register to take part at Caritas Plymouth or email is essential.  For those who do not have internet access, there will be an option for people to dial-in to the event.

First Holy Communion Preparation

The catechists will soon be making contact with those children and their families who were already preparing to receive the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion prior to the COVID lockdown.  Sessions will be arranged both online and in small groups to complete this preparation to enable the children to receive First Communion in small groups at Sunday Masses early in the New Year.

Although the new cohort will not start until the New Year, 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, are asked to give their details to Canon Kristian or Deacon Michael, or directly to the Parish Office as soon as possible.

Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation

We are 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 as soon as possible.

Rosary Whirlwind British Isles for Faith, Life and Peace

October is traditionally the month dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary and the renewal of the traditional Catholic practice of meditation on the Mysteries of the Rosary.  In union with nations all over the world who will be hosting similar events, we are being invited to take up our rosaries in an intensive Rosary Whirlwind Mission for the well-being of the British Isles.  Further information from Fr Jon Bielawski, the Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation and Catechesis, is available here telling us how we can be involved in this initiative and giving specific dates, details and links to follow.

Help for the Scottish National Shrine of Our Lady at Carfin

As with many churches and shrines across British Isles, the Scottish National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes at Carfin, Lanarkshire, has been badly hit financially due to the cancellation of all events in 2020 and possibly in 2021.  Just to maintain the grounds for all to enjoy at the Grotto costs £2500 a month.  If you would like to become a supporter and to make a donation to the Grotto, visit the Grotto website and to the Grotto Facebook Page.

Masses and Events this week

Saturday 3 October 2020

  • Vigil Mass of Sunday at 6.00pm

Sunday 4 October – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

  • Holy Mass at 10.00 am Pro Populo
  • Holy Mass at 11.30 am (St Boniface)

Tuesday 6 October – St Bruno, Priest

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am

Wednesday 7 October – Our Lady of the Rosary

  • Holy Mass at 12noon (St Boniface)

Thursday 8 October – Weekday

  • Coffee Morning on Zoom at 11.00am
  • Holy Mass at 6.30pm

Friday 9 October – Feast of St John Henry Newman, Priest

  • Holy Mass at 12noon

Saturday 10 October – St Paulinus of York, Bishop

  • Vigil Mass of Sunday at 6.00pm