FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD Friday 6th August, Mass at 12noon. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a high mountain, apart from the other apostles and disciples.There, Jesus is transfigured (changed in form and appearance) and appears in dazzling white clothes. Elijah, the great prophet, and Moses, through whom the Israelites were given the law, appear with Jesus. A cloud appears, overshadowing them, and a voice states, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Jesus charges the three to not share with anyone what they had seen “except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.” They keep their experience to themselves, pondering what Jesus meant by rising from the dead. How are we to understand the Transfiguration? The story of the Transfiguration is also proclaimed on the second Sunday of Lent—a key part of Jesus’ journey towards the Cross. The Catechism of the Catholic Church draws parallels between Jesus’ Baptism and the Transfiguration. Jesus is baptised at the start of his public ministry. His baptism proclaims the mystery of our first regeneration—we die and rise again with Christ. The “Transfiguration ‘is the sacrament of the second regeneration’: our own Resurrection (St Thomas Aquinas). From now on we share in the Lord’s Resurrection through the Spirit who acts in the sacraments of the Body of Christ.
The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ’s glorious coming, when he ‘will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body (Phil 3:21)’” (CCC no. 556). During the Prayer after Communion, we pray that God might “transform us into the likeness of your [his] Son, / whose radiant splendour you willed to make manifest / in his glorious Transfiguration.” The Collect, tells us that the mystery of the Transfiguration “prefigures our full adoption to sonship.” The Transfiguration, initially revealed to Peter, James, and John, reveals to all of us a taste of what is yet to come.
SS MARY, MARTHA & LAZARUS Pope Francis has added the memorial of Ss Mary, Martha, and Lazarus to the General Roman Calendar, giving the siblings the combined feast day of 29th July. They were added to demonstrate “the important evangelical witness they offered in welcoming the Lord Jesus into their home, in listening to him attentively, in believing that he is the resurrection and the life.” Ss Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were three siblings living in the town of Bethany outside of Jerusalem during the time of Christ.
BOOKING FOR MASS PAUSED We are thankfully seeing a gradual return to Mass now that so many have been vaccinated. For the next few weeks, we are pausing the requirement to book for Mass via Eventbrite as we do not expect numbers to exceed capacity over the holiday period.
FIND OUT ABOUT THE CATHOLIC FAITH Are you interested to know more about the Catholic Faith? Do you wish to be baptized? Do you want to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church? Do you know anyone who would like to know how to become a Catholic? If so, Journey in Faith or RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) might be just the thing. During these sessions we explore different aspects of the Catholic faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church. We listen to God’s word in Scripture, and we pray together. For more information, please contact Fr Michael with a view to starting a journey in the autumn.
STEP 4 GUIDANCE FOR COMMUNAL WORSHIP DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC The Government rules are changing on the 19th July and our Bishops have issued guidelines for Mass. In view of the rising numbers of Covid cases and the number of clinically extremely vulnerable people at Mass in a relatively small space, we will continue to proceed with care. Our Bishops still recommend that face coverings be worn at Mass, that we also adhere to safe social distance regulations and that Communion is still given in one kind only. Sanitising of hands is to continue (available at the entrance of the church) It is also recommended that singing should be phased in gently as part of worship over the summer period and that face coverings should be worn by members of the congregation whilst singing together, until infection levels reduce. We will continue to use recorded music and gradually reintroduce the most important parts of the sung liturgy, the Gloria, Gospel Acclamation, Holy, holy, Lamb of God and the Great Amen. Hymns will be introduced later on when the risk from aerosol or droplet spread is lessened in a small space. Stewarding will be a little less rigorous as we move forward but will continue at Sunday masses. We thank all our stewards, cleaners, servers, sacristans and music organisers who have kept us safe over the past eighteen months…may the good work continue. Full details of the Bishops Conference Guidelines are available at https://cliftondiocese.com/news/step-4-guidance-for-communal-worship-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/
FR MICHAEL celebrates his 25th Jubilee of Ordination to the priesthood on Monday 12th July. He was ordained by Bishop Mervyn in Downside Abbey in 1996, after serving in the Anglican ministry for 13 years…38 years of ministry. He was ordained alongside Fr Philip Thomas and Fr Ian McCarthy.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION 2021 Due to the pandemic our first Holy Communion programme did not really get off the ground last year. We are hoping to begin preparation again in school in September with a view to celebrating First Communions on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe on Sunday 21st November. These preparation sessions will be for children who briefly started the course last year and for other children in Yr 3 or above in Primary School. Preparing to receive Reconciliation (Confession) and the Eucharist for the first time can be one of the most memorable experiences parents share with their children. Beforehand it is important that the family attend Mass regularly so that the child understands more fully what the Eucharist is about. If you would like you child to resume/begin preparation for the sacraments, we look forward to seeing you at Mass each week. Please email Fr Michael with the names of any children wishing to (re) commence the programme. We look forward to seeing you soon.
URGENT – ASK YOUR MP TO VOTE AGAINST ABORTION UP TO BIRTH – The abortion lobby, led by the UK’s largest abortion provider, BPAS, has worked with Diana Johnson MP to bring forward an amendment to hijack the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth to England and Wales. This would be the single biggest change to abortion legislation since 1967 and would leave England and Wales with one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world. We are expecting that this radical proposal will be voted on by MPs this Monday. Right To Life UK has launched an easy-to-use tool that makes it simple for you to send an email to your MP asking them to vote against the motion. Please click the link below to contact your MP now. It only takes 30 seconds! www.righttolife.org.uk/StopAbortionUpToBirth
SOLEMNITY OF SS PETER & PAUL On Tuesday June 29 the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Ss Peter & Paul. As early as the year 258, there is evidence of an already lengthy tradition of celebrating the solemnities of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul on the same day. Together, the two saints are the founders of the See of Rome, through their preaching, ministry and martyrdom there. Peter, who was named Simon, was a fisherman of Galilee and was introduced to the Lord Jesus by his brother Andrew, also a fisherman. Jesus gave him the name Cephas (Petrus in Latin), which means ‘Rock,’ because he was to become the rock upon which Christ would build His Church. Peter was a bold follower of the Lord. He was the first to recognise that Jesus was “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” and eagerly pledged his fidelity until death. In his boldness, he also made many mistakes, however, such as losing faith when walking on water with Christ and betraying the Lord on the night of his passion. Yet despite his human weaknesses, Peter was chosen to shepherd God’s flock. The Acts of the Apostles illustrates his role as head of the Church after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. Peter led the Apostles as the first Pope and ensured that the disciples kept the true faith. St Peter spent his last years in Rome, leading the Church through persecution and eventually being martyred in the year 64. He was crucified upside-down at his own request, because he claimed he was not worthy to die as his Lord. He was buried on Vatican hill, and StPeter’s Basilica is built over his tomb.
St Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles. His letters are included in the writings of the New Testament, and through them we learn much about his life and the faith of the early Church. Before receiving the name Paul, he was Saul, a Jewish pharisee who zealously persecuted Christians in Jerusalem. Scripture records that Saul was present at the martyrdom of St Stephen. Saul’s conversion took place as he was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christian community there. As he was traveling along the road, he was suddenly surrounded by a great light from heaven. He was blinded and fell off his horse. He then heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He answered: “Who are you, Lord?” Christ said: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Saul continued to Damascus, where he was baptised and his sight was restored. He took the name Paul and spent the remainder of his life preaching the Gospel tirelessly to the Gentiles of the Mediterranean world. Paul was imprisoned and taken to Rome, where he was beheaded in the year 67. He is buried in Rome in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls. In a sermon in the year 395, St Augustine of Hippo said of Ss Peter and Paul: “Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so, we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles’ blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labours, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.” Mass for the Solemnity will be celebrated at12 noon. Ss Peter and Paul pray for us.
THURSDAY EVENINGS WITH BISHOP BARON We restart our catechetical film evenings featuring Bishop Robert Baron this Thursday 24th June, starting at 7.30am in the hall. Please arrive in time to start the film at 7.30pm 0r earlier and enjoy a glass or cup of something! Episode: The Indispensable Men: Peter, Paul, and the Missionary Adventure. It doesn’t matter if you missed earlier episodes, and you’re not committing yourself to the remaining six either, as each episode stands on its own. Do come along and enjoy an evening together! As numbers are limited due to necessary social distancing, please book via Eventbrite. Thank you.