News for Sunday 5th September: Our Patronal Festival

News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th September 2021: Our Patronal Festival

September is the month dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows (which will be celebrated on 15th September) but is also the month in which we now celebrate our Patronal Festival. We would usually hold our 'Patronal' towards the end of the month, close to the memorial of Our Lady of Walsingham (24th September), but to coincide with the visit of Bishop Jonathan it was agreed to move our 'Patronal' just for this year to the beginning of the month, closer to the feast of The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (on 8th September). The church has celebrated Mary's birth since the sixth century. Mary's birth, the fulfillment of the Immaculate Conception, initiates God's plan to send His son to live amongst us. Saint Augustine connects Mary's birth with Jesus' saving work. “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.”

Birthdays are important celebrations – even when we get to “middle-age” and would rather not count the number of years! When we are younger, each year is an important milestone up until our 18th birthday (or perhaps our 21st, or 30th?); and then we go through a “I'd rather not remember how old I am” phase, until we approach retirement age. Then we rejoice at our 70th, 80th, 90th and (hopefully) our 100th when our centenary is marked with congratulations from Her Majesty The Queen. Celebrating our Patronal Festival just a few days before Our Lady's Birthday is therefore very special. Made even more special by the presence of Bishop Jonathan, who will be creating special days for celebration in the lives of those who will be baptised and confirmed during the Parish Mass. These, too, are days to mark on the calendar. The dates on which we commence our journey of faith. After Mass, Bishop Jonathan will inter Margaret Shand's ashes in the Memorial Garden. Please pray for those who are to receive these sacraments on Sunday, for the repose of the soul of Margaret Shand: and for Nguyen Bac Truyen who is this month's ACAT Harrow Prayer Case of the Month, imprisoned in Vietnam for campaigning for the rights of people to be allowed to follow their own religious beliefs.

The first Mass of Sunday will be at 6.00pm on Saturday 4th September. Parish Mass, celebrated by The Bishop of Fulham, with Baptisms and Confirmations will be at 10.30am on Sunday 5th September. There are no 'Readings' attached to this weeks e-mail, as they will be specially chosen for our Patronal Festival. The Sunday Message has also been replaced by Sunday Plus, which includes a feature about Our Lady's Birthday.

David Griffiths