THE PARISH PRIEST WRITES:
Message No 22: 9th August 2020
Todays Mass Readings: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 19: 9, 11-13; Psalm 84; Romans 9: 1-5; Matthew 14: 22-33
First Reading: Elijah - whose life is in danger - encounters God on Mt Horeb not in powerful phenomena but in the gentle breeze, an incident about which we sing in the hymn Dear Lord and Father of mankind.
Psalm: with complete confidence in Gods justice and peace, we promise to hear what God has to say.
Second Reading: St Paul says he would suffer anything if only he could convince the Jewish people to believe in Jesus as the Messiah.
Gospel: in our age which disbelieves in miracles, there have been many attempts to explain away Jesus walking on the water: perhaps he was walking on a submerged plank or the disciples were hallucinating. But this misses the point: the disciples (who were experienced lake fishermen) witnessed Jesus coming to their aid, and recognised Him as the Son of God.
Next Sunday is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Revised anti COVID rules in Church
The Government has now made face coverings mandatory in places of worship, except for those who are exempt (including those under 11, those unable to do so because of a physical or mental impairment or disability, and those who need to communicate with someone who lip reads). The priest does not need to wear a face covering except when administering Holy Communion.
There should - as before - be only one reader at Mass, who should carefully remove their face covering on arrival at the Ambo and replace it before leaving it. On no account should the reader touch the Lectionary, Ambo, or microphone; if the reader hasnt got a Missal or readings sheet, the priest will do the readings.
Please take care when unlooping and replacing your face covering when receiving Holy Communion; this is to prevent contamination of the coverings by the hands.
We welcome into the Church by Baptism today Archie Minton, the first baby to be Baptized since the lockdown began.
Confessions can be heard by appointment: contact me or Fr Paul. We can now perform Baptisms, subject to the anti COVID-19 regulations, which limit the number attending to 30: fill in the green Application Form and return to the Presbytery. We will review the situation in September, and consult with parents, before deciding how to proceed with the First Holy Communion and Confirmation programmes.
St Josephs, Borough Green
Pavement repairs are taking place in Western Road for the next four weeks. You should still be able to park as normal by ignoring the road closed signs.
Holy Trinity, Otford
Over the weekend which includes Sunday 23rd August, the bridge near the church will be closed for repairs. You may need to park further away than normal, but you can still cross the bridge on foot.
Adoration at St Bernadettes is on Wednesdays at 12:00noon, and Holy Trinity on Thursdays at 7:30pm and Fridays at 11:00am. Adoration at St Thomass is on Mondays, 10:00am - 11:00am and 6:45pm - 7:45pm. More information from Barry Authers or 07773 658469).
The Parish Office is open at the normal times, 9:30am - 12:30pm Monday - Friday. Email Parish Office, ring 01732 454177, or call in during the Office hours for routine things like booking Mass Intentions.
If you can assist in being a steward at any Mass at any of the churches, please contact Magda in the Parish Office, who will pass on your contact details to the relevant co-ordinator. Thanks are due to the volunteer stewards, whose assiduity enables Mass to be celebrated publicly despite the pandemic.
Mens & Womens Days of Prayer
Because The Friars will not be available, the Womens Day of Prayer on 12th September will be held at Holy Trinity, Otford. The good news is that the cost is now only £15. The Mens Day of Prayer is on 10th October (cost if at Aylesford £25). Bring your own Lunch and bottle of water. Both days led by Fr Michael Barnes, SJ. Contact Catherine Rodger or 01732 458852) to book. Cheques (payable to St Thomas of Canterbury, Sevenoaks) to the Parish Office by 23rd August.
Donations for the Sevenoaks Food Bank are always quiet in Summer months but the need is unfortunately constant. Tins of meat and vegetables are always appreciated and we have no biscuits left to give. Any grooming items also very much appreciated. On the other hand, we have plenty of baked beans, rice and pasta in storage.
Items - especially tins etc - for the Borough Green Food Bank can be deposited in the box in the church Entrance at St Josephs. Items for the West Kingsdown Food Bank can be put in the box behind the Community Hall. Thank you for your help and support.
Live streaming from St Thomass
After a considerable delay the camera has finally arrived, so our crack Slipstream team hope to install it for live streaming quite soon.
I have been emailed to say that a parish in the USA was so impressed by our Church Tour video they have copied the idea! If you havent seen it, click on Church Tour on the right hand side of the parish website (http://www.sevrcparish.org.uk/).
Sadly, since the start of the lockdown Fr David and Fr Paul (like all Clergy) and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have not been allowed to visit the sick or housebound. The priests may only visit for the Last Rites if someone is in danger of death. In hospitals, only the designated hospital chaplain may visit. Let us pray that this will soon be relaxed. If you are stuck indoors, you can always ring the Presbytery for a chat.
Todays Gospel (Jesus walking on the water) gives us some pointers about our attitude as we continue to suffer the effects of the coronavirus. No doubt many of us are afraid, afraid of catching COVID, afraid to go out if we are elderly or have an illness, afraid to send our children to school in September, afraid to come to Mass. But today Jesus says to us "Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid".
Our Blessed Lord described Peter in that incident as a man of little faith, but even so came to the aid of the disciples threatened by the waves. Equally if we turn to Jesus Christ and pray to him to save us, as the Good Shepherd He will come to our aid. Indeed, many of us have extra time these days to deepen and strengthen our prayer life. We can pray some or all of the Liturgy of the Hours visit Universalis or the Rosary. We can spend some time in devotional reading or scripture study.
While we are guided by the scientists and health experts, we remember that Christ Jesus is our Saviour. Let us fervently pray in the words we say in the Eucharistic Prayer: Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.
St Roch, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.
St Thomas of Canterbury, pray for us.
St Bernadette, pray for us.
St Edith of Kemsing, pray for us.
Fr David Gibbons, KHS, Parish Priest of Sevenoaks
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