Newsletter- 18th Week of Ordinary Time
At our 9.30 am Sunday Mass this weekend we welcome as our Principal Celebrant and Preacher the Right Reverend Dr. Vianney Fernando. Bishop Vianney has recently retired as Bishop of Kandy, in Shri Lanka, and is staying locally with old friends in Great Gonerby. He was named Bishop of Kandy on the 27th March 1983, by Pope St. John Paul II, and retired earlier this year, on 17thJanuary 2022. I know you will make Bishop Vianney very welcome here within our parish during his informal visit to us this Sunday.
Holiday Absence: A reminder that I shall be taking a short break away with my mother and an old friend, at my sister’s weekend cottage by the sea in Wales, from the afternoon of Sunday July 31st until Friday 12th August. I am grateful to Canon Michael Bell for covering the weekend Masses, and to Andrew for offering two Services of Word and Holy Communion during the next two weeks whilst I am on holiday. Andrew will be the point of contact for any emergencies during my absence. An old friend of mine will be “house sitting” in the Rectory during my absence.
This week there will be a Service of Word and Holy Communion on Wednesday 3rd August at 9.30 am and Thursday 4th August at 11 am. There will be the normal Sunday Masses at 6 pm on Saturday 6th August and at 9.30 am on Sunday 7th August. The following week there will be a Service of Word and Holy Communion on Wednesday 10th August at 9.30 am and Thursday 11thAugust at 11 am. Please note that during my time away the church will be closed outside of these Public Liturgies. I shall be back in the parish to celebrate the Sunday Liturgies for the great Solemnity of the Assumption, Saturday 13th August at 6 pm and Sunday 14thAugust at 9.30 am.
All three of our readings at Mass this weekend speak about a paramount spiritual truth—that is to say, the need to detach ourselves from the material goods of this world. This has nothing to do with a hatred of this world, or of material things per se, but rather a reminder to us that we are called as Christ’s modern-day disciples to “wear lightly” the material things of this world. To enjoy what we may have been privileged to have been given materially in life, but never to let material goods things define us as people; to share too all that we may have been given materially in life with those who have often been given far less.
When I was a child, my father always taught us as children that “when much has been given to you in life, much is also expected of you too” Something which I have tried to take into my adult life and to be mindful of. All we have been given in life has been given to us by God to enjoy and to share with one another. But putting all our energy into wealth, power, and social standing distracts us from our true Christian mission of serving God and spreading the Good News. While material things are not necessarily bad, letting them define us or become our “gods” is idolatry. Only the one true God can really bring us lasting peace and happiness. The pursuit of material goods in the end cannot ever be the true purpose of the life for a Christian. Any happiness derived from purely worldly pursuits or goods is always temporary and will never bring us real peace or joy. It remains a sad fact that the more, we seek for ourselves, or try to keep to ourselves alone, the less fulfilled we become in life and the more we want! Pope Francis offers us a lovely quote to reflect upon and help us as we seek to detach ourselves from an insatiable thirst for material goods: “It makes no sense to accumulate if one day we will die. What we must accumulate is love, and the ability to share, the ability not to remain indifferent when faced with the needs of others.”
As I look forward to my own holiday this coming week, I hope and pray that each of you too, who may be taking some well-earned rest and relaxation away in the next few weeks, will enjoy your break and return to us after your holidays rested and refreshed!
With my prayers for you during the coming week,
Your friend and parish priest,
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2022 31st July – Newsletter – Download
2022 31st July – Newsletter (Including Sunday Message – Password Protected)– Download
2022 31st July – LOOK – (Password Protected)– Download