Dear parishioner

    Message No 29: 27th September 2020

    Today’s Mass Readings: TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY

    Ezekiel 18: 25-28, Psalm 24, Philippians 2: 1-5, Matthew 21: 28-32

    First Reading: people complain that God’s ways are unjust. But God’s reply, through the prophet Ezekiel, is that in fact his ways - forgiving the penitent sinner - are truly just.

    The Psalm continues the theme that God’s ways include forgiveness to the sinner and guidance to the poor.

    As it happens, the Second Reading is the same one as on the Feast of the Holy Cross two weeks ago or so. At His incarnation Jesus - without giving up His divinity - took on our humanity and accepted death on the cross. This reading would make a good subject for a meditation before the Blessed Sacrament.

    Gospel: the Parable of the Two Sons has had many different interpretations over the years. But perhaps we can apply it to ourselves: is our Church work simply paying lip service, or are we genuinely excited about God’s grace in our lives and enthusiastically working for the spread of the Gospel?

    New COVID restrictions

    Attendance at Weddings is now restricted to 15. Otherwise the latest restrictions do not really affect the Church. Please

    • do not attend if you have COVID or COVID symptoms
    • give your details to the steward for the Test & Trace (this is not a legal requirement but is good practice)
    • wear a face covering, unless exempt or under 11
    • sit in the indicated places, to observe ’social distancing’
    • do not come forward in the Communion Procession if you are not receiving Holy Communion (if you are receiving Holy Communion you can bring small children with you).

    Second Collection
    The Second Collection this weekend is for our parish SVP (Society of St Vincent de Paul), which assists poor and needy people in the area. The parish SVP depends on your contributions to support local foodbanks, and those in difficulties financially, especially in recent difficult months. They also support 3 villages in India and baby feeding centres in Sudan. You can also donate to St Vincent de Paul Society at NatWest Bank, sort code 60-60-04, A/c 46076484. If you know of anyone in need of any kind please contact SVP.

    Like the First Collection there will be a collection box or plate at the Entrance, to comply with anti COVID regulations. The second collection on 4th October will be for CAFOD. Please take care in putting your money in the correct box/plate as you arrive or leave.

    At St Thomas’s you can now use our super new contactless device. Choose whether it your donation is for the First Collection (parish) or Second Collection (today SVP), choose your amount, and (the first time you use your card) indicate if it is Gift Aided. No more excuse about having no cash on you!

    Parish Finance Committee
    Meets by Zoom on Monday. More information on the finances next week.

    St Thomas’ School
    Year 6 will attend the 9:30am Mass on Tuesday. This will be the first time the children, as a group, can attend Mass since the lockdown in March.

    Patricia Holmes RIP
    Patricia’s Funeral Mass is in St Thomas’s on Wednesday at 1:00pm, followed by Interment in the Greatness Cemetery. As attendance is limited to 30, parishioners who would have attended are invited to stand (’socially distanced’) outside the church from 1:30pm.

    Dominic Galvin RIP
    Funeral Service at the Bluebell Cemetery on Friday.

    You can watch livestreamed Mass from St Thomas’s by going to the parish website ( and clicking on the links on the left and right hand sides. All the daily Masses will be available in this way.

    Are you comfortable with using a laptop/PC and can spare half an hour or so of your time? That is all that is required to help with the mission of bringing the Mass to our parishioners, who are unable to attend the church in person. The steps to set up the stream are straightforward and everything can be done from the comfort of your home. A short training session is all that will be required for you to be able to undertake this rewarding task. If you are interested in considering this important support, please contact Barry or 07773 658469.

    St Thomas’s cleaning and repairs
    The cleaning and restoration work has started and the restorer is very pleased with the cleaning so far. Adoration is suspended during the works, which will take another seven weeks or so, but Holy Mass will always be at the normal times.

    Holy Mass
    All Sunday and weekday Masses are at the normal times:
    St Thomas’s: Sunday 6:00pm (Saturday), 8:00am (Latin), 9:15am, 11:15am, 6:00pm;
    Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8:00am; Tuesday, Saturday 9:30am; Thursday 12:00 noon.
    Holy Trinity: Sunday 9:30am; Wednesday 10:00am.
    St Joseph’s: Sunday 9:30am; Thursday 10:00am.
    St Bernadette’s: Sunday 11:00am; Friday 10:00am.

    The Children’s Liturgy of the Word - at St Thomas’s, Holy Trinity, and St Joseph’s - remains suspended for the time being, because of the proscription on mixing children in different school and household bubbles.

    Confessions can be heard by appointment: contact me or Fr Paul. Alternatively, ask the priest well before or after a Mass.

    Baptisms: anti COVID-19 regulations limit the number attending to 30. Fill in the green Application Form and return to the Presbytery.

    Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St Bernadette’s: Wednesday 12:00noon and Holy Trinity: Thursday 7:30pm and Friday 11:00am. Adoration at St Thomas’s is suspended during the restoration works.

    If someone is seriously or terminally ill, ring the Presbytery and Fr Paul or I can visit for the Sacrament of the Sick. Sadly, COVID restrictions prevent the Clergy and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion making routine visits for Holy Communion at the moment.

    First Holy Communion programme 2021
    We don’t yet know the state of the pandemic and how we will be able to run next year’s programme, but parents of children who are in Year 3 or above please register with Ingrid (First Holy Communion) and we will contact you when we know what is happening. This may not be for several weeks or even months.

    Secondary School Supplementary Forms
    If you wish me to countersign Supplementary Forms for Catholic or inter-denominational Secondary School transfer email me to make an appointment. You need to come to the Presbytery with the child concerned and the form(s). Only I can countersign these forms, so please do not approach Fr Paul, Fr Mark, or Mgr Matthew. Please do not approach me to sign after Mass, as it is not possible to complete the form properly then.

    Men’s Day of Prayer - Change of venue and price
    As the Men’s Retreat will not be able to take place at The Friars, we are instead offering a Men’s Day of Prayer on 10th October at Holy Trinity, Otford, 10:00am to 4:00pm. Leader: Fr Michael Barnes, SJ. Bring your own Lunch and bottle of water. Cost: £15. More info: email Catherine Rodger. To book, send £15 (cheque payable to ’St Thomas of Canterbury, Sevenoaks’) to the Parish Office as soon as possible.

    Malawi fund raising
    Congratulations to the La Trobe family, who won last Sunday’s Zoom Quiz. We had a very informative talk from Fr Boni, who joined us by Zoom from Malawi.

    The next Parish Zoom Quizzes are on October 25th and November 29th at 7:30pm. To take part email Ben Andradi and he will send you the Zoom link. The quiz worked surprisingly well on Zoom. Donations can be made either through the Presbytery letterbox in an envelope marked ’Malawi’ or by bank transfer with ’Malawi’ in the reference.

    The McBrien family raised £228.20 for Malawi in their ’celery sale’. They say they were very struck by the generosity of the parish. Please pray for

    • God’s help in defeating the pandemic;
    • our parish SVP and the people it serves;
    • those being Baptized on Sunday;
    • our children preparing for their first Holy Communion;
    • those shielding/quarantining and for all who are ill with COVID;
    • Irene Sterling, Patricia Holmes, Barry Griffiths, Maria Koschel, Dominic Galvin, and all who have died.

    As those who are attending Sunday Masses will have spotted, the priests are keeping to ’bubbles’ just like school children. Consequently Fr Mark is always celebrating at St Joseph’s and St Bernadette’s, Mgr Matthew at Holy Trinity, and Fr Paul and I at St Thomas’s, with some assistance this month from Fr Ola, who is also celebrating the Masses at Westerham. I am tempted to sing the Vera Lynn song We’ll meet again, don’t know when!

    Meanwhile, keep up the fervent prayers to defeat the pandemic!

    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.

    Fr David Gibbons, KHS, Parish Priest of Sevenoaks
    12 Granville
    Sevenoaks01732 454177
    TN13 1ER


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