14 February 2021 – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time




Dec members of the Ryan family






Church is closed for public worship, for the time being  




This Week    
  E. Minister Reader
Next Week    
Ministry E. Minister Reader



Cardinal Vincent Nichols is urging Catholics to celebrate Ash Wednesday at home this year.
The Cardinal is suggesting that members of the household or support bubble bless each other by making the sign of the cross on each other’s forehead.
His invitation comes in a pastoral letter that will be read in the parishes of Westminster at this weekend’s Masses.  He notes that Ash Wednesday, which falls on 17 February, marks the beginning of Lent and is “the doorway into this season of renewal”.
“As we cross this threshold, we customarily receive ashes on our foreheads, in the sign of the cross.  This is a public mark of our turning again to God, seeking his mercy, forgiveness and help”, he says.
“We use these words: ‘Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return’.  Yes, we cannot pretend otherwise.  Or: ‘Repent and believe in the Gospel’.  Yes, we seek the one thing that is absolutely necessary: the grace of God”.
However, Cardinal Nichols acknowledges that this year, receiving ashes in church is going to be difficult, due to Covid-19 restrictions.  “Receiving ashes is an outward sign of an inner step, a movement of the heart towards our beloved Lord”, he says.  This year, I invite you to concentrate much more on this inner, spiritual movement than on its outward manifestation in the imposition of ashes”.
He continues, “My suggestion is this: celebrate Ash Wednesday at home, with your family, in the household or support bubble.  Gather for a while.  Read the prayer which I offer.  Bless each other by making the sign of the cross on each other’s forehead.  Spend some time praying in a way that you know.  But please make this a prayer of your heart for God’s mercy upon this world struggling to cope with the terrible pandemic and the devastation it is bringing”.

Here is the prayer:

Lord God, with all our hearts we beseech you: have mercy on your people; spare your people; strengthen all people in the struggle against the havoc of this pandemic.
Lord our God, without you, we are so weak and our courage so limited.
Give us your strength; give us your love; give us wisdom and skill to continue this fight.
Spare your people O Lord, we pray.
Comfort those who mourn and gather in to your kingdom all who have died.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord, who died and rose to life, who lives and reigns with you, forever and ever.
The Cardinal says people should then bless each other, using one of the two traditional formulas mentioned above, before continuing with their own prayers.
“Please do not hesitate, within your household or bubble, to bless each other on this Ash Wednesday”, he says.  “We do well to remember together, our need of the good Lord.
“Together and through each other, he wants to comfort and reassure us of his loving presence.  If, on this day, we set aside every pretence that we can do everything of ourselves, then we create in our hearts and lives the space for God’s grace and strength to find a home in us”.
(Nick Benson, Catholic Universe)

As you may be aware, our Bishops have lifted the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
To keep Sundays holy, it might be helpful to spend some time reading the Scriptures.  Besides your Bible, the Magnificat publication can be a wonderful aid to prayer and of course, you also get the readings for Mass for every day of the week!  At a cost of less than £1 a week, you may be interested in subscribing now: tel. 020 7448 3618; email: uk@magnificat.com or visit the website: www.catholic-herald.myshopify.com

Masses will continue to be live-streamed and televised for many months yet, so you can still take part in Sunday worship and the Act of Spiritual Communion will continue to be an important part of people’s worship for the foreseeable future.  
If you have any queries or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

1st Reading: Leviticus 13: 1-2, 44-46, The leper must live apart, he must live outside the camp
Psalm 31: You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation
2nd Reading: I Corinthians 10: 31, 11:1, Take me for your model, as I take Christ
Gospel: Mark 1:40-45, The leprosy left him at once and he was cured
Gospel acclamation: Alleluia, alleluia! A great prophet has appeared among us; God has visited his people.  Alleluia!
Communion antiphon: God so loved the world that he gave his Only Begotten Son, so that all who believe in him may not perish, but may have eternal life.

As in last Sunday’s gospel, we see Jesus healing, this time a leper, ordering him sternly not to tell anyone, apart from reporting to the local priest ‘as evidence’ of his recovery (which will therefore allow him to re-join the community).
Nevertheless – and quite understandably – the man is so delighted to have been miraculously cured (and have his ‘normal’ life restored) that he tells everyone he meets.  As a result, Jesus tried to avoid the crowds by keeping away from populated areas.  However, people still flocked to hear and see him.  So, was Jesus a reluctant healer?
Surely, he would have realised that the leper would do exactly as he did and tell everyone about the miracle – and therefore that others would want to see Jesus?  Jesus said many times, that he had come to do the will of the Father, which was much more than being a faith healer.  The Father had a plan for Jesus and Jesus was determined to be faithful to it.
If we are sincere in trying to fulfil God’s plans for us, sometimes it involves not doing the obvious ‘good’ that appeals to us.  For example, a parent might wish to spend more time in prayer (undoubtedly a good thing), but the will of God is for that parent to devote their time to their children, which, when done out of love, becomes prayer in action – and pleases God immensely. 

This reflection is from Bernard Keyworth, a parishioner of St Teresa, Upholland.
Today’s Gospel about the leper who was healed and warned sternly not to tell anyone about it, is in my book, almost a comical story. Imagining myself as a witness, or as the leper himself, it strikes me that if someone was powerful enough to cure me of leprosy, I would know that this person was very powerful and therefore very important. Consequently, if a very powerful and very important person sternly warned me not to do something, generally speaking, I wouldn’t do it. Yet, for some reason, this man disobeys this warning and goes out and tells others all about Jesus.
The reason I find it comical, is that I imagine this man just could not contain himself. His enthusiasm, his love of his new life, given to him by Jesus, as he was delivered from a living death, must have been so great, that his heart was bursting at the seams! He could not help but share his good news with others. I think this is part of being human. I watch a good film or see an entertaining football match and I can’t wait to share it with others. In the same way, this leper just can’t wait to share his news. In fact, with his renewed love for life, he turns out to be a very effective evangelist. He had been an outcast with no friends. That was all changed. Consequently, his enthusiasm for the man who had brought this deep healing, must have been truly contagious.
This leper reminds me of someone else in the Gospel, namely, the Woman at the Well. As we know, the woman was at the well at midday, the hottest hour of the day. The general consensus for the reason for this, is that she was an outcast, a social leper if you like. Yet, even she, after speaking with Jesus for a short time, was able to convince many of her fellow villagers that Jesus was something special. Again, I imagine a woman who just couldn’t contain herself, bursting with a newly found love and faith in the future.
If someone was to ask me why I am a Christian, the easy answer would be to say that I have the gift of faith. That is true, I do have faith, but it is not the whole truth. For me, faith is the beginning of understanding. What I understand is the fact that those men and women who shared their lives with Jesus, would not have been able to go out, after his death, with such enthusiasm, faith and love, unable to contain themselves, to convert the whole known world, without good reason.
Most of the Apostles and many of Jesus’ disciples, were put to death for their faith and I ask myself what happened to change these ordinary people, these fishermen, tax collectors and prostitutes. They became firebrand evangelists, willing to give up everything, even their own lives, to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. They had lived alongside Jesus, had listened to his message of love and believed it. Then they saw him rise from the dead! Yes, I guess that is what did it!
My favourite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. It is in fact second only to Cinderella (not a dissimilar story) as the most popular fairy tale of all. Why this story is so popular I wonder? Could it be that the Beast’s story contains common themes that we all identify with, such as being heroic and good? Unrequited love is returned. A poor girl makes good. These characters develop into people who live happily ever after. Here is the triumph of good over evil. In this tale, Beauty ransoms herself for her father, and lives with the Beast. The Beast learns to love Beauty and in so doing changes back into the handsome prince he once was. Magical! But the true magic of the story is not that the Beast loves Beauty. How could he not have loved her? The real magic of the story is that she loves him, and in loving him, changes him.
When Jesus looks with love at the leper in today’s Gospel, he sees a human person in need of redemption. His loving response to the leper brings the deep healing of that redemption. It is, in a nutshell, a story of redemption. The story of redemption is written large into the universe and in every human soul.

Take a few moments to receive and reflect on this poem by Jan Richardson.
And All Be Made Well – A Healing Blessing
That each ill be released from you
and each sorrow be shed from you
and each pain be made comfort for you
and each wound be made whole in you
That joy will arise in you
and strength will take hold of you
and hope will take wing for you

As a result of your reflection, offer some prayers of intercession for the people and situations in our world today that seem to you to be most in need.

Archbishop Malcolm has asked us to pray the following at this time of crisis:
God Our Father, each person is precious to You.
You are the Giver of life.
Have mercy on us and protect us at this time, as the coronavirus threatens health and life.
You are an ever-present Helper in time of trouble.
Watch over those who are suffering, give strength to those who are aiding the sick and give courage to all in this time of anxiety.
We ask this of you in the name of your Son,
Jesus Christ.

We join Pope Francis in his prayer intention for February:
We pray for women who are victims of violence, that they may be protected by society and have their sufferings considered and heeded.

We pray for Pope Francis …
that his leadership will bear witness to the healing power of the Gospel.

We pray for all involved in human trafficking …
that those who are trafficked might know healing and justice; that traffickers will come to repentance and conversion; that all of us might live in such a way that others are not made to pay the price for our comfort and convenience.

We pray for all who suffer because of under-resourced health care, especially in poorer countries …
that there may be a more generous and equitable approach to supporting world health.

We pray for ourselves and those we love …
despite the continuing restrictions of lockdown may we know the deep peace of God’s unconditional and healing love.

We pray now in the words Jesus gave us:

Our Father, who art in heaven…

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things, and I desire to receive you into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.

Locally, there is St Clare’s, Sharoe Green Lane, Fulwood: www.saintclares.co.uk which streams Mass daily at 9.30am . Please follow the easy links on the website.
https://www.vaticannews.va/en Pope Francis
https://www.churchservices.tv/whats-on-now/ Great selection of Masses and other Church services https://www.lourdes-france.org/en/tv-lourdes/ Mass and daily at 2pm, the Rosary in English
https://www.livemass.org Extraordinary Form (1962 Missal)
Use the website links to EWTN, those who have Sky can tune in on Channel 588, or the Archdiocese to access daily Masses
On the radio: Catholic Radio Sky Channel 0147
Also, you may wish to try the Pray as you Go phone app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pl.foxcode.prayasyougo&hl=en

PRAYERS from the Archdiocese, for Stations of the Cross etc: https://www.liverpoolcatholicresources.com/

Please email the Parish Office with details of any other online services you know of that may help parishioners at this very difficult time. We will try to include them in next week’s Newsletter.

Many thanks to generous parishioners who have sent in donations to our churches. Your thoughtfulness is very much appreciated.
Instead of putting money in offertory envelopes each week, those who are able to make an offering are asked to complete a Standing Order Mandate for your bank, from the parish office. We can email the document to you, if you wish, so that you can print off, complete and send to your bank.
Alternatively, you may still wish to write a  cheque (payable to  ‘Ss Peter & Paul Church Mawdesley’) and post to the presbytery with a covering letter and one offertory envelope for gift aid purposes.

YEAR OF ST JOSEPH (Patron Saint of Liverpool Archdiocese): With his apostolic letter, ‘Patris Corde’ (‘With a Father’s heart’), Pope Francis has proclaimed a ‘Year of St Joseph’ running from 8 December 2020 (Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception) to December 2021.At the end of the letter, he asks us to pray the following prayer to St Joseph:
Hail Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you, God entrusted his only Son,
In you, Mary placed her trust,
With you, Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
Show yourself a father
And guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage
And defend us from every evil.
PRAYER CARDS FOR THE YEAR OF ST JOSEPH: Prayer cards are available – please notify the Parish Office and we will send one out to you so that you can say the prayer to St Joseph during the week.  We know we can rely on his guidance and protection in every difficulty and challenge.  And his intercessions are certainly much-needed by us all at the moment!

Special Days of prayer this week
Tues 16 Feb – Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)
Wed 17 Feb – Ash Wednesday – Day of Fasting and Abstinence
Masses will be live-streamed, so it’s worth having a look to see which service you would like to ‘attend’.
Sunday 21 February – 1st Sunday in Lent
Sunday 28 February – 2nd Sunday in Lent & CAFOD Family Fast Day

This will take place from 10th– 18th March 2021 at St Joseph’s Church in Maidenhead.  In this Year dedicated to St. Joseph, the Mill Hill Missionaries are preparing for the Feast of St Joseph, their patron, with a special Novena of Masses and prayers to ask for God’s blessing on their Society’s missionary outreach, and for the intentions of all those who support their work.  
Masses are on Wednesday to Friday (10-12 March), at 7.30pm, Saturday, 13 March at 10am, Sunday, 14 March at 11.00am, Monday –Thursday (15-18 March) at 7.30pm.
If you would like to join in from home, for the first time this year, Masses from St. Joseph’s Church will be available to follow on Zoom and YouTube via the parish website: stjosephsparish.co.uk and the Mill Hill website: www.millhillmissionaries.com/novena, where you will also find the Novena prayer leaflet.   
You can also join in by praying the daily Novena prayer.  You are welcome to send in your petitions and/or to request a printed Novena prayer leaflet.  Please write to the Novena Director, 41 Victoria Road, Liverpool, L37 1LW, or email novenamhm@gmail.com

This Lent, CAFOD invites you and the whole Catholic community of England and Wales to join their ‘Big Walk for Water’ virtual event.  There are a number of activities you might wish to consider taking part in – or you might be happy to support someone you know who could do them on your behalf: 
Help give the boot to water poverty by walking a 5-mile route on Saturday 20 February at 2pm.
Alternatively, you might like to ‘Walk for Water’ as a personal challenge by walking 10,000 steps every day, for 40 days.
For more information and ideas, please see www.cafod.org.uk/walk

This week, something very different:  the Chinese Christian community has always struggled to be heard and although tolerated by the regime, there are few official places of worship.  Many Christians therefore meet in private ‘houses’ to pray and to hear the gospel message.  This haunting hymn is a wonderful testament to the strength of their faith: O Lord, I Praise You :: Christian Song from Chinese House Church (English) – YouTube

Here is last week’s treat again, which helped us to commemorate the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. This lovely song, ‘Mary Did You Know’, was performed by One Voice Children’s Choir in December in a truly beautiful arrangement.
Mary Did You Know? (Official Music Video) | One Voice Children’s Choir cover – YouTube

Denis Blackledge SJ, Jesuit Parish Priest of Saint Francis Xavier’s Church in Liverpool delivers a series of armchair retreats.
​Each week Fr Denis chooses a couple of scripture passages to break open the living word in a homely way to give fresh encouragement, and deepen the daily living of folk as friends and followers of Jesus.
Please use this link: Armchair Retreats | Liverpoolcatholic (liverpoolcatholicresources.com)

CATHOLIC NEWSPAPERS: These are available to order directly from the publisher (www.thecatholicuniverse.com or 0161 820 5722). It can be posted to you each week.
Introductory offers: printed copies for three months – £25; twelve months – £99; or digital copy £55 for twelve months.
THIS MONTH’S CATHOLIC PICTORAL Please use this link to access a really user-friendly (and free!) version of the Catholic Pic: https://issuu.com/merseymirror/docs/catholic_pic_february_2021

World Day of Prayer, is a worldwide, women-led, ecumenical prayer movement. On the first Friday in March every year a service is held where a chosen country produces materials for the world to worship. 
This year, the women of Vanuatu have put together prayers and resources for services that will be taking place all round the world.  Due to the pandemic, most will be held virtually via Zoom, Skype, or Teams. 
We should be hosting a service here in Mawdesley this year, but for obvious reasons, we will be postponing it until the end of April – when, hopefully, most people have been vaccinated.
Further news and details will follow over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, you may like to find out more about the WWDP and this year’s prayer theme (‘Build on a Strong Foundation’) by using the following link: www.wwdp.org.uk

This is a brand new project created by a small team of young lay people to share the Gospel with children. The video episodes are completely free and have been used in many primary schools across the country each week since September. Please click on the link below:
The Mark 10 Mission team is passionate to see the Gospel shared with children and to help them grow in their relationship with Christ. The website is updated each Friday morning with a new episode, so happy viewing!

It is important that we all follow the rules for the Tier 5 National Lockdown in order to protect all age groups, but especially the most vulnerable.
Check out the government website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home  to find out what the restrictions (and exceptions) are, and to keep abreast of changes in the future
The good news, though, is that the Covid-19 vaccination programme started in  Lancashire on 15th December. The NHS contacts those eligible for a vaccine to arrange an appointment.

Residents can book an appointment if they are experiencing symptoms of Covid19 via www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Many parishioners have already received notification about their vaccine – or have received the first dose.
It is important to wait to be contacted. 
Change of Advice: Please contact your local surgery if you are over 70 and have not yet been given a date for your vaccination.
Please also note that the Catholic Church has given its full support to the vaccine (all three of them) and is keen to assure Catholics that there are no moral issues linked to the science of the vaccines, whatsoever.  The vaccines are safe. The Archbishop of Liverpool is anxious to dispel any myths and urges Catholics to have the vaccines.  Cardinal Vin Nichols has had his first vaccine  – and hospital chaplains have also received their first doses.

Unfortunately some people are trying to exploit the fears of others, so be on the alert for so-called vaccine scammers, who will try and charge you for a vaccine. 
There is NO CHARGE.
The vaccines are free. 
GP surgeries are not paid.  The government is paying for the whole programme.

Please also note that there are some scammers pretending to be the NHS.  There is only one official NHS email address, which is www.nhs.uk

The NHS will never ask for details like family maiden names of bank accounts / credit & debit cards.  Nor will they require you to pay anything for the vaccines.  If you are contacted by a group claiming to be the NHS and they’ve asked for these details, it is a scam and you must ignore it.  Then report it!

Only essential food shops remain open (and post offices)
Leave home to exercise once a day only
No meeting of groups, even outside
No mixing of households
Travel allowed for key / essential workers only
Follow instructions to self-isolate if alerted by Track and Trace
Take regular Covid tests (whenever possible), especially if you’re not displaying symptoms.

It is essential to continue to observe the ‘basics’: hand hygiene, face masks, social-distancing – and lots of good ventilation – at all times