Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)
Sunday 7th February 2021
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Message from Canon Kristian
Slowly, but surely, the days are beginning to lengthen as the light returns and we edge towards Spring, heralding the bursting forth of new life. This rhythm of nature reflects and reminds us of the Paschal Mystery – the dying and rising of Christ – in which we all share through our baptism and our sharing in the Sacrificial Banquet of the Eucharist. In the words of St Paul, “…if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him” (Romans 6:8), and “…and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). In the well-known phrase which came to summarise the enthusiasm and hope of the National Pastoral Congress of 2000 Catholic women and men held in Liverpool now over 40 years ago, we are an Easter People, a people of profound joy and hope, a people who are able to live and find meaning in times of suffering and death through the perspective of faith and in the light of the resurrection. We really need to hold fast to this faith and outlook in these next weeks and months as the pandemic starts to recede. (As an aside, the NPC dealt with many of the issues which we are still trying to address today. Maybe have a read of the Final Report of the Congress and see whether much has changed…)
Shortly, we will be starting out on the annual Lenten journey of preparation and purification leading up to the celebration of Holy Week and Easter. Once again this year, due to the likelihood of the continuation of social-distancing rules, our celebration of these sacred liturgical Seasons together in church will be limited, although not as restricted as last year when all our churches were closed. However, from last week, you will have found various items in the Newsletter pointing to resources on the internet which can be of assistance to our living of Lent this year. One of the initiatives that is being encouraged this Lent by CAFOD as well as some other charities is to focus on life-giving gift of water and, in particular, the lack of access to clean water suffered by two-thirds of our brothers and sisters across the world, including those struggling to survive the devastating droughts happening now in Ethiopia. There are two practical “Walk for Water” initiatives to order to raise awareness and to encourage donations: a 10,000 steps a day challenge for every day of the 40 days of Lent and a Big Walk for five miles on Saturday 20 February. Because you might not be able to commit yourself to 10,000 steps a day, but would be able to do a smaller number, we are setting up a “parish team” which will join the daily contributions of individuals together so that we can reach our daily target. Jane Trott, from the Parish CAFOD Group has kindly agreed to co-ordinate the team contributions so, if you would like to offer some daily Lenten steps, please contact her via the email address in the Newsletter. We have set up a Just Giving page too with a target of raising £250 – which I am sure we will be able to achieve and more – and parishioners and the wider community are invited to sponsor our parish team on their 400,000 step challenge! Due to social distancing rules, we will not be able to do the Big Walk together as a parish community, but we will be encouraging “family bubbles” and “support bubbles” to take part in the Walk and for us to do it together in spirit as a common act of the parish community for Lent. You can find more details on the CAFOD Information Sheet attached to this email.
You will see from the Newsletter that this Monday, 8 February, is the International Day of Prayer and Awareness for the Victims of Human Trafficking and those who work to combat it. Human trafficking – modern slavery – is a scourge that is still prevalent in the world and is present in every town and city in our own country, including Tiverton and Cullompton, and yet we are almost completely blind to the reality before our eyes. Individuals, often from other countries, find themselves in situations of servitude and exploitation, sexual and otherwise, by others from which they cannot escape due to fear for their lives and other consequences. As part of our observance of this day, the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, we are being asked to join in a 7-hour Marathon of Prayer, which will be taking place around the world on that day. A link to the website can be found in the Newsletter and a copy of the flyer with the prayer and other information is attached to this email.
We are also fortunate to have as usual the leaflet from Monika Manser, offering guidance with contemplative and imaginative prayer on this Sunday’s Gospel. The usual Thursday “Coffee Morning” on Zoom, which is open to all parishioners who might want to pop in and say hello, will take place. The access details are available by contacting the parish office.
There are one or two of our parishioners who are now very sick and in need of our prayerful support, so do remember to pray to them and all those in our community who are particular vulnerable at this time. I know it is really appreciated by them.
As ever, you are all in my daily prayers. Please keep safe and well.
May God bless you.
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 taking part in Mass online or on the telephone, or simply join us in spirit in silent prayer or by reading the Mass texts.
When in 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.
International Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking
This Monday, 8 February, is the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita who was born in Sudan, kidnapped at the age of nine and sold into slavery. She was shipped to Italy and, after suffering terrible physical abuse, was eventually freed and became a Sister. As the patron saint of all those who suffer from human trafficking in all its forms, it is also the International Day of Prayer and Awareness for victims of human trafficking and those who work to combat it.
This year’s theme is “A light against trafficking: an economy without human trafficking” and we are invited to join in a worldwide online 7-hour Marathon of Prayer on that day with prayers and testimonies from international bodies and people fighting against human trafficking, which will be streamed in five languages. For more information, follow the link.
Global Healing Lent Evenings
In 2015, Pope Francis published his ground-breaking letter on the environment Laudato Si’. Since then, millions of people worldwide have joined the global movement to address the environmental crisis our world is facing.
This Lent, the Global Catholic Climate Movement invites you to join them for a series of reflective evenings with inspiring speakers, prayer and discussion, using the film-based resource “Global Healing”. These engaging documentaries will inform and challenge people to respond to Pope Francis’ call to Care for Our Common Home.
The sessions are suitable for all who are concerned about what is happening to our world and who want to take action. They will take place on Thursdays from 18 February-25 March 2021, 7.30pm-8.30pm. To register click here (via Zoom) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian experience…Truly, much can be done!” (Laudato Si’ 217, 180)
Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation
We are hoping to organise the celebration of the delayed First Communions at St James after the lockdown restrictions are eased, hopefully sometime in March. Deacon Michael will keep parents informed of developments.
Those children who should have started preparing for First Communion this year, as well as our young people waiting to be confirmed, have not been forgotten. Plans are in place to take both groups forward, once the ease in restrictions permit.
CAFOD Lent Challenge – Walk for Water – 400,000 Steps
This Lent, CAFOD is inviting us to join their “Walk for Water” challenge – 10,000 steps a day, every day, for 40 days. Money raised will go towards changing the fact that one in three people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water. If you would like to do this challenge as individual, then go to the CAFOD website and follow the instructions.
We would also like to set up a “Parish Team” for those who would like to commit themselves to a smaller number of steps a day. If you would like to offer a commit for each day of Lent, please email Jane with your details: email@example.com. A Just Giving Page for our “parish team” has been set up and is open for donations. Hopefully, we should have no problem surpassing our stated target of £250!
Next week, the Newsletter will have more information about the CAFOD Lent Fast Day and the Big Walk for Water on Saturday 20 February.
Our Parish Choir Goes Virtual!
In an exciting initiative, some of our parish singing group are making individual recordings of hymns and songs which are then being skilfully combined by our parishioner and choir member, Rebecca Goldby. It is hoped that these will become a regular part of our Sunday Liturgy.
This week, Soul of my Saviour will be played during the distribution of Holy Communion at 10.00am Mass at St James.
“The Thought Expressed”
Philip Berthoud, a parishioner of the Sacred Heart Parish in Kingsbridge, has produced a CD of songs and hymns based on the poetry of his Godfather, John Bradburne. All profits from sales will go to Mutemwa Leprosy Settlement in Zimbabwe, where John Bradburne spent his last ten years, devoting his life to the care of the patients in the settlement.
The CD costs £10 is available from www.johnbradburne.com or www.philberthoud.com. It can also be found on Amazon, Spotify, Google play etc. To find out more about this extraordinary man’s life and the cause for his sainthood, visit www.johnbradburne.com.
Rediscover Your Marriage
Retrouvaille simply means “rediscovery”. The programme offers the chance to rediscover yourself, your spouse and a loving relationship in your marriage. It has helped 6000 couples, who were experiencing difficulties in their marriage in the past year alone. The programme is highly successful in saving hurting marriages, even bringing reconciliation to couples that have already separated or divorced. There is no group therapy or group work.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.retrouvaille.org.uk.
Holy Mass and Events this week
Saturday 6 February – St Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)
Sunday 7 February – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
- Holy Mass at 10.00am Pro Populo
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (St Boniface)
Tuesday 9 February – Weekday
- Holy Mass at 10.00am Aniela Rieunier RIP
Wednesday 10 February – St Scholastica, Virgin
- Holy Mass at 12 Noon (St Boniface)
Thursday 11 February – Our Lady of Lourdes – World Day for the Sick
- Coffee Morning at 11.00am on Zoom
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm
Friday 12 February – Weekday
- Holy Mass at 12noon
Saturday 13 February – Weekday
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)