Newsletter- 31st Week of Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners

This Tuesday we shall enter the month of November! The Month of The Holy Souls. This coming week on Tuesday 1st November we celebrate the great Solemnity of All Saints. In the morning we welcome St Mary’s School into church, for a special All Saints Mass at 10 am. The children will be helping with the liturgy and parishioners are very welcome to come to join the School at Mass that the morning. In the evening at 6pm there will be a Parish Mass for All Saints and there will be no Exposition nor Benediction at 6 pm that evening. On Tuesday 2nd November we keep the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day) with a Requiem Mass at 9.30 am

November Dead List Envelopes and Sheets – (In the entrance to church) I would ask please that you fill out a form with the names of your deceased family members and loved ones whom you would like me to pray for at Mass and put this along with your offering in one of November Dead List (Holy Souls) envelopes. Please return the envelopes to me or drop them through the letter box of the Rectory. The names of your deceased relatives and friends and all for whom you wish me to pray for at Mass will then be placed in a basket close to the Altar at the Requiem Mass for All Souls’ and they will be kept there throughout the month of November and then at the end of November I will divide these names up into special Masses for the intentions of ‘The Holy Souls – November Dead List.’ These Masses will be offered throughout the year. 

On Sunday 6th November, at 2 pm we shall have the yearly Blessing of Graves. I invite you to come to Grantham cemetery as we bless the Catholic graves that afternoon. Please meet at the stone archway as you enter the main cemetery gates.

Aid for Chad and Peru: at the Sunday Masses this weekend we welcome two parishioners from St Joseph’s Oakham who have set up stalls in the Link Room where you will be able to buy a selection of beautiful hand-crafted items made in the shantytowns of Lima to support the charity ‘Aid for Chad and Peru.’ Do pop into the Link Room on your way out from Mass this weekend. I feel sure you will want to help to support this small but important charity in their important work. The items on sale this weekend are very charming and may make some useful Christmas presents or stocking fillers and all the funds raised from purchases go directly to support the work of this charity.

In the Gospel set for this Sunday, 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were not popular people. They were collaborators with the Romans and were despised by many Jewish people. The tax system allowed them to charge more than what was required so that they could make a profit for themselves. Thus, they were considered sinners by their countrymen. Observers in the crowd that day grumble because Jesus dines with a sinner. Throughout Scripture, Jesus’ choice of dinner companions sets him apart from other observant Jews of his time. In first century, Jewish culture, to dine together was to show a bond of fellowship and peace among those at table. Observant Jews did not generally dine with foreigners and sinners. Yet, Jesus chooses to honour the tax collector, Zacchaeus, by staying at his house.

Even before Jesus comes to his home, Zacchaeus shows himself to be someone in search of salvation. Zacchaeus, described as short in stature, climbs a tree to see Jesus better. We know from Luke’s description that Zacchaeus was no ordinary tax collector; he was, in fact, the chief tax collector and a person of some wealth. In his search for salvation, he humbled himself by making a spectacle of himself by climbing a tree. Jesus recognised the faith Zacchaeus exhibited in his search for salvation and calls him down from the tree. In the hospitality he extends to Jesus and in his conversion of heart, Zacchaeus is raised up by Jesus as a model of salvation.

Looking Ahead:

Changes to Mass Times: From Monday 7th – Thursday 10th November I shall be away. During this period there will be No Public Worship on Tuesday 8th November. I am very grateful to Andrew for offering a Service of Word and Holy Communion on Wednesday 9thNovember at 9.30 am and Thursday 10th November at 11 am. Mass will be celebrated as normal by me on Friday 11th November at 9.30 am.

Remembrance Sunday: Friday 11th November is Armistice Day and I invite you on this day to pray for peace within our world. On Sunday 13th November we keep Remembrance Sunday and the 9.30 am Mass that day will be a Requiem Mass in anniversariofor all who died during the past two World Wars and all subsequent conflicts since. At This Mass before the final Blessing there will be an Act of Remembrance and we shall keep the Two Minutes’ Silence as we remember all who died in the service of their country and for our freedom. The Saturday evening Vigil Mass at 6 pm that weekend (12th November) will be the normal Sunday Mass for the 33rdSunday in Ordinary Time.

First Holy Communion Preparation resumes January 2023: I am very grateful to Catherine Pritchard for taking on the role of lead catechist for this coming year, and to all our previous catechists for so kindly agreeing to continue in their roles. It will be very important though that in addition to our catechists we have some volunteer helpers to assist our catechists drawn from the parents of those children who may be seeking to make their First Holy Communion next year. The involvement and support of family members along with members of the parish community and our catechists is very important in helping our young people in their journey of faith and it is all our responsibility to support them in preparing to make their First Holy Communion. If you are a prospective parent and can help, it won’t be too arduous! Please get in touch with Catherine Pritchard, her contact details are to be found in this week’s Sunday Bulletin, along with the details of how to apply for a place for your child on our next First Holy Communion Preparation Course.

Let us keep each other in prayer at this time,

Your parish priest and friend,

Father Jonathan


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