News for Sunday 9th October: Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th October 2022: The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

This Sunday's Gospel reading tells the story of the healing of ten lepers – those who stood at the margins of their society, and who were not otherwise welcome to join in the life of their community. Hospitality and acceptance have always therefore been two of the hallmarks of authentic Christian living, following Jesus' example of embracing those on the edge.

In what is perhaps a less dramatic – but no less significant – way, many today stand at “the edges” of our parish community, whether because illness or caring responsibilities mean they are unable to come regularly to worship in person, or because they have not yet really made friends with other members of the congregation – or simply because they would like to play a fuller part in our parish life, but do not know how. The lapsed, the occasional visitor, the once-regular-but-now-less-often, the newcomer… our task is surely to help one another, and to help everyone, to come closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. Indeed, we ourselves surely recognise and remember with gratitude all those whose friendship, example and kindness have drawn us closer into St Mary's congregation – and the responsibility falls now to us to do the same.

As such, I would like to harness your knowledge and acquaintances to repeat the message, loud and clear, that St Mary's is a church for everyone – and the first way in which I suggest we might do this is to extend a special invitation to those on “the edges” to join us on Sunday, 6 November at 6pm, when we celebrate the Solemnity of St Leonard.

Attached to this post is a poster and a letter – and hard copies of these will be available this weekend at Mass. Please would you think and pray about whom you could invite to share in this celebration – and please could you then pass on the poster and letter to them in turn. Just put it in the post, or pop it through a letterbox, or arrange to catch up over coffee and bring it with you – for whomever you would like to see return, or come for the first time, to Mass.

The Christian faith is personal – and it is shared personally as well. An invitation from you to a less regular member of our congregation will do more than something general, or something heard about at second-hand. The person you invite may possibly decline the invitation… but that isn't the point of this initiative, which is simply to have issued the invitation to begin with.

Just as you ought first to pray to identify the person with whom you can share this invitation – so too, once issued, pray that they will then respond positively, but always in God's good time. And, if you would like me to keep tabs on the success of the initiative, by all means let me know too the name and details of the person you've invited.

Hospitality and acceptance are key to our life at St Mary's – and these are things which we also do well. But, doing them well, let us now do them more widely: let us share more widely the Good News which is the knowledge of the love of God.

With my prayers and very best wishes,

Fr Richard.