Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year A)
World Communications Day
Sunday 24 May 2020
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Message from Canon Kristian
Dear brothers and sisters
This weekend we break into the cycle of Sundays in Ordinary Time to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Summarising this belief which we share with the ancient Churches of the East, we read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son’s Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of his Body” (CCC 974).
Thus, Our Lady’s assumption into heaven is the direct consequence of, and sharing in, the transforming grace and power of the death and resurrection of Jesus, her Son. So, it is more than fitting that we celebrate this event on Sunday, which is the day par excellence when we celebrate the Death and Resurrection of the Lord.
Moreover, since Mary is the first member of the Church, the Body of Christ, this feast celebrates our own promised destiny. Back in 1974, St Paul VI explained that the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady:
“…is a feast of her destiny of fullness and blessedness, of the glorification of her immaculate soul and of her virginal body, of her perfect configuration to the Risen Christ; a feast that sets before the eyes of the Church and of all humanity the image and the consoling proof of the fulfilment of their final hope, namely that this full glorification is the destiny of all those whom Christ has made his brothers and sisters…” (Apostolic Exhortation, Marialis cultus, for the Right Ordering and Development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, art 6).
As the Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass of the Assumption succinctly puts it:
“For today the Virgin Mother of God was assumed into heaven as the beginning and image of your Church’s coming to perfection and a sign of sure hope and comfort to your pilgrim people”.
It is against this profound doctrine of the transformative power of the death and resurrection of Christ and of Christian hope that we must approach the tragic events of the past week – the growing humanitarian crisis taking place in Afghanistan, the murder of Fr Olivier Maire in France and the shocking killing of five people on our own doorstep in Plymouth, including a three year old little girl, by a young man who subsequently took his own life. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer immensity and brutality of these situations, by the awful reality of evil and the wanton destruction of human life. Without doubt, these events, which will have long-lasting and profound effects on the lives of the individuals and communities involved, are signs of very serious ills in society, both at home and abroad, at national and international levels – serious ills which certainly require a response from those who are in positions of power to intervene and to bring about the necessary changes for the good of humanity, particularly for those who are most vulnerable and on the margins. We, of course, each in our own way, must also do what we can to contribute to this mission for the good of all, whether physically, materially, politically or spiritually. The Assumption of Mary proclaims the promise of a future where the forces of evil and death are finally vanquished and where the true dignity and beauty of human life are manifested eternally in the light and power of the Risen Christ. This should make us people of hope in the face of often seemingly impossible odds. However, we do not just sit on our hands and wait passively for this promised fulfilment to arrive; no, this sure hope spurs us on to take action so that the presence and values of God’s Reign, expressed in Mary’s Magnificat and in the Beatitudes of Jesus, might break through ever more clearly and have an impact on the often troubled times in which we live. I am sure that we will all be keeping these traumatic situations at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers.
As a guide to contemplative prayer on this Sunday’s Gospel is already available on the parish website (click here to see it), Monika Manser has kindly offered a guide to Lectio Divina on the biblical text instead. The usual Thursday Parish Get-together on Zoom will take place this week and the access details are available from the parish office as usual.
I wish you all a pleasant and, hopefully, restful weekend.
Changes to Mass Attendance at Church
- There is no longer any need to book to attend the Saturday or Sunday Masses. Please be respectful of other’s space. “Please leave a space” cards are available at the entrance to church to be placed on a bench next to you if you would prefer that people do not sit too close.
- Continue to use the NHS Track and Trace QR codes. Stewards will still take your names to ensure we have a record 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. If you have not filled in a census form, or your details have since changed, census forms are available at the entrance to church.
- The “one way” system is no longer in place, but please follow the guidance of the stewards at the time for Holy Communion.
- Those who can are asked to continue to wear face coverings whilst in church. The congregation is asked not to remove face coverings when singing.
- 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 risk of cross infection.
Message from Bishop Mark
In response to the tragic shootings in Keyham, Plymouth, last Thursday evening, during which five people were killed including a three year old girl and two others seriously wounded, and at the end of which the 22 year old gunman took his own life, Bishop Mark issued this message : “It is with a deep sense of shock and sadness that we heard of the terrible shootings in our beloved city. Personally, I offer my support and my prayers for all those who have died and for their loved ones. I know that I will be joined in that prayer and support by all the Catholic community. Our churches are open in the city as places of oasis – safe spaces in which people can come to pray and reflect – to remember those who have died and their families at this time. This weekend in our churches and in our places of worship, let us pray for all those affected by these terrible events and for all the people of Plymouth.”
Car Boot Sale
Next Saturday, 21 August, the monthly Car Book Sale will be held in St James Carpark – 9.00am (buyers), 8.00am (sellers). Refreshments will be available.
Calling Altar Servers!
We are once again able to have altar servers at Mass. This important ministry aids the dignified celebration of Mass. If there are any children who have made their First Communion or any young people who would like to serve, please speak to Canon Kristian, Deacon Michael or Deacon Peter as soon as possible.
Lourdes – A Campaign for 21st Century
The Sanctuary of Our Lady at Lourdes has launched a campaign to bring some of its churches and facilities up to standards expected in the 21st century. A letter from the Apostolic Delegate to the Shrine, Bishop Antoine Hérouard, is attached to the Newsletter (here), together with a brochure (here) setting out the proposed renovations. As Mgr Hérouard notes in his letter, in the face of the Covid pandemic:
“Far from being something anachronistic, Lourdes is now more relevant and important than ever, an international place of healing, prayer and contemplation. It has always been an important part of the faith of the Catholics in England and Wales, and your visits here are a vital part of our spiritual life which we hope will resume again before too long.”
Many of us have been enriched by a pilgrimage to Lourdes and by the healing intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, so this is an opportunity to give something back to the Sanctuary.
Regular Parish Giving
Thank you to all who have signed up for Standing Orders and also to those who use our Card machine. The counters have an easier job now! Should anyone else wish to sign up for a Standing Order, please contact either Rosie in the Parish Office or speak to Margaret Found. Our Card machine takes payments for the weekly and second collections, 200 Club, CAFOD, Repository etc. Details are also available on the Support Us page of the parish website.
CaFOD Faith in Action Day
CaFOD invites us to their online Faith in Action Day on Saturday 11 September, 11.00am-4.00pm, to find out how we can organise ourselves to build momentum for the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow this year. Learn more about the COP, Pope Francis’s call to action and how people in the Amazon region are leading the fight to care for our common home. Confirmed speakers include Josianne Gauthier, CIDSE* Secretary General; Claudelice Silva dos Santos, Amazon and Human Rights defender; Youth Catholic activists and lots more. Register at www.cafod.org.uk/cop26event.
*CIDSE is short for “Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité”, and is an umbrella organisation for Catholic development agencies from Europe and North America
Donations to CHAT
The red box at the entrance to St James is available for your donations to the Foodbank. CHAT is also looking for donations of 2-person tents and clean saucepans. These can either be take directly to CHAT or left in the entrance to the church.
Walking with the Poor
Caritas Plymouth will be holding an event on Saturday 9 October from 10.30am-3.00pm at St Rita’s Centre, Honiton, to prepare for the World Day of the Poor which takes places in November. This free event includes lunch, and thoughts and ideas will be shared about how we are reaching out to the poor and whether we need to take a different approach to poverty. Speakers include Bishop Mark and Raymond Friel from the Caritas Social Action Network. Best practice on Covid safety measures will be followed. Spaces are limited, so booking is essential. Click here to register or paper forms are available at the entrance to church.
Parish Services and Events This Week
Saturday 14 August – St Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)
Sunday 15 August – The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Holy Mass at 10.00am Pro Populo
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface) Patrick RIP(anniv) & Lucy(Ints)
Tuesday 17 August – Weekday
- Holy Mass at 10.00am
Wednesday 18 August – Weekday
- Holy Mass at 12noon (at St Boniface)
Thursday 19 August – Weekday
- Get Together on Zoom at 11.00am
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm
Friday 20 August – St Bernard, Abbot and Doctor
- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 11.30am
- Holy Mass at 12noon William (Bill) McKinney (Ints)
Saturday 21 August – St Pius X, Pope
- Car boot Sale at 9.00am (8.00am for sellers)
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)
Sunday 22 August – Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
- Holy Mass at 10.00am
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface) Pro Populo