Highlights of the Week

Below are a few interesting news items from the weekly Bulletins for next four weeks.  To download the full version of our latest Bulletin,  please go to our Bulletin pageThank you.

THOUGHT for the THIRD Sunday of LENT         MISSION IMPOSSIBLE!

 What on earth is He doing? No self-respecting Jewish ‘holy man’ or rabbi would venture into Samaritan country: they are the hated enemy and for sure God had no time for them. They had destroyed the unity of the nation, of the People of God some 6oo years earlier – and we and God have long memories! They are outside the concern of God!
And it gets worse: he is speaking to a woman – in public! A Samaritan woman! Even drinking from her cup! And what a reputation she has! Just goes to show this young rabbi knows nothing and is ‘beyond the pale’. Like her, he is a disgrace!
To go the excluded of the excluded – to descend into the pit of condemnation: this is Divine Love, this reveals the true nature of God. Not possessive or precious about ‘ritual purity’, seeming holiness, but passionate to bring love to the loveless, to gather in the most excluded and reveal them to the world as ‘closest to the Father’s heart’!
To the lost Christ shows His face; to the unloved He gives His embrace; to those who cry in pain or disgrace, Christ makes, with his friends, a touching place!’

WHAT TO DO IN LENT? Stations of the Cross at 1.00pm on Sundays; An extra weekday Mass each week;  Adoration of Christ in the Eucharist before or after Mass each day; Bible Alive to guide your prayer and Bible study; Volunteer to help others – at the Wild Goose (deep clean?), Borderlands, Children’s Liturgy, Catechesis etc; Special effort for CAFOD … but above all, Prayer, Love, Bring another to Christ and His Church, Give to the Poor, Work for Justice, Care for  the Planet!

A NEW MINISTRY – WELCOMING THE LBGT+ COMMUNITY Thank you to all who came and shared Mass with our sisters and brother of the LGBT+ community. It was a very healing Mass and brought one or two who had experienced such rejection from the Church that this was the first time for many years they had come to Mass. There was such love and acceptance flowing through this Mass: for me, it was a joy and privilege to preside. May I remind all of us, especially those of us who have difficulties that such a Mass be celebrated, that we are carrying out the wishes of our Bishop Declan in accord with the priorities of Pope Francis – who famously said when asked about the LGBT+ community ‘who am I to judge?’. Please come and talk with me about difficulties and reservations you may have about this ministry.

PARENTS BAPTISM PREPARATION EASTER 2019   Parents seeking the baptism of their children this Easter are asked to inform Eustace and Shella Tameh or Christopher and Epiphania Chipato or Fr Richard as soon as possible. Next Baptism celebration:
BAPTISMS EASTER SUNDAY 21st April & LOW SUNDAY 28th April at 10am Mass
RITE OF CATECHUMEN (Welcome) on Sunday 7th April at 10am Mass
First Parents Preparation Session on Friday 5th April at 6.30pm (Assisi Centre)
Second Parents Preparation Session on Friday 12th April at 6.30pm (Assisi Centre)
(NB This years other Baptismal Sundays are: 16th June (Feast of the Holy Trinity); 25th August (August Bank Holiday); 24th November (Feast of Christ the King) 

HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND MODERN SLAVERY – A NEW MISSION!   What became so clear both on the day and in the reflections at our weekday Masses afterwards, that the plight of 40 MILLION enslaved people world-wide and possible 140,000 in UK – this is the call of Jesus Christ (who died a slave’s death on the Cross) – a call to us to open our eyes and see, open our ears and hear, open our hearts and love! AND ACT DECISIVELY to combat this trade in human misery and ‘set free the captives’ among us. This is part of our mission as a Church and as a parish. I will be inviting people to come together to discuss how we can develop this Mission of freedom, this ‘Jubilee Mission’.

JOURNEY OF FAITH    We continue the Journey of Faith meetings each Friday at 6.30pm Who will you encourage to come and see what being a Catholic Christian means? Or come for a renewal of faith? Or seek Baptism and/or Confirmation?

DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGE TO LOURDES 2019 Mary, Mother of God, invites you to come on pilgrimage to the shrine of Lourdes in France for a week of prayer, friendship, fun and community. August 23rd to 30th.For further information, tel: 01179025590 or email: lourdes@cliftondiocese.com Pilgrimage Director  Deacon Paul Thompson, led by Bp Declan

CALLING ALL EU (European Union) CITIZENS – ALL WHO HAVE EU PASSPORTS    At a meeting in London this past week of Catholic Migrant Officers (and European national chaplains) from around England and Wales (sponsored by the Bishops’ Conference), we examined the arrangements for all EU citizens (those holding EU passports, including their children born in UK) after ‘Brexit’. Although clearly there is now doubt about ‘Brexit’, nevertheless it is vitally important that those concerned (which includes for instance people from Latin America holding Spanish passport and from Angola, East Timor etc holding Portuguese passports) understand the steps they need to take if they wish to remain in UK after 31st December 2020. It is relatively simple in most cases, but you must apply to the ‘EU Settlement Scheme’ from April 2019 and before end of June 2021. We are going to explore how our parish community can support our sisters and brothers in applying for Permanent Settled Status. Meanwhile, for more information visit:  www.gov.uk/eu-settled-status

ARE YOU STRUGGLING AFTER AN ABORTION EXPERIENCE?  Do you know where to turn – who could help you? I hope as a parish community we are open and caring and healing in a way that you could entrust your pain to us. But also (and very importantly) there is an organisation that could help you – British Victims of Abortion. Call them on their helpline 0845-603-8501 between 7pm and 10pm seven evenings a week.

SCRIPTURE SHARING GROUP I would like to encourage regular participation in this group so that we can deepen our love for and understanding of the Sacred Scriptures. It would be ideal for all Lay Readers and Lay Ministers of the Eucharist, as well as Children’s Liturgy leaders. In this Year 170 this would be an excellent way of sharing together and deepening our faith, rooted in the Bible. In the Diocesan Year of Prayer – come and discover the Bible as our first and greatest ‘prayer book’! Every Tuesday after 6.00pm Mass.