31 January 2021 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

MASS INTENTIONS THIS WEEK

John Sefton Molyneux RIP

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Holy Souls NDL

Charles Molyneux RIP

 

 

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PARISH NEWSLETTER

RACIAL JUSTICE SUNDAY – 31 JANUARY
Racial Justice Sunday is more important than ever this year: with the effects of the pandemic, the killing of George Floyd, last week’s commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day (and the testimony of survivors of the Holocaust and other 20thC genocides), and the powerful message of fraternity and equality from Pope Francis, all speak of the need to actively oppose racism because ‘evil prevails when good men (and women) do nothing’.  We must pursue racial justice with renewed vigour, as demonstrated in this year’s theme: A Time to Act.
Find out more here: Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (cbcew.org.uk)

TIER 5 NATIONAL LOCKDOWN:  Given the soaring rates of infection and the worryingly high death rates and following advice from the Archbishop in his recent letter to all parish priests, the Deanery and Directors of Health in Lancashire, there will be no public Masses or services in our church
We know that parishioners will understand and welcome this decision.
We all have a moral responsibility to protect the lives of those around us, not just our families, but those in the wider community, especially those who are most vulnerable.
We can do that by observing all the rules regarding social-distancing, wearing face masks, self-isolating and regular sanitising – and also ensuring that we get the Covid-vaccine when we are called to do so.

MASS ON SUNDAYS
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.

READINGS FOR- 31 JANUARY
1st Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-20, I will raise up a prophet and I will put my words into his mouth
Psalm 94:O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.
2nd Reading: I Corinthians 7:32-35, An unmarried woman can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs; all she need worry about is being holy
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28, He taught them with authority
Gospel acclamation: Alleluia, alleluia! The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light; on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death, a light has dawned.  Alleluia!
Communion antiphon: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  Blessed are the meek for they shall possess the land.

SPIRITUAL REFLECTION FROM ‘OUR FAITH ON SUNDAY’ – 31 JANUARY
He taught them as one who has authority and not as the scribes…”  The scribes taught from the Scriptures what God had taught through the prophets and through the history of their people.  Now God teaches his people ‘first hand’, so to speak.  He himself has come to teach them.  As indeed he had promised that he would through the prophet Ezekiel.  It seems that the evil spirits were more alert as to what was happening – though clearly they did not fully understand – than the approved teachers of the people.
Long ago, through Ezekiel, God had condemned the leaders of his people for their neglect of his ‘sheep’: God says, “Look, I myself will take care of my flock and look after it…I shall look for the lost one,” (Judas?), “bring back the stray” (Mary Magdalene?), “bandage the injured” (the lepers, the lame?), “and make the sick strong’” (Jairus’ daughter, the widow’s son?).  “I shall watch over the fat and healthy” (the disciples, the faithful woman?).
The promise – or threat in the understanding of the pharisees – was there in their Scriptures and Jesus claimed to fulfil it: ‘I am the Good Shepherd, I know my own and my own know me…and I shall lay down my life for my sheep.

GOSPEL REFLECTION FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE
This reflection is from Bernard Keyworth, a parishioner of St Teresa, Upholland.
This week’s Gospel from Mark is a story with two elements. Firstly, there is the introduction of Jesus as Rabbi; a carpenter from Nazareth appearing in the synagogue, with a new teaching. That teaching is provided with authority. Secondly, intermingled with this is the miracle of Jesus casting out an unclean spirit.
I think these two elements presented together is very deliberate. I also think that Mark is trying to tell us something very important, namely the fact that Jesus bursts upon the scene as a teacher, with authority, and preaches a new message. Yet there is more than that. Mark presents the fact that Jesus is Divine.
To enable this story of the Divine Jesus appearing in the synagogue to make sense to me, I try to imagine that I am there as one of the audience of listeners. What would it mean for me to ask and exclaim, “What is this? A new teaching – with authority!” At first, it seems to me to be a contradiction. How can something new and unique be taught with authority?
To make sense of this, I would like to defer to a great love of mine, namely the books and writings of the Christian author C S Lewis. The reason I love the works of Lewis is because he puts into words things that I already know to be true. I wonder whether the audience that Jesus was talking to, in the synagogue, in Capernaum, felt the same? I Imagine that the scribes and other teachers would have taught the God of the Old Testament, as One to be followed and obeyed, primarily out of fear. However, the new teaching of Jesus, spoke with authority about the God of love. Yes, God is to be followed and obeyed. However, we are called to do so out of love, not fear! The reason for this is the fact that God loves us, and wants to be loved back, for our own sakes.
I wonder whether those men and women of faith in Capernaum already knew this to be true. Did they already know that despite the apparent threats and dire warnings of the scriptures, the Old Testament is in fact a story of a God who loves his people? That fact was only hinted at, below the surface. It was misinterpreted by the scribes and others. This happened over generations. That was until the new authority from God began preaching a message in words that the audience already knew to be true.
Most, if not all of C S Lewis’ teaching was (by his own admission) nothing new. He had this unique skill of translating the scriptures into words that the ordinary person (like me) could understand. I wonder if Jesus is doing the same in this Gospel! Here he is in the synagogue, in Capernaum, ushering in a new age, a new promise, the New Testament and the New Commandment!

Take a few moments to receive and reflect on this poem Primary Wonder by Denise Levertov in
Sands of the Well
Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering their own ignored solutions jostle for my attention,
they crowd its antechamber along with a host of diversions,
my courtiers, wearing their coloured clothes; caps and bells.
And then once more the quiet mystery is present to me,
the throng’s clamour recedes: the mystery that there is anything,
anything at all, let alone cosmos, joy, memory,
everything, rather than void: and that, O Lord, Creator, Hallowed one,
You still, hour by hour sustain it.

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.

PRAYER INTENTIONS THIS WEEK
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.
Amen.

We join Pope Francis in his prayer intention for January:
May the Lord give us grace to live fully in fellowship with our brothers and sisters of other religions,
praying for one another, open to all.

For the homeless, the hungry, those struggling to feed their families …
that they will find generous, compassionate, and practical support.
For scientists striving to develop new vaccines to fight all the viruses which threaten our world …
that they will have the resources they need to be effective.
For all who are worried about the future …
may they know the peace that comes from believing that “All will be well, and all manner of things shall be well,” as did Mother Julian of Norwich.

We pray now in the words Jesus gave us:

Our Father, who art in heaven…

THE ACT OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
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.

MASSES ONLINE WILL CONTINUE TO BE STREAMED INDEFINITELY
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.

OFFERTORY DONATIONS DURING THE LOCKDOWN  
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: 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.
Amen
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!

BRILLIANT WORK – THANK YOU!  PARISH CALENDARS & MARY’S MEALS: ‘DOUBLE THE LOVE’ IN JANUARY
I am very happy to report that thanks to the generosity (and talents) of our parishioners from both parishes, we have been able to donate £135 to Mary’s Meals, with the proceeds from our Parish Calendars.  During January, the government undertook to double any donations made to Mary’s Meals, which means we have actually donated £270.
In addition, a wonderfully generous donation of £500 from our parish Fundraising Committee to Mary’s Meals, also qualified for the ‘Double the Love’ scheme, meaning we have donated a further £1,000 to this extremely deserving cause.
Thank you to our talented photographers and to all those who purchased calendars.
(There are still some left, if anyone would like to purchase one – the photographs of local scenes are really uplifting and inspiring.  Just what we need at the moment!)
See the vital work done by Mary’s Meals and the difference every pound given to them can make to a child’s life: www.marysmeals.org.uk

FEASTS THIS WEEK
2 February: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord – traditionally the time when Christmas cribs and decorations were removed – our current practice of removing everything by Epiphany (6 January) is a 19thC invention!)
5 February – St Agatha (Virgin & Martyr)
6 February – St Paul Miki & Companions (Martyrs)

MUSICAL TREATS FOR THE WEEK:
This Blessing (based on the Book of Numbers, 6:24-26) was put together by children from the UK, the USA, Australia, S Africa, New Zealand and many other nations last May.  Really uplifting and good for the soul.  (46) THE BLESSING [KIDS] – featuring kids from different nations – YouTube

And here’s another chance to hear this haunting version of the Our Father, sung beautifully by Sarah Ego at the Campo Santo in 2016, in Aramaic – the everyday language that Our Lord Jesus spoke – the language of ancient Persia. https://youtu.be/_AdPiRWIam0

WEEK 21 – ARMCHAIR RETREATS DURING LOCKDOWN: ‘LET ME LOVE YOU’
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.

THE DRAMA DISPLAYED: A free series of online talks examining the key moments of salvation history, with the aid of great works of art. At 7:30pm every second Thursday, from 14th January to 25th March. For info and registration: https://christianheritagecentre.com/events/the-drama-displayed/
We are invited to pray for deeper unity amongst the followers of Christ and to work, wherever possible, for greater cooperation with Christians of other denominations. The theme for this year is “Abide in my love and you shall bear fruit” (John 15:1-17).

ECHOES OF GOD: A 7 week look at Old and New Testament Scripture on Mondays at 7-8pm on Zoom starting on 18 January 2021. Using David McLoughlin’s scripture sessions that start with Exodus and end with St Paul’s Letters, an opportunity to read, reflect and share facilitated by Pastoral Associates. Registration and materials (free). 7 Week Course – Echoes of God – The God Who Speaks 2020

WOMEN’S WORLD DAY OF PRAYER – 5 MARCH 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

FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE: You may also like to check out:
St Josephine Bakhita Feast Day: 9 February 2021  –  Tuesday 9 February 2021 7:00 – 8:30pm
An Economy without Human Trafficking with Sr Imelda Poole IBVM (The Tablet Sept 2020)
We are delighted that Sr Imelda will join us virtually from Albania. We will also be able to view a short film produced by RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation) and guided by Sr Imelda.
Julia Bayton who works with early action anti-trafficking support from Refugee Women Connect will also give some input from a local perspective. 
There will be an opportunity for small group discussion followed by a Q&A with Sr Imelda and Julia.
Please do register and join us to help understand Human Trafficking and what we can do.
Registration for Zoom Link: http://jp.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk or www.liverpoolsouthpastoralarea.org.uk
This event is open to all people of faith and of none. All are welcome.

CHILDREN’S LITURGY – SEE THIS NEW INITIATIVE! ‘The Mark 10 Mission’
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:
https://www.themark10mission.co.uk/theepisodes/seriestwo
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!

HELP DURING THE PANDEMIC
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.

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

COVID VACCINES – IMPORTANT
Many parishioners have already received notification about their vaccine – or have received the first dose.
It is important to wait to be contacted. 
Please, please don’t ring your surgery – wait to be contacted and don’t phone up asking when you can have the jab, as spending time dealing with all these calls is slowing down the vaccine service.
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 had his first vaccine last week – 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!

QUICK GUIDE
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

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUERIES OR NEED ANY HELP, PLEASE CONTACT FR ANDERS AT THE PRESBYTERY IN TARLETON ON 01772 812242, OR EMAIL THE MAWDESLEY OFFICE (ssppm@rcaol.org.uk)

WISHING ALL PARISHIONERS AND THEIR FAMILIES EVERY BLESSING FOR THE COMING WEEK