Today’s Mass: THIRD SUNDAY of LENT (Year C)

    11:15am Mass: The elect – the catechumens who attended the Rite of Election – have their First Scrutiny at this Mass and so the Readings are taken from Year A.

    In the First Reading we hear how God gave the people water to drink on their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, an incident recalled in the Psalm. St Paul in the Second Reading says that the proof of God’s love for us is that Christ died for us, even though we are sinners.

    Gospel: the Samaritan women recognises Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, who promises to those who believe in Him ‘water for eternal life’. This ‘living water’ refers to the water of Baptism and to the water of the teaching of Christ and His Church.

    All other Masses:
    First Reading: on Mt Horeb (also known as Mt Sinai) Moses encounters God (‘I Am’) in the burning bush who promises, in his compassion for his people, to deliver them from slavery in Egypt.

    Psalm: a psalm of praise and thanksgiving to God, who ‘is compassion and love’.

    Second Reading: during the Offertory the priest takes the chalice and says the wine ‘will become our spiritual drink’, a phrase taken from this passage.

    Gospel: the parable of the fig tree is one of the many ‘parables of mercy’ to be found in Luke. If we understand the vine dresser to be God, then the parable speaks of how God will give the sinner more time to repent and start doing good works. If the vine dresser stands for the Christian disciple, it encourages us to give offenders a second chance and to expend effort (‘time to dig round it and manure it’) in helping them rehabilitate.

    Fr. David


    Visiting Priests
    We welcome Fr Michael Ezenwammadu, CSSp for the Masses at Borough Green and West Kingsdown, and Fr Patrice Anyanwu, CSSp for the 8:00am Mass at St Thomas’s.

    11:15am Mass
    Because of the First Scrutiny and Giving of the Creed, the Readings at this Mass are those for Year A and not Year C.

    The Music Group leads the music today.

    St Thomas’s Repository
    A varied selection of Mothering Sunday cards is now available for sale in the Repository. Devotional Lenten reading is also still available.

    This Week

    Monday: Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
    Holy Mass at 8:00am in St Thomas’s.

    Tuesday: St Thomas’ School
    Year 6 will attend the 9:30am Mass in St Thomas’s.

    Wednesday: ‘Seated Stations of the Cross’
    All ‘senior’ parishioners are invited to attend the ‘Seated Stations’ in the Parish Centre, at 2:30pm.

    Thursday: Stations of the Cross
    Stations of the Cross at Holy Trinity, Otford, at 7:30pm on Thursdays in Lent.

    Thursday: Second Lent talk
    The second in our Lenten series of talks on Pillars of Lent is on Thursday in the Parish Centre: refreshments from 7:30pm, talk at 8:00pm followed by a discussion. This week Mark Nash from the diocesan Formation Centre will speak on Fasting.

    Friday: Stations of the Cross
    Stations of the Cross at St Bernadette’s, West Kingsdown, at 7:30pm, and at St Thomas’s at 8:00pm, on Fridays in Lent.

    Next Sunday

    British Summer Time begins
    Please remember to put your clocks forward on Saturday night; otherwise you might miss Mass!

    Holy Trinity, Otford AGM
    There will be a short congregational meeting after the 9:30am Mass next Sunday. The Otford Committee will report back on various activities, maintenance and repairs, etc; parishioners will also have the opportunity to discuss anything of general interest (speak to Frances Bacon who is drawing up the Agenda), and to choose new members of the Committee. Although it is Mothering Sunday, the meeting will finish in plenty of time to get to Mothering Sunday Lunches!

    11:15am Mass
    The Second Scrutiny for those on this year’s RCIA programme will take place during the 11:15am Mass. This means that the Readings at this Mass are taken from Year A, not Year C. Readers please note.


    Confirmation 2019
    Attention all those currently in Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, or above: please register for this year’s Confirmation programme. You can obtain the Registration Form online at; register online if possible or if not return the printed form to the Presbytery. Closing date: 30th April 2019.

    For information about the importance of the Sacrament of Confirmation (which is the third and final stage of Initiation into the Church) and about the changes in the age and in the programme read carefully the article on page 10 of this Newsletter.

    SVP Collections
    This year's Lenten collection will be to support a project in a village in India: the aim is to raise £800 to provide bicycles for poor families. Please save your spare change during Lent and bring in your donations to Mass on Palm Sunday.

    Parish Finance Committee
    Will meet on Monday at 8:00pm in the Presbytery.

    St Joseph’s UCM (correction from last week)
    The UCM will be holding a cake sale after Mass on 7th April. All cake contributions from the congregation would be appreciated.

    On the evening of May 2nd the UCM have arranged a speaker, Helen Kendall-Tobias, who will talk on 50 ways to tie a scarf. We would like to see members of the congregation there as well as the Members of the UCM. We shall charge £2 per head. The talk will begin at 7:30pm.

    St Thomas’s Reconciliation Chapel
    You may have noticed the new, specially made oak door to the Reconciliation Chapel (at a cost, incidentally, of £2,600). This was necessary to comply with Safeguarding regulations, but it does afford a more worthy door for this important Sacrament.

    Music Group
    The Music Group sings at the 11:15am Mass once a month. We practice on Monday evenings from 8:00pm to 9:30pm at St Thomas’s. Our next practice is this Monday, and we are singing on Palm Sunday (14th April) and Good Friday (19th April). If you would like to join us please contact Veronica Christophers at

    Children’s Stations of the Cross
    All are very welcome to attend the Children’s Stations of the Cross at 10:00am on Good Friday, followed by an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This will be the last year that Isabelle Parsons will lead the service and so we are looking for someone to take it on for the future. If this is something that you would be willing to do, please get in touch with Isabelle before Holy Week so that she can show you what is involved on the day. It is a very simple service, and everything you need has been prepared.  Contact Isabelle by email at

    The God who speaks: A Year of the Word
    Scripture is at the centre of everything the Church does. The year 2020 will be the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini, Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’, and the 1,600th anniversary of St Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin. These events have inspired the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales to make 2020 a year of focus on the Bible and 'The God Who Speaks'. Throughout the year there will be a range of resources and activities for Southwark and beyond. As part of the preparations for the 2020 Initiative the Bishops’ Conference is conducting a short survey about how we see and use the Bible: “we’d like to ask as many Southwark Catholics as possible for their help in completing this short survey, so that we can get a snapshot of our current relationship with the Scriptures”. We can all help to make 2020 a special celebration of this core aspect of our faith. Visit, click on ‘Take the Survey’.

    Red Box Holders
    Please take a copy of the APF Spring magazine from the box in in the porch.

    SVP Walk to Canterbury Cathedral
    Thank you to all those that supported Joan and Andrew Perkins in their walk from Otford Holy Trinity Church to Canterbury Cathedral over two days - Circa 47 miles walked and over 118,000 steps. If you would still like to donate you can do so on:

    SVP Thank you
    Phil Kerton from 'Seeking Sanctuary' has written to say thank you: Please let your donors know that I took the (excellently labelled) goods to Calais last week, where they were gratefully received by the warehouse volunteers on a cold and gale-swept day. People there remain in much need of help. Thank you!

    Summer Garden Party
    Save the date! The annual Garden Party for all the parish will be on Sunday 7th July, from 12:30pm in the Presbytery Garden. Put the date in your diary now, and pray for good weather.

    Follow @7oaksCatholic


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