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December 19th 2020

Updated: Jan 23

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT SO I SAY IT STRAIGHT AWAY.

WE ARE NOW IN TIER 4 - HOWEVER:

COMMUNAL WORSHIP MAY STILL TAKE PLACE AND WILL TAKE PLACE AT SAINT MARTINS TOMORROW AND FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE .

Services this Sunday:

8 am Mass

10 am PARISH MASS & CHILDREN’S CRIB SERVICE

We make our last stop on our journey through Advent where we have been contemplating the coming of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Our thoughts have been directed to his second coming at the end of time, the moment when he will judge both the living and the dead. And now, as we come to this final Sunday of Advent we begin to turn our attention to the commemorating of His first coming to us - born in a rude stable; His first throne a manger.

It may feel we have little to celebrate; as I write this the news of what is essentially another lockdown for us here fills me with an impotent, directionless anger. I feel frustrated, as I am sure many others are, that all my Family Christmas plans have been ruined and that I will be celebrating Christmas on my own.

BUT perhaps one needs to think over what it means to celebrate Christmas. Much of how we celebrate this great feast has very little, really, to do with Our Lord’s birth, His Incarnation. The partying, and the drinking really has nothing to do with it. The gathering of family and friends to share at table together speaks more of the feast, since it speaks of the love we ought to have, modelled on the supreme love of the One who came to us, took flesh as one of us and ultimately bore the weight of our sins and died for us.

But ultimately, what truly matters in celebrating this wonderful feast of the Holy Nativity is that we fall down, simply, in worship. To acknowledge as Christians our thankfulness for so great a gift, even in the midst of all we are going through, as individuals and as families, in these very difficult times.

But all those many centuries ago were things any less fearful. Our Lord’s birth was in the squalor of a stable, His mother therefore at great risk. Israel was under harsh occupation, the puppet king Herod sought His life and committed infanticide. Our God incarnate began his life as a refugee in an alien country running always from one place to another. As things stand now we will be able to gather to celebrate the Holy Mass on the Holy Nativity. We will be able to fall down and worship our Incarnate God who gives us, again and again, the precious gift of His very Body and Blood, His risen and glorified self in the stupendous and mysterious act of receiving Holy Communion.

So even in these dark and frightening times the true message is that we are never abandoned and we are never alone.

Let us then thank the Lord for His holy incarnation this Christmas-tide as we look for better times. Let us thank Him for our families and friends, even if we can’t be with them and let us thank Him too for those who seek to lead us through these difficult times: our government, their advisors, our scientists and our medical professionals who all perhaps deeply frustrate us at times but who are, no doubt, trying to get us all though, together in one piece.

And now I feel my anger dissipating. I thank you Lord.

AND TO THE USUAL NOTICES

Weekday Masses are being celebrated in the Parish at the usual times. There is no better way of preparing for the coming of the Lord than by attending Mass regularly and devoutly and making your Confession. Please see below for the Mass schedule and times of Confessions.

SECONDLY please note that as Mass can STILL be attended in person as God intended, only the Parish Mass on Sundays and the Wednesday lunchtime Mass will continue to be broadcast.

SERVICES THIS SUNDAY

Low Mass at 8 am

Parish Mass at 10 am

AND MASSES DURING THE WEEK AT THESE TIMES:

Tuesday at 7 pm

Wednesday at 12.15 pm

(with Adoration from 11.45 am)

Thursday at 7.30 pm (Vigil Mass of Christmas & the Blessing of the Crib)

Friday at 10 am (Christmas Mass of the Holy Nativity)

NO Saturday Mass

SERVICES NEXT SUNDAY

Low Mass at 8 am

Parish Mass at 10 am (The Feast of the Holy Family)

As Our Church is able to remain open, we owe it to our loving Lord, and to each other, to keep and support his worship in our Parish Church. As I’ve said again and again, we are a family and we need each other. Now more so than ever.

Yes we will need to continue to be careful and look out for each other. We will need to continue with all our hygiene requirements, but we do need to continue to come together as a Parish family and worship. To let others in our local community know that God is very much alive and active through us.

A THANK YOU to those who gave up time to prepare the Church building for the Nativity. Thank you for your gift of holly.

Let us pray that our worship this Christmas is full of cheer.

TO TUNE IN VIA FACEBOOK TO JOIN IN OUR WORSHIP PLEASE OPEN THE FACEBOOK APP ON YOUR PHONE OR DEVICE AND SEARCH FOR:

“St Martin’s Parish Church, Fenny Stratford “

PLEASE don’t forget to contact me if you have any prayer requests or Mass intentions you would like me to offer at Mass or if would like someone added to our parish prayer list of the Sick or Departed.

My contact details are as follows:

Telephone: 01908 372825

Email: victorbullock@talktalk.net

I am also available in person during Surgery Hour on Saturday’s in Church between 10.30am - 12 noon.

THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION AND RECONCILIATION is also available at this time.

We will also continue to maintain a presence on the Saint Martin’s Parish Church Facebook Page and our Church What’s App group so that we can remain in touch with as many members of our Saint Martin’s parish family as we can.

Please continue to remember the following in your prayers:

Firstly: For a good keeping of the Most Holy Nativity, that we may be His instruments in spreading His peace, joy, forgiveness and the good news of His Gospel.

For our country, that the infection rate may continue to decline.

For the rapid dissemination of the Vaccines for Covid 19 and for all working for this end.

Those who have found themselves out of work, particularly those who have families or other dependents to support.

Those who are despairing at the future of their businesses and those that work for them.

Those who still live in fear of this global pandemic and those who live in fear and are living with anxiety and depression.

For the Government in their seeking solutions for the common good at this time.

For peace to reign within our homes and amongst one another.

For the elderly, housebound and those living in residential and nursing homes.

For our Ambulance Service and for our other Emergency Service Staff and for Milton Keynes Hospital and all who work there.

For Bishop Jonathan and all our parish clergy as they seek to continue to make present in our midst the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, the Sacraments of Christ and offer continuing Pastoral care.

For the Mother House of the Monastic Community of the House of Initia Nova of the Order of Saint Benedict. For it’s Abbot Michael-John, the community and for those new to its life.

For the Sick: For Jonathan Kemp, Jean Holden, Mary Cowan, Peter White, Fr. John Aelred, Fr. Gerry Livingstone, Roger D’Elia, Shirley Milburn, Paul Ward, Norman Kent, Peter Woodward, Gay Lavery, David Gregg, Denis & Yvonne Simpson, Mary Collier, Benjamin Duarri, David Lingham, Sandra Walduck, Eugenius Yung, Doris Weatherley and Joy Hornell.

For the Departed:

For all who have died recently, among them Keith Robinson and for all those who have died of Covid 19.

We pray too for all whose years mind falls at this time, among them Ellis Hands, Robert Mutton, Amy Vaughan, Doris Collins, Irene Stevens and Peter Walsh. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let Light Perpetual shine upon them.

With best wishes and continued blessings upon you and your families during this Holy season.

Father Victor



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