Newsletter 5th September 2021

Dear Parishioners

I can hardly believe that my first week in Grantham is now drawing to a close and a second week is dawning! It’s been a week of coming to terms, sorting a great deal, and trying to get my head around so many practicalities! I feel at times I have done so often by the seat of my pants!

I would like to acknowledge though the important part that each of you has played in the past months in “keeping the show on the road” here at St Mary’s, by helping to keep the Parish functioning and alive and active, and whilst you have been without a Parish Priest. I have been amazed at how well the Parish has been run during those difficult times and with so many important practicalities put into place and important new works accomplished in updating the church plant and parish buildings. I would like to acknowledge particularly all the hard work of Andrew Wakley, who whilst trying to run his own business, studying for the Diaconate, and somewhere along the line trying to make time for his own family and friends, has given of his time so generously and unstintingly to the Parish in keeping the life blood of the Parish flowing. His attention to detail and loving support of me now makes my own job the easier as we seek to move forward into the future as a Parish and as a Faith Community. In addition, I would like to acknowledge the great debt of gratitude that we owe as a Parish, to Fr Stephen Dye, our Area Dean, Canon Michael Bell, and many other members of the clergy who have come regularly to offer Mass cover and administer the Sacraments. I hope just before Christmas, and once all the works have been accomplished in the Rectory, that I shall have the opportunity on your behalf to show our appreciation to them more formally.This week it was good to welcome the Head and Staff of our Catholic Primary School, St. Mary’s, to Mass on Friday, and to be offered the opportunity to visit the school later that afternoon, to chat less formally with them, whilst they were busy preparing for the start of the new School Year this Monday. It is my hope as we look towards the future, that we can build upon the past, and forge strong links again between the Parish community and the School community. Andrew and I will be working closely with the School on a new and creative Programme of Events to include the young people in the Liturgical life of the Parish, as well as putting into place regular visits by ourselves to say Mass and meet with the young people less formally in the setting of their daily school lives. Please keep St. Mary’s Primary in your prayers this coming week as they prepare for the new School Year ahead.

In the next few weeks, I will be starting to make home visits to those of our parishioners who are sick or housebound. We are in the process of drawing up a new Sick List and it is my hope that I can visit all the housebound in the parish in the next few weeks and put into place again regular visits by myself and our wonderful team of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, with additional regular visits by myself to all the housebound at Easter and Christmas and when the Sacrament of the Sick or Confession is needed. If you know of anybody whom you feel may like a home visit and who may not already be on the Parish Sick List, please do get in contact with me (my personal diocesan email and mobile is now published in this Bulletin and is on the website). I will then do my best to ensure they receive regular visits from us. 

The thrust of the passage from St. James in today’s Second Reading is discrimination. James describes something we all know about, discrimination, favouritism, and prejudice. Often, I suspect we are very quick to judge people by superficial standards, by looks or by image. We are so often drawn to the so called “beautiful people”, failing to notice those who on the surface, may seem less so. All the Readings at Mass today remind us that we need the gifts of sight, of hearing and of speech to see as Christ sees, to hear as He hears, to speak as He speaks. As a culture we are often preoccupied by image, but as Catholic Christians we must at times stand out from the crowd. Society will always have its celebrities, its “beautiful people” and will always have those people it puts to the side, those that it considers disposable. You and I as Catholic Christians are called to see those people to whom society is blind, to listen to those people whom society disregards, to speak with those people whom society ignores and rejects such as the emotionally troubled, those burdened by disabilities, those whom the events of life have not been kind too. Let us this week look around us in our local community and in our workplaces and seek to offer the hand of friendship and loving support to all whom we encounter and who are in need. Let us be the hands of Christ alive and active in the world around us. Let us look beneath the superficial in one another and see in them the deeper image of God. Let us be alive and active in the service of the Lord and of one another.

Please keep me in your prayers during this coming week, as I continue to settle into my new role as your Parish Priest. Please also know too that I shall be keeping you and your families and our Parish community in my daily prayers and at the Altar.

With Warmest Best Wishes,

Your friend and Parish Priest,

Fr. Jonathan

2021 5th September – Newsletter – Download

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