Newsletter- 4th Week of Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners

Change to Weekly Mass schedule – Tuesday 30th January: This Tuesday 30th January there will be no public worship in church. The church will be closed all day as I have to be away at meetings.

SPUC and the White Flower Appeal 2024: This weekend at all our Sunday Masses we will have a retiring collection for the work of SPUC and the White Flower Appeal 2024. The Society for the Protection of Unborn children (SPUC) are currently campaigning to protect Pro-Life speech. Pro-Life witness is being restricted now more than ever before in our society; please be as generous as you can to help SPUC defend unborn babies and their mothers.

Her Grace, Frances Helen Manners, Dowager Duchess of Rutland: Last Saturday evening, 20th January, I was called late in the evening to go to give the Last Rites to Her Grace, who died peacefully at her home, Belvoir Lodge, on Sunday morning, 21st January, whilst we were celebrating Mass in the parish. Her Grace will have been well known to many people within our parish community both as a long-standing parishioner, but also for her generous hospitality in hosting over many years the parish summer fete and dog show in the grounds of Belvoir Lodge. Good Friday last year was the last time that she was able to attend public worship here at St. Marys, after which her health gradually declined, but she continued to receive Holy Communion regularly from me at home. Her Grace will be received into the chapel at Belvoir Castle at a private Vigil (family and invited guests only) – on the evening of Friday 2nd February and with kind permission of Bishop Patrick and the Anglican Bishop of Leicester Her Grace’s Funeral Requiem Mass will be celebrated by me in the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Bottesford, on Saturday 3rd February at 11.30 a.m. (parishioners and all mourners warmly welcome to attend). A private ceremony of Committal (family and invited guests only) will follow her Grace’s Funeral Mass at the family Mausoleum on the Belvoir estate. We pray now for the gentle repose of the soul of Her Grace as we keep her children and their families in our prayers at this sad time. 

Confirmation Programme 2024: I am grateful to Mary Pealing and her dedicated team of catechists and volunteer helpers for making Confirmation preparation possible again this year. Our young people preparing for Confirmation next year begin their course of catechesis on Thursday evenings starting on 8th February. Do keep them and our parish catechists in your prayers as our young people make this important next step in their journey of faith and as they prepare to receive the sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop Patrick in September next year.

Lent 2024: It seems that Christmas is only just past and now Lent is fast approaching. Lent begins this year on Ash Wednesday 14thFebruary which falls this year during the school half term break. We shall offer two Masses that day at which there will be the Imposition of Ashes. A simple said Mass at 9.30 am in the morning and then in the evening a Sung Mass at 7pm. We shall be joined in the evening by the parents and children from our First Holy Communion Group along with our young people starting out upon Confirmation preparation. Details of the Lent Schedule and Liturgies for Holy Week can be found within the Bulletin from this weekend. They begin from Tuesday 20th February. Copies of Walk with Me – The Lent 2024 Prayer Booklet are available again this year. This handy little pocket-sized prayer booklet offers us all the chance to pause and reflect and to pray each day during Lent, following the Lent Scripture Readings, as we journey through Lent, into Holy Week and onwards towards the great joy of the Resurrection at Easter. 

Communion under both Kinds: From the First Sunday of Lent, we shall resume offering the Precious Blood from the chalice at the Saturday evening Vigil Mass and the Sunday morning Mass. I am grateful to Ann Walker and our team of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion for making this possible. Whilst the Covid -19 pandemic may have past, covid is as we all know still very much present within our society and so I would like to stress from the outset that parishioners should feel under no obligation to “have to receive” from the chalice. Historically, receiving under both kinds at Mass or in one kind only is always left up to individual choice. A reminder too that should you have a heavy cold or be sick in any way you should as a courtesy to the priest and to the other members of the congregation refrain from receiving Holy Communion from the chalice whilst you are sick, and receive  the Precious Body of Christ only at Mass, to avoid the transference of germs and viruses to others. In addition, there may be occasions going forward when we are only able for practical reasons, to offer Holy Communion under one kind only, namely as now, the Precious Body of Christ from the ciborium. During the week at Mass Holy communion will continue to be given under one kind only, namely that of the Precious Body of Christ.

The readings this weekend for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time reflect the Responsorial Psalm responseO that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your heart. This was the response of the Israelites when they grumbled at Meribah and Massah in the desert. In the First Reading, Moses promises the tribes of Israel that the Lord will send them a prophet like himself, coming from within their midst, who will speak God’s words. We meet this prophet in the Gospel. It is Jesus himself, who amazes his audience in the synagogue by curing a man possessed by an unclean spirit. They are particularly impressed by Christ’s quiet authority. In the Second Reading, Paul seeks to reassure his audience in Corinth. They are worrying about marriage in the wider context of the end of time, which they think is imminent. They, too, must give their undivided attention to the Lord and ensure everything is as it should be.

This week, you might like to spend some quiet time with the Lord, perhaps resting before him in church before the Blessed Sacrament or sitting quietly in His presence in a place within your own home where you feel comfortable and at ease. Listening to the still small voice of God and allowing him to speak to you afresh in the silence of your heart. God knows and understands completely all our many problems, worries, and desires and our great yearning for peace in our hearts and lives. I have often found this a useful habit myself to try to follow when everything around me seems to be in flux and things are pulling me frantically in so many different directions, and when too I seem to be carrying many burdens, worries or concerns and can find little peace or tranquillity in my heart or life. Then it’s so important to let go and allow God to take control and to allow him to bare us gently forward, in the knowledge that we are always held in his loving arms!

With prayers for you and your families as we begin to prepare for Lent again this year,

Your Parish Priest and friend,

Fr Jonathan


2024 28th January – Newsletter – Download