Newsletter- 5th Week of Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners

This Sunday, 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B the readings at Mass invite each of us to look more deeply into the experience of human suffering. It is only through Christ that our pain and despair can and will be transformed. Just like the suffering people in today’s Gospel, we all long for Christ. It is through prayer that our yearning will be fulfilled.

Job (First Reading) expresses total despair at the great losses that he has experienced; he seems overwhelmed by the frailty of life. The suffering in our world today perhaps makes it easy to relate to his sentiments. The Responsorial Psalm, however, is like an antidote to the howls of loss that Job exclaims. It speaks of healing for broken hearts and minds; of wounds being bound and tended by our loving God, whose wisdom extends across a universe that he knows and loves intimately. In the Second Reading, St. Paul writes of how his own experience of Christ and the Gospel message impels him to share the Good News with others. He feels that he is like a slave to the Gospel and is happy to accept this role. Today’s Gospel from St Mark portrays the early days of Jesus’s healing ministry in Galilee. After praying with the community in the synagogue, Jesus responds with compassion to all the sick and suffering people who are brought to him. He begins his days though in prayerful solitude and is drawn by a desire to bring his Good News to as many people as possible.

As we approach a new week ahead with all that we carry in our own hearts and in our lives at this time, let look outwards too away from self towards the needs of others around us. Those who may be struggling with hidden pain and hurt, those who are bereaved, those who may carry heavy worries and anxieties. Let us respond to all their needs with love, gentleness, and real compassion. And let us at Mass this weekend ask God for the grace of the gift of His wisdom, compassion, and mercy, that we may see with His eyes and respond with His love to the suffering of those around us. As we centre daily our lives in prayer and become ever more determined like St Paul to bring the Good News of Christ to all whom we encounter in our broken and hurting world.

Lent 2024: Lent begins this year on Ash Wednesday 14th February. 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. They begin from Tuesday 20thFebruary.

Walk with Me – Lent 2024 Prayer Booklets are available again this year on the table as you come into church and on the ledge just inside the double doors. 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. Please do consider buying a copy at just £1, for yourselves and maybe too buying some extra copies to share with your families and your friend’s.

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, minister of Holy communion and to the other members of the congregation refrain from receiving Holy Communion from the chalice whilst you are sick and receive only the Precious Body of Christ, 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. 

Intinction at Holy Communion and receiving Holy Communion: when we resume offering Holy Communion under both kinds, we shall not be offering Communion by Intinction I have had a couple of parishioners ask me about Intinction. I thought it might be helpful therefore to highlight for you the directives from the Liturgical Commission for the Dioceses of England and Wales regarding Intinction and why it is not possible for Intinction to be offered when Holy Communion is given in both kinds at Mass in our parish. I also highlight the directives on receiving Holy Communion from the chalice and our local practice on the reception of the Host at Holy Communion.

Local Practice on Ministering the Host

The communicant genuflects or bows as they move from their place in church processing reverently down the central aisle of the church towards the altar. After receiving the host from the priest or the minister of Holy Communion either on the togue or in the hand (personal choice) the communicant if they so desire may receive from the chalice. Those not wishing to do so pass before the altar either going left or right to return to their place in church. Those wishing to receive in both kinds move reverently to the left or the right of the altar to receive from the chalice from the minister of Holy Communion positioned on the bottom step of the sanctuary at either the far lefthand or righthand side of the altar. 

Ministering the Precious Blood

The minister standing before the communicant raises the chalice just a little and shows it to the communicant saying: The Blood of Christ. The communicant answers: Amen. The minister hands the chalice to the communicant who then drinks from it and returns the chalice to the minister of Holy Communion who then wipes the rim of the chalice with the purificator. 

Intinction at Holy Communion

Ministering Holy Communion by intinction is not recommended within the Dioceses of England and Wales.

  • However, should communion be distributed by Intinction under exceptional circumstances the minister or priest should be accompanied by a server holding a communion plate and another minister holding the chalice. The priest or the minister of Holy Communion takes a host, dips it themselves partly into the chalice and showing it to the communicant says: The Body of Christthe communicant responds: Amen. He or she receive the Sacrament on the tongue from the priest or the minister of Holy Communion and then withdraw back to their place in church.
  • When intinction is offered, all members of the congregation should be invited to receive Holy Communion under this form. However individual communicants can choose to receive the Host alone.
  • Holy Communion by intinction can only be administered by a priest or minister of Holy Communion and may not be self-administered by the communicant.  

Taken from The Directives Regarding Intinction and Ministering the Precious Body and Blood at Holy Communion.  Liturgical Commission for the Dioceses of England and Wales

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.

With my prayers for you and for your families over the week ahead,

Your Parish Priest and friend,

Fr Jonathan


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