Today’s Mass: Fourth Sunday of Lent
    Another long Gospel from St John this week, chosen to enlighten the elect who have their second Scrutiny today. The man born blind is healed by Jesus, and, after an altercation with the Pharisees, comes to believe that Jesus is the Lord. It takes a bit of time for the man to arrive at this belief; likewise those on the RCIA course must take time to come to full belief in Jesus Christ.

    The theme of light is also to be found in the Second Reading – which says that those who are Baptized should “be like children of the light” – and in many of today’s prayers and antiphons.

    First Reading: David is anointed king of Israel by Samuel. But notice that it is God who chooses David. The very well-known Psalm picks up references to shepherds (as David was), being guided by God (as David was), being anointed as the chosen one (as David was), and eternal life (as David presumably enjoys). David here is clearly a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, the leader of His people, the Anointed One (the Messiah), and giver of eternal life.

    On this Mid-Lent Sunday of Lent, rose vestments may be worn. At the 11:15am Mass, the texts of the Second Scrutiny are used rather than those of Lent Sunday IV (see below).

    Today is also, in England, Mothering Sunday, a day when we remember the mother church of the diocese (the Cathedral), our holy Mother the Church, and of course our own mothers. This day is also known as Laetare Sunday (from the first word of the Entrance Antiphon), Refreshment Sunday, Rose Sunday, Simnel Sunday (from the baking of simnel cakes on this day), and in Kent and Surrey Pudding Pie Sunday (does anyone know why?).

    Fr. David

    Telegram from His Holiness the Pope to Cardinal Nichols
    Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and of the injuries caused by the attack in central London, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his prayerful solidarity with all those affected by this tragedy.  Commending those who have died to the loving mercy of Almighty God, His Holiness invokes divine strength and peace upon their grieving families, and he assures the nation of his prayers at this time.

    White Flower Appeal
    The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is holding its annual appeal this weekend, in the year of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act. In that time over 8.7 million children have lost their lives due to abortion. The second collection is for SPUC, to assist in its campaign to win legal protection for unborn children and to help save mothers and babies from abortion.

    Second Scrutiny
    At the 11:15am Mass today we welcome the catechumens and candidates on the RCIA Course for their Second Scrutiny. This replaces the normal Bidding Prayers.

    Visiting Priests
    This Sunday we welcome Monsignor Matthew Dickens, Vicar-General of the Archdiocese, and Fr Michael Ezenwammadu, a Holy Ghost Father, to offer two of the Masses.

    Parish Lent Course: “Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues”
    In the Parish Centre on Tuesdays. A light Supper is served from 7:30pm; part of the Bishop Robert Barron DVD is shown at 8:00pm, followed by a discussion; ends at 9:00pm. This week: Sloth & Zeal.

    Lent Mini Retreat: The Mass “source and summit of the Christian life”– led by Fr David
    This Thursday. This will be of interest to all who read at Mass, catechists, Altar servers, Ministers of Holy Communion, and all parishioners who wish to learn more about the Mass. It counts as the annual Day of Recollection required for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Timetable: 9:30am First Session (in church), 10:30am Confessions/coffee 11:00am Second Session, 12:00 noon Mass.

    St Thomas’ School End of Term Mass
    Friday at 9:30am in church. All parents and family members are invited to attend.

    Pastoral Letter from Archbishop of Southwark Most Reverend Peter Smith. Read on the Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2017.