WORD OF GOD

Ezra read from the Law of God, translating and giving the sense, so that the people understood what was read. (Nehemiah 8:8)

WORD FOR TODAY

The people cried when Ezra read them God’s law, not because of its severity but because of its over-arching goodness and mercy. For Christians the wisdom of God took shape in the person of Jesus and in his summary of all laws: love God and love your neighbour as yourself.

Probably all laws are useless; for good people do not need laws at all and bad people are made no better by them.

(Demonax the Cynic)

I have never agreed with those who sayÖthe churches should not comment on political and social problems. But politicians have an equal right to comment on the role the churches play and there is little point in crying “foul” when they do not like what is being said. (Douglas Hurd)

A tightrope has to be walked. On the one hand worship is primary. We exist to praise God. But Christian worship only praises God when it is spoken and sung by people whose lives are consumed by God’s Spirit. There is no point in singing about setting captives free and giving sight to the blind if our lives centre only on hymnbooks. The bread and wine at our Sunday liturgy should be ground and fermented from the crucible of our lives during the previous six days.

(Anne McQuaid)

Chris Foster is knitting Easter chicks for charity and hopes to reach last year’s total of 300! She is seeking donations of double knotting wool of any colour. Wool may be left with Chris Brockway who is usually at Saturday evening Mass. Alternatively you can ring Chris Foster on 645 6678

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

3rd. Sunday of the Year 27th January 2013

FAITH IN FOCUS: THERE SHOULD BE A LAW ABOUT IT

Politicians know that to be successful they have to convince us they would pass better laws in four main areas: education, health, transport and earnings. Everything else just comes and goes.

Even though most of us don’t like laws (we’d prefer fewer rather than more), we do recognise that they can be useful in regulating life for the common good. So we elect people to make laws that promote fairness and foster harmony in society.

The Jewish people were famous for their laws; they seemed to have one for every occasion. But when they were deported to Babylon in Iraq in exile, the new generations lost touch with their legal system. Upon their return to Jerusalem Ezra gathered them into an assembly and read the whole of the Law to them. They cried and wept, not because the laws were harsh, but because they showed the all-encompassing care that God had for them in setting up this legal system. That’s why the psalmist sang about the Law of God being perfect and gladdening the heart.

All the Old Testament laws come to fulfilment in Christ. The wisdom of God once encased in legal codes is now distilled in the person of Jesus. And when we come across him in his home-town synagogue he takes the opportunity to tell people that the law is now fulfilled in their very presence. We know later that he would sum all of thisup in two laws: love God and love your neighbour.

Unlike man-made laws, the law of God is not intended to be a burden to people. It’s intended to set them free to get on with life. God’s law is ordered in such a way that the innate goodness and beauty of human life should be shared by all to the maximum. It encourages growth rather than restricts; it offers freedom rather than a straight-jacket. It looks at the whole picture rather than the interest of the moment.

So when Jesus says that the law and prophets are about to be fulfilled, what does he say will happen? The poor will get some good news, prisoners will be given their liberty, the blind will see again and oppressed people will be set free. If there’s a politician out there, your time may be running out…

3rd.Sunday of Year 27th. 5.30pm

10am

8pm

Theresa Candeland

Parishioners

Prayer Meeting

Mon 28th. 9.15 Jones Family
Tues 29th. 9.15 Ivan Gregory
Wed 30th. 9.15 Davis Family
Thurs. 31st. 8am

6pm

Peter McCloskey

Enrolment Mass

1st Sacraments

Fri 1st. 9.15 Private Intention
Sat. 2nd. Feast of Presentation
4th.Sunday of the Yr. 3rd. 5.30pm

10am

8pm

Private Intention

Parishioners

Prayer Meeting

Please pray for our sick and those who care for them

Barbara Gillespie, Doreen Wrigg, John Price, Frances Heslin, Liam Halpen, Margaret Randles, Teresa McLean, 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, Christopher & Raymond McNally & John McManus. Remember also those in the parish who do not wish their illness to be made public but who also need our prayers.

If this list needs updating then please do inform one of our clergy.

Please note that Morning Prayer is celebrated 15 minutes before the start of each weekday mass

Money- thank you

Offertory: £570 88 p

Retired Priests’ annual collection. £514 63p

Boiler £13

120 Club Winners No. 29 R Harvey £20

Latest Heating Bills

House £842 08

Hall £960 48

Church £1392 24

As we shiver onward through the winter please be aware of the cost and where possible ensure the church doors are not left open for lengthy periods. Thanks
The Carlton Players present Double Vision a comedy by Eric Chapell at the Little Theatre Birkenhead on Tuesday 5th February. This performance will be in aid of the SVP. Doors open at 7pm ready for the performance at 7.30pm. Tickets £7 from Theresa Young.

Spinks, a short sighted, hard up ex-boxer tells the other residents of his tower block that he has won the lottery. With the assistance of his alcoholic friend Kingsley he attempts to woo the twin sisters who come after his alleged fortune.

Sadly, we were forced to cancel the barn Dance because of the poor weather conditions. Perhaps we can find a suitable time to re stage this later in the year. No! All that practice won’t go to waste!

St. John’s is now a food collection point for the Wirral Food bank. The food bank relies on non-perishable, in date, food donations to feed local people in crisis. Please help by bringing along any of the items listed from the food bank’s urgent food list: UHT or powdered milk, instant mash toilet rolls in packs of 2 or 4. Also needed are baby milk, nappies, feminine hygiene, tinned meat, squash and cereals.

No baked beans or tinned soup at present.

Please place donations in box at the back of the church. WEEKENDS ONLY (Mass times)

For further information ring Cecily 645 7645 or Bernadette 609 0198

It is quite a few years since we collected information about our parish and parishioners. A lot of what we have is now out of date. So before and after the masses next weekend we will be handing out and inviting you to complete a form to help us with our records. The information we will be asking you to supply is needed to enable the parish to work effectively in the community and provide better services to our parishioners and achieve our pastoral objectives. I can promise you that the information you give will be kept securely and that your privacy will be entirely respected. The information you give will be held in confidence and available solely to parish clergy and some ministers being completed in church, they will need to go to those who cannot easily get to mass, and also to Catholics who do not come to church that often. If you can help with delivering and collecting forms in those cases, please let Carol Dalzielor Philip know. Thank you for your co-operation with this and used only for the church’s pastoral provision. It will certainly not go to any commercial concern.

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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

Epiphany 6th January 2013

FAITH IN FOCUS: TAKING THE TREE DOWN

Did you have a Christmas tree, and, if so, how long did you keep it up? Just until Boxing Day or did you leave it for the whole 12 days of Christmas?

Epiphany has become associated with the end of the Christmas season, with vacuuming up all the pine needles from the carpet, carefully storing the lights and decorations back in the loft and finding a safe place for wrapping paper that will come in handy next year. Yet the feast of Epiphany isn’t really about endings. It’s about beginnings.

The word “epiphany” is from the Greek word that means “showing/display/manifestation”. When the wise men arrive from distant parts with their gifts for Jesus, the gospel is letting us know that the glory of God, in the baby, is being acknowledged by people from the ends of the known earth. God’s glory is being made manifest.

We can easily fall into the old trap of thinking that this feast is about the past, about events that happened 2,000 years ago. Of course, that’s only part of the picture. All feasts are about today, not just the past. But how are we to understand Epiphany?

Quite simply, each of us today is being called to be an “epiphany” for the world. By celebrating this feast we ask God to unite us with Jesus, as shining examples of Christ’s love for the world. We ask that we may be so close to Jesus that we become stars leading others to get to know God’s Son.

So the feast of the Epiphany, like all feasts, looks to the future. When the baby was born in Bethlehem, God revealed his eternal plan of salvation and showed us how to live so that we might enjoy everlasting life. Jesus is the light of the world and by following him humanity is able to be refashioned and renewed in God’s image.

This too is our future. Are we prepared to live in a way that brings light to others? To “display” the type of God we have? To let people see God’s glory? In a nutshell, are we ready not only to celebrate the Epiphany in church but also to “be” an epiphany of God in the world?

WORD OF GOD

Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Mt 2: 11)

WORD FOR TODAY

Today we are called on not just to remember the first Epiphany. We’re invited to be epiphanies or models of God’s presence in our world today. What sort of light does our star shine around us and can people look at us and glimpse something of God?

Quite simply, each of us today is being called to be an “epiphany” for the world. By celebrating this feast we ask God to unite us with Jesus, as shining examples of Christ’s love for the world. We ask that we may be so close to Jesus that we become stars leading others to get to know God’s Son.

(Oliver Todd)

My whole life had been spent waiting for an epiphany, a manifestation of God’s presence, the kind of transcendent, magical experience that lets you see your place in the big picture. And that is what I had with my first compost heap. (Bette Midler)

Since Epiphany means “to reveal”, in many western Churches, it is remembered as the three wise men who bring gifts when they come to visit Jesus as an infant. They therefore “reveal” Jesus as the Lord and King to the world. In South America and in a few parts of Central America, this time is greatly influenced by the Catholic tradition. The “Three Kings” Day is a time to open Christmas gifts. When it comes to a few eastern Churches, the Theophany commemorates Jesus’ baptism as Epiphany which is marked by the Magi visit that is connected to Christmas. The Theophany or Epiphany occurs on January 19th in this tradition. (Anon)

During the month of January there is to be a retiring collection for the Retired Priests’ fund. Envelopes are available for your offerings. Thank you on behalf of my retired colleagues.

Epiphany 6th. 5.30pm

10am

8pm

Jack McCormick

Parishioners

Prayer Meeting

Mon 7th. 9.15 Jones Family
Tues 8th. 12md. Denis Hawkey
Wed 9th. 9.15 Davis Family
Thurs. 10th. 8am Benefactors SSCF
Fri 11th. 9.30 Funeral Mass for Genevieve Foster
Baptism if the Lord 13th. 5.30pm

10am

3.30pm

8pm

Private Int.

Parishioners

Vatican 2 Talk by Philip White (Deo Verbum)

Prayer Meeting

Please pray for our sick and those who care for them

Doreen Wrigg, John Price, Frances Heslin, Liam Halpen, Margaret Randles, Teresa McLean, 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 & Josie Toohey, Betty Kennedy, Helen Worth, Christopher Hadfield, Christopher & Raymond McNally & John McManus. Remember also those in the parish who do not wish their illness to be made public but who also need our prayers.

If this list needs updating then please do inform one of our clergy.

Please note that Morning Prayer is celebrated 15 minutes before the start of each weekday mass

Money- thank you

Offertory: £686 71p

Crib (Children’s Society) £79 35p

Boiler £5.00p

120 Club Winners No. 109 D McLean £20

No 27 M Glover £10

Genevieve Foster has died after a lengthy illness. Genevieve was an active member of this parish until she became incapacitated. We commend her to the Lord. May she rest in peace.

The week of prayer for Christian Unity begins on Friday January 18th with the first venue being St Luke’s. We will host the event on Saturday 19th. There is a full list of venues and dates on the notice board.

Please note Philip’s next talk will be on Sunday 13th at 3.30pm- he no longer able to ‘do’ Wednesday mornings. The document under discussion is Deo Verbum.

The Parish Team is not a secret society! We meet monthly and anyone within the parish is welcome to put forward items which they think need drawing to our attention. The minutes of the meetings are posted on the board at the back of the church but sometimes it is submerged in all the other information on the notice boards.

Have you polished your boots ready for the Barn Dance? This will be held on Friday 18th from 7.30pm. We have a great caller and you can BYOB and have a great time with your friends. Please support his venture- our first social event of 2013. Sign up in the church porch or ask Ann Murray for further details. Just a fiver will buy you lots of fun!

Many of the local churches collect goods for the local food bank. It has been suggested that we should also play our part and I agree. However, before we start any collecting we need a group of reliable people who will remove the goods EVERY week and take them to the appropriate place. We cannot have lots of stuff accumulating at the back of the church for weeks on end. Could this be the job for you in the New Year to help those who find themselves in a bind?

I am not the keeper of anyone’s conscience and all I ask is that you ask yourselves what you are doing to serve the parish and your neighbour. Our faith impels us to love our neighbour.

If this task is not for you, then there are many ways you can help us to build a stronger community at St John’s thereby strengthening the body of Christ. All existing teams need additional help.

The cleaners meet on Tuesdays after the 9.15 am Mass. They are all ladies but there is nothing to stop men joining too.

The flower arrangers are short of personnel- even if it is just to tidy the arrangements or dispose of faded arrangements prior to the new ones being put in place. Their store room needs a good (post-Christmas) tidy up too .

The Children’s liturgy team have appealed for new leaders on several occasions and they will soon recommence their valuable sessions at the 10am Mass. Could you become part of this important team?

The notice boards are neglected and need someone to dedicate themselves to keeping them up to date.

This has been designated a Year of Faith by Pope Benedict. Is this just to be another title for year which will pass us by or will we use it as an opportunity to deepen our personal faith and to put our beliefs into practice. Over to you!

If you would like to investigate the possibility of becoming more involved then I ask you to put your contact details into a book at the back of the church and I will ask the appropriate person to get in touch with you. Thank you to all the unsung people who already do so much to keep things ticking over.