The big announcement came from the Prime Minister earlier this week. Absolutely nothing changed for any of us, yet most people seemed pleased with the way the ‘road map’ out of lockdown was unveiled. I hope I have not picked up the wrong ‘vibes’. Just those distant dates like March 29 and June 21 have been seen as stars in the night sky to help us to navigate, and people who have been vaccinated are less fearful. Those with children at school have a much more immediate date for action.
We pray that the problems and awkward snags in all of this can be overcome by good will, and our progress towards ‘normality’ will be unhindered. The closedown of church began in the middle of March last year, just before the children were due to receive their first Forgiveness. Let us be patient just a little longer, but be thinking about what we have missed and if those things can be restored.
CAFOD Family Fast Day is today. There are no special envelopes, but at weekend you can put a donation in an ordinary envelope marked ‘Cafod’ and put it in the collection plate. It would be a shame if the needy people in the world missed out on the £900-or-so pounds we usually give. It is easy for those not coming to church to give online directly. Go to www.cafod.org.uk or by post to 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB.
THE WOMEN’S WORLD DAY OF PRAYER is on Friday 5 March. It is presented by a different nation each year. This year it originates in the South Sea Islands in the Pacific that are called Vanuatu, formerly the New Hebrides, a name Captain Cook gave them. A virtual service on Zoom has been organised for 7.30pm through St Mary’s – click here to view the service. The meeting ID is: 739 4964 7725 and the Passcode: AG0DXe. You will have to retune after about half an hour with a second link: Meeting ID 756 2902 5681 Passcode 6066Ex. We have so many IT-savvy women parishioners. You are welcome to join in and pray for all peoples, especially those not so privileged like the islanders of Vanuatu.
There are still some booklets ‘My Day by Day’ and ‘Walk with Me’ available with daily prayers for Lent. Ask someone to collect them for you – buy them together for £1 only.
At Mass this weekend (still no 9.00am) the gospel story is Jesus being transfigured on Mt Tabor and the Father’s voice saying ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, Listen to him!’ He did not spare his own Son – a sharp contrast with him telling Abraham that his son Isaac could be spared. In Lent we renew our belief and trust in the God who so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that all who believe in him (that means you and me) may not be lost, but may have eternal life.
I have offered Mass this week for the repose of the souls of Maureen Turner, Margaret Coffey, and Jim Slater, and for the intentions of Annette Wright and Dr Ed Jago. Please remember in your prayers James Sproats, who has died age 94, and ten years ago served Mass for me regularly. His funeral is March 16. May he rest in peace.
Fr Tony Elder