MARCH IS THE MONTH OF ST. JOSEPH
The Fourth Week of Lent
WORKS PLANNED FOR ST THOMAS MORE CHURCH.
In Eastertide we will be presenting to you the annual state of the parish finances at Sunday Mass. But before Finance Sunday I’d like to give you some idea of the many works that are scheduled to be undertaken in the long and short term. As you will know, many works have been completed in the Hall, the porch, the Lady Chapel, the House, the external walls, the new lighting and electrics in the hall, sanctuary furnishings, major plumbing works in the hall etc, etc but the list of works needed and planned just gets longer and longer. Of course, most works are ‘invisible’. Nobody notices when electrics are replaced or new plumbing installed, all fire extinguishers replaced, external walls rebuilt, or even when we have repainted the walls of the church using the same colour paint, however these all make a great impression on the bank account.
Soon to be undertaken is new lighting for the Lady Chapel. The current lamps cannot be replaced and LED lighting is now needed. The Lady Chapel is a well used part of the church and in particular, good lighting is needed for our choir and organists, especially at evening services and in winter. This will commence shortly.
You will notice that some of the spotlights in the church, in addition to the hanging lamps, no longer work. We will need to replace all the lighting in the church with LEDs as many of the current lights no longer have replacements available. It is not a matter of a ladder and some bulbs, but we will need professionals, with a tower, and many of the fittings need replacing.
We recently had a rare opportunity to acquire some very fine Altar/ Communion Rails* which will be more stable, reverent and dignified than the current prayer kneelers. As requested, the stability will assist those who want to kneel but need extra support to kneel down and get up again. These rails are being adjusted to fit our sanctuary and can be quickly and easily removed at any time to allow flexibility of use in the Church. At the same time they will maintain the contemporary sense of openness to a modern sanctuary while enabling ordered and reverent reception of Holy Communion in the ways permitted by the guidelines of the Bishops of England and Wales (see below for more information). Plans for the Rails are on the Parish notice board in the porch.
Also this year, the heating in the Hall will be replaced, God willing, in time for next winter. Fortunately, we were saved this year by an initiative which fixed the Air Conditioners on heating and removed the remotes, and so they can only go on or off and so they have actually been functioning in some way. Remaining in the Hall, the hot water in the kitchen also needs repairing, in addition to the ceiling in the corridor. New lighting was put in there a year ago, in addition to complete new lighting in the hall.
Below is a list of some of the other works needed. I leave you to draw your own conclusions in readiness for ‘Finance Sunday’.
Works Required to STM Church
Church & Porch
• Main roof: gable area (water ingress)
• Main roof: concrete rainwater guttering (water ingress)
• Windows: replace broken panes
• Window frames: clean & paint to several areas
• Lady chapel: lighting (LED lamps)
• Church: lighting (LED lamps)
• Ornamental plasterwork: repair & paint
• Altar rails
• Pew repairs: hymn book restraints
• Confessional refurbishment & new entrance from church (long term project)
• Porch: new mat well carpet (welcome mat)
• Chair rail to porch walls
• Door & floor refurbishment
• Re-position altar cross
• Altar marble work backplate & candle shelves
• Main roof (future development, long term project)
• Repair to porch threshold
Sacristy & Boiler Room
• Tiling disabled toilet
• Access door to WC (gas valve)
• Re-decoration (total)
• Lighting change to LED
Hall & Kitchen
• Re-decoration to walkway between church & hall
• Re-decoration to vestibule car park side of hall
• Adjustment to hall corridor doors
• Re-staining to car park entrance doors
• Drain clearance every three months due to continued blockages
• Floor cleaning & polishing yearly
• Wall decorations as & when required ( already one re-painting since the refurbishment)
• New heating system
• Toilets general decorations
• Replacement hot water cylinder
• Replacement concrete fence panels & two new bollards
• Repair/re-fix bin store gate & frame
• Replacement of concrete kerbs around drainpipes
• Replacement of hall-side inspection chamber covers
• Re-building of brickwork pier car park entrance
• Upgrade/replacement of porch entrance steps
• Replacement timber fascia/bargeboard over porch doors
When St Thomas More Church was built in the 1950s, there were some fine altar rails around the sanctuary. Altar Rails, also rightly called ‘Communion Rails’ assist a reverent reception of Holy Communion. Traditionally, Catholics visibly show reverence to the Body of Christ by kneeling and receiving on the tongue. This custom demonstrates that Jesus feeds us with his very self and it is not we who feed ourselves with Our Lord and God. At the same time, kneeling physically enacts our belief in the Real Presence and humble reverent adoration of the Lord when we receive Him in Holy Communion. Humbling ourselves is not easy for anyone, but the Lord loves a ‘humble and contrite heart’ and humbling the self before God at Holy Communion, may open our hearts to God in many other ways in our lives.
Receiving Holy Communion the traditional catholic way has always prevented abuses in which people walk away with the Blessed Sacrament in their hands. This nowadays, we have sadly seen on all too many occasions, meaning the priest has to run after the person who has wrongly come forward to receive Holy Communion, thinking it can be taken away: perhaps in ignorance of the true nature of the Sacrament, or even ill intent. This sacrilege is distressing for all believers to observe.
At an Altar Rail, if the Sacrament is received on the hand whether standing or kneeling, the communicant should place The Sacrament in the mouth in front of the priest. This will be assisted by the Rails, because the priest moves along the rail from communicant to communicant and will not move to the next communicant until he sees this.
Pope Paul VI reluctantly allowed communion on the hands, as an exception to the norm of receiving on the tongue, however, this has more and more become the norm, following the custom of our protestant brethren who do not believe in the Real Presence as Catholics do. Now that we Catholics have the choice about how to receive, ‘on the hands’ has probably become so common among us because it is easier and we all naturally incline towards what is easier for us. We do it because it demands less effort of mind or body, not because we intentionally desire less reverence to God - although this has sadly often been the consequence.
It is not insignificant, that in surveys in America, a high percentage of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence. Is this loss of faith partly explained by the manner in which most people now receive Our Blessed Lord? We say that ‘How we pray is what we believe’ and the traditional way of receiving Holy Communion clearly demonstrates our belief that we are receiving the Body of Christ. Altar Rails will assist us in this, although they do not oblige anyone to receive in the traditional Catholic way if they do not want to or perhaps feel shy about expressing this devotion.
In the current mass, the ‘1970 novus ordo’, we are now permitted to receive on the tongue or in the hands. Altar Rails do not change this. Communicants can therefore receive at the Altar Rail:
1. On the tongue while kneeling: the traditional catholic way.
2. In the hands while kneeling: perhaps if you don’t quite feel comfortable yet receiving on the tongue but want to show reverence. I quite understand and have seen some of you do this already.
3. On the tongue while standing: particularly if you find it physically difficult to kneel.
4. In the hands while standing.
I respect your decision in this, hopefully made with the Holy Spirit’s guidance in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament: receiving Holy Communion is the most precious, intimate moment we have with Our Lord and God and must never be treated casually. St Paul tells us it brings God’s condemnation on us when we receive ‘unworthily’ and this dishonours Christ’s body (1Cor 11, 28, 29). Therefore, examining our consciences and making our confession from time to time to a priest, is the most important preparation for Holy Communion regardless of how we choose to receive it. The external manner of reception, although acting as a visible testimony to our belief, should express what is actually inside us because what God sees in us is ultimately what matters.
Although there is that personal choice in the novus ordo, if you ever attend the Traditional Latin Mass, always receive Holy Communion on the tongue and while kneeling if you are able to kneel: this is unchanging for all time.
FRIDAY LENTEN REFLECTIONS.
Join Patricia in the presbytery after mass on Friday mornings in reading the Sunday scriptures and sharing your thoughts with one another with Tea, coffee and even a biscuit.
RECOMMENDED EASTER BOOK for CHILDREN
‘BEHOLDING BEAUTY – AN EASTER MIRACLE’
by Madeleine Carroll, illustrated by Pedro De la Puente .
‘’Where Jeremiah was born the sun glittered silver on a lake full of life. Crashing waves on the rocks in winter storms were always loud, and in spring the air was fresh with shore flowers. Each season brought its own smells, blowing in over the Sea of Galilee. Jeremiah was blind, but, although his world was dark, it was full of sound and love"…..BEHOLDING BEAUTY is an Easter story of joy, healing and beauty, with excerpts from Scripture included at the back of the book.
Many of you have enjoyed previous books by Madeleine. They are beautiful and very fine presents to give your children to mark our Great Feast Days. Madeleine is a catechist with ‘Catechesis of the Good Shepherd’, as well as author and mother. Pedro is a freelance artist and illustrator, with his own YouTube channel ‘Little Lamplighters’. He loves teaching kids how to draw and is passionate about art. You can find out more about his work on www.littlelamplighters.com
If you would like to buy a copy of ‘Beholding Beauty’ or would like to buy one for a child in this parish, please let me know this week. Price £5.00.
WALK WITH ME
Pick up your ‘Walk with Me’. Daily Reflections through Lent. £1.00 donation asked. Some junior versions may still be available, also available is the excellent ‘Day by Day’ for juniors and infants.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS
We are doing the traditional Stations of the Cross of St Alphonsus Liguori every Friday in Lent concluding on Good Friday at 7.30 p.m. There will also be a Children’s Stations of the Cross on Good Friday at 10.30 a.m.
PARISH YOUTH NOTICES
MASSES AND INTENTIONS FOR THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT
MARCH PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH