First Sunday of Lent, 18th February 2018. Cycle B


St John the Evangelist

128 Bebington Road, New Ferry, CH62 5BJ

Diocese of Shrewsbury   (reg. charity 234025)


Parish Priest: Fr Bernard Forshaw          Deacon: Revd Michael Daly   Phone:   0151 645 3314

Email: Websites: 


First Sunday of Lent, 18th February 2018. Cycle B



The problem with temptation is that we only recognise it after it’s over. When we are actually being tempted we see what’s on offer as completely normal. That’s why the smoker really believes that this little after-dinner light-up will not get them hooked once more, why the gambler is convinced that this bet on the cert means he’ll never need to worry about money again, and the woman passing the pub is confident that she can enjoy this tipple without stepping onto the downward spiral.

When the Spirit led Jesus out into the desert he was tempted by the devil. It’s reassuring to know that even Jesus was tempted. But how was he able to resist the temptations? He could do it because he wasn’t there alone; he was living in the Spirit. It was this close link with the Spirit that allowed him to refuse to give in.

Our society is hooked on the idea that we can improve ourselves by our own merits. Buy a self-help book and you’ll be able to levitate, speak Yiddish in three days and cook gourmet meals while composing your latest harpsichord sonata. All you have to do is pull yourself together and make the effort.

Sometimes Christians are guilty of borrowing this flawed attitude and applying it to the way we relate to God and the way we deal with the spiritual challenges of our lives. So we end up thinking that when it comes to temptation the only solution is to be firm, to exercise our willpower and everything will fall into place. This is usually referred to as the “muscular Christian” syndrome.

But however many little victories we may win by using this method, the only way to defeat temptation permanently is recognise that we need God’s help, God’s grace, the life of his Spirit. We cannot save ourselves; only Jesus Christ can. We cannot flex our spiritual muscles and overcome sin; only God’s grace can do that for us. If it were otherwise, then there would have been no need for Christ to die on the cross. As this Lent begins we are reminded that temptation is part of daily life. But we are offered another forty days to seek out God’s Spirit, to look for his life, to find the grace to resist temptation. And when we see others who have fallen at the hurdles of temptation, we become aware that there but for the grace of God go I.


Pilgrimage to Walsingham – ‘England’s Nazareth’ In collaboration with local coach company, Parrs: this spring and summer 2018 the National Shrine are arranging two regional residential pilgrimages to Walsingham from Liverpool. They will be on Friday 6th April to 9th April 2018 (Liverpool Regional Pilgrimage I) and on Friday 17th August to Monday 20th August 2018 (Liverpool Regional Pilgrimage II)The cost of the pilgrimage will be £185pp (standard room) and £225pp (on-suite room) and will include travel via Executive coach, accommodation and evening meals, plus an afternoon trip to a place of interest. For further information or to book, please contact Tony or Marc, from Parrs, Tel. 01514 277669.


The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days and was tempted by Satan. (Mark 1:12)




. Please continue to give generously to the Foodbank. The need is as great as ever. Please check the notice board at the back of Church for most needed items for the ADLENT APPEAL AND Easter Egg Donations. . Wirral Foodbank AGM is on Thursday 8th March at 7pm at Birkenhead Town Hall. Guest Speaker Rt. Hon Frank Field, MP will be speaking on the subject of Poverty, Present and Future.

All welcome.

Please take a copy of the Wednesday Word. It is a helpful reflection on next Sunday’s readings.



Tea & Coffee after Sunday 9.30am Mass every week in the Parish Centre. Why not stay a while and meet up with friends old and new.




If you have a notice for the bulletin please email it to the parish email address or put it through the presbytery letter box by 12 noon on Thursdays. Many thanks.







First Sunday of Lent

Cycle B

18th 5.00pm




Margo Sarson RIP

St John’s Parishioners

Stations of the Cross

Prayer Meeting

Monday 19th 9.15am Intentions Helen Bailey
Tuesday 20th 9.15am Winifred Sweeney RIP
Wednesday 21st 9.15am Rels/Frnds Brockway & Callaghan Families
Thursday 22nd 7.30am


Stephen Flattery RIP

Funeral Mass – Bryan Clarke

Friday 23rd 11.30am Service of Word & Communion
Saturday 24th    
Second Sunday of Lent

Cycle B

25th 5.00pm





Intentions Louise Murray

Intentions Teresa & Ernie Young & Family Stations of the Cross

Prayer Meeting

Children’s liturgy Sundays during 9.30 Mass.
Confessions Saturday 4.15-4.45pm
Morning Prayer 15 minutes before daily masses


Ash Wednesday 14th February


Each Thursday in Lent

Mass at 10.00am at St John’s

Masses at St Anne’s 9.30am & 7.30pm

Morning Mass at   7.30am

Each Saturday in Lent Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & Confessions 11.00am until 12 Noon
Each Sunday in Lent Stations of the Cross at 3.00pm in Main Church
CAFOD Soup Lunches

Friday 23rd February and Friday 9th & 16th March

Mass 11.30am followed by soup lunch in the Parish Centre

              LENT 2018 BEBINGTON Churches Together

                                        Lenten Lunches

Wednesday, 21st February Hr. Bebington Methodist Church
Wednesday, 28th February Christ Church,

Port Sunlight

Wednesday, 7th March St Luke’s
Wednesday, 14th March Christ Church,

Hr. Bebington

Wednesday , 21st March St John’s, New Ferry

Meeting at 10.30am for tea/coffee. Service begins at 11am and a soup lunch follows

Lately Dead: Please remember in your prayers

Bryan Clarke and Cel McGrath, great friends, both of whom died with an hour of each other last week.

Fr Paschal will celebrate Bryan Clarke’s Funeral Mass here at St John’s on Thursday at 10.15am.

Cel McGrath’s Funeral Mass will take place at Christ the King, Bromborough on Tuesday, 6th March at 2.00pm. May they and all the faithful departed rest in peace.


Readers: If you are UNAVAILABLE during the Easter Period

(24th March-1st April) please inform Dot Humphrey as soon as possible. Thank you.


Money Matters: Offertory: £643.67p

If you were not able to contribute to the Priest’s Retirement Fund last weekend, please put your contribution in one of the special envelopes on the table at the back of Church and place the envelope in the offertory bag or post it through the presbytery letterbox.


CAFOD Family Fast Day (next Friday) Envelopes are also on the table at the back of Church. Please take one and fill it with your offering/loose change and return into the offertory bag any weekend between now and Palm Sunday – 25th March

Lenten LPA Event: Margaret Lillis will be offering a Lenten Talk on Tuesday 27th February from 7.30 – 9.00. The title is: Exploring Lent: Scripture, Eucharist and Discipleship. The talk will take place in the church of Christ the King, Bromborough.

Lenten LPA Event: Fr. David Roberts will be offering a Lenten Talk on Tuesday 6th March from 7.30 – 9.00. The title is: Exploring our Catholic Faith through 10 Objects. The talk will take place in the church of Christ the King, Bromborough.

A “Welcome Café” in association with FairShare is now being held every Tuesday from 11.00am to 1pm at

St Anne’s Parish Centre, Highfield Road, Rock Ferry. Free Tea,Coffee and food to eat in or take home. FairShare are the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste. It’s really quite simple. They redistribute fresh, in date and good to eat surplus food to the local community.Why not go along on Tuesday and see how FairShare can help/support you and your family in these difficult times.


Lenten Movie Night: Showing “The Shack” will be held at Christ Church Community Centre,

Hr Bebington at 7.30pm on Wednesday

21st February. The film holds a Certificate 12. All aged 12 and above most welcome. On Wednesday 21st March, the film “Chocolat” will be showing. Discussion evenings, based on the two films, are planned for Wednesday 28th February and Wednesday 28th March.


Women’s World Day of Prayer will be held at Holy Trinity Church, Poulton Lancelyn, Spital on Friday 2nd March at 2pm. The Theme is “All God’s Creation is Very Good!” All Welcome


6th Diocesan Symposium on the Eucharist Saturday 3rd March at

St Ambrose College, Hale Barns 9.30am to 3.30pm & Sunday

4th March 12.30pm to 4.00pm in the Parish Rooms at Shrewsbury Cathedral. Speaker : Fr Oliver Treanor on the Eucharist: Maelstrom of Love. Please bring a packed lunch. Tea & Coffee provided. Further information from Barbara Davies email


Laughter in Africa Fundraiser (James Tyrrell’s charity…. working with the street children of Sierra Leone) a Ukulelathon … a family friendly ukulele night at St Anne’s Parish Centre on Friday 2nd March from 7.30pm onwards. Tickets £3 on the door or £10 for a family ticket. Raffle with great prizes. For more information contact Alison Benson on 07891459724


Congratulations to the children from St John’s School who celebrated their First Forgiveness in Church on Thursday evening. Thanks to the teaching staff for preparing the children so well for this important sacrament and thank you too parents and families for your support and prayers.

We wish all those on half term this week a peaceful and restful break.


The Parish Pastoral Team meet on Thursday at 7.30pm in the presbytery. If you have any suggestions/ideas for the team to consider please place them in the suggestions box on the table at the back of Church.




To be read at Mass in all churches and chapels of the Diocese

on the First Sunday of Lent, 18th February 2018


My dear brothers and sisters,

In this Eucharistic Year for the Diocese I am inviting us all to reflect more deeply on the mystery and reality of the Eucharist. My Advent Letter was an invitation to recognise with renewed faith and love the Blessed Sacrament of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ at the heart of all our churches. At the beginning of Lent, I want to draw your gaze especially towards the Altar where Christ’s Sacrifice, by which He loved us to the end, is made present anew (cf Jn 13:1). In Lent we think of the many sacrifices we are all called to make; yet Saint Peter draws our attention today to the one Sacrifice by which “Christ himself, innocent though he was, died once for sins, died for the guilty to lead us to God” (I Peter 3:18).

At the Altar this one Sacrifice of the Cross is made present for us anew in the offering of every Mass. As the Second Vatican Council taught, “At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages until he should come again…” (Sacrosanctum Concilium n 47). Lest we should lose sight of this, the Liturgy requires that there should be “a cross with the figure of Christ crucified upon it, either on the Altar or near it … a cross clearly visible to the assembled people … so as to call to mind … the saving Passion of the Lord” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal n 308).

It is our Catholic faith that “Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present” in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar and that the Sacrifice of Christ, made once on the Cross, is truly made present and its grace applied in the Sacrifice of the Altar (CCC 1374, 1366). This, the Church’s Catechism explains, is “manifested in the very words of institution ‘This is my Body given for you’ and ‘This chalice which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my Blood’” (CCC n 1365).



Yet, we might ask ourselves whether we have allowed the Mass to become reduced in our minds to merely a communal meal and celebration rather than the paschal banquet, the supper of the Lamb of God sacrificed for us? Have we thereby allowed new generations to become bored and uninterested in the Mass, by not allowing them to glimpse the awesome reality of this Sacrifice and Sacrament? Might we also fail to appreciate why the Second Vatican Council taught so clearly that the Eucharistic Sacrifice is the source and summit of the whole Christian life because in every Mass the central event of salvation becomes really present and the work of redemption is carried out (cf Lumen Gentium n 11, 3).

As Saint John Paul II explained in his last letter to the Church, “This sacrifice is so decisive for the salvation of the human race that Jesus Christ offered it and returned to the Father only after he had left us a means of sharing in it … What more could Jesus have done for us? Truly, in the Eucharist, he shows us a love which goes ‘to the end’, a love which knows no measure” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia n 11). How, then, could our hearts ever remain unmoved by this love beyond all others? At the Altar, we learn love and sacrifice not only by imitation, but we receive the grace and power to live sacrificial lives in the service of Christ and one another in all of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In the Eucharistic Sacrifice, we find the grace and power to live every Christian vocation which leads us to make before the Altar the promises of marriage, of ordination or of the consecrated life.

This year, I pray we may each come to appreciate more deeply why Saint John Vianney declared that: “if we glimpsed for a moment what the Holy Eucharist truly is, we would die not out of fear but out of love!” In turning our gaze towards the Altar and the Cross, let us pray that we may recognise with faith and ever growing wonder the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

United with you in this Eucharistic faith and prayer,

+ Mark

Bishop of Shrewsbury


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