The 4th Sunday of Easter is known as ‘Good Shepherd’ Sunday because the gospel is always from chapter 10 of St John’s Gospel and is a day of prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The section that is read today emphasises the cost of shepherding. The Good Shepherd is the one who ‘lays down his life’ and he does this not grudgingly or accidentally but, like Jesus, ‘of my own free will. To embrace the gospel is to accept that the consequences may be demanding but it is also the way of the Resurrection, for it is in the power of Jesus to ‘take it up again’ both for himself and for those who (like Peter) act in his name.
Perhaps we don’t take too kindly to being compared with sheep! Yet the image does fit us well. Left to ourselves we can so easily be defenceless before devouring wolves (or their modern equivalent); also sheep are not known for their sense of direction – hence the need for sheep dogs. It occurs to me that this is the role of a parish priest: while effectively being one of the flock he also has the responsibility for gathering the sheep and giving them a sense of direction!
Today we will listen to a Pastoral Letter from Bishop Alan. He writes about vocations and in particular the role of the priest in the life of the Church. He also gives a personal reflection on his own vocation to the priesthood which, he says, ’has been a continual source of joy and happiness, something that I have never regretted for one moment’. I too would agree with his words. The priesthood has been an immense blessing and it is a privilege and (most of the time!) a joy to serve you in this parish.
God bless you all,
Today (Sat/Sun) there is a 2nd collection: the Priest’s Training Fund.
Catholic East Anglia, our Diocesan newspaper (May edition) is available in our churches. Do pick up a copy – it’s FREE.
Senior Citizens’ Group (NW) is meeting a little earlier (10am) in the hall on Monday 27th. AM. – Computer Workshop plus Planning Meeting, including plans for the fete stall. PM. – A visit from Katie Maidment on Support Cambodia. Any retired parishioners, who may be thinking of joining the group, are more than welcome to come along.
A planning meeting for the Parish Summer Fete (Sunday 5th July) is on Tuesday 28th April in the Meeting Room of the hall at 7pm. If you are unable to attend but would like to contribute to the Fete in some way, please speak with Fr James or contact Teresa Butler on 07901 830327 or 01692 405007. Volunteers are needed to make this event a huge success.
Diocesan Pilgrimage to Walsingham – Bank Holiday Monday 4th May. A coach will pick up parishioneers from Hoveton 9.30am, N Walsham 9.50am & Aylsham 10.15am arriving at the Shrine at 11.15am. Be punctual as the coach cannot wait for latecomers. Departure at 5pm. Please PUT NAMES ON THE LIST TODAY – we need to know numbers. The cost of £5 will be collected on the coach: remember to bring a packed lunch.
Churches Together, Aylsham have an AGM/Evensong this Sunday afternoon at 4pm at St Michael’s Church (Cof E).
St John of the Cross will be leading the service at St Michael’s Court Care Home on Tues 28th April at 11am.
Ignite Catholic Youth Festival on 2/3/4 May ‘15; Sacred Heart School, Swaffham: ticket £13. Book via www.ignitefestival.co.uk or email: firstname.lastname@example.org see poster for details.
Ann Gibbs and family would like to thank Fr James, Deacon Ron and all our parish family for the prayers, love and support given to us and Ron during his illness and at our sad loss of him.
We pray for those all whose anniversaries occur during this week including: Doris Johnson, Sally Lovell, Charles Ablitt, Livia Caffarelli, Francis Booth-Skinner, John Browne, Betty Empson, David Bullen and Bernard Williams.
May they rest in peace.