Third Sunday of Lent – 15th March 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
British people were known, in times past, for the “stiff upper lip” – a euphemism for a kind of stoicism in the face of adversity and challenge that showed a resolute determination to either ‘carry on as normal’ as if nothing was wrong, or to see things through thick and thin until the job was finished. Well, we are in the thick of it right now, for sure, and, according to our PM it’s all going to get a bit thicker yet. Yet, as Christians, who are also British, or in Britain at least, what is our Christian perspective on all of this?
The first thing to note is that this is not a divine punishment of some kind or other. If God is indeed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, then He is also the same God whom Jesus was at pains to reveal to us. He is the God of compassion and mercy who has repeatedly ‘reached out’ (that phrase is beginning to grate on me!) to His people in tenderness and mercy and who ‘so loved the world that He sent us His only Son so that none should perish but all may have eternal life’ (John 3:16 – my translation). God is the God of life, not the God of death and Christianity is a culture of life, not of death. God does not visit pestilence on the earth in order to frighten us back into our senses!
The second thing, I would venture, is to resist the temptation for negative thinking about people and ethnic origins. We have already heard of verbal and physical attacks on people who ‘look’ Chinese in parts of our country. Fear is the enemy of love – and it is an irrational fear that would brand anyone who ‘looks different’ or is ‘from China’ – where it all started – as a threat to my health and wellbeing – or worse, somehow culpable for the ongoing pandemic. Jesus has the perfect antidote to fear – love. Perfect love casts out fear. This means that, whilst we are protecting ourselves from unnecessary opportunities to acquire coronavirus infection, we are also called, as Christians, to love our neighbour as ourself.
Therefore, we are always called to acts (works) of kindness and compassion, even if, under the church’s and the government’s strict guidance that means there is a certain ‘distance’ we need to keep. The very minimum, I suppose, is that we should pray. We can always pray and a good catholic maxim is that our prayers should mainly be for others.
Another element of all this is that we, personally, might get sick, or need to isolate ourselves for the good of others. This is an opportunity, not just to catch up on Netflix box sets, but to recognise (especially if we are sick) that in suffering we share in the sufferings of Christ. Jesus has transformed human suffering by showing us the path through suffering to life. Suffering often cannot be avoided even we all try to do so – so, then, suffering born ‘compassionately’ with the God who knows all our needs and our heart is a suffering that can be transfiguring – often revealing the best in ourselves and in others. It can make us more empathetic, considerate, and thoughtful.
It can also act as a memento mori – a reminder of death. Here, I don’t wish to be morbid but realistic. Only a small minority may die from coronavirus but we all can use the impetus that this provides to think more carefully about livinglife. This really is a reminder that, in our humanity death is, in St Francis of Assisi’s words –
Laudato si, mi Signore, per sora nostra Morte corporale,
da la quale nullo omo vivente po’ scampare.
Guai a quelli che morranno ne le peccata mortali!
beati quelli ke trouarà ne le Tue sanctissime uoluntati,
ka la morte secunda no ‘l farrà male.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
No one, then, can escape bodily death. It will come when and as it will come. Whilst not rushing towards it but understanding it and preparing for it, may well help us live out our mortal life better. It is the great leveller – the fate of the great and small yet in God’s eyes we are all precious, unique and infinitely loveable and we are His – we belong to him and as Jesus says “All that the Father gives me will come to me.”
Thus, this crisis may well prove a useful aid to reflecting on the true meaning and values of life and help us to ‘let go’ of meaningless and trivial things in order to focus on the things that lead to eternal life.
As always, you are all in my prayers.
God Bless you all. Fr David
St Joseph’s Trust have been chosen as a Co-op special cause and the school will share, with 2 other causes, 1% of everything spent by Co-op Members on Co-op goods in the Cranleigh store for 1 year (besides getting 5% for each member themselves) However, if each member chooses a specific cause, 1% all the money spent will go to the cause of their choice.
If you are a Co-op member please consider supporting St Joseph’s school to increase their total. They are aiming for £10,000 towards their new café.
- Get a membership card from the Co-op store
- Use your card number to make an online account https://coop.co.uk/membership
- Go online & choose St Joseph’s
Stations of the Cross at Jesus Christ Redeemer of Mankind
Wednesdays at. 10.00am. (Takes about 30 minutes)
March 18th and 25th April 1st and 8th
Stations of the Cross is a moving way to come closer to Jesus and the paschal Mystery during Lent
Please let Helen Rollo know if you would like to lead any of the mornings. 01483 277395
The Lent Course continues this week. Our Lent Discussion Course this year is being run jointly with the other churches in the Village. We are using a book called ‘This? How Christians Respond to Climate Change’ by Susan Sayers. As last year, you can attend the course on either a Thursday Evening or a Friday afternoon, or interchange.
Pastoral Decree of Bishop Richard
I hereby direct that the following special pastoral measures are to be implemented across the Diocese until further notice.
- The sign of peace is to be suspended at Mass. In order not to create confusion in the minds of the lay faithful, I request that all priests simply omit any reference to the offering of the sign of peace, prior to the Agnus Dei.
- Holy Communion from the chalice shall cease to be offered to the lay faithful. The practice of intinction is not to be introduced as an alternative.
- Those who choose to receive Holy Communion on the tongue should be encouraged to receive on the hand instead. Those who find it especially difficult not to receive on the tongue should be asked to receive Holy Communion after those who receive on the hand. You may judge it helpful to remind people of the value of a Spiritual Communion, mindful that the Sunday Obligation is to join in the celebration of Mass.
- Holy water stoups in churches and chapels are to be emptied.
- Churches and chapels that are open daily for private prayer should continue to remain open. Care should be given to ensuring that surfaces of high contact (e.g. light switches, door handles and areas around the door) are regularly sanitised throughout the day.
- Ministers should wash and also sanitise their hands before and after distributing Holy Communion. Shared towels should not be used in toilet areas or the sacristy.
- Shared hymnbooks and Mass books should cease to be used. Single-use Mass sheets may be used; though these should be disposed of immediately after use.
- All catering in parish halls is to cease. This includes such gatherings as refreshments after Mass and any catering for groups that may be hiring parish halls.
It will be important to provide frequent reminders about thorough hand washing for all who attend Mass and other events in parishes.
These measures will be reviewed in response to the advice of Public Health England and parishes advised accordingly.
Accordingly, the next Coffee Morning and Parish Lunch are cancelled due to the restrictions in place around the Coronavirus epidemic. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
There will be a bereavement Mass held on 28th March at 11am in Cranleigh. Please invite those you think may benefit from this service. Tea and coffee will be provided afterwards.
Guildford Deanery Initial Safeguarding Awareness Training at Jesus the Redeemer of Mankind, Cranleigh, GU6 7AQ, on Tuesday, 21st April 2020 from 7-9 p.m.
- A reminder that this training is for everyone but particularly targeting those who work with or minister to Vulnerable Groups (Children and Adults at Risk. ) It is the expectation of the Bishop, Trustees and Safeguarding Commission that this initial training is undertaken and refreshed every three years. New Volunteers should undertake the Initial Training within the first year of being appointed. A Refresher Training Programme is now being rolled out. People are welcome to attend initial and refresher sessions in other Deaneries if this is more convenient.
- We would be grateful to have names/numbers by Wednesday, 15th April for refreshment and hand out purposes.
- For those unable to attend this or an adjoining Deanery session and wish to undertake online training, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with name, parish and role, they will then be registered with EduCare, the National online Training Provider. The sections of the modules can be dipped in and out of so can be done when convenient, which is helpful. There is also Certificate provision on successful completion.
Notice of Intention to Marry: For anyone considering marriage please be aware that our Diocese requires that you contact the parish in which you wish to be married 12 months beforehand, in order to begin the appropriate preparation and complete the required paperwork.
Occasional Accountant needed – St John’s Seminary at Wonersh is looking for an accountant – possibly one day a month or 3 days a quarter – to consolidate the income/expenditure figures of its Bookkeeper/Finance Officer in line with the annual budget. (The Seminary Financial year runs from August to July, and the accounts are audited externally in September). Remuneration negotiable. For further details contact Mgr Gerry Ewing at email@example.com
Flame 2021 at Wembley Arena. Tickets are on sale now, please buy them direct from Lizzie Wakeling, our Diocesan Youth Advisor who has purchased tickets for all Diocesan groups to sit together. Big Church Day Out – Youth Stream.The Diocese is taking a group of young people to this event, if you want to know more about how to bring your youth/confirmation group, come to our information evening on 25th March at 7pm in Crawley. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org about both of these events.
|Financial Information February 2020|
|Offertory||Month of February||So Far this Year|
|Association for Racial Justice||£211|
|Diocesan Lourdes Fund||£349|
Day of Reconciliation on Saturday the 4th April in Cranleigh
We shall begin with a Mass of Reconciliation at 10am in the morning at Cranleigh and then there will be several (many) opportunities during the day to come and make your confession, or to come for a spiritual chat. It will be with me, but I hope that by now you understand that I am, like you, a sinner. I do not judge you but am there for you to unburden yourself to the Lord and speak on His behalf the words of compassion, mercy and forgiveness that he wants to say to you. I am also excellent at forgetting!
I will be in the church on the hour every hour throughout the day after mass until the Vigil in the evening. I will stay in the confessional for 10 minutes if no one is around but return the next hour. I will leave several copies of a little examination of conscience and a small penitential liturgy for you to pray through before you come to confession and reconciliation. You might, for instance come at ½ past the hour and spend half an hour in prayer preparing for the sacrament. I do hope many of you will use this opportunity to “make a straight way for the Lord.”
May God bless you all. Fr David
A very good chest freezer needs to be rehouse. If you are interested contact the Parish Office who can put you in touch with the current owner. small chest freezer, top opening, size 57cm wide 55cm deep 85cm high