newsletter st stephen - st bridget covering the districts of: winwick, longford,orford, houghton green,cinnamon brow, fearnhead,poulton, risley and birchwood. parish priest: fr john mcloughlin 101, sandy lane, orford, warrington wa2 9hs tel 632849 www.st-stephens-warrington.co.uk e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org archdiocese of liverpool liverpool roman catholic archdiocesan trust: registered charity no. 232709 twenty-sixth sunday of ordinary time (a) sunday 27 september 2020 mass in st stephen’s & st bridget’s church with restrictions sunday 27 sept. st stephen’s 9.45am mass: tracy wright st bridget’s 11.30am mass: teresa abbott • • • • • • • only one entrance/exit point. you need to bring a face mask. your name and contact phone number required please wait to be seated same household seating and separate seating accommodated sanitise hands with gels provided and masks to be worn. do not move around the building once seated. holy communion distributed at the end of mass before leaving. it is essential you follow the restrictions at all times. tuesday 29 sept. wednesday 30 sept. thursday 1 oct. friday 2 oct. st stephen’s 9.00am mass: christine mcneary st bridget’s warrington cemetery 10am mass: rose mcloughlin funeral service: neil john wilson st stephen’s 9.15am mass: mr & mrs w blow st bridget’s 6.00pm mass: mcnamara family twenty-seventh sunday of ordinary time (a) sunday 4 october 2020 mass in st stephen’s & st bridget’s church with restrictions sunday 4 oct. st stephen’s st bridget’s 9.45am mass: special intentions/people of the parish 11.30am mass: bill heffernan it is essential you follow the restrictions listed for last sunday (above) at all times.
from fr john’s desk… the new restrictions that have been introduced to combat covid-19 will certainly have an impact on family life - particularly the extended family. for my own family it means my brothers will not be able to visit with my sister margaret who has lived with me since 2007. their presence has provided necessary respite for me and my other sister anne - who came here from the convent in 2017 to help with margaret’s care. margaret as you know has downs and has suffered with dementia since we came to the parish in 2016. this change to our circumstances makes me all too well aware that many families will be effected by these restrictions in similar ways. so this week let us all pray for a strengthening of family life and family relationships. and let us pray especially for those who will suffer most because of the absence of the loss of family support a reflection by ged edwards who is cafod’s community participation officer working in liverpool. 26 sunday in ordinary time (a) in this sunday’s gospel we find jesus again in conflict with the religious authorities, the scribes and pharisees. they had defined how people were acceptable to god which is of course helpful. the trouble was that many people in israel could never fit the bill. these were the people the authorities called “the sinners” and “the poor”. so, because they were excluded from mainstream society, it was these people who had left it, and flocked to john the baptist in the river jordan. through john, they found their dignity. they discovered that god loved and wanted them to behave as his children. but when john challenged the authorities on this they had him killed. jesus knew all of this first-hand. he had also travelled the road from nazareth to see john at the jordan. when he got there he met people, the poor and sinners of course in huge numbers. and he realised the truth that the people excluded by the authorities were just normal people, but people who had been treated badly by the system and for whom within it there was no hope. the great theologian albert nolan in his book jesus before christianity writes that you can tell what sort of person someone is by the decisions they make. john and his disciples stayed at the jordan baptising people but jesus chose a different path. he went back into society to try and bring it together. i like to think that he did this because he had seen that people were prevented from being together, lied to and falsely separated, often through no fault of their own. and yet, all the time that god loved them and the whole of israel, not just the few. he saw just how much of a mistake this separation was. jesus had found his mission. this is what is behind this meeting for jesus in the gospel today and his repeating john’s question, “what do you think?” when they reply, he points out the simple facts: that even those they despised most have actually bypassed the system and found themselves as members of god’s family. they had listened to john and found a way to god, simply by admitting their errors, seeking forgiveness and doing what god wants them to do. meanwhile, the scribes and pharisees say they will follow god, but they don’t. so, they are actually excluding themselves from god and his kingdom, and preventing people from being with god, depriving them of even their dignity. so, to us, today. this story builds on the gospel story last week about the labourers in the vineyard which reminded us that our lives are about doing our bit in the work of building the kingdom. this means getting up every day and playing our part when we are called to. we are in the period called creation time when pope francis has asked us to reflect on the gift of the earth, and yet how its people and creatures, in all their beauty and mistakes are so often mistreated by economic and religious systems, with all their winners and losers. and we remind ourselves that jesus’ mission, our mission, is that, as st john reminds us, “they might have life and have it to the full.” sometimes we say we will do the right thing, to help god build the kingdom, and then make no plans to do it. or perhaps today, like the second son, like the tax collectors and prostitutes, like those who have changed their minds because they see differently, we get stuck in too? we can make choices which mean we “hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor,” as pope francis puts it in laudato si’. so, will you use the car when you could walk? do we support cafod’s appeals and campaigns on climate change? each of us has such choices today. let’s pray for and encourage each other along the way. it will not be easy to make the radical changes that are needed. like jesus, we will be challenging the prevailing way of doing things if we build a different future. but, like the son who did not want to go to the vineyard, we can change. and we need one another - no-one can cultivate a vineyard alone. we can work together to make something better and be proud to share and to hand on to future generations. let’s start back today! feasts & celebrations this week… 28 sept. memoria: st wenceslaus (king, martyr) memoria: st laurence ruiz & companions (martyr) sts michael, gabriel, raphael (archangels) 29 sept. feast: 30 sept. memoria: st jerome (priest & doctor) 1 oct. memoria: st teresa of the child jesus (virgin & doctor) 2 oct. memoria: the guardian angels