St John the Evangelist

New Ferry, in the Diocese of Shrewsbury, Reg. Charity 234025

Fr. Frank Rice;

Revd. Philip White; Revd. Michael Daly phone: 0151 645 3314

email: stjohntheevangelist

websites: www.stjohnevang.co.uk www.lpa24.org

4th. Sunday of Year B January 29th. 2012

FAITH IN FOCUS: TELLING IT AS IT IS

Lazy preachers use religious words. It’s easier than getting down to the nitty-gritty but it doesn’t help people to connect their faith with their lives. So whenever you hear a sermon that is peppered with words like salvation, ecclesial, redemption, Christological, justification, metanoia, eschatology, sanctifying grace or beatific vision, then you know that the preacher is using shorthand. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of these words; they are theological ways of expressing our faith and the work of God in our lives. But they remain on a cerebral level. They engage the mind but more often than not don’t reach the heart. They are not geared to connecting faith with life in a way that most people readily understand.

When the Jewish religious teachers preached they appear to have fallen into the same trap. What they said was right, but it was stale. People found it hard to become enthusiastic when they heard them preach.

Then Jesus came along. People related to what he said because they could see that it had meaning for the way they were trying to live. It connected with their struggles, their fears and their hopes. When they described his teaching, people said that he taught “with authority”. By this they did not mean that he took an official stance or that he talked down to people as if they were ignorant. It meant that they could see that his teaching was going to have a beneficial effect on their lives. It made sense and they could grasp its significance.

Authority meant that his words had clout. The word authority comes from a Latin word that at its root means to increase or grow. To speak with authority meant that what Jesus was saying to them would make them grow, cause them to develop, to fulfil their potential. Unlike the scribes who simply told people all the rules that they had to obey, Jesus’ teaching was a liberating experience that spoke about the value and worth of the human person before God. It encouraged people, offered them hope, gave them confidence and made them want to be part of the message and to tell others about it. It was more than just words. And it still is today

His teaching made a deep impression on them, because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority. (Mark 1: 22)

WORD FOR TODAY

Scripture is what nourishes our faith. If we are to be prophets of God, as we agreed to be at our baptism, then we need to know what God is saying to our world. The more united we become with God’s word, the more familiar we are with the words of the gospels, the more faithful we will be to our calling as prophets.

Sincere words are not grand. (Lao Tze)

The preacher in the small Irish town began to berate the congregation for being liars, drunkards and adulterers. It made me wonder what the people were like who hadn’t even bothered to come to church that Sunday. But more than that, it made my heart weep to think that the man saw his job as an enforcer rather than as an enticer. (Joy Navarra)

Shrewsbury Catholic Charismatic Renewal Weekend at Pantasaph Friary, 2nd-4th March. Cost £90. Speaker Fr. Brendan Rice. Details Ann Murray 645 5514

The dates for the Annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes 2012 areTuesday 24thJuly to Wednesday 1st August 2012 overland &Wednesday 25th July to Tuesday 31st July 2012 by air.

Preparations for the pilgrimage are well underway but, given the continuing fluctuation of the value of the euro against the pound sterling, we shall delay publishing our prices until the end of February so that we may hopefully be able to offer the best possible prices.

We anticipate that despite a slight rise in hotel costs and increased costs of the train and coaches, prices for the overland section will be broadly the same as last year. There may be an increase for the air section as only two dioceses will be using the plane in sequence this year instead of three as last year.

In the meantime, anyone wishing to reserve a seat on the plane may send their £100 deposit to the Pilgrimage Office, St Peters, 16 Green Lane, Hazel Grove, STOCKPORT SK74EA. A brochure and booking form will be sent as soon as they become available. If those who have paid deposits decide not to proceed after our prices are finalised their deposit will be fully refunded.

4th. Sun Yr. B 29th. 5.30pm10am

6.30

Parishioners

Nell & John Ryan

Prayer Meeting

Mon 30th. 9.15 Eddie Fryer
Tues 31st. 9.00 Funeral Mass

Edward Foley

Wed 1st. 9.15 Pat McNeil
Thurs.

Presentation

(Candlemas Day)

2nd. 6pm. Enrolment Mass for First Sacraments
Fri 3rd. 9.15 Fergus O’Brien
5th. Sun Yr. B 5th. 5.30pm

10am

8pm

John Sawell

Parishioners

Prayer Meeting

Please pray for our sick and those who care for them

John Price, James Sweatman, Frances Heslin, Liam Halpen, Philomena Moore, Margaret Randles, Michael Collins, Teresa McLean, Denis Welch, Josie Cohen, Peter Williamson, Kathy Smith, Marjorie Hoey, Mrs H McCormack, Esther Roche, Fay Challoner, Sheila Stockley, Joan & Charles Reynolds, Kath Holland, Mary Bryden, Owen & JosieToohey, Betty Kennedy, Helen Worth, Christopher Hadfield, Ivan Gregory, Christopher & Raymond McNally, Mark Harrison, Genevieve Foster, Aileen McGuigan. & Chris Foster, Norah & John McManus. Remember also those in theparish who do not wish their illness to be made public but who also need our prayers.

Money- thank you

Offertory £801 p.

Boiler £46

120 Club Winners No 60 Sara White £20

The Barn Dance raised a total of

£732 94p- this was an occasion much enjoyed by all who attended and the sum raised will go towards further improvements in the parish centre. Keep your eyes peeled for the next event.

This weekend, there will be a second collection for the retired priests’ fund (there are envelopes available for those who pay tax and would like to gift aid their donations).

Lots of lovely new books on order- should be here by next weekend!

Retreat weekend for young adults (20s and 30s)

Theme: Lord, let my prayer rise before you…

Dates: 10th – 12th February 2012

Location: Salford Cost: any donation is welcome. The weekend will provide opportunity for prayer, reflection and discussion with other young catholic adults. For more informationcontact Sr MaryAnne fcJ at maryannefcj or visit our facebook event

https://www.facebook.com/events/255697284501022/

What is it?

Faith is the oxygen of religion. It’s what we breathe in all our dealings with God. Faith tells us that we are creatures of an intelligent personal godhead revealed to people over the centuries and more specifically in latter times in the person of Jesus Christ. If we could see God in a material way, face to face, then we might not need faith because we would be living with a mathematical or scientific certainty. But the fact is that we are confronted with something so enormous and infinite when we come to talk about God that we cannot “prove” in the conventional way that God exists. We know that God exists from our experience of life and from our shared response as the Church to what Jesus taught and promised.

So does this mean that we have to park our brains at the front door of the church and become spoon-fed and possibly deluded once we become Christians? Of course not. In a certain sense having faith gives us a greater responsibility to try and come closer to the mystery that is God made visible in Christ. And our growth in faith is a womb to tomb experience. We never graduate in faith. We take the test every day. It’s continual assessment. Faith makes demands on us to try and discern a pattern of the way God works in our lives. And if we never question our faith then we will remain childish, not childlike. For our faith has to be adult.

St Werburgh (3rd February) was the daughter of a king of Mercia, a nun in the joint monastery of men and women at Ely. She founded several monasteries in Mercia and was buried in Staffs. However due to Viking incursions her remains were moved to Chester where they were a focus of pilgrimage until the Reformation.

Presentation of the Lord
The feast was first observed in the Eastern Church as “The Encounter.” In the sixth century, it began to be observed in the West: in Rome with a more penitential character and in Gaul (France) with solemn blessings and processions of candles, popularly known as “Candlemas.” The Presentation of the Lord concludes the celebration of the Nativity and with the offerings of the Virgin Mother and the prophecy of Simeon, the events now point toward Easter.

“In obedience to the Old Law, the Lord Jesus, the first-born, was presented in the Temple by his Blessed Mother and his foster father. This is another ‘epiphany’ celebration insofar as the Christ Child is revealed as the Messiah through the canticle and words of Simeon and the testimony of Anna the prophetess. Christ is the light of the nations, hence the blessing and procession of candles on this day. In the Middle Ages this feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or ‘Candlemas,’ was of great importance. This is why we have chosen this feast for the enrolment Mass for our children who are to receive 1st Sacraments this year.I