Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Sunday 25 July 2021

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Message from Canon Kristian

Dear brothers and sisters

Much of the content of this week’s Newsletter is similar (but NOT identical!) to last week’s.  This is because it is important that we become familiar with the changes that are taking place with regards to the way we are gathering for Mass, particularly at St James where we have been able to increase the amount of available seating and therefore no longer require people to book a place before coming to Mass at the weekend.  I will not repeat all the changes in this covering letter, but simply invite you to read through them carefully.  Rest assured that the situation will be kept under constant review and different decisions made if the changing circumstances require it.  I am sorry that we remain constrained to continue the booking process for Mass at St Boniface due to the reduced seating capacity.  We will do what we can to accommodate more people safely there within the limitations imposed by the size and layout of the building.

The other main content of the Newsletter this week is the inaugural World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly this Sunday, celebrated in connection with the Memorial of Sts Joachim and Ann on Monday.  The role of grandparents has grown considerably over the last decades, both with regards to providing support to working parents and with regards to the handing of the Faith to the younger generations.  This invaluable contribution is so important to the life of the Church that it is beginning to be recognised as a new “ministry”, alongside catechists and the liturgical lay ministries.  Likewise, we need no reminder that the older generations within our parish community hold a special place amongst us.  Not only do we rejoice over, and are inspired by, the witness of their years of faithful commitment to the practice and living out of their Faith, but they make an essential contribution to the life of the parish community through their expanded and compassionate wisdom, gained through decades of experience of the complexities of life, and through their quiet, persevering prayer and the daily sacrifices which are connected with the physical and mental challenges of old age.  This weekend is an opportunity not only to pray for all grandparents and older people, but I would also encourage everyone to reach out physically or online to those grandparents and older members of the community known to you to show your love, appreciation and support for them.  In connection with this, the  Holy Father has also granted the faithful the possibility of obtaining a plenary indulgence on July 25 by devoting adequate time to actually or virtually visit elderly people in need or in difficulty, such as the sick, the abandoned, the disabled and other similar cases. Let us pray together a prayer written by the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI:

Lord Jesus,
you were born of the Virgin Mary.
the daughter of Saints Joachim and Anne.
Look with love on grandparents (and older people) the world over.
Protect them! They are a source of enrichment for families, for the Church and for all of society.
Support them as they grow older.
May they continue to be for their families strong pillars of Gospel faith,
guardians of noble domestic ideals, living treasuries of sound religious traditions.
Make them teachers of wisdom and courage,
that they may pass on to future generations the fruits of their mature human and spiritual experience.

Lord Jesus,
help families and society to value the presence and role of grandparents (and older people).
May they never be ignored or excluded, but always encounter respect and love.
Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed in all the years of life which you give them.
Mary, Mother of all the living,
keep grandparents (and all the elderly) constantly in your care, accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage,
and by your prayers, grant that all families may one day be reunited in our heavenly homeland,
where you await all humanity for the great embrace of life without end.


You will also see in the calendar for this week that on Thursday, 29 July, we will celebrate the Memorial of Sts Martha, Mary and Lazarus for the first time (Please note the change of Mass time due to the CHAT AGM taking place in the church on Thursday evening).  For many years this was the Memorial of St Martha alone, but Pope Francis has decreed that St Mary of Bethany and St Lazarus should be included alongside their sister.  The rationale behind this change is important and so I give here the text of the Decree:



on the Celebration of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus

in the General Roman Calendar

In the household of Bethany the Lord Jesus experienced the family spirit and friendship of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and for this reason the Gospel of John states that he loved them. Martha generously offered him hospitality, Mary listened attentively to his words and Lazarus promptly emerged from the tomb at the command of the One who humiliated death.

The traditional uncertainty of the Latin Church about the identity of Mary – the Magdalene to whom Christ appeared after his resurrection, the sister of Martha, the sinner whose sins the Lord had forgiven – which resulted in the inclusion of Martha alone on 29 July in the Roman Calendar, has been resolved in recent studies and times, as attested by the current Roman Martyrology, which also commemorates Mary and Lazarus on that day. Moreover, in some particular calendars the three siblings are already celebrated together.

Therefore, the Supreme Pontiff Pope FRANCIS, considering the important evangelical witness they offered in welcoming the Lord Jesus into their home, in listening to him attentively, in believing that he is the resurrection and the life, and accepting the proposal of this Dicastery, has decreed that 29 July be designated in the General Roman Calendar as the Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus.

The Memorial must therefore appear under this title in all Calendars and Liturgical Books for the celebration of Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours; the variations and additions to be adopted in the liturgical texts, attached to the present decree, must be translated, approved and, after confirmation by this Dicastery, published by the Episcopal Conferences.

Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

From the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 26 January 2021, Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops.

Robert Card. Sarah


+ Arthur Roche

Archbishop Secretary

Along with the Newsletter, I attach the Message of Pope Francis for the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly (video also embedded below) and the official Prayer for the Day.  I also attach the last Newsletter for the school year from St John’s.  Sadly, Mrs Fullick and Mrs Ford are both retiring this year.  They have both made an enormous contribution to our Parish School and, on behalf of the whole parish community, I would like to thank them and to wish them every blessing for the future.

The usual online parish get-together will take place on Thursday.  The access details are available from the parish office as usual.

Thanks to Monika Manser for her weekly guide to praying the Sunday Gospel by way of imaginative contemplation.

Please remember to pray for the sick of our community.

God bless you all

Canon Kristian

Important Changes to Mass Attendance at Church

Whilst encouraging as many Catholics as possible to return to the weekly celebration of Sunday Mass, the Bishops of England and Wales recognise that the virus is still a significant presence in the community and that therefore a certain caution should be observed with regards to the lifting of the restrictions to the way we presently celebrate Mass.  Hence, the Bishops do not foresee the restoration of the precept to attend Sunday Mass until the First Sunday of Advent 2021.

Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing changes to our existing parish arrangements, and the situation will be kept under continuing review.

  • The seating capacity has been increased at St James and there is no longer any need to book to attend the Saturday or Sunday Mass However, whilst social distancing is no longer required, it is important to be respectful of other’s space, especially as some may be more vulnerable than others. There will be “Please leave a space” cards at the entrance to church to be placed on a bench next to you if you would prefer that people not sit close to you.
  • Unfortunately, as there will still be a restricted number of spaces available at St Boniface due to the size of the church and the limited ventilation, it will be necessary to continue the present booking system for the 11.30am Mass for the time being to ensure that the environment is safe.
  • Sanitiser dispensers will remain at strategic places within our churches. It is strongly recommended that good hand hygiene to maintained and hands sanitised often.
  • The NHS QR codes will remain at the entrances to our churches and should still be used if you have the NHS Track and Trace Stewards will continue to take the names of those attending Mass to ensure we have a record of those present in the event of the need to self-isolate, which remains a legal requirement.  Additional contact details of those on our parish database will no longer be required, but we will still need them for those who have not filled in a census form or who are visiting the parish. If you have not filled in a census form, or your details have changed, census forms are available at the entrance to church.
  • We are no longer required to operate a “one way” system within the church. However, we are now more conscious of others when we enter and leave the church and in the way we process in an orderly and dignified manner to receive Holy Communion. It is important that this awareness is retained.
  • Although the wearing of face coverings is no longer obligatory, those who are able are asked to continue to wear them whilst in church. This is to show love and respect to our neighbour, just in case we might be carrying the virus unknowingly.
  • Singing will be introduced gradually over the coming weeks. People other than those in the choir are asked not to remove their face coverings when singing.
  • There will be the opportunity to place offertory money into a basket during Mass for those who wish. The basket will not be passed from hand to hand but held by a single person. The preferred way of giving your regular donation to the parish is either by setting up a Standing Order or by giving using our contactless facility.
  • The physical Sign of Peace will remain suspended for the time being.

Holy Communion will to be administered solely under one kind and, although it is permissible for people to receive Communion directly onto the tongue should they so wish, Communion on the hand is the recommended way of receiving Holy Communion as it presents less chance of cross infection.

World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

This Sunday, on the eve of the celebration of St Joachim and St Ann, the parents of Our Lady, is the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.  The decision to hold the Day has come at a time marked by a pandemic and by the suffering of our older generations in recent months in every part of the world.  Reports of elderly people having to die alone and then not being given a funeral have been a cause of deep pain to the Church.  This World Day is an opportunity to reaffirm that the Church can never remain distant from those who carry a cross.  The theme chosen by the Holy Father, “I am with you always”, expresses clearly that, during the pandemic and in the better times that will hopefully follow, every parish wishes to be with the elderly always.

Pope Francis has sent a message (see links and video in the message from Fr Kristian above) to all grandparents and elderly people.  There is also a video of the Holy Father giving the message.  A special prayer has also been written. A video of it being prayed by the Holy Father and by older people in various countries has also been produced.

We celebrate and give thanks to God for all the grandparents and for every elderly person in our own parish community.  Their presence, wisdom, experience and prayer are essential to our life of faith and action.

Visit the Catholic Grandparent Association for further information.

Parish Afternoon Tea

Next Sunday 1 August we will be holding an Afternoon Tea at 2.30pm, hopefully in the church grounds, weather permitting, to celebrate a time of togetherness as a parish community.  Would those who can offer to make cakes and those who will need transport please ring Shelagh Eastwood on 07990 592297.

Plymouth Diocese Summer Camps 2021

This year three Summer Camps will be taking place, online and/or actual:  Junior Camp (Yrs 3-6), 9-13, August: email Senior Camp (Yrs 7-10), 9-13 August: with a live 4-day actual Camp at Buckfast in October half-term.  Email: Petroc’s Camp (Yrs 11-12), 9-13 August: email

Young people and their parents can make enquiries and register their interest through the appropriate email addresses, where electronic application forms and further details will be available.

Parish Services and Events This Week 

Saturday 24 July – Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)

Sunday 25 July – Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

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

Tuesday 27 July – Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am

Wednesday 28 July – Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 12noon (at St Boniface)

Thursday 29 July – Sts Martha, Mary and Lazarus

  • Get Together on Zoom at 11.00am
  • Holy Mass at 10.00am – Please note change of time
  • CHAT AGM at 7.00pm

Friday 30 July – St Germanus of Auxerre, Bishop

  • Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 11.30am
  • Holy Mass at 12noon Sam Pennie RIP (anniv)

Saturday 31 July – St Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)

Sunday 1 August – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am
  • Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface) Pro Populo
  • Parish Tea Party at 3.00pm