You have probably noticed that I am making the parish newsletter more of a letter than simply a diary of forthcoming events – putting the letter back into newsletter in fact! The challenge is to get more people reading the inside pages. But not, of course, during the homily!
What strikes me about today’s Gospel reading is that the demonic spirits recognise who Jesus is and acknowledge his authority, but no one else does at the time. The crowds – and the disciples – are simply amazed or astonished. The crowds are impressed by the teaching and the authority of Jesus, but that is not enough for faith. Ultimately faith is not the result of human evidence; it is a gift given by God. Perhaps we need to be reminded that the decision to believe is not so much one that we make on the basis of our human intellect but the opening of our minds by God who leads us into the world of faith. ’All is grace’, the French writer Georges Bernanos tells us which is another way of saying that we depend on God for all that we have and all that we hold to be true.
When I was growing up in Liverpool every parish seemed to have its own Catholic school. The situation in East Anglia is very different where Catholics are relatively few and thinly spread. Many rural parishes, including our own, do not have easy access to Catholic schools and some people are reluctant to support them. However we need to see the bigger picture; after all we are part of a world-wide church and should always look beyond our local community. Today there will be a retiring collection for the Catholic Education Service.
It is good to see the snowdrops in the parish garden. They tell us that spring, if not quite round the corner, is not too far away. So far the bees have survived the winter well and can even be seen out and about on days when the temperature reaches 8*.
God bless you all.
PS. From a genuine report from a hospital in Glasgow:
‘This patient has left her white blood cells at another hospital’.
For your diary…. (The Parish Diaries have arrived!)
The Senior Citizens’ group in North Walsham meets on Monday 2nd February: am Computer Workshop; 2pm Roy Davenport from the Magic Kingdom is going to give a talk on magic and entertain us all.
Last November we were invited to submit up to three poems for the Religious Poem Competition: the poems, of no more than 25 lines (including blank lines) of 160 words, must have a religious theme and be sent by 28th February 2015 to Religious Poem Competition, United Press, Admail 3735, London EC1B 1JB. Tel 0844 800 9177 or email info @untiedpress.co.uk. For more information visit www.unitedpress.co.uk Judging will take place in early March. The winner’s church will receive £250 plus ten free books.
On Saturday, 7th February, Bishop Alan will celebrate Mass with the Anointing of the Sick at the Cathedral. The Mass will begin at 12 noon with Confessions from 11 am. This is the annual Mass in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes and everyone is welcome to attend. If you need disabled access please contact the Cathedral in advance (01603 624615)
On the same day St John of the Cross, Aylsham, invites the parish to a Quiz & Puddings Evening at the Parish Hall, North Walsham on beginning at 7.00pm. Tickets – £6 will be on sale after Mass from 11th February. Please bring drinks with you. This is the final push for the Roof Fund. Posters with details are on the church notice boards.
Aylsham Care Trust (ACT) require volunteer mini-bus drivers and catering assistants at Crumbs Cafe at the ACT centre. Contact information from Pauline Andrews at St John of the Cross.
Food banks (N Walsham & Aylsham): please see on notice boards letter of thanks for donations received and list of latest most pressing needs.
We pray for those whose anniversaries occur during this week including: Ivy Lilian Batty, Wasil Mychajlyszyn, Maria Teresa Harvey, Emma Letitia Healy, John Connolly, André Arnold Boucher and Anna Digney Simpson.
May they rest in peace.
If you have any items for the newsletter please let us have them by Tuesday.