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Saturday 22nd April 2023 – 29th April 2023

APRIL IS THE MONTH OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST.

The Third Week of Easter


Dear parishioners,


THE EUCHARIST & ADORATION of the LORD


Last Sunday afternoon, holding the monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament, I turned round for the first time to face the people and give Benediction and seeing how many of you had come to be in the Lord’s presence, thanked God. This hour of Peace with the Lord to adore Him gives witness to our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist in this parish. It fulfils the end for which all human beings are made because Adoration is an ‘acknowledgement to God of his supreme perfection and dominion and of the creatures’ dependence on him’ (Catholic Encyclopaedia).


The adoration of Almighty God is what human beings are created for, and when we adore our Creator, we fully become who we are too: God’s creatures and through baptism, his children. Before the Real Presence of Jesus, we become truly and fully present to ourselves and God.


As God’s creatures, Eucharistic adoration is the ONLY way we can see God, for in the substance of bread, the body of Christ is made present to us. Adoration fulfils the human longing to see God, to be in the God’s presence. ‘As a deer yearns for running streams, so I yearn for you, my God. I thirst for God, the living God: when shall I go to see the face of God’ the psalmist sings in psalm 42 and Eucharistic adoration is the closest we can get to fulfilling that longing in our short lives. It is a fulfilment of longing that the Hebrew psalmist never knew himself, having lived before Christ and his gift of the Eucharist to The Church. Eucharistic Adoration is therefore a unique privileged invitation given to Catholics: to be in the Presence of God in this life.


What can give greater witness to our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist than Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? No-one is going to spend an hour staring at a piece of bread or wafer. Who would do that? But you would spend an hour in the presence of Christ, like the crowds who followed him: ‘And he came into the territory of Judea on the far side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him and he healed them there’ (Mt 19,2)


Some say that the decline in reverential practices has contributed largely to the often reported diminishing of belief the Real Presence among Catholics. This is not only because of a more casual and easy way of saying Mass often seen now, but also the manner of receiving Holy Communion and the loss of frequent exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. How we pray becomes what we believe and failing to give reverence and adoration may give the outward impression to our children that nothing great is happening, and perhaps in the end, unaware, we come to believe the same ourselves. If you treat someone with disrespect, even though you say you do respect them, disrespect is what you have shown and soon you will probably actually disrespect them. Our actions, or lack of them, can therefore have consequences on what we think and believe. Our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist may well be strengthened or weakened by the degree of reverence shown in our actions.


I once worked in a school where sadly, not one of the young catholic teachers knew what Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction was or had ever been to such a service. Consequently, it was considered too difficult and alien for the children to ‘understand’ and so adoration did not happen at this catholic school. And yet not so long before, let us say sixty years ago, most catholic school children and teachers would have known what Benediction was. Of course, it continues ‘alien’ if never experienced, and besides, ‘understanding’ is not what Eucharistic Adoration is about at all. Having not experienced it, the school did not understand that it is ‘faith, our outward senses befriending, which make the inward vision clear’ - and not an un-achievable comprehension of God.


We need Eucharistic Adoration in our catholic schools in order to train our children to empty the mind of fear and worry about the world and in God’s Presence, let his healing Spirit into troubled minds. Buddhist derived ‘Mindfulness’, popular now in many catholic schools, cannot do this, even if it can provide some psychological and behavioural benefits.


At St Thomas More Catholic Primary, every term finishes with the whole school in Eucharistic Adoration, giving thanks and receiving the Lord’s Benediction. We do not try to explain it for understanding. We just adore the Lord and so we bear witness to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist at our school. This, in many ways, is worth more than a whole term of RE Lessons, however ‘outstanding’ they may be. In RE we learn facts. At Eucharistic Adoration, we enter the mystery of Christ and ultimately, not even the greatest theology library in the world can fully contain that. The Eucharist however does. You do not have to understand it, you just have to be you in God’s presence. That is a very, very important lesson to our children: it is surely more life giving to adore God than know facts about their religion, however important they are, because adoring God is their highest calling as God’s little creatures and that is open to all - no eleven plus required.


What about the parish? If a parish has Eucharistic Adoration, parishioners will see that something is going on here. Why else would people bother to sit in silence together for an hour staring at the monstrance on the altar? Adoration teaches us that Christ is present in the Eucharist and to give the Lord greater reverence. Anyone can come and be in Christ’s presence in Adoration, but not everyone should be taking communion all the time even if it seems as if everyone does. To take Holy Communion after long absence without confession is to treat God’s presence as if we do not believe it. If we believe in the Real Presence, we will not do so. Missing Mass, means we have put other things before God who is present in the Mass and so we go to confession before receiving Holy Communion again. Most would agree that if your mother had asked you to Sunday lunch and prepared it but you did not turn up without an apology, you would certainly apologise later. That is the loving respect we would show our mothers, and God our Father, who has given us his only son who is present in the Heavenly banquet of the Eucharist, deserves no less in the confession of our sins. Adoration, teaches us this. It is God we adore at Eucharistic Adoration and it is God we have forgotten about when we miss Mass for no reason except our pleasure or convenience.*


Of course, if you don’t believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist, then Adoration is a complete waste of time, and you would not bother to confess your sins before receiving him in Holy Communion either. But only by adoring Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist can we fully and really actively participate in the Mass. True ‘active participation’ is not about as many people being as busy as possible in worship but about being fully present ourselves in the Presence of the Lord. It is the reverence we give to the Lord from body, mind and heart that is the greatest sign of our participation in the Mass before God.


In Eucharistic Adoration, such reverence is all we can do. It is what we are meant to be doing. Adoration teaches us the true and deep meaning of ‘active participation’, which we can also bring as our attitude to mass. This will lead to a more God oriented liturgy in which we focus not on what we want, or what entertains us, but on the Holy Immortal One. At the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it is not our words but the Church’s liturgy we offer, priest and people, directed as one, the same way, oriented to the Lord; just as at Adoration and Benediction we can do no other because that is simply what it is.



More opportunities will be available in the parish for Eucharistic Adoration at various times, including First Fridays. Come and adore Him.

*Housebound and work in essential services are obviously not included in this Sunday obligation.


God bless,

Fr Jonathon


 

UPCOMING EVENTS

SPUC – The SOCIETY for the PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN: COFFEE MORNING AT ST THOMAS MORE CHURCH


The Bexley Branch of the SPUC are holding a Tiny Feet coffee morning after the 9.00 o’clock mass on Sunday 30th of April in the Church Hall. Prayer cards for the 10 million prayers' campaign will be available as well as tiny feet lapel pins and loads of lovely cake.

If you have any questions, please contact Rob Hills at hillsrobert03@gmail.com

See you there!'

Thank you for your support

 

PARISH PILGRIMAGE TO LOURDES in October.

Please contact the parish office if you are interested in joining us.

 

SOUTHWARK DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGE TO LOURDES

18th-25th August 2023

Message from Bishop Paul:

‘After the restrictions of the past few years, I’m delighted that we are now once more able to include support for pilgrims who need assistance for medical or mobility reasons. In Lourdes, those who are often marginalised are placed at the centre, and we who travel with them are blessed by their presence. I warmly invite you to join us’.

For details, please see

https://www.tangney-tours.com/pilgrimages/lourdes/southwark-ca

 

THURSDAY LUNCH CLUB

Following an Easter break, and Easter Celebratory Reunion with a superb full Roast Pork lunch last Thursday, the next lunch club will be on Thursday 27th April.

Thanks to our great team of cooks and helpers for a wonderful meal.

 

PARISH NOTICES

PARISH YOUTH NOTICES

DEATHS

MASSES AND INTENTIONS FOR THE THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

APRIL PRAYER


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