Newsletter for Sunday 29 March 2020

27 Mar

Rededicating England to Mary

The day of Rededication of England as the ‘Dowry of Mary’ has finally arrived, but none of us expected it would take place under these conditions. We were going to have a big ceremony with a procession, but now it will have to be made privately and individually. This in itself is not a disaster because we are all being asked to dedicate ourselves as individuals to Mary. We want her as our advocate. There is an old joke about JESUS being troubled when He saw a lot of souls in Heaven He didn’t recognise. So He went to St Peter (the holder of the keys) and asked how all these people were getting in, to which Peter replied, “Lord, it’s Your Mother keeps who keeps letting them in through the window!” So we want Mary as our intercessor. She is the Help of Christians and also the Refuge of Sinners. Many of the saints have said no client of Mary will ever be lost.

The first dedication of our country to Mary was made by King Richard II in 1381 in Westminster Abbey. He was seeking her protection of England amidst political turmoil, and it was at this point England was placed under Our Lady’s guidance and protection and became known as the ‘Dowry of Mary’. The dedication coincided with the growth of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham into one of the four great pilgrimage destinations of Medieval Europe. Although destroyed by Henry VIII, the shrine was re-established in the 19th Century, and the English bishops decided in 2017 that a rededication was desirable given the rapid de-Christianisation of the country.

So I invite you all to join with me at 11am this Sunday in making the dedication, so as we can be truly united as a Parish in this act. The text is included with this newsletter. Mary is the Patron of our Parish and you may remember one of my first acts as Parish Priest was to consecrate the Parish to her Immaculate Heart on the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima on 13th October 2017. You will find the text of Rededication on the parish website and there is also a copy included with this newsletter.

May God bless you all and may Our Lady guard us and protect us. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Fr Paul Gillham, IC

Click here to read/download the complete Newsletter

Click here for the Dowry of Mary Dedication Prayer

Click here for the Mass Sheet for Sunday 29 March – Fifth Sunday of Lent

Newsletter for Sunday 22 March 2020

20 Mar

Dear Parishioners

We are living in unprecedented times where we are being told to isolate ourselves from other people and discouraged from having any social contact. The schools are also closing for an unspecified period. These measures are important to help contain the spread of the Coronavirus as it is possible to have the virus for several days without knowing it, and so if we are going out and about as normal, we could unwittingly infect others. Hence the need to only have necessary contact. In the parish we are seeking to ensure that the vulnerable and needy are being looked after. I know some of you are doing shopping and collecting medication for others. The Social Action Group are also seeking to help the needy.

Regarding public worship at St Mary’s, due to the extraordinary nature of the times we have to take extraordinary measures. So the situation is as follows:

1  Sunday and Daily Mass

The Bishops of England and Wales have decreed that from this Friday evening 20th March, there will be no public Masses until further notice. Therefore, for the time being, everyone is dispensed from the obligation of attending Mass on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation, but you should observe the Lord’s Day at home in other ways. The priests will continue to offer daily Mass in private, so if you have any intentions for Mass, please let us know in the normal way by putting an envelope through the door of the house. The church, in so far as is possible, will remain open throughout the day for private prayer and Eucharistic Adoration. It is also possible to watch Mass on TV or the internet. See the parish website for details.

2  Confessions

Confessions will continue as normal at the scheduled times and on request. ALL confessions will be in the Confessional with the curtain kept drawn.

3  Anointing of the Sick and Extreme Unction

This Sacrament will be available on request.

4  First Holy Communion and Confirmation

These are postponed for the time being until public worship has been resumed and it is safe for people to congregate together again.

Since the public celebration of Mass is not possible for the time being, please do pray at home, and I would recommend making a Spiritual Communion which I wrote about in last week’s newsletter. I also strongly encourage you to say the Rosary which Our Lady always requests at her many apparitions throughout the world and beg God to end this epidemic. The Rosary is a very powerful prayer. The Readings and Prayers for Sunday Mass will be posted each week on the parish website for you to read through and meditate on (see below for link).

Holy Water is a powerful sacramental of the Church. You can sprinkle it in your homes and bless yourselves with it. As you know we’ve had to remove it from the stoups, but you may still take some home with you. Bring a bottle and fill it up from the urn by the statue of St Padre Pio on the right-hand aisle of the church. Consider some of the words of the prayers of blessing of Holy Water:

May this, your creature [water], become an agent of divine grace in the service of your mysteries, to drive away evil spirits and dispel sickness, so that everything in the homes and other buildings of the faithful that is sprinkled with this water, may be rid of all uncleanness and freed from every harm. Let no breath of infection and no disease-bearing air remain in these places.

And it continues: Let whatever might menace the safety and peace of those who live here be put to flight by the sprinkling of this water, so that the health obtained by calling upon your holy name, may be made secure against all attack. 

Powerful stuff!

At present we are awaiting more information from the Bishops on Holy Week and I will let you know as soon as I hear anything. Please keep an eye on the parish website. No doubt many of you are anxious. This crisis will come to an end and normal services will eventually resume at St Mary’s. In the meantime, pray and try not to panic. On this Solemnity of St Joseph, the Guardian of the Holy Family, let us ask him, together with Our Lord and Our Lady, to protect us and keep us safe just as he did the Holy Family.

May God bless you all.     

Fr Paul Gillham, IC

To view/download the complete newsletter, please click here

To view/download the readings and prayers for this Sunday’s Mass, please click here

Please Note, we will be updating the home page regularly with information and advice that may be of help over the coming weeks/months so please keep checking back between these weekly bulletins.

Newsletter for Sunday 15 March 2020

14 Mar

Coronavirus

The world is in panic over Coronavirus and a global pandemic has now been declared with the whole of Italy in lockdown and the Italian bishops have decided there are to be no public Masses, or even funerals being celebrated until 3rd April. Whether we will see such drastic measures here remains to be seen. So far there have been one or two cases of the virus in Loughborough and it seems inevitable that it may spread. Various measures have been put in place to curb the spread of the virus, but these are only human means. It is always important that we have recourse to God, and implore His protection and the removal of danger, but we must still take practical steps to protect ourselves.

First of all, if you are ill, please do not come to Mass. If you miss Mass intentionally due to sickness you do not need to go to Confession for it. Please stay at home and make an Act of Contrition and a Spiritual Communion. Don’t think that it is impossible to pick up the virus when you are at Mass or receiving Holy Communion. The accidents of bread and wine remain after the Consecration, and if they come into contact with the virus they can spread it. St Thomas Aquinas said, “If it be discovered that the wine has been poisoned, the priest should neither receive it nor administer it to others on any account, lest the life-giving chalice become one of death” (Summa Theologica IIIa Q83 a.6, ad3). The same, of course, applies to the Sacred Host. Also no one is required to receive Holy Communion at Mass. Only the priest celebrating the Mass must receive to complete the Sacrifice. So if you feel uneasy about receiving Holy Communion for the moment, you may refrain and make a Spiritual Communion instead. See the back page of the newsletter for a form you could use.

Another precaution we have been advised to take is that we stop using hymn books. Therefore, for the time being, we will have hymn sheets which you are asked to take away with you at the end of Mass and not leave them in the church. The same goes for the newsletters – please take them away with you. Don’t leave them in church.

Let us all pray for each other and for the welfare of the whole Parish.

Fr Paul Gillham, IC

To view/download the complete newsletter, please click here

Newsletter for Sunday 8 March 2020

6 Mar

Behold, Now is the Day of Salvation

Lent is the time when we particularly want to purify our souls to get ourselves ready for the great feast of Easter. And there is no point in delaying. St Paul tells us, “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

When Our Lord sent out the Apostles, apart from giving them authority to cure the sick, raise the dead and to cast out demons, He told them to preach the Gospel of Repentance. John the Baptist had preached this too in anticipation of Our Lord’s coming. And when Our Lord did come, the first words of His public ministry were, Repent, for the Kingdom of God is close at hand” (Matt 4:17). This means to recognise the fact we all have sin in our lives and we need to turn away from it because it offends God and breaks our relationship with Him. Therefore we all need to make use of the great Sacrament of Penance which Our Lord instituted that first Easter Sunday, when He breathed on the Apostles and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Those whose sins you forgive they are forgiven; those whose sins you retain they are retained” (John 20:23).

The great thing about the Sacrament of Penance is that we can be certain that so long as we have made a good, thorough and humble confession to the best of our ability, all our sins are forgiven. But people sometimes ask, “Why should I confess my sins to a priest when I can go directly to God?” There’s nothing wrong with confessing your sins privately to God and it is good to do so. But the fact is that is not the way God has established our sins be forgiven. Confessing to a priest means we have to humble ourselves, which is part of the reparation we make to God and to the Church as a whole. There is no penance in simply confessing to God in private. The priest can never reveal to anybody what you have told him in Confession, and he too must regularly confess to another priest. So we do know what it’s like. And you must be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion – not to be is a terrible thing.

This Lent we won’t have a special service of Reconciliation since they are never well attended. Instead, to give people greater opportunity to confess, in addition to the regular times, a priest will be available for Confessions every Friday evening in Lent after the 6.30pm Stations of the Cross. This will also enable you to gain easily the Plenary Indulgence available to those who make the Stations. The confessional is the most liberating place in the world. No sin is so terrible that God won’t forgive it if you ask Him. If it’s a long time since your last Confession and you have forgotten what to do, the priest will be only too willing to help you. Also see the purple leaflets at the back of the church. But please don’t put it off any longer.

Fr Paul Gillham, IC

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Newsletter for Sunday 1 March 2020

28 Feb

Faith Without Works is Dead

Something we all ought to be thinking about during Lent are the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. We have an obligation to show our love of neighbour, and to perform at least one work of mercy a day is an important way to prepare for the judgement we will all undergo at death, because our deeds and good works in this life have eternal ramifications (Matthew 25:31-46).  St James in his Epistle (2:14-16) warns us about having a dead faith. “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are:

  1. to admonish the sinner
  2. to instruct the ignorant
  3. to counsel the doubtful
  4. to comfort the sorrowful
  5. to bear wrongs patiently
  6. to forgive all injuries
  7. to pray for the living and the dead.

The Corporal Works of Mercy are:

  1. to feed the hungry
  2. to give drink to the thirsty
  3. to clothe the naked
  4. to shelter the homeless
  5. to visit the sick
  6. to visit those in prison
  7. to bury the dead.

Let us all respond generously to the works of mercy this Lent. There are many opportunities  in Loughborough and in the parish.                                                                          

Fr Paul Gillham IC 

To view/download the complete newsletter, please click here