FEBRUARY IS THE MONTH OF THE HOLY FAMILY
The First Week of Lent
‘Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil’ (Mtt 4:1)
In our Lent appeal, we are supporting CAFOD who help us help people who either have little of the material wealth we have or have had it all taken from them. Millions of people in the world today have been forced into the wilderness, their familiar world of the homes, towns, workplaces and the people they know and love, destroyed or killed by war and natural disaster. In this Lent, we are called to make small sacrifices to help them and pray for them.
Jesus entered the wilderness too, leaving all that was homely and familiar behind him, and He faced temptation. The biggest temptation we all face when we lose people, possessions, places, health and activities we love, is to despair, to think God has gone too, and that we have nowhere to turn. But we must not despair, it is a sign we have put those people, places, possessions, places, health and activities into the place in our lives where God should be. It is when all that is familiar is stripped away that we enter the wilderness with Our Lord and we too are tested: do we turn to God, or not? And if we don’t turn to God when we’ve lost what is most important to us, who or what do we turn to? What’s the point of it all?
Nowadays in the world, many faithful Catholics also face losing access to the worship of God that brings them joy and gladness, but Jesus said ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for my sake’. Through the centuries in our islands, when Catholics have faced penal restrictions, the faithful have not given up, but worshipped God on hillsides with rocks for altars, in barns, private homes or prison cells. Faithful catholics do not turn away from God because they are forbidden to worship him in freedom and in truth. That is why we are here today and in this parish and have St Thomas More as our patron.
In the end, when we come to the day of trial, there is either no point to life at all, or we can turn to Jesus, crucified and forsaken, who had been tempted in the wilderness to make him stronger for the trial to come, and ask Him to remember me in his kingdom. This was the choice of St Thomas More. May he pray for us.
CAFOD FAMILY FAST DAY LENT APPEAL.
This Lent, CAFOD is supporting families with the skills and tools they’ve asked for to fight the climate crisis. In Bangladesh, 14-year-old Dristy and her mum Rupali are building seed beds and planting palm trees to protect their crops from flooding and cyclones. Give today to help families grow in strength to adapt to the climate crisis. This Sunday, there will be a talk at Sunday masses and the following Sunday there will be a collection in church using the envelopes provided or you can give online at cafod.org.uk/lent.
Also this Lent, please support our elderly, retired priests by supporting the:
Clergy Support Fund Second Collection 2023
The Clergy Support Fund enables the Archdiocese of Southwark to care for clergy in their retirement, old age, and at their time of ill health, after their lifetime of service and devotion to Christ, His Church and His People. Your donations ensure a dignified retirement for all of our priests.
With the help of generous people like you, the Clergy Support Fund cares for over 100 elderly or unwell priests each year. Over the next ten years, the Archdiocese expects a further 120 priests to retire from active ministry. With the average age of our priests rising, combined with the high cost of care homes, the financial cost of caring for our clergy in their retirement is rising year on year.
Wherever possible, the Archdiocese works with the NHS, social services and the local council to ensure funding gaps are met, but the Archdiocese of Southwark must actively raise funds to meet the gap in funding costs.
Please return your envelopes this weekend or make a donation to the second collection. You can also donate on- line at: https://rcaos.org.uk/donate/csf
WALK WITH ME.
Pick up your ‘Walk with Me’. Daily Reflections through Lent. £1.00 donation asked.
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.
STATION OF THE CROSS.
We will be doing the traditional Stations of the Cross of St Alphonsus Liguori every Friday in Lent, starting this Friday, 3rd March 7.30 p.m. concluding on Good Friday at 7.30 p.m. There will also be a Childrens Stations of the Cross on Good Friday at 10.30 a.m.
PARISH YOUTH NOTICES
MASSES AND INTENTIONS FOR THE FIRST WEEK OF LENT
FEBRUARY PRAYER FOR CATHOLIC FAMILIES