Second Sunday of Easter (Year B)
Divine Mercy Sunday
Sunday 11 April 2021
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Message from Canon Kristian
Dear brothers and sisters
The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed!
This Sunday brings to a close our eight-day celebration of Easter Sunday of the Resurrection. I hope that you have all marked this week of celebration well in your homes, families and personal prayer life. As well as the various names for this Sunday which are considered in the Newsletter, in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of the East, this Sunday is traditionally called “Thomas Sunday” because the Gospel account of the encounter of the Apostle Thomas with the Risen Christ is read. In the Western Latin Catholic Church, as well as in some other Churches and Christian communities of the West, the same Gospel story is also proclaimed. Having rather unfairly been given the label “Doubting”, it is Thomas who expresses the fullness of belief in the Risen Christ with his pithy exclamation of Easter faith: “My Lord and my God”!
It is against the background of our celebration of the triumph of the Risen Lord over the powers of sin and death that we heard this week of the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip at the age of 99, the husband of Her Majesty the Queen for over 70 years, and following a lifetime of public service to our country. He was a man of faith, whose Christianity had its roots within the Greek Orthodox tradition of his mother. On learning of his death, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said:
“At this moment of sadness and loss I pray for the repose of the soul of Prince Philip, Her Majesty the Queen’s faithful and loyal husband. I pray for the Queen and all of the Royal Family. How much we will miss Prince Philip’s presence and character, so full of life and vigour. He has been an example of steadfast loyalty and duty cheerfully given. May he rest in peace.”
I am sure that we unite our prayers and thoughts to those of Cardinal Vincent.
Our daily life is starting to embark on a new era, with the continuing roll-out of the vaccine and the gradual easing of the restrictions. This too will eventually enable us to resume aspects of our liturgical and communal life as a parish community which have had to be paused due to the impact of the pandemic. We will still be required to observe those social distancing rules that have become so much a part of “normal” life and to use face coverings when in enclosed spaces, but hopefully we will be able to engage with each other and the wider community on that essential physical and social level, which has been missing from life for over a year.
Amongst other things, as a parish we will need to start to reflect together on the missionary vision set out in the document “A Precious Place of God’s Grace” from Bishop Mark and his Council and how it might impact on our parish and on the other pastoral structures of our diocese. To help us to do this, a Parish Self-Assessment Tool has been prepared, which will assist in highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of our parish community and therefore provide us with areas for further reflection and development. Although this could be done at some degree “on line”, it is important, once this is permitted, to find ways of gathering together in groups to discuss this important initiative and to discern the way forward.
Let’s also remember that, behind the scenes as it were, a group of our young people is preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation when the Bishop visits us in July, and those children whose First Communion celebrations were postponed due to the pandemic are now actively preparing to receive the Lord in Holy Communion for the first time at special Masses which will take place in the afternoon of 9 and 16 May. Thank you to Deacon Michael and the parish catechists, as well as to the parents and families, who have continued to support our young people and children throughout this extended period of preparation and waiting.
If anyone has any ideas or proposals for initiatives or events, whether online or in person, that they would like to see happen in the parish as some sort of “normal” life becomes possible, please do feel free to let me know. All ideas are welcome.
Along with the Parish Newsletter, the final edition of the “Lent” CAFOD News Updates from the Parish CAFOD Group is attached, which provides information about the tremendous achievement of the parish – both those who walked and those who donated – in the Walk for Water Lent Campaign. To fall within the top 10% of fund-raisers for CAFOD nationally at a time like this is something to be justly proud of!
Monika Manser offers her weekly guide to imaginative and contemplative prayer on the Sunday Gospel and the Thursday Coffee Morning on Zoom resumes this week. The access details are available from the parish office.
I hope you have been able to enjoy something of the lovely Spring weather we have been experiencing lately and to make the most of the lengthening of the daylight hours. It is a real joy to see many of you returning to Mass too as restrictions begin to be lifted.
You are all in my prayer as always.
With every blessing for the Easter Season
Sunday in Albis – Low Sunday – Divine Mercy Sunday
The Second Sunday of Easter is the Octave Day of Easter and, over the course of the centuries has been known by various names. In earlier times, it was referred to as the Sunday in albis – a reference to the fact that those adults who had been newly baptised at the Easter Vigil would take off their white baptismal garments on this day (in albis depositis), which they had been wearing for the whole of the Easter Octave.
In England this Sunday is often referred to as “Low Sunday”, probably in reference to the rather more muted celebrations in comparison to the “high” celebrations of Easter Sunday. Interestingly, some think it could also be a corruption either of the Latin word “Laudes” – the first word of the second line of the Easter Sequence, Victimae Paschali, as set out for the Mass according to the Sarum Rite used in England until the Reformation – or of the title “Close Sunday”, ie the Sunday which ends the Easter Octave (“Pascha Clausum”).
In 2000 Pope St John Paul II added the name of Sunday of the Divine Mercy in fulfilment of the wish of the Polish visionary St Faustina Kowalska. The image of the Divine Mercy on the front of the Newsletter was given to St Faustina in a vision in 1931. She saw Jesus clothed in a white garment with his right hand raised in blessing. His left hand was touching his garment in the area of the Heart, from where two large rays came forth, one red and the other pale. These rays represent the graces of Divine Mercy poured out upon the world, especially through baptism and the Eucharist. As she gazed intently at the Lord in silence, her soul filled with both awe and great joy, Jesus said to her: “Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You”. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is often prayed on this Sunday.
Coming to Church – “Hands/Face/Space”
When coming to church for services, 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.
Requiescat in Pace
We pray for the repose of the soul of HRH the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday and for HM the Queen and the members of the Royal Family at this time of mourning and loss. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
Canon Kristian will make the April Draw after Mass this Saturday evening. Thank you to those parishioners who have recently renewed their subscriptions to the Club. This is a great help to the parish when there is a reduced number of parishioners coming to church. Those wishing to join the 200 Club are asked to contact Simon Coombs on 01884 258331.
Walk for Water – CAFOD Lent Challenge and Family Fast Day
Our parish team of dedicated walkers has completed the CAFOD Lent Challenge and raised an astonishing £1600 to contribute to the Walk for Water Campaign. The final edition of CAFOD News (for now!) from our Parish CAFOD Group available under the Our Community>CaFOD Group section of the website gives you the full story.
In addition, over £350 was raised from the CAFOD Lent Family Fast Day to contribute towards the Campaign.
A huge “Thank You” to all those who took part in the walking, those who donated to support them and those who gave as a result of the Fast Day. In these challenging times, including on a financial level for many individuals and families, our parish community can be justly proud of this demonstration of “universal solidarity” which, as Pope Francis stresses in his recent Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, our world so badly needs at this time.
Upcoming Events for Young People
A “Faith in Action” presentation will take place on Monday 26 April, 7.30 -9.00 pm on Zoom. Representatives from CAFOD will talk about the Reclaim our Common Home campaign. There will also be a chance to explore what the G7 Summit (which will take place in Cornwall this year) is, how it impacts on our lives and why it matters to the everyday person? This evening is aimed at young people aged 12 -25.
In preparation for Pentecost, the popular drama, dance and singing workshops will take place on Zoom on 21 and 28 April and on 5 and 12 May, 7.00 – 8.15pm in partnership with By Design Theatre. These are aimed at young people in Year 6 and upwards, who will have the opportunity to explore the Pentecost story in the Acts of the Apostles and be guided to produce short sequences of dance and drama which will be recorded through Zoom.
Young people from across our diocese who speak an additional language to English and who would be happy to record themselves saying the Lord’s Prayer are also being sought. Please get in contact with Saskia if you would like to help.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for all Zoom login details and to contact Saskia
“A Precious Place of God’s Grace” – The Next Step
In January Bishop Mark issued 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. To help us reflect on the missionary themes in the document and on how to give concrete expression to these, the Bishop has invited the 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. Register to take part via the following link.
Important Notice for Parishioners from the EU
All EU citizens living in the UK are required by the Government to apply through its Settlement Scheme to continue living, working and accessing services here. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021. Details and links can be found at www.gov.uk/eusettledstatus. Please bring this to the attention of your friends, family members and fellow parishioners. The Catholic Church in England and Wales stands in solidarity with all European citizens who have made their homes here. You are a much valued part of our parishes, schools and communities and we hope that you will continue to be so in the years ahead.
Easter Week Services and Events
Saturday 10 April – Easter Saturday
- Vigil Mass at 6.00pm
Sunday 11 April – Second Sunday of Easter
- Holy Mass at 10.00am Lydia Gorlo (birthday ints)
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (St Boniface) Pro Populo
Tuesday 13 April – Easter Weekday
- Holy Mass at 10.00am
Wednesday 14 April – Easter Weekday
- Holy Mass at 12noon (St Boniface)
Thursday 15 April – Easter Weekday
- Coffee Morning on Zoom at 11.00am
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm
Friday 16 April – Easter Weekday
- Holy Mass at 12noon
Saturday 17 April – Easter Weekday
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)
Sunday 18 April – Third Sunday of Easter
- Holy Mass at 10.00am George Carter RIP (anniv)
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (St Boniface) Pro Populo