St. Mary-the-Virgin, News for Sunday 12th July: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
One might have expected the Gospel for last Sunday to have been from Luke Chapter 9: “It is good Lord, to be here!” The words of Simon Peter immediately after The Transfiguration; and probably the words uttered by all those who were able to be present in Church for the first time in many months. Not that we would have been able to sing the words of the hymn by Joseph Armitage Robinson which begins with the same verse: 'Tis good, Lord, to be here!
since the omission of singing is just one of the differences that we have had to accept as part of the risk assessment in returning to collective worship.
Upon arrival, you will be asked to sanitise your hands; sign-in so that we know who has been present (and if necessary trace others if someone falls ill with Covid soon afterwards); sit in a socially distanced pew away from others (although household members are permitted to sit together). The liturgy is shorter with no bidding prayers and a much reduced homily.
Communion is “delivered” by Father Edward into the hands of communicants, who remain at their places. It is Mass – but not as we know it! Let us hope and pray that “normal service” can be resumed as soon as possible.
This Sunday, the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Matthew's Gospel recounts the Parable of the Sower. We are very familiar with the different outcomes of the seeds as they are cast: some on the edge of the path where they are eaten by birds; some on the rocks where they were withered and scorched by the sun; some amongst the thorns where they were choked; but some on the rich soil where they grew and flourished. Many people, in times of crisis, turn to the Church for spiritual support; and this has been borne out by the numbers who have been tuning in to St Mary's and other churches broadcasting their services online during the pandemic. Perhaps some of those may just be the rich soil, waiting for the seeds of faith to grow and nurture in them. We are all commissioned by God to tend to his fertile garden in which we live. Let us not ignore the seedlings of faithful newcomers who we must welcome warmly to our churches as we open again for public worship. A Vigil Mass of Sunday will be offered at 6.00pm on Saturday 11th July, with the Parish Mass at 10.30am on Sunday. It will be good to see you there.
For those who are still shielding, or unsure about coming to a gathering indoors with up to 40 people, our services will still be streamed online. We have had a few technical issues this week, but hope to resolve them as soon as possible. You can, of course, also come on a weekday (when attendance is usually less than at the weekend). Times of Mass are on the Pew Sheet.