Christ the King – 22.11.2020
Fr David’s Message for the Week
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the Universal King and the end of the current church year. The Feast was designed to draw our attention to the fact of our belief that Jesus, the Christ, is TheLord. He is Lord, not only of my life, but of the Church and, indeed, the whole Universe, for he has redeemed the whole of creation. So, the Feast looks forward to a time yet to come in which everything will be brought to fruition and completion whilst recognising the “signs of the times” and seeing God’s hand at work in the here and now. Thus, the Feast is full of Christian hope which in Christian terms is more akin to confident patience than a sort of resigned stoicism that “something must be done” and that “somebody” must see to it. Hope is therefore a virtuous aspect of faith which is a neat combination of content and desire. “Our” faith is as contained and expressed in the Creeds – the Symbols of our belief and so this determines the “what” we patiently await. But another aspect of faith is both personal and corporate. It is the confident belief in the promises of Christ who will come again at the end of time, who will raise the dead in a great resurrection, who will govern creation in truth and justice, and renew all things. Occasionally my confidence will be dented which is when we must remember that we are part of the Body of Christ – the Church – and when we find it impossible to believe, then the Church can supply it on our behalf. When we find it difficult to pray then the Church will say our prayers for us until confidence is restored. When we find hope slipping away, or dashed, then the Church, in the form of her timeless liturgy and sacraments, her tradition (what has been handed on), and her obedience to her Lord Jesus may carry us along and restore us to confidence.
However, what our faith must surely do for us, and do better and better over time, is shape us to become a certain sort of person, and, corporately, a certain sort of organisation. What I mean is this: to be called “Christian” is to say much, much, more than that I attend mass each week, or that I disapprove of certain types of behaviour (usually in others!). To be called “Christian” is to be a person who bears a likeness to He whom we are named after – Christ. In other words to be Christian is to be Christlike and to be Christlike is to reflect Godlike characteristics in our actions, words, and thoughts. The Gospel for Christ the King demonstrates what is expected of us – but without any self-conscious deliberation about “whether I am acting, or thinking in a Christlike way”. To those on his right the Lord says that when they did for others they truly did it to Him and likewise to those on his left, destined for damnation, the Lord pointed out that in so far as they failed to do it to and for others, then they failed to do it to Him. The question from both parties “When did we see you…..” reveals what is required of each of us. That is to see Christ in all things and in all people and to “do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.” When this happens unselfconsciously and generously then we are close to Christ.
With my love and encouragement in your pilgrimage of faith and love. Fr David
I would like you, in so far as is possible, to start thinking about Christmas and, more specifically, about how we can celebrate it as fully as possible under the current circumstances.
Christmas Day falls on a Friday this year and this means that it is very close to the following Sunday which may be a help to us as you might choose to celebrate Christmas on the nearest Sunday if you cannot find room in the Inn of the Church on Christmas Day itself.
We have to remember two important things: One, we usually have a large number of attendees who are not regular throughout the year and that: Two, we will still have some form of restricted capacity within each Church. So, we have the issue that some people will just turn up and expect to attend Christmas Mass. How do we deal with this situation whilst making them welcome (a form of outreach and evangelisation) and caring for the legitimate desires of our regulars to attend Christmas Mass?
The first thing to say is that I do not wish this to mean that you stay away from mass if you would really love to attend at this special time of year. But we also have to offer a welcome to those whose practice of the faith is more seasonal, shall we say.
This means that you must help us to plan ahead! A small number of people from t he Mission Team have been working on a short questionnaire designed to help us help you. I would be very grateful if you could suck the end of a pencil for a while, talk to your families and make a plan and then stick to it as far as possible. That way we should be able to maximise the use of our church space for the maximum number of people. All masses from JCROM will be Livestreamed – just so you know.
Briefly, I plan to celebrate mass at the following times: (STM – St Thomas More, JCROM – Jesus Christ Redeemer of Mankind)
- Christmas Eve – 6pm at JCROM for children and families – can we find a way of ensuring this?
- Christmas Eve – 9pm – “Midnight Mass” at JCROM
- Christmas Day 9am – STM
- Christmas Day 11am – JCROM
- 26th – Saint Stephen, the First Martyr – 10am – JCROM
- 26th – Vigil of Holy Family – 5pm JCROM
- 27th – Holy Family – 9am STM
- 27th – Holy Family – 11am JCROM
- 28th – I will be doing a great deal of lying down!
If you wish to make your confession, please email me or call me to arrange a convenient time. We can do it while walking around the garden. Or sitting – suitably distanced within the church, perhaps.
I will be saying the Divine Office every day. You can join me spiritually if you like by using Universalis which is available for Mac and PC and for Android or Apple phones. I will say evening prayer at 6pm and Morning prayer at 9.45am.
If you become ill and would like to see a priest (me!) please don’t hesitate to ask and I will visit observing the precautions required to keep us both safe. However, if you are COVID +ve, or are exhibiting symptoms, please follow the NHS guidelines, but keep me informed. Also, if you are a carer or a partner of someone who goes into hospital, or falls gravely ill, please do call me to tell me. The very least I can do is add you to my daily intercession list – and I may be able to visit too. Jane Harding is available too – for telephone support but only a couple of hours a week. Tracy will be working one morning a week from home. Otherwise all staff are furloughed for the time being.
Please take a special note of the following information for “lockdown liturgy”.
- Daily Mass – Tuesday – Friday will be at 10am each day.
- Saturday Vigil Mass will be at 5pm
- Sunday Mass will be at 10am.
So, basically, two times to remember 10am and 5pm.
- Every mass will be livestreamed – see the link above.
- At Cranleigh there will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 5 – 6pm on Wednesday.All are welcome. This will be livestreamed too for those who are shielding or cannot leave the house without difficulty.
In addition, our churches will be open for private prayer at the following times:
- 10 – 2pm Monday to SaturdaySt Thomas More
- 30am – 6pm every dayJesus Christ Redeemer of Mankind
The doors of the church may well be closed but unlocked – so if it doesn’t immediately open try turning the handle more! There will be no stewards to sign you in or direct you to where to sit and what to do.
Therefore, we are asking you to be scrupulous in observing the following guidelines:
- On entry – sanitize your hands carefully.
- Take an A4 sheet which says “Seat Used” – and find a bench to sit at.Sit on the A4 sheet. When you leave, leave the sheet where you have been seated so that the cleaners can sanitize the seat and so that another person can avoid sitting there who may come after you.
- Avoid touching anything including statuary, pictures, and other benches.
- If you wish to light a candle, please light it from the candle that will be left burning taking care not to extinguish it by dropping your candle into it.Be vigilant with candles and do not light one immediately after sanitizing your hands.
- Leave by the approved route sanitizing your hands once again.
If you wish to leave a card for prayers or a mass intention, please prepare beforehand and bring the card with you.
Alton Day of Renewal (ADoRE)
Saturday 28 November 10.00-12.45 mini conference for spiritual renewal with Mass, Adoration, praise, prophecy, and an inspiring talk “Do whatever He tells you” from Catholic evangelist Ros Powell.
Please register in advance for Zoom by following this link: bit.ly/ADORENOV20
For more information go to the ADoRE website www.altonrenewal.com
Traidcraft Christmas Cards
We are offering to order Christmas cards from Traidcraft. As we are not able to meet people at mass due to the restrictions, we are including a weblink: https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/christmas so that people can choose their cards. We will need to know the name of the card you have chosen (underneath each illustration), the number of packs you need, and your name and telephone number. Please then email us your order to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tina on 07957 160393.
We will take orders between now and the evening of Tuesday 25thNovember (just the weekend to decide!) and we hope then to have the cards by the weekend. We plan to drive to St Thomas Moore car park for an hour on the Sunday 29th, so that people can come and collect their cards. For anyone who is shielding we may be able to purchase stamps. We will collect the money for the orders when you pick up your cards, and please could it be by cheque or cash.
Tickets are now on sale: https://www.wintershall.org.uk/nativity-winter-walk Experience the real Christmas story, as you walk through the beautiful grounds of the Wintershall Estate. Join Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem, meet the Shepherds watching their sheep, spot the Angel as you climb the hill and help the Wise Men find the star. This is a truly unique and magical experience for families.
With pre-booked timeslots, and following Covid 19 guidelines, immerse yourselves in the Nativity, while staying safe. The walk should take 1 ½ hours for a mile long walk through fields and woods across the hills at Wintershall. There is free parking and hot drinks and refreshments will be available. Tickets are £35 per family group of up to 6 people