32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
Sunday 8 November 2020
Please contact the parish to receive the newsletter by email each week.
Message from Canon Kristian
So, here we are again, back in national lockdown to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus. As you will be aware, the restrictions are not as stringent this time as last. However, we are being encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and only go out for essential purposes. Schools, colleges and universities are remaining open, as are some shops. Despite representations from faith leaders, the Government has decided that all acts of communal worship must cease for the duration of the lockdown which means all public Masses be stop. I will, of course, continue to celebrate Mass in private daily for your intentions and, because it is the month of November, for the Holy Souls.
As I told you in my email to you on Thursday, in an attempt to keep the rhythm of prayer going in our churches, they will remain open for that times that were established for Mass for a period of private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Further details about these times are contained in the newsletter. There are intimations that the Government may well reconsider its position with regards to public worship. If that does happen, I will let you know as soon as possible. Until then, I am hoping that as many of you as possible, if it is safe for you to do so, will take this opportunity to come to church to pray for an end to the pandemic and to thank God for the gift of having our churches as focal points of the parish family’s prayer. Even for those who cannot come, you will see that we are being invited to pray at 6.00pm every day, wherever we may be, in union with the wider Christian family and with people of other Faiths, for an end to the pandemic and our Bishop urges us to use the Angelus prayer for this. Prayer, especially prayer which is united, is a powerful way of expressing our common belief that we all trust in the abiding presence of God within and around us during this particularly challenging time. Apart from our commitment to persevering prayer, let us try to maintain open channels of communication especially with those of our own community and of the wider community who are vulnerable and who might need our moral or practical support.
Please note that, due to the national lockdown, the Parish Office will only be open from 10.00-11.00am each weekday and contact can only be by phone or email, not in person. Obviously, if you need to contact me outside of these times, I am usually available to receive a telephone call (there is an answerphone I am not around) and I keep my eye out for emails. If you could avoid Mondays, however, I would be very grateful as this is technically my “day off”.
As usual, along with the newsletter, there are a number of attachments
- A list for Holy Souls for those who have not sent one in and who still wish to do so
- A copy of the Angelus prayer for use at the daily 6pm prayer time
- Guidance for setting up a Standing Order, together with a Bankers Order Form. This is even more pressing given the renewed lockdown and the likely on-going restrictions due to Covid-19. I urge you to make this change from Gift Aid Envelopes if you can. (Please contact the parish for information)
- A poster giving details about the CHAT Christmas Foodbank Appeal. I received a further email this week from CHAT, thanking you for your continuing generosity towards our local charity which reaches out to those most in need in our area. Alongside the appeal, we will continue to have a collection bucket at the entrance to St James for monetary donations, especially for the fantastic face coverings which Christine Pickford continues to make for us. The Bishops’ Conference Newsletter this week emphasises in increasing importance of foodbanks at this time and includes an interesting video of the work of two of them. The video can be found at https://youtu.be/yz_r1Llx7FM.
- A leaflet from Monika Manser to help those who find it useful to reflect and pray imaginatively on the Sunday Gospel is available to download from the Resources section of the parish website.
- A flyer from the local Anglican community of St George & St Paul, inviting us to take part in a Big Quiz Night on Zoom for the Tearfund next Sunday, 14 November, at 7pm. If you would like to take part and be a presence from the Catholic community, you can sign up by going to https://bit.ly/quiznight-signup.
- The latest Newsletter from St Elisabeth’s Convent in Minsk, Belarus, about their Visiting Nurse Service.
In addition to all this, we have decided to reinstate the weekly “Coffee Morning” on Zoom on a Thursday at 11am throughout the lockdown in order to provide another space for those of our parish family who wish/need to see and speak to others during a time which could be isolating for them. Not everyone is able to access Zoom or even finds this a helpful way of communicating, but there is an open invitation to anyone who wishes join in for as long or short a time as they want. The access details are available from the parish.
I do hope you will find some of this helpful and that the Newsletter and the attachments are a way of maintaining the bonds of our parish community.
I assure you of my daily prayers and pray that you will all be kept safe and well.
With every blessing
Second Covid Lockdown & Opening our Churches for Private Prayer
Following the confirmation by Parliament on Wednesday of the Government’s proposals for a national lockdown to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus, all acts of communal worship are forbidden by law until the situation is reviewed on December 2. Although there is a possibility that the Government may ease this requirement on places worship before then, until such times it will no longer be possible to celebrate Mass open to the public.
However, our Bishops are encouraging us to keep our churches open to allow people to come for private prayer. Therefore, apart from the transfer back to St James of the time for Mass on Wednesdays, our churches will be open for private prayer at the times that were established for Mass in order to maintain a rhythm of prayer in our parish community. On weekdays the church will be open for half an hour at the established time and at the weekend times for one hour. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed on the altar as a focus for prayer.
There is no need to pre-book to come along for private prayer and you can come and stay for whatever time you wish within the time that the church is open. However, stewards will be on hand to take your details for the “Track and Trace” procedures and to sanitise the building thoroughly after use.
Hopefully those who can do safely will take this opportunity to come to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. However, the uptake will be reviewed next weekend and any changes notified to you in next weekend’s Newsletter and on the Covid-19 section of the parish website.
“Track and Trace” and the NHS Test and Trace App
Both St James and St Boniface have their own QR code for use with the NHS App and these are posted at the entrance and exit of each church. We have been asked to continue to take people’s details manually as well.
Daily Joint Act of Prayer for an End to the Pandemic
We are invited, together with people of all faiths throughout the country, to participate in a joint act of prayer at 6pm each day, wherever we happen to be, for an end to the Covid pandemic.
For Catholics, this time of day is one of the traditional times to pray the Angelus and Bishop Mark strongly recommends that we adopt this practice. He notes that, throughout the history of the Church, Our Lady has often come to the aid of her people during times of great hardship or upheaval, and so it is very appropriate that we use this hallowed form of prayer which leads us to focus on the coming of Christ in the mystery of the Incarnation into the often harsh reality of our world. For the benefit of those who are not familiar with it, copy of the Angelus prayer is below:
The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.
November – Month of the Holy Souls
November is the month when we pray in a particular way for the Holy Souls, those who have gone before us on the path of faith into eternal life and who we can help on their journey of purification with our prayers
We pray, too, for all who have died, regardless of their faith. So this month provides a real opportunity to reach out to our neighbours and friends to ask whether there is someone who has died for whom they would like us to pray. This often gives us a chance to share with them the good news of the resurrection and eternal life, and of our enduring relationship with those who have died.
Due to the lockdown, it will not be possible for everyone to get to church during this month to leave their Holy Souls lists of those they would like to be remembered at the Masses for the Holy Souls which Canon Kristian will continue to say in private during this month. To help with this we have a range a ways you can send in your Holy Souls list to the parish:
- A simple webform is available on the website which will send the details to the parish office
- Or download the Holy Souls sheet where you can write down the names. These can be returned by email, posted through the presbytery door or left in the pots placed in front of the altars in both churches when they are open for private prayer.
Zoom “Coffee Morning” on Thursdays
Throughout the time it is not possible to celebrate public Masses, the weekly Coffee Morning on Zoom will be reinstated. This provides an opportunity for members of our parish family to meet together and talk on line and it is open to all. Please contact the parish for joining instructions.
First Holy Communion Preparation
Parents who would like their children, aged 7 and over, to make their First Holy Communion in 2021, are asked to fill out the Application Form and to return it to the Parish Office as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, due to the lockdown restrictions, changes will again have to be made to the sessions planned for those children already preparing for the Sacraments. Their catechists will be in contact with parents shortly.
Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation
If you are 12 or older – or have a young person of this age – and would like to be confirmed, please complete the Application Form and return it to the Parish Office as soon as possible. The Bishop has been scheduled to come to the parish to celebrate the Sacrament on Saturday 10 July 2021, so we need to start the preparation as soon as restrictions permit.
Canon Kristian’s Christmas Cake Raffle
For a chance to win this year’s Christmas cake, raffle tickets are on sale when the church is open for private prayer, £1 each, by cash or contactless payment.
Parish Giving – Move from Gift Aid Envelopes to Standing Orders
We continue to appeal to anyone who uses gift aid envelopes to move to a standing order instead. Because of Coronavirus, handling and counting cash has become much more onerous for our volunteers due to social distancing and having to quarantine cash. Guidance on how to do this is available from the parish. Thank you for your continued generosity to our parish.
CHAT Christmas Foodbank Appeal
Please see the poster from CHAT for information about the donations that the Foodbank would love to receive for its Christmas Appeal. These can be left at church, in the boxes in the supermarkets or taken directly to CHAT. Thank you, too, for a further £98.50 that has been donated via the “CHAT bucket”.
Church Opening times for Private Prayer and Events this week
Saturday 7 November – St Willibrord
Sunday 8 November – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
- 11.30am-12.30pm (St Boniface)
Tuesday 10 November – St Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor
Wednesday 11 November – St Martin of Tours, Bishop
Thursday 12 November – St Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr
Friday 13 November – Weekday