Sunday 19th March 2023,
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Sunday Gospel Reflection Fourth Sunday of Lent – In the former translation of the Mass for Lent we read: ‘Each year you give us this joyful season’. Today we celebrate Laetare Sunday, Laetare meaning Rejoice; We look ahead in joyful hope to what awaits – the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although we are only mid-way through the Lenten season, we rejoice, because we know that Christian penance does not end in sadness, but in a closer communion with God. During Lent this year we have been endeavouring to pay attention to what is happening in our lives, to the dysfunction in our lives, and to the real encounter with Christ in the Scriptures. In our Gospel today, the man born blind from birth had reason to rejoice. Jesus had given him the ability to see for the first time in his life. However, Jesus gave this man more than just his physical sight. He gave him sight through the eyes of faith. The man went from telling the Pharisees that “the man Jesus” cured him, to telling Jesus “I do believe, Lord.” Spiritual blindness makes us feel empty, judgmental, envious, suspicious, afraid, depressed, and lonely. Jesus calls us this Lent to open our hearts to Him. Jesus said to the blind man, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man replied to him, ‘Master, I want to see.’”
A Church that reverberates with the mercy she has received. Andrea Tornielli reflects on the fundamental message of Pope Francis’ pontificate – mercy – as the Pope marks the tenth anniversary of his papacy.
A Church that goes forth and “takes the initiative”, because she has first experienced the Lord’s initiative and was “preceded in love”.
Ten years after the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 13 March 2013, it is worth going back to the essentials. It is worth remembering what Pope Francis himself continues to propose and bear witness to: the face of a Church which, as we read in Evangelii Gaudium, “knows how to take the first step, to boldly take the initiative, to go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, to stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast”, and “has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy.” Pope Francis offers the face of Christian communities which are free from the scourge of self-reference, which are aware that they can be truly missionary only when they reflect the light of their Lord without ever considering themselves a source of light. These communities never resort to marketing and proselytizing techniques and are free from the nostalgic pessimism of those who long for a “Christianity” that no longer exists. They are communities of “forgiven sinners” – as the Bishop of Rome says of himself – which, while continuing to experience God’s infinite mercy, shares it with others like a reverberation. “Mercy” is indeed the word that best summarises the magisterium of the Argentine Pope as he enters the second decade of his pontificate.
It is the key message of Jesus in the Gospel. It is the awareness of being continually loved and picked up after every fall. It is the key to mission in our changing age. As we read again in Evangelii Gaudium, the “evangelising community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others.” This community is willing to welcome, listen, accompany, that is, to “get involved”, as Jesus did with His disciples when kneeling down to wash their feet. It is a patient community, which does not need enemies to find its consistency, but “cares for the grain and does not grow impatient at the weeds.” Pope Francis has testified to this message in his first ten years of service, embodying the words he himself pronounced when he still was a Cardinal, in his brief speech to the General Congregations before the Conclave. “Thinking of the next Pope, there is a need for a man who, through the contemplation of Jesus Christ and the adoration of Jesus Christ, may help the Church to go out from herself toward the existential peripheries, so as to be a fruitful mother of the sweet and comforting joy of evangelising.” www.vaticannews.va 13 March 2023.
Lenten Boxes are available at the three Churches.
First Confessions will take place for the children of St. Teresa’s Primary School on Tuesday 21 March 2023 at 11a.m. We thank parents and teachers for all their hard work in caring for the children in the ‘ways of faith’.
Easter Confessions These will be facilitated on Wednesday 29 March in the Church of the Holy Spirit, Thursday 30 March in St. Matthias’, Friday 31 March in St. Teresa’s. The time in each church will be between 6.30pm and 7.30pm.
Offertory Promise 2023/24 – New envelopes will be delivered soon to those who are already signed up. If you are new to the parish or would like to contribute to parish funds by envelope or standing order, please call the parish office or email your name and address.
Thank you for your consideration.
Sunday Masses Holy Spirit Vigil 5pm (Saturday), St Matthias’ 10am, St Teresa’s 12noon.
Weekday Masses St Teresa’s Friday & Saturday 10am. There are no weekday masses this week at St Matthias’.
Stations of the Cross after Friday 10am Mass followed by Adorations at St Teresa’s.
Confessions Before Saturday Vigil Mass and on request.
To book a wedding or baptism, please contact the parish office (better to email).
Recently Deceased Francis (Frank) McConnell
Anniversaries Brendan & Patricia Mc Brien, Rita O’Neill
Weekly Offertory £1, 463. Thank you.
Diocesan Vocations Retreat Drumalis Retreat and Conference Centre, Larne; Friday 21 April – Sunday 23 April 2023 (6pm-3pm). Take time to reflect on becoming a Diocesan Priest. Contact Drumalis Retreat Centre for more information. (028 2827 6455).
“LEGION OF MARY MORNING STAR VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT Catholic men and women wanted to join The Legion of Mary, to help with the mission of the Legion to care for the spiritual and temporal needs of vulnerable and homeless men living in Morning Star House. For more information, please call 07596128437 after 5pm any day.”
The Living Church Office is offering a range of lay ministry formation programs for Ministers of the Word, Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers, and Baptism preparation teams. These programs have been designed to provide opportunities for lay ministers to reflect on the significance of their own Baptism and to provide space for personal, spiritual, and catechetical formation. Should you require more information please contact Aishling Steen @ email@example.com
Bethany Group Contact number 0799 0381248
St Vincent De Paul Helpline No. 0741 9326678