Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B)
Good Shepherd Sunday
Sunday 25 April 2021
Please contact the parish to receive the newsletter by email each week.
Message from Canon Kristian
Dear brothers and sisters
The main focus of our prayer this weekend is that everyone within the Church will be open and sensitive to the call of the Lord, so that we can fulfil the mission that God has entrusted to each and every one of us from the moment of our baptism and rebirth in Christ. Without in any way undervaluing or dismissing the vocation of the vast majority of the members of the Church (remember there is no “hierarchy” amongst the charisms or gifts that the Spirit gives to us), we have a particular prayer for those who are being called to the service of God’s people by ordination as priests or deacons and for those who are being called to live out a consecrated life of prayer and service based on the gospel-based vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These specific vocations and gifts to the whole Church community can only grow where there is a vibrant culture and sense of being called by God to a particular service amongst all the members of the Church. It would indeed be a great joy and privilege for our parish if one or more of our young people were to respond to a call to the priesthood or to the religious life. So let us keep them in our prayers in a special way, asking that they may be given the grace to respond generously and courageously to God’s call.
Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of Prayer reminds us that we are still in the Year of St Joseph, and he gives a beautiful reflection on how the vocation of St Joseph can shed light of our own calling from God. In a striking passage right at the start of his Message, the Holy Father notes that:
“St Joseph is an extraordinary figure, yet at the same time one ‘so close to our own human experience’. He did not do astonishing things, he had no unique charisms, nor did he appear special in the eyes of those who met him. He was not famous or even noteworthy: the Gospels do not report even a single word of his. Still, through his ordinary life, he accomplished something extraordinary in the eyes of God”.
Likewise, each of us, through a faithful living out of our vocation in our ordinary life – whatever that vocation might be, will accomplish something extraordinary in the eyes of God. That’s something amazing that we should all spend some time reflecting on often and just on one Sunday of the year!
The other important focus in the Newsletter is on the Church’s mission to care for God’s creation, our common home. All eyes will be on the UK this year as our country hosts both the G7 Summit in Cornwall in June and the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow in November. Both of those meetings will be looking at the need to take urgent and decisive steps to slow down the devastating effects of climate change and the commitment of all countries, including the UK, to take concrete and effective action. We are familiar with Pope Francis’ insistent teaching of the need to care for God’s creation as part of parcel of the living out of our Christian faith and not some side-issue for those who are particularly interested in environmental issues. For us, the care for creation – action to protect and enhance the environment – is primarily an obligation that flows for our Faith not from political doctrine. However, decisions made by politicians in response to this environmental crisis will clearly impact of our own choices and actions, which will inevitably reflect our own personal political worldview. Therefore, it is vital that, both as individuals and as a community, we seek to have a deeper understanding of the Social Teaching of the Church – something which is often called the “hidden treasure” of the Church since it is too little known both within and outside the Church.
In this perspective, accompanying the Newsletter this week is the first Environmental Policy for our diocese, recently approved by the Diocesan Trustees, along with a Pastoral Message from Bishop Mark which provides a spiritual and theological context for the document. The Policy is very much a “first attempt” and certainly not definitive. In fact, it is foreseen that, due to the nature of the subject matter, the policy will be a dynamic and developing one, to which process every parish and every parishioner is invited to contribute with their views and comments. As the intent of the Policy is to set out the fundamental principles which will guide the Diocese in its mission to care for God’s creation, it is intentionally brief and succinct. It is planned to issue further documents to parishes and schools which will give guidance in terms of concrete implementation. When circumstances allow, this will be an important issue for our parish to come together to reflect upon and to take concrete steps to put those reflections into practice. In the meantime, please feel free to pass on your comments to the Diocese via Caritas Plymouth, the diocesan department that has been entrusted with oversight of this project.
The Bishops of England and Wales have issued a Reflection, “The Day of the Lord”, to all Catholics following their meeting last week, in which they encourage us to start to take decisive steps to rebuild our physical community life as parishes, particularly regarding the observance of the Lord’s Day and the Sunday Celebration of Mass, as the effects of the pandemic subside. The Bishops invite us to reflect on the impact the pandemic has had on each of us personally and on the parish community, and on how this will guide the way we understand our mission and outreach going forwards, all finding its focus – or its “source and summit” as the Second Vatican Council expressed it – in the Church’s Liturgy, and particularly in the Mass. Please take some time to reflect on their message and what implications it might have for our parish.
With the easing of the lockdown rules, the number of people wishing to come back to Mass at the weekends has increased significantly. Though this is without doubt a great blessing for us, it does mean that we are now struggling to accommodate everyone in church on a Sunday, due to the need for the time being to continue to observe social distancing rules. The 10am Mass in Tiverton and the 11.30am Mass in Cullompton are now usually fully booked by Wednesday each week so, if you request a place after that, it is very likely that there will not be one available. Therefore, I would encourage you to contact the Parish Office as early as possible in the week, either by email (the preferred way) or by telephone between 10am-1pm. I apologise in advance if we are not able to find you a place. This is an unpleasant situation for a parish priest to be in – everyone should be welcome to come to Mass, but it is essential that we keep everyone as safe as possible over these next few weeks, so as not to jeopardise greater freedoms in the months ahead. We do not want to create conditions because of impatience which might lead to yet another lockdown.
Along with the Newsletter Monika Manser’s weekly aid to imaginative contemplative prayer on this Sunday’s Gospel is available to read online or download under the Resource>Reflections section of the website. The access details for this week’s Coffee Morning on Zoom on Thursday at 11am, to which all parishioners are invited, are available from the parish office.
I hope you are continuing to have a blessed and fruitful Eastertide. Let’s pray for each other.
With every blessing
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.
58th World Day of Prayer for Vocations
This Sunday (also known as Good Shepherd Sunday since at Mass there is always a Gospel reading which refers to Jesus as the Good Shepherd) is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, particularly to the ordained ministries of priest and permanent deacon and to the consecrated life of monks, nuns, brothers and sisters.
As we are in the Year of St Joseph, in his Message for this year’s Day of Prayer entitled St Joseph: The Dream of Vocation, Pope Francis highlights three words from the life of St Joseph which are key to everyone’s vocation: dream, service and fidelity. It is a beautiful message and well worth some personal reflection. The National Office for Vocations has also produced a short introductory video, God’s Dream for you!, for this year’s Day of Prayer.
This year we are remembering Deacon Albert Lawes in a special way in our prayers at this time. He is now in his final months of preparation for ordination to the priesthood by Bishop Mark in the Cathedral on Friday 25 June.
Prayer for Vocations
Loving Father, you call us by name.
As we journey through life
help us to be confident in our own unique identity
and to find opportunities to develop our own gifts and passions.
We pray that the Holy Spirit will pour on us wisdom and guidance
to help us realise and follow our dreams,
discerning your plan for our lives.
Bless your Church by raising up dedicated and generous people
from our families and friends
who will serve as Priests, Deacons, Sisters and Brothers.
May we support one another in response to God’s call.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Second Collection for our Seminarians
There is a second collection this weekend to support the training of those studying to be future priests for the parishes of our diocese. Please be as generous as you can. Donations can either be left in the basket at the door of the church or be given contactlessly using our SumUp machine.
“A Precious Place of God’s Grace” – The Next Step
In January Bishop Mark and the Bishop’s Council 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 and on our vocation to be communities of disciple-making disciples.
To help us reflect on the missionary themes in the document and on how we might give concrete expression to these, the Bishop has invited the renowned international 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. You are strongly urged to register to take part via the following link.
A Reflection from the Bishops of England and Wales
This past week, the Bishops of England and Wales have been gathered “virtually” for their annual post-Easter meeting. Arising out of their work, they have issued a reflection, The Day of the Lord, in which they pay tribute to the courage, generosity and understanding shown by our Catholic communities in the face of adversity over the last 12 months. The Bishops also reflect on the challenges of re-focusing our parish communities as we slowly emerge from restrictions, highlighting the centrality of Sunday Mass to our spiritual and community lives. The Eucharist is
“our treasure, enriching our relationship with Jesus and bringing together every aspect of our life and mission…The Christ to whom we come so close in the Eucharist must be the foundation of our strivings, not least in the urgent task we face of caring for creation and our environment”.
Safeguarding Review Implementation
Following the review of English and Welsh Catholic safeguarding structures by Mr Ian Elliot last year, the national Implementation Group for Safeguarding has been producing a regular newsletter, available every two weeks. These newsletters can be found at www.catholicsafeguardingproject.org, along with further information about the review.
If you have any concerns, our Safeguarding Reps can be contacted via the email address and mobile number on the front of the Newsletter or the dedicated Safeguarding section of the parish website.
Diocesan Environmental Policy
Carbis Bay, Cornwall, within our Diocese will be hosting the first in-person G7 Summit in almost two years from 11-13 June. Amongst other matters, the Prime Ministers and Presidents from some of the world’s leading democracies will be discussing how to tackle the urgent issue of climate change. In addition, from 1-12 November in Glasgow, the UK will be hosting and presiding at COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference.
Against this backdrop, this week Bishop Mark has shared with the parishes the first Diocesan Environmental Policy. In the Pastoral Message that accompanies it, he reflects on Pope Francis’ teaching set out in Laudato si’ and Fratelli tutti, as well as on the reflection document produced by the Bishops of England and Wales The Call of Creation. The Policy sets out the overarching principles which should underpin the approach of the communities and individuals of our diocese in caring for God’s creation.
This Policy is intended to serve as a starting point for prayer and discernment, and you are invited to send your thoughts and reflections on it to Caritas Plymouth (email@example.com), which is co-ordinating the on-going development and implementation of the Policy.
Parish Services and Events This Week
Saturday 24 April – St Adalbert, Bishop and Martyr
- Vigil Mass at 6.00pm Juraj and Alzbeta Kovalcik RIP (anniv)
Sunday 25 April – Fourth Sunday of Easter
- Holy Mass at 10.00am Pro Populo
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface, Cullompton)
Tuesday 27 April – Easter Weekday
- Service of the Word at 10.00am
Wednesday 28 April – Easter Weekday
- Holy Mass at 12noon (at St Boniface, Cullompton)
Thursday 29 April – St Catherine of Siena, Patron of Europe
- Coffee Morning on Zoom at 11.00am
- Holy Mass in Polish at 6.00pm
Friday 30 April – Easter Weekday
- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 11.30am
- Holy Mass at 12noon
Saturday 1 May – St Joseph the Worker
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)
Sunday 2 May – Fifth Sunday of Easter
- Holy Mass at 10.00am