THE PARISH PRIEST WRITES:
Today’s Mass: The FIRST SUNDAY of LENT (Year B)
First Reading: After the flood, God places a rainbow in the clouds as a sign of his covenant with his people. The flood of Noah is portrayed as being like a new creation, and this is what happens in Baptism. As the
Prayer over the Water in the Rite of Baptism puts it (addressing God): “The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of Baptism, that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness”.
The Psalm picks up on the idea of God’s covenant with us, and what it means in practice.
The Second Reading makes two points. First, the saving waters of Noah’s flood prefigure the saving waters of Baptism. Secondly, the ark prefigures the believing community (ie the Church); it is only if we are in the Church (the ark) that we can be sure of being saved.
The Gospel on the First Sunday of Lent is always the account of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness and His temptation by the Devil. This sets the length and the abstinence and penance of the season of Lent.
Interestingly, it is the Spirit who drove Jesus out into the wilderness. Although the Son of God, the human Jesus had to struggle against the Devil and be tested in this way.
We welcome Mgr Matthew Dickens to offer the Mass at Otford and the 11:15am Mass at St Thomas’s.
There will be a short appeal on behalf of CAFOD at Masses this weekend, prior to the Family Fast Day of Friday. Please bring your donation to CAFOD and put it in next Sunday’s second collection.
Bereavement Support Group
All those who are bereaved are invited to come to this group, from 10:00am – 12:00 noon in the Parish Centre.
St Thomas’ School
Year 6 will attend the 9:30am Mass on Tuesday. As usual their parents and family members are especially welcome.
Parish Lent Course: “Let it be done unto me according to your Word”
Tuesdays in Lent, beginning this Tuesday, in the Parish Centre. A light Supper will be served at 7:30pm. At 8:00pm we will watch a new CaFE DVD on Our Lady, followed by a discussion. See the Lent 2018 leaflet for further details. Why not bring a friend and come and check it out?
Alan Meerton RIP
Funeral Mass at Holy Trinity, Otford on Wednesday at 12:00 noon.
CAFOD Family Fast Day
As usual on the Friday after the First Sunday of Lent. Visit cafod.org.uk for more information.
Stations of the Cross
Every Thursday in Lent at Holy Trinity at 7:30pm, every Friday in Lent at St Bernadette’s at 7:30pm, and every Friday in Lent at St Thomas’s at 8:00pm.
Lent books and devotional reading
These are available from the Repository at St Thomas’s. Please put money in the Repository wallbox.
Ecumenical Lent Lunches
The first of these is at St Luke’s Church of England church on Monday: prayers at 12:30pm, with a frugal Lunch at 1:00pm.
St Joseph’s, Borough Green
Parishioners at St Joseph’s will know of the set of Stations of the Cross we acquired from Combe Bank School, which turned out to be far too heavy to be able to erect at St Joseph’s. We are pleased to say we have found a good home for them, in a new St Patrick’s Church under construction in Efandion, in Uromi diocese in Nigeria. They will shortly be shipped out to Efandion.
Meanwhile the heating system has been properly configured, and appears to be working as it should (thank God given the cold weather we have had!). This, incidentally, cost £540.00.
We are also obtaining quotations for replacement front doors – which we shall ensure are correctly seasoned this time – and a canopy over the entrance.
Each year at this time the Bishops ask us to remind you of the Friday Penance rules. Every Friday is set aside as a special day of penitence, as it is the day of the suffering and death of the Lord. They believe it is important that all the faithful be united in a common, identifiable act of Friday penance because the virtue of penitence is best acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness.
In England & Wales, the law of the Church requires Catholics on Friday to abstain from meat and to unite this to prayer. Those who do not eat meat should abstain from some other food of which they regularly partake.
Parish Pilgrimage to Fatima
This will take place from Tuesday 11th to Saturday 15th September. A full spiritual programme is organised, including Mass in the Chapel of the Apparitions, the International Rosary and International Mass, and the Procession of Our Lady of Fatima. There will also be ample time for personal devotions and relaxation. The basic price (including return flight and taxes, coach transfer in Portugal, 4 nights full board accommodation based on two sharing) is £580.00 per person. The single supplement is £92.00 per person. Travel Insurance is £29.00 per person.
Booking forms now available from the Parish Office.
Parish Parenting Teens Course
Is parenting the hardest job in the world to get right? Would you like to be a happier parent and improve your relationship with your teenagers? The Course begins this Friday 23rd February in the Parish Upper Room, 9.00am-11.00am. Contact Christina Rose on 07753 658725 immediately if you would like to attend.
Pilgrims’ Visit - Monday 5th March
Our rescheduled Pilgrims’ trip will be to Aylesford Priory and Coolings Nurseries & Garden Centre. First pick up in the little coach will be from Holy Trinity Otford at 9:30am promptly, where cars may be left for the day. Then to St Thomas’s Church to join the rest of the group to leave at 9:45am, to travel to Aylesford. We shall be welcome at the noon Mass. Lunch is in the Pilgrims’ Hall where we share a soup & sandwich lunch (vegetarian needs catered for). On our way back home we shall call in at Coolings for a stroll. Paths are flat & tea will be available to purchase. We return to Sevenoaks by 4:15pm. Please sign up at St Thomas’s as usual or phone Pat (01732 453902) for enquiries. Cost including lunch is £10.
Pilgrims’ Lent Gathering - Tuesday 13th March
2:15pm-4:00pm. In the Parish Room for our Stations of the Cross (especially for elderly parishioners) followed by tea. Contact Pat (01732 453902) for enquiries.
Women’s World Day of Prayer - Friday 2 March
‘All God’s Creation is very good!’
This year the Service comes from the women of Suriname. We are hosting the service in Borough Green (10:30am), West Kingsdown (1:45pm) and Otford (2:00pm) this year. Please do make every effort to support these services.
The Sevenoaks service is at Christ Church URC (Little Court Rd) at 2pm. All followed by refreshments. Everyone is welcome, do wear something bright and cheerful.
Thank you from the Food Bank
Many thanks for all the contributions to the Food Bank at the end of January. The excellent response to the special request for tinned meat & veg was particularly gratifying. Isobel White
Natural Fertility: An Introduction
This Friday 23rd February, 7:30pm at St John the Baptist Hall, Purley, CR8 2EF. For anyone interested in natural fertility awareness, how it fits into everyday life, and its potential to change an individual and a marriage. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
St Ignatius Retreat: Mon 26 Feb - Sat 3 March
At Corpus Christi, Tonbridge. Run twice each day.
Evenings - 8:00 - 8:30pm, followed by prayer until 9:00pm.
Mornings - Mass at 10:00am, followed by talk at 10:30am. Speakers are Fr Gerald Bradley (Repentence & Conversion of Heart); Fr Tom Lynch (The Person of Our Lord Jesus); Fr David Howell (Being a disciple of Jesus); Fr Daniel Weatherley (The Passion & Death of Jesus) and Fr Matthew O’Gorman (Finding the Presence of the Risen Christ in all things). Further details on all noticeboards.
Healing Service St Augustine’s Church, Tunbridge Wells - Tuesday 13th March 8:00pm
An evening of Healing and encountering the Lord’s Presence, 8:00pm. Refreshments after, all welcome.
Pilgrimage to Lindisfarne (Holy Island)
Young Adults (20s & 30s), on 4th-8th April 2018. Two days of walking in the beautiful Northumberland Countryside along St Cuthbert’s Way, and a day on the Island of Lindisfarne. Run by the FCJ sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus. Contact: Sr Lynne fcJ at email@example.com.
Easter Retreat for 18-35s at Worth Abbey
Worth Abbey and The Wellspring Community invite young adults to celebrate the Easter Triduum (29th March -1st April) with a retreat at Worth Abbey. Leading up to the retreat you can join the ‘Cross Walk’ - walking to Worth from Arundel carrying the cross, from 25th March (Palm Sunday). Booking forms now available from TOC@worthabbey.net. See Facebook for further details.