Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)

Sunday of the Word of God

Sunday 24 January 2021

Please contact the parish to receive the newsletter by email each week.

Message from Canon Kristian

Dear Parishioners

The national lockdown continues and it is looking very likely, due to the rapid increase in infections, that it will be extended, even until after Easter.  Hopefully this will not be the case, as it would be lovely to be able to celebrate Holy Week and Easter together as a parish community.  However, if we are to have a chance of this, it is absolutely crucial that we observe the Government’s request to stay at home unless a journey outside is essential.  It is not usual for a parish priest to encourage people not to come to church, but I would strongly all of you to think very carefully about coming to Mass for the time being, especially those of you who fall into the particularly vulnerable category, i.e. those who are elderly or have an underlying medical condition.

Whilst it is true that our churches are generally safe places to be, due to our commitment to observing strictly the social distancing and hygiene rules, the “journey” from your front door to your seat in church will involve a number of occasions when you will come into contact with others which brings with it an evitable risk.  Moreover, it is important to remember that, even if you have receive the first dose of the vaccine and therefore have some immunity to the virus, this does not mean that you can no longer spread the virus if you have come into contact with it.  So it is important that we think of our potential impact of others and not only about their possible impact of us.

As you will see from the newsletter, this Sunday is designated the “Sunday of the Word of God”.  It is a day established by Pope Francis back in 2019 to emphasise the importance of Sacred Scripture both in the liturgical life of the Church and in the spiritual life of every Christian. Sadly, due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic shortly afterwards, we have not been able to celebrate appropriately together as a community.  For example, it is recommended that on this Sunday we solemnly enthrone the Bible or the Book of the Gospels in a special place during Mass and that parishioners are invited to bring their own Bibles to Mass to be blessed.  Hopefully we will be able to do this next year.

However, aware of the restrictions of the pandemic, the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation, which has responsibility for promoting this Sunday, has strongly urged as to mark this day  in our own homes and with our own family/support bubble and recommended that we spent some time solemnly receiving the Word of God into our own households, by means of a simply ceremony, and that we each take time to read prayerfully the passage of scripture taken from St Paul’s Letter of the Philippians (Phil 2:12-18), from which the theme of this year’s celebration is taken “Holding fast to the Word of God”, using an extended form of the ancient Christian practice called “Lectio Divina”.  Hopefully, you will be able to do one or both of these to mark this Sunday in the best way possible, given the limitations we are under.

No Catholic Christian home should be without a Bible so, if you don’t have one, this weekend is the time to correct that.  There are many different translations and versions available.  Be sure that you procure a Bible which includes all the Books contained in the Catholic canon or list of Books (called the Deutero-canonical Books by Catholics or the Apocrypha by Protestants).  These Books of the Old Testament, which were originally written in Greek and not in Hebrew, do not form an official part of the Bible for Anglicans or Protestants.  At the moment, in church we use the Jerusalem Bible translation for our liturgy (and several revisions of this translation are available).  However, that is due to change in 2022, when we are being given a revised Lectionary which will use the English Standard Version or ESV (Catholic edition), which is related to the translation called the Revised Standard Version.  If you wish to purchase a Bible and are not sure whether a particular version/translation is appropriate, either myself or one of the deacons will be able to advise.  Of course, if you have one – or need to get one – if it important that that it is kept in a suitably dignified place (and not used to prop open a door or stabilise a piece of furniture) and that you read from it often!

The 2021 Parish Diaries have arrived at last.  There have been inevitable delays due to the pandemic.  They will be available in both churches for those who would like one.  If you are staying at home and would like a diary, let Rosie know by email or phone and we will make every effort to get a copy to you.  There are a limited supply so it will have to be “first come, first served”, I’m afraid. (Please note that there is a “rogue apostrophe” on the front cover and that the Mass times are those that were in place prior to the pandemic).

There will be the usual Coffee Morning on Zoom this Thursday at 11.00am – access details available by contacting the parish.  The usual helpful guide to imaginative prayer on this Sunday’s Gospel, put together by Monika Manser, is also available on the parish website as usual.

I pray that you are all safe and well.

Enjoy the snow – if and when it comes!

May God bless you

Canon Kristian

Coming to Church during the National Lockdown

At this critical time in this wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to halt the spread of the virus, the central message is STAY AT HOME and only go outside for essential journeys.  This applies above all to those who are especially vulnerable to infection – the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. Therefore, although most churches remain open for the time being, please think very carefully before venturing out to come to Mass, especially if you are included amongst those who are particularly vulnerable. Consider staying out home and take part in Mass online or on the telephone, or simply join us in spirit in silent prayer or by reading the Mass texts.

You can find links to online Masses under the ‘Mass (Parish and online services)‘ section of the website and links to other online resources (including readings for the day) under the Digital Resources section.

If you do decide to come to church, great care must be taken to observe the social distancing rules, to wear a face covering (unless you are exempt) and to sanitise your hands frequently. Moreover, you should refrain from engaging others in extended conversation and maintain an appropriate distance from others at all times, both inside the church and outside in the carpark.

If you would like to come to Mass at the weekends, please contact the Parish Office to book a place, either by telephone on weekdays between 10.30-11.30am, or by email. There is no need to book a place at a weekday Mass but, on arrival at church, please give your details to one of the stewards.

Sunday of the Word of God

Back on 30 September 2019 by his Apostolic Letter Aperuit Illis, Pope Francis instituted ‘The Sunday of the Word of God’ to be held every year on the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time.  The Holy Father intended this to be a day dedicated to the celebration, reflection and dissemination of the Word.  Clearly, since then, the impact of Covid has meant that parishes have been very restricted in the way they can mark this day.  However, there are two ways to mark this day at home – a Rite of Receiving the Word of God at Home and an extended Lectio Divina on the passage of scripture from which the theme for this year: “Holding fast to the word of life” (Phil 2:16).

Caritas Plymouth Quarterly Update 

The latest Caritas Newsletter sets out some of the great activities happening across our Diocese as well as upcoming events.  Caritas Plymouth is looking forward to its celebration of St Bakhita’s Feast Day on Monday 8 February, 5.00-6.30pm – a time of prayer, reflection and discussion on the issues facing refugees, migrants and those affected by modern slavery in the South West – and hopes many parishioners will join Bishop Mark and Bishop Declan of Clifton in celebrating this event online. Full details of how to register are in the Caritas Newsletter or you can email

Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation

Unfortunately, due to the on-going impact of Covid restrictions, it will no longer be possible to go ahead with the First Communion Masses at St James planned for the end of the month.  Hopefully, these will now take place in May/June when restrictions have been eased.  This does mean that those children who were due to make their First Holy Communion this year will now start their preparation in the autumn.

The catechists and clergy will be discussing how best to approach the situation with regards to preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, as the Bishop is due to visit the parish in July.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place each year on Wednesday 27 January. It is an opportunity to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust (now referred to as the “Shoah”) alongside the millions of other people killed both at the hands of the Nazis and in genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. It also allows us to reflect on the horrors of prejudice today.

The theme of this year’s memorial is ‘Light the Darkness.’ As a symbol recognising the human suffering caused by the Holocaust and genocide, we are encouraged to place a lighted candle in a window at 8pm on that day.

Stay Awake 2021 – Adore + Abide + Arise

This is the third year for this home-grown diocesan all age event and takes place on Saturday 27 February online via Zoom and is free.  Stay Awake allows us to go deeper with Jesus and build Christian discipleship. It runs from 11.00am to 3.00pm with inspiring and encouraging talks, praise, worship and fellowship, in the comfort of your own home!  There is a special session for children and young people from 1.00-1.30pm (Reception – Year 9). Booking is open via the webpage.

Check out the new Facebook and Instagram Pages, and be sure to like/follow to keep updated with all things Stay Awake and to see some fun content! The contact email is

Parish Diaries 2021

The 2021 Parish Diaries have arrived and, though a little later than in previous years (and with a deliberate mistake on the cover!), we are very grateful to the Company for their efforts to produce these for us during very challenging circumstances due to Covid. The diaries can be found at the entrance to church.  They are free of charge but, if you would like to give a donation, this would be gratefully received.

Mass “by phone”

For those who are unable to access the internet, it is possible to listen to Mass each Sunday via telephone by ringing 01642 130120.  This is a service provided by the Diocese of Middlesbrough.

Stress in your marriage? A difficult year for many couples

There is so much uncertainty around health, income, employment, vulnerable family members, children, housing…Different ways of seeing things, coping with change, managing fears can be a source of conflict and stress. It can be difficult to talk, to listen, to support and to comfort when there is so much uncertainty. Being together all the time brings even more challenges. You just can’t cope; maybe it would be better apart, you wonder.

Retrouvaille is a programme to support couples. It brings a positive focus, new hope and helps nourish and grow your marriage….and you don’t need to leave home, it comes to you! For confidential information about Retrouvaille, or to register for the next programme – a virtual weekend on 25-28 February 2021 – call or text 07887 296983 or 07973 380443, email, or visit

Holy Mass, Services and Events this week 

Saturday 23 January – Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)

Sunday 24 January – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Tuesday 26 January – St Titus and St Timothy, Bishops

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am
  • Funeral Service for Abraham Leatham RIP at 1.00pm
  • Reception of George Fitz-Costa RIP into Church at 4.00pm

Wednesday 27 January – Weekday

  • Requiem Mass for George Fitz-Costa RIP at 10.00am

Thursday 28 January – Anniversary of the Ordination of Bishop Mark

  • Coffee Morning at 11.00am on Zoom
  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm

Friday 29 January – Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 12noon

Saturday 30 January – Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)