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The giving of alms to the poor is integral to the practice of the Christian faith, part of the activity of the Church since her foundation by Christ, and indispensable in the life of a Christian who is a genuine follower of Our Lord. Pope Francis has strongly urged the priority of this dimension of the Church’s activity.
Although the practice of charity includes daily acts of good for others, we should not neglect the actual giving of our material resources for the help of the poor. This is not an optional extra but a duty for all those who are disciples of Christ.
We need to be discerning about which charities we support, taking care not to give support to those which spend resources on such things as population control or “reproductive rights” which is coded language for the imposition of contraception and abortion as a political means of “development.”
This year, I would like to propose a focus on those who are persecuted for their faith, especially in Syria and other countries in the Middle East. Their terrible plight has not received much attention in the media and it is important for us to be aware of their suffering as well as giving of our resources to help.
To help in this awareness, I will make available reports from the charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The proceeds of our Lenten Family Fast Day will also go to ACN. I would encourage you to sign up to receive information so that we can pray, fast and give alms in solidarity with those in great need.
This Thursday is the anniversary of the death of Fr Adolph Koch, the first Parish Priest of Blackfen. There will be a sung Latin Requiem Mass at 8pm. This will take the place of Rosary and Benediction this week.
Fr Finigan will celebrate Mass (Latin EF) on Monday 3 March at 7.30pm
Fr Heans will celebrate Mass (English, Ordinariate Use) on Tuesday 4 March at 7.45pm.
On the Fridays of Lent, a plenary indulgence may be gained by saying the “Prayer before a Crucifix” after Holy Communion. Here is the text of the prayer:
Behold, O good and sweetest Jesus, I cast myself upon my knees in Thy sight, and with the most fervent desire of my soul I pray and beseech Thee to impress upon my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, with true repentance for my sins and a most firm desire of amendment. Whilst with deep affection and grief of soul I consider within myself and mentally contemplate Thy five most precious wounds, having before mine eyes that which David, the prophet, long ago spoke concerning Thee, “They have pierced My hands and My feet, they have numbered all My bones.”
A plenary indulgence may also be obtained (as at any time of the year) by making the Stations of the Cross. (We have Stations of the Cross during Lent every Friday at 7.30pm.)
To gain a plenary indulgence we must, in addition to the prescribed work, receive Holy Communion, make a sacramental confession, pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and be free from attachment to sin. Here is some further information about the conditions for gaining a plenary indulgence: Plenary indulgences not impossible.
Our Lord said that if we wish to follow Him, we must deny ourselves and take up our cross. Fasting or self-denial during Lent is therefore part of discipleship, a way of being more open to God. We do not fast in Lent to become more physically healthy but to become more like Christ, to be detached from sin, and strengthened in the practice of virtue.
It is wrong to oppose fasting and charity as though they were mutually exclusive. The following of Christ demands both. Self-denial is necessary because we are weakened by original sin and by our past habits of sin. By voluntarily giving something up or denying ourselves in some way, we add the element of discipline to our discipleship so that we are stronger to resist temptation and to follow God’s will even when it is difficult to do so.
Traditionally we fast by giving up some food or drink. On Fridays we have the communal penance of abstaining from meat. During Lent we might choose to give up something else as people often do by giving up something that is permitted but not necessary. We must always remember the purpose of fasting which is to withdraw from sin and ascend to God. As one of the holy Fathers of the Church put it:
“As bodily food fattens the body, so fasting strengthens the soul. Imparting it an easy flight, it makes it able to ascend on high, to contemplate lofty things, and to put the heavenly higher than the pleasant and pleasurable things of life.”(St John Chrysostom)
Fr Finigan will celebrate Low Mass (Latin, older form) on Monday 24 Feb at 7.30pm.
Fr Heans will celebrate Mass (English, Ordinariate Use) on Tuesday 25 Feb at 7.45pm.
Bishop Patrick Lynch will administer the sacrament of Confirmation at Our Lady of the Rosary during Mass at 7.30pm on Thursday 13 March.
We have an excellent group of 30 students who are now well on their way through the programme of preparation, assisted by our team of catechists.
Please remember our candidates for Confirmation in your prayers.
For parents of children born between 1 September 2010 and 31 August 2011:
The school has put in place three days where prospective parents can come in and view the nursery. These days are 3rd, 4th and 5th March. The times of visits are from 9.30am–10.30am on each of those days. Just turn up: no appointment is needed. The appropriate application paperwork can be collected at the same time.
Please use the Holbeach Gardens entrance to the school and arrive at 9.30am so that parents can be taken over to nursery as a group.
The Day starts at 10am with a Marian procession, followed by Sung Latin Mass. There is an excellent bookstall in the Hall during lunch (bring your own) and an afternoon of devotions including adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, procession and Benediction.
The Day With Mary team are generous in giving their time to parishes around London. The Day is a moving devotional exercise and those who take part receive many graces.
Many people travel to the parish for this day: it would be good to see as many parishioners as possible taking part.
- 10am Entry and Marian Procession
- 11am Mass
- 12noon Consecration of the Parish
- 1.15pm Exposition and Blessed Sacrament Procession
- 2.50pm Meditations on the Passion
- 5pm Benediction
The blessing of expectant mothers will be given on Saturday 8 February after 12noon Benediction. (Fathers and siblings are welcome, of course!) Also included will be the blessing of the baby. The blessing will be followed by refreshments and a short talk from Fr Finigan about Baptism, giving information about arrangements. Parents may book the Baptism of their baby at this session.
This blessing may be requested at any time by any family expecting a baby.