Newsletter- 5th Week of Lent

Dear Parishioners

Heating- This weekend British Summer Time begins, and the clocks go forward by an hour this Sunday, 26th March. Sadly, this means for all of us an hour less in bed! This coming week we shall be turning off the heating in the church, presbytery and halls, to help us reduce the large heating bills we have been paying throughout the winter months. A reminder If we have a cold snap you will need, please to ensure you come wrapped up warmly for Mass or if you are using the hall. 

Today’s readings at Mass are a reminder to us of how God wishes to release us from all that holds us back from him, whether it be sin, despair or the grave itself.  God desires to carry us from the emptiness of death, in all its forms, to new life in the Spirit. In the First Reading, the prophet Ezekiel tells how God will call us, even from the very grave, to offer us the Spirit of life.  We will be brought back home to ourselves and settled on our own soil. The Responsorial Psalm shows this same upward movement, from the depths of despair and guilt to the joy and the fullness of life brought about through redemption. The Second Reading reveals how this new life is possible – only by Christ living in us.  We, ourselves, will be home to the Spirit of God. The Gospel recalls the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  Jesus is Resurrection and life, and we will see God’s glory when we have faith in him.

Perhaps, this week, we might feel called to renew our belief in the one who is Resurrection and fullness of life, and to ponder anew the gifts of life, freedom and joy which the Lord freely offers to each one of us.  We might like to ask ourselves this weekend: What might life in Gods Spirit look like for me in the coming week ahead?

CAFOD – Lent 2023 – We still have some CAFOD Lent envelopes by the holy water stoop in the entrance to the church for you to take away and to make donations to their work during the remainder of Lent. These envelopes can be placed in the collection plate at all Sunday Masses until Easter Sunday

Giving – As your parish priest it is difficult for me to ask you to consider giving more financially at a time when so many of you are facing real financial hardship yourselves and you have so many extra calls upon your hard earned incomes, but as your parish priest I have a responsibility to ensure we continue to pay our bills and maintain our parish and church plant and work for the building up of Christs kingdom in this place and at this time and ensure too that we can continue to do so for the future. 

What financial help we receive to maintain our parish comes in the main from your generosity and stewardship in your giving each week or month.  We are not a wealthy parish with large reserves to draw upon in hard times like these and so the responsibility for maintaining the parish rests firmly in your hands and upon your generosity and financial support. Many of you already give a great deal I know both financially and of your time and commitment to support our parish community and for this I sincerely thank you. I am not entirely comfortable myself in asking you to think of increasing your giving, as it rather goes against the grain for me, I have always believed what we give in monitory terms should be left up to the conscience and openhanded generosity of the individual, and I am aware that every persons financial circumstances are very different from another, but it remains an important fact that I need now to ask you to consider increasing the amount you may be able to give regularly to our parish if we are to maintain a sound financial footing for the future.  

There are a few simple but significant things that you may like to consider:

  1. If you are a taxpayer, please consider gift aiding what you already give, this gives us quite a lot of extra income on top of the money we receive from you, as we can reclaim on every donation the tax from the government. However, if you have stopped paying tax it’s very important that the parish is informed of this otherwise, we must pay back what was wrongly claimed!
  2. In addition, please do consider setting up regular giving through a standing order with your Bank directly into the parish account, this helps us to budget more effectively each month, as we know we have a guaranteed regular income coming in each month.
  3. Thirdly if you have not reviewed your stewardship and regular giving to the parish community in recent years, please do consider reviewing this and seeing if it might be possible to make a small increase in what you already are giving. Every little bit helps! 

With prayer and best wishes for each of you as we journey closer towards Holy Week,

Your parish priest and friend,

Fr Jonathan


2023 26th March– Newsletter – Download