Sunday 21 March 2021

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Message from Canon Kristian

Dear brothers and sisters

As we reach the Fifth Sunday of Lent, we enter into Passiontide, the final two weeks of Lent leading up to the celebration of the Paschal Mystery – the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord – in the Easter Triduum.   In our liturgy we start to focus even more strongly on the opposition that the Lord faced from the forces that were ranged against him and the suffering that this caused him on the way to the Cross, a suffering that was to be redemptive, the way to new life.  We mark our entrance into this liturgical time by the veiling of the crosses and sacred images in our churches.  We do this to sharpen our senses and to increase our longing, desire and excitement for the celebration of the Resurrection at Easter.  During this time we listen more intently to the words of the liturgy and of the Sacred Scriptures, especially the reading of the Passion Narratives, allowing ourselves to be drawn into the unfolding drama and experiencing its transformative power deep within us.  When the veils are removed on Easter night, we will rejoice that, through the triumph of Cross and the Resurrection of Christ, the veil of death has been removed from the world and that our real life is the risen life that we live with Christ in God (cf Colossians 3:3).

The Bishops of England and Wales have asked that we mark this coming Tuesday, the National Day of Reflection on the Covid-19 Pandemic, also as a Day of Prayer, remembering that this time last year all our churches were closed.  Therefore, they are asking us all to visit our churches to pray on that day, not least in thanksgiving that, this year, our churches are open again and we can celebrate Holy Week and Easter together.  St James will remain open for private prayer after Mass at 10am until 2pm and St Boniface will be open from 5.30pm-7.00pm.  During these times the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed.  I would be really grateful if our stewards would volunteer to cover these times, so that we can ensure that we observe social-distancing and to sanitise the church as required.  I realise this is an additional burden, but it is important that we take the time to pray on that day for all the effects of the pandemic which still challenge us and to value the gift of being able to do so in our churches this year.

The Holy Week and Easter Triduum are proving to be very popular and Rosie, our parish secretary, has been kept busy this week trying to accommodate all the requests that have been coming into the parish office for places at the various Services.  The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the Commemoration of the Passion on Good Friday in St James and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night are now COMPLETELY FULL and there are no more places available unfortunately.  All the other Services and Masses are filling up fast, so please remember to let the Parish Office know if you want to take part in any of those which have spaces remaining ie: all the Masses for Palm Sunday, the Commemoration of the Passion on Good Friday in St Boniface, the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday in St James and the 10am (St James) and 11.30am (St Boniface) Masses on Easter Sunday.  There is no need to book for the Masses on Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week.

Please pray for the repose of the souls of Caryl Rothwell and Marguerite Shergold who died this week.  We entrust them and those who mourn for them to the love and compassion of God.

Along with the Newsletter, the Statement of the Presidency of the Bishops’ Conference about the Day of Prayer for the Pandemic this coming Tuesday is available to read on line, the fifth Newsletter from our Parish CAFOD Group and the usual helpful aid to Lectio Divina on this Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm from Monika Manser.

The weekly Zoom Coffee Morning will take place this Thursday at 11.00am and all who can are invited to pop in and say hello.  The access details are available from the parish office as usual.

I do hope that most of you have now received your first dose of the vaccine or are booked in to receive it, and that everyone is managing to keep safe and well.

I pray for you every day and, as always, invoke God’s blessing on you all

Canon Kristian

Coming to Church                                                                                     

With the gradual easing of the national lockdown restrictions, those parishioners 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.

National Day of Prayer and Reflection on the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Prime Minister has designated this Tuesday, 23 March, as a National Day of Reflection to mark the anniversary of the first national lockdown with a minute’s silence at 12noon and doorsteps vigils of light at 8.00pm.

A Statement from the Presidency of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has welcomed this initiative, but has asked that we also make it a Day of Prayer, with an encouragement for all Catholics to pay a visit to our churches and pray for the many needs, hopes and sorrows that have emerged over the last year.

Therefore, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for private prayer after Mass in St James until 2.00pm and then at St Boniface from 5.30-7.00pm.  Offers of assistance from our stewards to ensure that social distancing and sanitising rules are followed during these times would be greatly appreciated.

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. Rosie has been dealing with a deluge of bookings this week and the only Services in the Easter Triduum with spaces still available are the Good Friday Service at 12noon in St Boniface, the Good Friday Stations of the Cross at 7.00pm in St James and the Easter Sunday Masses at 10.00am (St James) and 11.30am (St Boniface).  All the other Services are now fully booked.

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has issued Guidance with regards to how the Holy Week and Easter Triduum ceremonies are to be celebrated this year.  Many of the usual liturgical actions have had to be curtailed or omitted due to Covid restrictions.

Sacrament of Penance

Canon Kristian will be available for the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance this Sunday 21 March, 3.00-5.00pm and next Saturday, 27 March, 10.00am-12noon, in St James.

CAFOD Lent Challenge – Walk for Water

Our parish team of dedicated walkers is continuing the CAFOD “Walk for Water” challenge, and has clocked up an impressive 2.4 million steps and has raised the fantastic sum of £900 so far.  With two more weeks of the challenge to go, let’s see if we can reach our goal of £1000 as our contribution to help provide access to clean water for our sisters and brothers who are deprived of this basic human right.

If you have yet to contribute, please visit the Just Giving Page set up for our Parish Team and give what you can.

The fifth Lent Newsletter from our Parish CAFOD Group focuses our attention on a number of important global issues and on two upcoming international governmental conferences, one of which will be held in Cornwall within our own diocese.

Sacrament of Confirmation

Bishop Mark will be coming to our parish on Sunday 11 July to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation.  If there is any adult parishioner 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.

Scripture Course

Understand the Bible from start to finish, the Old and New Testaments, with this FREE, worldwide famous course delivered online LIVE by Mauro Iannicelli.  The course starts on Wednesday 7 April at 7pm and runs for eight Wednesday evenings. More information and registration at

“A Precious Place of God’s Grace” – The Next Step

Back in January, Bishop Mark launched the document “A Precious Place of God’s Grace” to help us reflect on the changes that will need to happen in the pastoral structures of our diocese over the next five years.  When circumstances permit, there will be opportunities for us to do this together as a parish.

In the meantime, the Bishop has invited the internationally renowned speaker, Michael Dopp, to present two online formation sessions on Saturday 1 May, 11.00am – 12noon and 1.00pm – 2.00pm, for our clergy and laypeople together, on the missionary discipleship themes in the document, to help us explore how to carry out this mission concretely in our own lives and as parish and diocesan communities. Register to take part via the following link.

200 Club

Congratulations to Margaret Roberts who won the £30 prize and to Bridget Tosh who won the £20 prize in the March draw.  Thanks to those parishioners who have recently paid their monthly or annual subs.  If you wish to know where you stand with your payments, please contact Simon Coombs (01884) 258331.

Masses and Events this week

Saturday 20 March – Lent Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)

Sunday 21 March – Fifth Sunday of Lent

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am Pro Populo and at 11.30am (St Boniface)
  • Sacrament of Penance 3.00-5.00pm

Tuesday 23 March – Day of Reflection and Prayer on the Pandemic

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am Holy Souls in Purgatory
  • Exposition of Blessed Sacrament 10.30am-2.00pm at St James and 5.30-7.00pm at St Boniface

Wednesday 24 March

  • Holy Mass at 12noon (St Boniface)

Thursday 25 March – Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

  • Coffee Morning at 11.00am on Zoom
  • Mass (in Polish) at 6.00pm

Friday 26 March – Lent Weekday

  • Mass at 12noon

Saturday 27 March – Lent Weekday

  • Sacrament of Penance 10.00am-12noon
  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)