Under the current restrictions there will be no Children’s Liturgy group, no coffee after church and no hymns sung at 10:00 Mass. The bidding prayers will not be said, the homily will be kept short, the collection and offertory procession will be omitted, the sign of peace will not be exchanged and special arrangements for Holy Communion will apply, with Communion under both kinds unavailable.
We are committed to following the Government guidelines on social distancing. Please ensure you maintain a 2 metre distance separation from each other whilst entering, leaving and inside church and remember that government regulations require that you wear a face covering whilst in church. To maximise safe occupancy, you may be asked to move places by a steward if the church is particularly busy. Please cooperate with and follow the directions of the stewards. After Mass, you are asked to leave church promptly and not gather outside to chat.
Seventh Sunday of Easter
On the seventh Sunday of Easter, we always read from the seventeenth chapter of John's Gospel. This chapter of John's Gospel comes at the conclusion of Jesus' farewell discourse delivered to the disciples at the Last Supper. This entire chapter is a prayer by Jesus, commending himself to the Father and expressing his care and concern for his disciples. At the end of this prayer, Jesus and his disciples depart for the garden, and Jesus is arrested. Several important themes appear in this prayer. First, Jesus' prayer reaffirms the complete union between himself and the Father. Throughout John's Gospel, Jesus has been presented as the one who pre-existed with the Father and as the one sent by the Father to do his work on earth. In today's reading, we hear Jesus include all his disciples in this union with the Father. We are reminded that Christ is the source of Christian unity. Through Christ, we are united with one another and with God Our Father. In this prayer, Jesus describes part of his mission in the language of protection. He has protected those who were given to him by the Father. In this we hear echoes of the dualism that is reflected throughout John's Gospel. Beginning with the opening chapter, the Evangelist John has presented Jesus' mission on earth in the context of a cosmic struggle between good and evil, represented by light and darkness. In Jesus' presence, his disciples have been protected from Satan. Now that Jesus is returning to the Father, he prays that his disciples will continue to be protected from the evil one. We can't help but note here the echoes of the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, the Lord's prayer.
We also see in this chapter the distinction found in John's Gospel between the world and the disciples. The disciples are in the world, but they do not belong to the world. Yet like Jesus, they are sent into the world for the world's salvation. As Jesus' teaching and ministry was a source of consternation for some, Jesus knows that the world may not accept his disciples with open arms. Again, we hear echoes of John's theme that salvation is worked out through the cosmic battle between light and darkness. The world, according to John, prefers the darkness. Yet the light will not be overcome by the darkness. Reading this prayer of Jesus during the Easter Season, through the lens of his Resurrection, we know that the light of Christ has overcome the darkness of sin and death in our world. In the opening line of this prayer, we hear Jesus pray that his disciples will be kept in the name that he was given by God. We know that the salvation is given to us in the name of Jesus, and that his name - “God saves” - announces his mission on our behalf. Courtesy Loyola Press
World Communications Day
Every year on the Sunday before Pentecost, the Church celebrates the achievements of the communications media and focuses of how it can best use them to promote gospel values. World Communications Day was established by Pope Paul VI in 1967 as an annual celebration that encourages us to reflect on the opportunities and challenges that the modern means of social communication (the press, motion pictures, radio, television, social media and the internet) afford the Church to communicate the gospel message. The celebration came in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, which realised it must engage fully with the modern world. In setting it up on Sunday 7th May 1967, less than two years after the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI, knowing that the Church is truly and intimately linked with mankind and its history, wanted to draw attention to the communications media and the enormous power they have for cultural transformation.
He and his successors have consistently recognised the positive opportunities the communications media afford for enriching human lives with the values of truth, beauty and goodness, but also the possibly negative effects of spreading less noble values and pressurising minds and consciences with a multiplicity of contradictory appeals. The theme for the 2021 World Day of Social Communications, chosen by Pope Francis, is “Come and See” (Jn 1:46) – communicating by encountering people as they are, echoing the words of the Apostle Philip, and recognising that authentic communication leads to “encountering people as and where they are”. The message from Pope Francis can be read here. On World Communications Day, we take up the command of Jesus to preach the Good News of the Gospel to the whole world. You can use this link if you would like to make a donation to support the work of the Catholic Communications Network.
This week's newsletter is available on-line. It has the readings and prayers for today's Mass on the back page which may be useful for those of you at home watching the streamed or recorded Mass. You can read it by clicking here.
Parish Development Project Appeal
The final coats of paint have been applied and a start has been made on the second fix electrical items. The sanitary ware for the two toilets has been installed and the cabinets in the kitchenette. There are some updated pictures taken this week available on the parish web site. The money received in response to the appeal for funds to complete the new parish room project continues to rise and has now reached £11,165, but we are still over £3,500 short of our target. Thank you to all those who have already donated – we are extremely grateful. If you have not already donated, then it is not too late. You can make a cash donation by leaving money in an envelope, suitably marked “Parish Room” and leave it in the collection box at the back of the church, or pop it though the presbytery letter box. You can make a direct payment to the parish bank account using the details here – please use the payment reference “Parish Room”. Or you can make a donation via your credit card using the Donate button on this page. If you do donate, and you are a tax payer, then please do Gift Aid any donation as this will increase its value by 25% as we will be able to reclaim the tax you have already paid on the money donated. If you can help, please read the letter from Fr Mathew here, and find out how to make a donation.
Prayer for the Election of a Bishop
O God, eternal Shepherd, who govern your flock with unfailing care, grant in your boundless fatherly love a pastor for your Church who will please you by his holiness and, to us, show watchful care. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.
S. Felix, pray for us
All holy Martyrs & Saints of East Anglia, pray for us.
Prayer of the Icon of St Joseph
St Joseph, watch over me and care for me,
just as you cared for Jesus when he was a child:
and by your help may I come to know Jesus, the Son of God,
and so grow in love, strength and wisdom.