Note from Fr Joe
A couple of changes to the timetable:
MASS BOOKING SYSTEM
A few parishioners have indicated they are having difficulty on Mondays when trying to book online for the following Sunday Masses. I think the issue may be the sheer volume of parishioners from this and many other parishes who are trying to book via the system at the same time. To free this up, we have decided to hold off our church bookings until the Tuesday morning at 9am. This means that starting this week, you will not be able to book online for St John’s until the Tuesday morning. Please pass this on to others you know who use the booking system on line. Hopefully this will alleviate any frustration caused on Mondays.
THURSDAY MORNING MASSES
As you know, we haven’t been having Mass on Thursdays since the re-opening of the church. The reason for this is our excellent team of cleaners spend quite a long time on Thursday mornings deep cleaning the church for us. However, may parishioners--including the cleaners-- have requested we resume the Thursday morning Mass which we are happy to do. So beginning this week, there will also be Mass on Thursday mornings at 10am. Because the cleaners won’t then be starting the deep clean until after the Mass, it means they will be giving most of their Thursday to working in the church. May I take the opportunity on behalf of the whole parish to thank the cleaners as well as all the stewards and everyone else who is working so generously to enable us to have the church open for Masses and services. Without this small army of volunteers, our church would have to remain closed. Please consider joining the cleaning group or becoming a steward—the more, the better!! The only condition is that you have no major underlying health problems which would make you more susceptible to the Coronavirus eg if you have been shielding, etc.
If interested, have a word with Fr Joe or Fr Jonathan.
CHURCH OPENING TIMES
Please note the church will be open ONLY during the publicised timetabled slots. There have been a few requests to leave the church open longer but sadly we cannot do so. Remember, to be open we have to have stewards on duty and proper sanitising of those entering as well as the building. It is not possible to simply leave the doors open as in the past for anyone to pay a visit whenever they like. Please God, those days will return soon but in the meantime, we have to be very careful to maintain the highest standards of hygiene and keep all those visiting the church as safe as possible.
So our parish church is open every weekday for morning Mass at 10am and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays there will be Exposition and Private Prayer from 10:30am until 1pm.
On Sundays it is the normal timetable for Masses, including Saturday Vigil.
ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD
This Saturday Bishop John will ordain Deacon Ryan Black to the Priesthood in St Mirin’s Cathedral. Please keep Deacon Ryan in your prayers. There are MANY restrictions just now, including a maximum of only 50 allowed to attend the ordination, but it is a sure sign of God’s blessing that we have a new Priest being ordained to serve in our diocese.
Please remember in your prayers this week all those involved in our schools as they return for the first time since March.
Also please pray for those who are in need or are sick or dying.
We also remember Claire Quinn and Flora Cummins, who died recently
And the anniversaries of Alex Lafferty, Margaret McGoldrick, Rita Marie Dunne, John McShane, Anna McCready, Lawrence McGowan, and George Howell
May the Lord hear and answer all our prayers, according to his will for us. Lord, hear us.
Reflection on this weekend’s Scripture Readings
Dear brothers and sisters,
There are moments all throughout sacred scripture, in both the Old Testament and the New, that could rightly be described as ‘cinematic’; epic scenes which many of us first encountered as children, and have remained in our memories ever since. This weekend’s Gospel taken from St. Matthew, in which, Jesus walks on water to save His friends, invites Peter to do the same, prevents him from drowning, and calms the sea, is no exception. Indeed, this scene is a blockbuster!
After sending His disciples across the water to prepare the ‘other side’ for His arrival, Jesus, from a hilltop where he was at prayer with his Father, could see that the powerful elements of this world, strong winds, and crashing waves, were overcoming his dearest friends and that they were in danger of not reaching the place where He sent them. The Lord immediately rushed to their aid without delay; He never fails his friends.
As He approached their creaking ship, they began to scream fearing the presence drawing closer was a ghost; but ‘at once’, the Gospel tells us, Jesus called out to them in reply “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.” At the sound of His voice they recognised Him, and were instantly at peace; ‘I know my own, and my own know me’ we read elsewhere in the Gospel.
These consoling words “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid”, are spoken now to you, for you, by that selfsame Lord who once calmed the storm for His dearest friends. Our Lord recognizes that in our lives we have our moments of weakness, fatigue, and difficulty, those ‘strong winds, and waves’, in which, it seems as though we are in danger of sinking, and not reaching the ‘other side’, but as it was then, so it is now, the Lord comes to our aid, through the power of His Sacraments, the abiding gift of His Presence, providing us with every grace and heavenly blessing we need to reach definitive ‘other side’ that is Heaven our true home.
Let us take courage, as He offers it to us, that Christ the Lord never forgets nor abandons his dearest friends, even though at times the winds are against us, His divine help will never be lacking. He will not pass us by, but rather draw all the closer, and speak those words of consolation, strength, and peace, “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.”