24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Sunday 13th September 2020
Please contact the parish to receive the newsletter by email each week.
Message from Canon Kristian
With the steep rise in COVID infection, the mandatory “Rule of 6” comes into force from Monday, limiting the number of people who can meet together socially either indoors or outdoors. Whilst this will have present a challenging limitation to many of our families, the rule does not apply to gatherings in church, where we will continue to observe carefully the requirements of social-distancing that we are by now used to. Obviously, if there is any change to this situation, I will inform you all as soon as I know.
One of the biggest challenges for parish life under the present restrictions is that of providing catechetical formation to our children and young people in preparation for receiving the Sacraments. As you know, the celebrations for First Confession and First Communion this year had to be postponed due to the “lockdown” and so we have nearly 30 children waiting to receive these Sacraments for the first time, not including those who should be preparing for them this year. Likewise, in the usual rhythm of parish life, there should also be a cohort of our young people starting their preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation. I will be meeting with Deacon Michael and some of our parish catechists this week to try to come to a vision of how our children and young people can receive the catechetical formation they need. Given the on-going restrictions to protect ourselves from spread of COVID, it will not be possible to “carry on as before” and so we will need to find new and effective ways of forming and supporting the faith commitment of our younger parish members. As the place where they gain the lived experience of the faith, there will be a greater emphasis on the role of the family in this faith formation and the support that we can give to parents and other family members to enable them to fulfil this essential role. I have no doubt that this will be challenging for us all, but it is vital that we find new ways to foster the development of faith in the younger generations, who are both the present and future of our parish community, and enable them to receive the grace of the Sacraments fruitfully. If any parishioner has any ideas about this or suggestions to make, I will willingly feed them into the meeting this week.
As you know from last week, until the Feast of St Francis of Assisi on 4th October, we are in the Season of Creation and asked to have a heightened awareness of the wonderful gift of God’s creation and our often damaging impact on it as human beings by excessive and wasteful consumption and by other decisions and actions which are destructive of our environment. I hope that you are accessing the many resources available on line – not least by having an attentive read of Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Care for our Common Home, Laudato Si’ – and taking some concrete action to repair and enhance the creation around us, of which we are an integral part. In October, we will also be observing the World Day of the Poor. Caritas Plymouth would normally be holding a gathering at St Rita’s, Honiton, to explore a theme related to that Day. However, again due to the impact of COVID-19, a free online event will take the place of the gathering this year, which will hopefully have the positive effect that more people will be able to join in as a result. Details of the two-hour event, which has as its focus the question “How are we reaching out to the poor and the marginalised?”, are included with the newsletter to give ample time to plan and enrol .
In our parish we are blessed to have the presence and impressive work of CHAT, which supports and advocates for those who are the most vulnerable in our local community due homelessness and poverty. CHAT is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, though sadly the planned celebrations have had to be postponed. However, the financial impact of the virus on individuals, families and the local economy will mean that there will be an even greater need for the services which CHAT provides. Around this time, there would normally be in our churches a celebration of the Harvest, which would usually include the collection of funds and food for CHAT. Whilst we will not be able to hold the usual Harvest Festivals, CHAT still needs our on-going support and there is a reminder in the newsletter of the most needed items for the Food Bank, which can be left in the designated box at the entrance to St James or in the boxes at the checkouts in the major supermarkets. Financial donations can also be made to CHAT. For now, please put them in an envelope clearly marked “CHAT” and leave them in one of the baskets at church, or hand them in at the parish office or post them through the presbytery letterbox.
Some of you will have already heard that, in order to spend more time with her family, Caroline James, the headteacher of St John’s, our parish Primary School and Nursery, will be leaving at the end of this term. Caroline, who has spent the whole of her teaching career at St John’s, has worked tirelessly during her time as headteacher to provide the best experience of Catholic education possible for our children, often in very challenging circumstances and we owe her a massive debt of gratitude for her dedication to the well-being of the staff and children under her care. We wish her every blessing for the next stage of life with her family. As a result of this situation, our school, its staff and its children, will need all the support we can give as a parish. To have a school as part of a parish community is a tremendous gift, which many the parishes in our diocese do not have. I would urge all our families to support the school by ensuring that their children go to our parish school to receive their education within a Catholic context, something which we should value extremely highly.
Along with the newsletter, we have Monika Manser’s weekly prayerful contemplation of this Sunday’s Gospel (available to download under the Resources>Reflections part of the parish website here), as well as a poster for the World Day of the Poor event (available to view here) and a reminder of the vacancies in the diocese for Parish Property Mentors.
Please stay safe everyone and be assured of my prayers for you all.
With every blessing
Parish Office Hours
- Monday to Thursday from 10.00am-1.00pm
- Friday from 10.00am-2.00pm
The Parish Office is open at the above times for all routine parish administrative matters, as well as to help with any other pastoral enquiries. Contact details are on the Contact Us section of the parish website.
Masses at St James
Mass is celebrated at St James on
- Tuesday at 10.00am
- Wednesday at 12noon
- Thursday at 6.30pm
- Friday at 12noon
- Saturday at 6.00pm
- Sunday at 10.00am and 11.30am.
Please let the Parish Office know that you would like to come to a particular Mass. Sometimes there are spare seats at some of the weekday Masses, but there is no guarantee that there will be a seat available. You may now make a “rolling booking” if you wish to come to a particular Mass on a regular basis, but if you do this, please let the office know if you are not able to come so that the place may be released for someone else.
Collection for the Holy Places
This weekend we have a second collection for the Holy Places, which supports the struggling Palestinian Christian Communities in the ancient Bible Lands. Our annual contribution is a vital support to these communities which are in danger of extinction due to the persecution and poverty. Consider joining the Friends of the Holy Land. Our own Deacon Michael is the Representative of FHL in our diocese and you can discover more about the work of this important charity at https://www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk/. As usual, there will be baskets at the door for your offerings, which can also be given using our “tap and donate” contactless giving machine.
The Season of Creation and the World Day of the Poor
During the Season of Creation we are being asked to take concrete steps to care for the gift of creation and for the Earth, our common home. You can find useful information and resources on the Bishops’ Conference Website, and the Diocesan Website and on Facebook, and at https://cafod.org.uk.
On Saturday 24 October, 10.30am-12.30pm Bishop Mark invites you to take part in an online event – How are we reaching out to the poor and marginalised? to reflect on World Day of the Poor. Read more about it and register to take part at Caritas Plymouth. Booking is essential.
We are still looking for a volunteer to share with Graham Parton the work of keeping our Parish website up-to-date. Please get in touch with the Parish Office if you can offer to serve the parish community in this essential ministry.
25 Years of CHAT – Bringing Hope 1995-2020
All the voluntary contributions given for the face coverings made by Christine Pickford will also go towards supporting the work of CHAT.
Sacrament of Confirmation
We hope to begin the preparation of those wanting to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in 2021/22. If you are 13yrs or older – or have a young person of this age – and would like to be confirmed, please have a word with Canon Kristian or Deacon Michael, or contact the Parish Office as soon as possible
Online Youth Service – COVID 19
Saskia Hogbin, Diocesan Youth Events Worker, is pleased to present our first online Youth Service. Young people from across our diocese have shared their thoughts and reflections on COVID 19. They have linked their experiences with stories from the bible and some have related their thoughts to the lives of the Saints. Please have a look at the Service at https://youtu.be/ekDqdB3 _YG8.
Saskia is already putting together the next film for the end of this month on the theme “Laudato Si’, Seasons of Creation”. So if you are a young person or know of any young people who might be interested in taking part, please be in touch with Saskia on 01364 645401 or by email to email@example.com
Repository Table and Fundraising Items
The Repository is open, selling fundraising items, such as Keyring Torches embossed with the name of our parish and handmade Christmas items, and also Mass cards, sympathy cards, etc. Please take a look and the Stewards will help you if you would like to purchase anything.
Home Mission Sunday
Next weekend is Home Mission Sunday and there will be a second collection to support the work of the Home Mission Office of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, which supports parishes and projects to spread the Gospel in our own country.
Masses and Events this week
Saturday 12 September – Weekday
- Vigil Mass of Sunday at 6.00pm
Sunday 13 September – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
- Holy Mass at 10.00am (Pro populo) and at 11.30am
Tuesday 15 September – Our Lady of Sorrows
- Holy Mass at 10.00am
Wednesday 16 September – St Cornelius, Pope, & St Cyprian, Bishop
- Holy Mass at 12noon Norman Pennie RIP (Anniv)
Thursday 17 September – Weekday
- Holy Mass at 6.30pm
Friday 18 September – Weekday
- Holy Mass at 12noon
Saturday 19 September – St Theodore of Canterbury, Bishop
- Holy Baptism of Ieva Cizinauskaite at 2.00pm
- Vigil Mass of Sunday at 6.00pm