Sunday 14 March 2021

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Message from Canon Kristian

Dear brothers and sisters

“Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her.  Be joyful all who are in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast” (Isaiah 66:10-11)

It is from this Entrance Antiphon for this Sunday’s Mass that the Fourth Sunday of Lent takes its traditional name: “Laetare Sunday” – the Sunday of Rejoicing, marked also by the use of rose-coloured vestments in the Liturgy rather than the usual Lenten purple.  The three main verbal expressions – rejoice, be joyful, exult – set the tone for this Sunday’s celebration.  We are now more the halfway into our Lenten journey and the celebration of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum is now clearly on the horizon. That is surely a reason for us to be joyful.  It is a reminder that we undertake our Lenten discipline not as an end in itself, but as a way of preparing ourselves to renew our baptismal promises, to live more faithfully our calling as children of God, to bear witness to the Light of Christ within in and around us, to proclaim and choose that Life which overcomes death!

If you intend to take part in any of the Holy Week Services, please do make contact with Rosie at the parish office either by email or by phone (see the Contact Us page).  The main Services are:

  • Palm Sunday of the Passion:  Holy Mass at 6pm (Sat) and 10am at St James and 11.30am at St Boniface
  • Holy Thursday Evening  Mass of the Lord’s Supper:  7pm at St James
  • Good Friday Commemoration of the Passion of the Lord:  12noon at St Boniface and 3pm at St James
  • Good Friday Stations of the Cross: 7pm at St James
  • The Easter Vigil and First Mass of Easter:  9pm at St James
  • Easter Sunday: 10am at St James and 11.30am at St Boniface

This Sunday is also Mothering Sunday, the day on which we give thanks to God for those who brought us to birth, our mothers, whether they are still physically with us or have passed through the gates of death.  We thank God for the love and nurture which they have given us and ask God to bless them in a special way.  We also pray for those mothers here and abroad who struggle to care for themselves or for their children, due to poverty, famine, violence or social degradation.  We also remember those women who are or have been our spiritual mothers, who guide and nurture our faith and spiritual life with their unique wisdom, perception and spiritual gifts, often with little formal recognition within the Church.  This Sunday is a day when we can publicly acknowledge and give thanks for them too.

Our Parish “Walk for Water” Team has now clocked up well over 1,000,000 steps and is on target to reach 2,000,000 by Easter.  They have raised an incredible £835 so far for CAFOD’s campaign to increase access to clean water to those who are most in need of this in the world.  Some of you are also taking part in the on-line imaginative contemplative prayer retreat being run by the English Province of the Jesuits.  The group of retreatants in our parish being guided by Barbara Strong is joining with more than 6000 people across the world who are participating in this initiative.  This amazing achievement is one of the positive outcomes of the Covid era which has forced us to find new ways to remain connected with others, both socially and spiritually.

This week in the Newsletter we are focussing on the impact and changes which are being brought  about in our safeguarding of children and adults at risk by investigations into the Catholic Church in this country of the recently concluded Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and the latest review of the Church’s internal safeguarding structures by the independent safeguarding expert, Ian Elliott.  You will be more than aware from reports in the media of the traumatic experiences suffered by those who have been victims of sexual about by priests and others holding official roles in the Church and the shameful failure of some of those in authority to listen to these victims and to take appropriate action to safeguard them.  Steps are now being taken to address these failings and to give prominence to the voice of the victim-survivor in the Church.  It is also true to say that, in recent years, the Church has made great improvements in the safeguarding of children and adults at risk, particularly at the level of the parish through an increased awareness of the signs of abuse, the adoption of clear pastoral practices which keep people safe, and the presence and work of the Parish Safeguarding Representatives (PSR).  On behalf of the parish, I want to thank our three (and soon-to-be four) PSRs for their generous commitment and for all that they do to ensure that our community is a safe place to be for our children and adults at risk.  You will see that from the Newsletter that our PSR’s have a dedicated telephone number (07856 582303) and email address ( for anyone to use to contact them if they have concerns about abuse, whether it relates to them personally or it is with regard to a situation affecting others.  There is also a dedicated area on our website which contains more information about safeguarding in the parish and in the wider context of the diocese.

Our prayer focus this week is on the continent of Africa.  Humanitarian crises happening now in three countries, either due to violent conflict or to religious persecution, are highlighted, but you will surely be aware of other on-going conflicts, such as that within the Democratic Republic of Congo, and of the devastating impact of climate change on people’s lives on the continent, such as the rapid increase of desertification in the Sub-Sahara.

The Parish CAFOD Group Newsletter this week opens out onto the wider perspective of our need to engage in global healing and to “care for our common home”, to use the phrase coined  by Pope Francis (who  celebrates eight years  as Successor of St Peter and Bishop of Rome this coming Friday, 19 March, the Solemnity of St Joseph). It invites us to take action to “Reclaim our Common Home”!

Monika Manser offers us help in the prayerful reading (lectio divina) of the responsorial psalm for this Sunday – By the rivers of Babylon – a psalm of lament which gives voice to our deep yearning to return home to the Lord.  The weekly online Zoom Coffee Morning will also take place on Thursday at 11am.  Everyone is warmly invited to take part in this opportunity to see and talk to other parishioners in this time of social distancing.  The access details are available from the parish office.

So, my prayers and good wishes go to you all on this Laetare “Mothering” Sunday, for the feast of St Patrick, Patron of Ireland, and for the Solemnity of St Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church.

With every blessing

Canon Kristian

Coming to Church

With the gradual easing of the national lockdown restrictions, those of you who do not fall into the “very vulnerable” category may wish to start coming to church again for Mass.

When in church, please observe the social distancing rules, wear a face covering (unless you are exempt) and sanitise your hands frequently. Please also 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 10.00am-1.00pm, 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.

Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk

Spurred on by the devastating findings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the results of the review of the present safeguarding structures undertaken by Ian Elliott, these last few months have seen the start of some major developments in how the Catholic Church in England and Wales will fulfil its mandate to make the Church a safe place for everyone, especially for our children and any adults at risk.  A new central body, the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency, to promote, monitor and enforce the observance of good safeguarding practice and a National Tribunal Service, to carry out formal Church processes to investigate allegations, are being set up, along with many other changes.

Obviously, along with these changes in structure must go the more important and fundamental change in culture within the Church – “the winning of hearts and minds” – which must prioritise the well-being of the victim-survivor over the reputation of the institution and which truly listens to, and acts upon, the voice of the victim-survivor. Unless the failures of the past are owned, particularly by those in authority in the Church, and lessons learnt from them, no amount of structural change will make the Church the safe place that it should be, if it is to be faithful to the teaching of Christ and the values of the Gospel.

You can keep updated with developments on the Bishops’ Conference Website and by going to

Marie Morris RIP

The Funeral Service for Marie Morris will take place this Monday, 15 March, at at 10.45am at the East Devon Crematorium in Whimple.  Please pray for the repose of her soul and for those who mourn for her.

CAFOD Lent Challenge – Walk for Water – 400,000 Steps

Our parish team is dedicated walkers are continuing the CAFOD “Walk for Water” challenge, walking over 10,000 steps a day, each day for the 40 days of Lent, in solidarity with those who have to walk for miles every day just to access clean water.

A Just Giving Page for the Parish Team effort has been set up and is open for your donations to support their effort on behalf of the parish.

Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation

Bishop Mark will be coming to our parish on Pentecost Sunday, 23 May.  If there is any adult parishioners who did not receive the Sacrament when they were younger, perhaps now is the time to complete your Christian initiation and be confirmed!  Even if you are unsure whether you want to do this, do please have a word with Canon Kristian anyway.

Prayer for Africa

The violence in the Tigray region in Ethiopia, which began in November 2020, has driven more than one million people from their homes, triggering a humanitarian catastrophe with shortages of food, medicine and clean water. Reports are continuing to emerge of massacres and widespread human rights abuses. In his message to Bishop Tesfaselassie Medhin, Bishop Swarbrick, the lead bishop for Africa, reflected on continued barriers to communication between Tigray and the international community, but stated “you will not be forgotten… the Church in England and Wales will continue to stand alongside you and everyone affected by this conflict.” More information on the crisis can be found on the CAFOD website.

Yemen is also facing a major humanitarian crisis. More than five years of fighting has left 22.2 million people in need of humanitarian aid and protection. Yemen’s health system is on the brink of collapse and so now the spread of coronavirus is likely to be devastating, not least because millions lack access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Famine is widespread.  Here are 11 facts of the Yemen crisis to reflect upon and pray about.

Following the abduction of 270 school girls by the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2014 – of whom 100 have never been found, the kidnapping of school children for ransom by criminal gangs has become endemic in Nigeria. The fourth mass abduction since December took place this week when around 30 students were kidnapped from a college in Kaduna in northwest Nigeria. Many of these kidnappings are related to the on-going persecution of Christians in some parts of the country.  The case of Leah is all-too-common and perhaps can become the focus of our prayer and action. An article on the impact of persecution on the Catholic Church in Nigeria can be found here.

Preparing for Holy Week

This year we will have the joy of being able to celebrate Holy Week and the Easter Triduum together, albeit in a modified form due principally to the need to maintain social distancing.  Canon Kristian will be available for the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance on Sun 21 March, 3-5pm and Sat 27 March, 10am-12noon, in St James.

Praying to St Joseph in the Year of St Joseph

On 8 December 2020 Pope Francis proclaimed a “Year of St Joseph”.  As his feast day is this week, people around the world began a Novena of Prayer last Wednesday.  In England and Wales you can join in via the Missio website.

200 Club

Canon Kristian will make the draw for March after 6pm Mass on Saturday.  Parishioners who pay monthly or annually who have not yet paid are reminded that their subs are now due.  If you have any queries, please contact Simon Coombs (01884 258331)

Holy Mass and Events this week

Saturday 13 March – Lent Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass) Pro Populo

Sunday 14 March – Fourth Sunday of Lent

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am Minnie Josephine Walsh RIP (FM)
  • Holy Mass at 11.30am (St Boniface) Gabriela Zychlinska RIP (anniv)

Tuesday 16 March – Lent Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am Michael Hooper RIP

Wednesday 17 March – St Patrick Bp Missionary, Patron of Ireland

  • Holy Mass at 12noon (St Boniface)

Thursday 18 March – Lent Weekday

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

Friday 19 March – St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary                                Anniversary of the Inauguration of Pope Francis (2013)

  • Holy Mass at 12noon Teresa and Joseph Michalovski RIP and Joseph Gorlo RIP

Saturday 20 March – Lent Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)

Happy St Patrick’s Day to all our Irish Parishioners!