Parish Priest – Father David B Barrett – email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish Deacon – Rev Peter Griffin – Tel 07850499414 – email – email@example.com
Parish Administrator – Denise Wallinger Tel 01234 711212
SVP Contact – Tel 07925 125206
Parish Website: www.ourladysolney.co.uk
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Saturday 11th July
6.30pm Vigil Mass For the people of the parish
Sunday 12th July
Sun 10.30am Mass Jean Griffin RIP (SVP)
Monday 13th July: St Henry, Confessor
10.00am Mass Benjamin Bird RIP (10th Anniv)
Tuesday14th July: Blessed Richard Langhorne, Martyr
10.00am Mass Sidney Wogan & family RIP
Wednesday 15th July: St Bonaventure, Bishop & Doctor
10.00am Mass Brian Barrett Int.
Thursday 16th July: Our Lady of Mount Carmel
10.00am Mass Wendy Kelly Int.
Friday 17th July: 14th Week of Ordinary Time
10.00am Mass Renne Family RIP
5.00pm Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Rosary & Benediction
Saturday 18th July: St Edburga Of Bicester, Religious
10.00am Mass Sheila Lack RIP
Sat 6.30pm Mass For the people of the parish
Sunday 19th July: 16th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR (A)
Sun 10.30am Mass Dániel Solymári Int.
To watch the parish Liturgy on the internet, either ask Denise to email you the daily link, or go to our parish website and press the link button that reads TAKE ME THERE. Live Masses have the word LIVE printed on the picture on the screen: you click on that and you should be there. Just make sure that it is the correct Mass.
EXPOSITION, ROSARY AND BENEDICTION – every Friday at 5.00pm. We will continue to pray the Rosary after Mass each weekday.
RE-OPENING OUR CHURCH – Our church is open for private prayer from 11.00am to 1.00pm on Thursdays and from 4.00pm to 6.00pm on Sundays. Everything continues to be going well. It is lovely to see parishioners coming into the church to pray.
The Re-opening Guidelines for our Parishioners are now available on the parish website: they are a guide to what each parishioner needs to do when they visit the church – and we ask that each visitor will comply with them. The stewards will be present to give any assistance or guidance necessary.
I am very grateful to Denise and Deacon Peter for their hard work in getting this together. A big thank you to all who have volunteered for the cleaning and stewarding. If you have any questions, please contact Denise on the parish office email or Deacon Peter on firstname.lastname@example.org
SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION – If anyone would like to go to Confession, please do contact me by email or call round to the presbytery. Confessions will not be held in the confessional but in a safe place and with appropriate distancing, in compliance with the guidelines.
PUBLIC MASSES AND LITURGIES – We are hoping to be able to celebrate public Masses in the near future. Before we do so, we need to make sure that we have everything properly organised. I am very grateful to the stewards and the others who have volunteered to help out in ensuring we can do so safely. I hope to announce a meeting time to run over things and work out what needs to be done and who will do what.
The obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended by our Bishop. When we begin to celebrate public Mass, you may wish to think of a day in the week when you might want to attend.
Deacon Peter has kindly been putting together Guidelines for when we come to Mass again: they are based on the Government’s regulations and the requirements of the Bishop. They will soon be available on the parish website.
We may need your address details and your email address. Please do contact Denise to ensure that we have them on the system. Your details will only be used in connection with parish matters and will never be passed to any third party. We may have to use these details for organising public Masses especially for weekends. Any sign-in sheets for a Mass would be kept for 3 weeks if we need to comply with the Government’s Track and Trace programme – we do not have to but it might still be useful to do so.
If you know any parishioners who do not have internet access or have no email address, please could you let us know so that we can contact them by post. The email to contact us on is: email@example.com
We may need some more volunteers to help with cleaning the church after public Masses. There is no mention in the advice from the Bishops’ Conference of any age limits. If you would like to be on a rota for cleaning, please contact Denise on: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am grateful for the suggestions and offers of a number of parishioners with planning for public Masses. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to be in touch.
ANGELUS –Traditionally this prayer is said first thing in the morning, and then at midday and finally at 6.00pm. You will find the text of the Angelus on the parish website.
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION – Even if you are not attending Mass, you can make a Spiritual Communion every day. It is an expressed heartfelt desire to receive Our Lord even when we are unable. In making the prayer, we receive the Lord spiritually. Here is one prayer to make a Spiritual Communion:
My Jesus, I believe that You are truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as being already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
St Alphonsus Liguori
FOODBANK – Many thanks to all of you who have been supporting the Food Bank. They are very grateful for the support of people from Olney – Catholics, Anglicans and others. The donation box remains outside the presbytery door every day and is checked often. The Food Bank needs donations of goods such as
- Long Life Juice
- Long Life Milk
- Tinned Rice Pudding / Custard
- Tinned Meat
- Tinned Vegetables
- Tinned Tomatoes
- Pasta Sauce
USEFUL YOUTUBE CHANNELS TO WATCH – Fr Stephen Wang, from the Archdiocese of Westminster, is presenting some very clear and helpful reflections on various matters connected with our Faith on his YouTube channel, Pause for Faith. Please do have a look and subscribe if you would like to. He is a great communicator.
So too is Fr Mike Scmitz. An American priest, he often appears on the YouTube channel, Ascension Presents. He also has a website where you can have access to a number of his excellent talks and homilies: http://bulldogcatholic.org
ISSUES AROUND LIFE – The attempt on Monday 6th July to extend abortion even further in this country using two amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill failed as those proposing it were forced to withdraw their amendments – there was a strong prospect that they would be defeated. Many thanks to those of you who decided to lobby your MP. We remain vigilant of course as this issue will continue to surface.
PARISH SUPPORT – If you would like to contribute, you can either put the offering through the door of the Presbytery – if you didn’t collect your new envelopes, just put down your old envelope number on an envelope with your initials. If you would prefer to set up a standing order for donations to your parish using either your on-line bank account or in your branch, please contact Denise for the relevant details. Any cheques should be made payable to Our Lady Help of Christians.
MASS OFFERINGS (STIPENDS) – If you have any Mass intentions to be offered, please contact Fr David, Deacon Peter or Denise. Please do include the full name of the person for whom you want the Mass to be offered, whether they are alive or deceased.
The parable of the sower is one of those well-known parables that almost trips off the tongue. In the Gospel today, Jesus gives us a rare interpretation of one of His parables, but He gives it only to His disciples. He appears to say that the parables can only be understood if our hearts and minds are open to the truth that He is revealing. If our minds and hearts are closed or cluttered, we will make no headway into them at all, but remain looking on without understanding.
Why doesn’t Jesus just straightforwardly preach the truth? Why does He almost hide it in mystery? Why can’t He just speak it so that everyone can understand what He is saying?
All we need to do is to look at our own world today to see how being straightforward about the truth is not as easy as we might think. You can be straightforward ion what you say but are people straightforwardly listening to what you say? A common response of journalists on television to a statement by any public figure is, “So, what you’re saying is…” and then they appear to draw all sorts of different meanings out from what someone has said – usually in order to be controversial, or to catch the speaker out. There may be good reasons sometimes for this approach – but it isn’t straightforward, and it has ended up with people becoming very guarded about what they say. We also might note that what we hear as “The News” is often chosen for us by editors and their teams, crafted to deliver a certain message, and so appears to increasingly exhibit the bias of the editorial team. We might just briefly note how what we call Pro-Life campaigners are called anti-abortion campaigners by most of our British media; while pro-abortion campaigners are referred to as pro-choice by the same media. This is an editorial decision – but it shows where the bias really is.
So, being straightforward is not as easy as it appears. We may try to be, but it is not always guaranteed that those who hear us will be. We all carry our own baggage, our own pride or ego or hurt or fear or doubts. There are those who want us to speak but not in order to listen to us – but to catch us out. This was true in the time of Jesus – just think about the many traps laid for Him by the pharisees, scribes and priests. Their heart was not open to hearing but was poised to entrap and destroy.
The same thing happened during the Reformation in this country and afterwards. Many of those who practised their Faith were accused of being treasonous towards the country – even though they were proud members of the nation and were involved in no form of sedition at all. One such example is Blessed Richard Langhorne, whose Memorial we celebrate this Tuesday 14th July. He was actually born nearby, in Bedford, in around 1624. He eventually became a barrister – admitted to the Inner Temple in London in 1647, he was called to the bar in 1654. He provided legal and financial advice to the Jesuits. He was married to a Protestant, Dorothy Legatt, and they had two sons who eventually became priests.
Eventually he fell victim to the notorious Titus Oates Plot. Oates was a particularly dodgy character, a conman in the Church of England and also in the Catholic Church, as he flip-flopped between the two to secure whatever advantage he could. Eventually Oates claimed there was a Catholic plot to kill the King, Charles II – but the whole thing was a fiction. However, in the feverish, almost hysterical atmosphere of the time, many believed him. A number of priests were arrested but although nothing treasonous was found, there was a belief there had to be something behind it all. Richard Langhorne’s role as advisor to the Jesuits was discovered and he too was arrested.
He was charged with treason even though there was no evidence of it – except the word of Oates that he had seen letters forming the plot in Langhorne’s correspondence. Blessed Richard’s trial was profoundly unjust – the main judge was deeply anti-Catholic and would not countenance that any of Richard’s good evidence was pertinent. He was sentenced to death and lead to the scaffold at Tyburn on 14th July 1679. He died prayerfully, praying for the King and the country, forgiving those who had lied about him; then kissing the rope by which he would hanged, he turned to the executioner, saying, ““I am desirous to be with my Jesus. I am ready and you need stay no longer for me.”
Over the next couple of years the utterly fiction of the Titus Oates plot was revealed – but the harm had been done. A number of priests and laypeople, including St Oliver Plunkett, were its victims. We would call Titus Oates’ story “fake news” perhaps – but it was news with deadly consequences.
This sorry tale, and the reason Jesus gives for teaching us in parables, invite us to an important consideration. Are my fears, doubts, disliked, hatreds, doubts, ego, and the other kinds of vice, in the driving seat of who I am? Do they propel me forward? Are they what influence what I say or what I listen to or what I hear? Probably, in one way or another, some of them are active in each one of us. The Word that Jesus is casting upon us invites us to acknowledge the things that control us, the things that keep us turned inwards. By acknowledging them freely before Christ we plough the soil of who we are – or rather, we allow Him to plough them, making them open to the possibility of being enriched. Honesty before God about these things is also called humility – and humility is the great fertiliser of the spiritual life, because it opens us up to the graciousness and love that God wants to lavish upon us. This kind of humility or honesty helps us to lower our defensiveness – and widens our hearts to receive the Word. The more we receive the Word (which is Jesus Himself, the Word made flesh), the more we will desire Him, like Blessed Richard did – “I am desirous to be with my Jesus.”
The marvellous thing about this kind of humility is that it does not reduce us – instead, we gain everything, because we gain God. It might seem scary at first, but the fear is only apparent, not real. What is real is the promise of God that when we open ourselves honestly to His Word, we become much more than we were – no longer closed in on ourselves in spiritual sterility, but opened up to flower and bear fruit – thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold.
May Our Lady, Help of Christians, St Joseph, St Lawrence, Blessed Richard Langhorne, and St Rita pray for us all.
With my love and prayers,
Fr David B Barrett