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Newsletter for weekend 18th/19th September 2021

Readings at Mass

First Reading: Wisdom 2:12. 17-20; Let us condemn him to a shameful death.

Responsorial Psalm 53; The Lord upholds my life.

Second Reading: St James 3:16-4:3; Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.

Gospel: Mark 9:30-37: The Son of Man will be delivered. If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself servant of all.

View from the Presbytery window

Our readings speak about wisdom, but from different perspectives. The reading from Wisdom can be seen as a prophecy of the Lord’s Passion. The ‘godless’ regard with contempt those who listen to and follow God’s voice, condemning them to cruel death. The Psalm also speaks of those who have no regard for God. Seeking God’s protection from surrounding threats, the psalmist prays with certainty: ‘I have God for my help. The Lord upholds my life.’ James points out jealousy and ambition cause division and rivalry, in contrast to the wisdom coming from above.

Such wisdom, which desires humility and not glory, brings us peace with ourselves and can be attained through prayer. It is ‘essentially something pure, it’s kindly and considerate; it’s full of compassion and shows itself by doing good.’ Jesus predicts his own death and resurrection with the disciples, who fail to understand what this means. They have been arguing which of them is the greatest, but Jesus teaches them true greatness lies in being the servant of all, especially the weak and the helpless. He symbolizes this by embracing the child and places the child in their midst. By welcoming and serving ‘little children’ we are welcoming God.

We ask for the wisdom to see Christ in all the ‘little children’ we encounter and pray for a spirit of humility and peace. Fr Jimmy 

Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me 

O God, who founded all the commands of your sacred Law upon love of you and of our neighbour, grant that, by keeping your precepts, we may merit to attain eternal life.


Assisted Dying Bill is “unprecedented attack on sanctity of life” says Bishop John Sherrington

The Assisted Dying Bill is being presented to the House of Lords in OCtober. Bishop John Sherrington is urging all catholics to write to peers at the House of Lords stating the reasons for opposition to this legislation. He urges discussion and communication about this incredibly important matter.

In the next weeks, we face an unprecedented attack on the sanctity of life with Baroness Meacher’s ‘Assisted Dying Bill 2021’ is due its 2nd Reading in the House of Lords with full debate on Friday, 22nd October.

The term ‘Assisted Dying’ is euphemistic, the truth is that this bill seeks to introduce Assisted Suicide. If legalised, this bill would allow a terminally ill adult with less than six months to live to be assisted in committing suicide. Catholic teaching opposes assisting suicide, since life is a gift to be cared for and preserved until its natural death. The Church is clear that we cannot directly choose to take the life of another, even if they request it. The solidarity of praying and caring for the most vulnerable at this fragile time of their lives is a profoundly Christian act which imitates Our Lady’s prayer at the cross and Christ’s service to the weakest.

Full text of his letter is available here on the Diocesan website, or alternatively explore the resources available on the CBCEW “Opposing the Assisted Dying Bill 2021”.

Praying with the Pope in September

The former tradition of the Apostleship of Prayer, now known as the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, is being revived by Pope Francis with the help of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. Each month the Pope’s monthly prayer intention is offered to the whole People of God. In September, Pope Francis asks; We pray we all will make courageous choices for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, rejoicing in our young people who are resolutely committed to this. Apostles of Prayer round the world remember Pope Francis saying; “the heart of the church’s mission is prayer”. When Pope Francis invites us to pray with him for a specific intention, he asks us to take on this mission which must have prayer at its heart. This is how to approach September’s timely Intention. Clearly, our prayer leads to action and can never be an excuse for avoiding it!

Relaxation of restrictions when attending weekend Mass   

Thank you very much for following the necessary restrictions for so long. As the numbers attending Church are rising and to make attendance at Mass easier, it will no longer be necessary to book your place for Mass or sign-in when you attend Church. You are encouraged to continue wearing a mask in Church and to sanitise your hands on entry and exit. Thank you to our stewards and cleaners who have been doing an excellent job in keeping us all safe.

Parish Finances

See below for monthly totals for 2021/2022. These include standing orders, envelopes and the loose collection. Thank you for your continued generosity.

April 2021 £6,320.91
May 2021 £6824.33
June 2021 £7819.23
July 2021 £6751.20
Aug 2021 £6556.16

Parishioners part of our Planned Giving Scheme are invited to collect their new box of envelopes from the back of the Church. Thank you for your offerings.

A contactless card machine is available in the Church porch, or you might wish to donate online at

For information about or to set up a Standing Order, please contact the parish office.

Compassionate Neighbours / Garden House Hospice

Can you spare an hour a week to make a real difference to another person’s life? The effects of social isolation and loneliness in people of all ages can be as detrimental to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. With around 200,000 older people in the UK not having had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month, Garden House Hospice Care wants to raise awareness and help people connect with their community. Compassionate Neighbours are trained volunteers who are matched with a member of the community, based on their interests and hobbies. Offering regular visits, companionship, emotional support and a listening ear, they help people do the things they like doing and stay connected to their community, family and friends. If you can spare an hour a week to make a real difference in the community, Compassionate Neighbours would love to hear from you. Please phone: 01462 679540 option 8. Email:

Read more here.

Parish Administrator

Recently, we said goodbye to Aimee Barnes who is moving on to full-time work. We thank her for more than six years work in our parish office.

We welcome Emma Dunsire as our new Parish Administrator whose working hours are 9am to 12 noon on Monday and Thursday. The parish office email address remains as

The Saint John Henry Newman School Open Evening

The Saint John Henry Newman School warmly invites parents of Year 6 pupils to an Open Evening on Thursday 30th Sept from 5:30 – 8:30 pm.

Prospectuses and Application Forms will be available on the evening.
There will be three opportunities at 6:00pm / 6:45pm / 7:30pm to attend the Headteacher’s address in the school hall.

The last tour will be at 7:00pm and the school will close to visitors once the final Headteacher’s address starts at 7:30pm.

There will be opportunities for parents to view the School following this Open Evening.

St Thomas More Midday Supervisory Assistant vacancy

We require a Midday Supervisory Assistant to join our experienced and hardworking team as soon as possible. You will be working with well-behaved children and a friendly MSA team to supervise children in the dining hall and during outside play. You will work every lunchtime, from 12pm to 1.15pm, term-time only. Application forms are available from the school office and must be returned by 28th September 2021. If you require further information, please contact Kath Lee on 01462 620670. St Thomas More is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. This post is subject to an enhanced DBS disclosure.

2021 Season of Creation

2021 Season of Creation—”A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God” running from 1st Sept—4th Oct. Pope Francis encourages all to participate. Find out more at Alongside this, the Laudato Si’ Movement invites all to sign the “Health Planet, Healthy People” petition—available at

Year of St Joseph

Pope Francis declared a year dedicated to St Joseph, from 8th December 2020 to 8th December 2021. Read more here

A Journey with St Joseph Novena Prayer

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man.  Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage, and defend us from every evil. 


Quick links

Parish Newsletters: the most recent parish newsletters for download. Please note: it may not be possible to view download documents when accessing via a mobile phone or tablet.

Mass Intentions

Diary Dates

Ways to donate to the parish

Our Catholic Schools

St Thomas More RC Primary School, Highfield, Letchworth, Herts. SG63QB Tel: 01462 620670

The John Henry Newman RC Secondary School, Hitchin Road, Stevenage. SG14AE Tel: 01438 314643

Parish Safeguarding

Rebecca Clarke Tel: 01462 646636  


RC Chaplaincy at Lister Hospital

Lister Hospital RC Team: Tel: 01438285138 (24/7)  For urgent need: 01438 314333  

Via text message: 07884 187463 


Please note: Catholic patients can only be visited by the Catholic Chaplain, or a priest, if they, or a relative, contact the Chaplaincy or nursing staff.

Church Service Times available here

Sunday 9.30am Mass and Children’s Liturgy links available here

Mass Intentions for the forthcoming week

Available here

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Caritas News – Social Action

Looking for Accommodation

Homeless projects are always looking for suitable move-on accommodation.  If you are aware of any HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) property anywhere in the Diocese, please let Caritas know. 

In particular, Lazarus, one of our network projects is looking for an 8+ bed accommodation in the Diocese outside of Central London.  They would be interested to work with local homeless partners on a new move-on solution.

Ending Homelessness

The full recording of the second Diocese of Westminster Homeless Network Event is here.  It is titled ‘Living and responding to those with lived experience of Homelessness’.  Hear from Kerri Douglas, an author and blogger and survivor of homelessness and Jon Kuhrt who is the Specialist Rough Sleeping Advisor to MHCLG.  Watch and share to inspire others how to respond to those experiencing homelessness in your parish.   The link to Kerri Douglas’ book Gutter to Glory is here   If you want to order in bulk, please let me know. 

The next homeless networking meeting is 26th August 3:30-5pm.  Please avoid disappointment.  Save the date/ pre-register HERE.

Ongoing Caritas Support

Caritas Development Workers can help Parish Priests, Parish Office Staff, SVP Groups, Parish Social Action Groups, Caritas Representatives in the following ways and more:-

  • Apply for Caritas Crisis or Funeral Grants on behalf of someone who is struggling.
  • Issue Supermarket Vouchers, or help to source food via the Caritas Food Collective.
  • Link to other social action groups/ local charities known to us for referrals, advice or best practice sharing.  Networking of Food, Homeless & Migrant and Refugee Projects.
  • Discern how to respond to the needs of the community through Catholic Social Teaching (Love in Action programme and The Why)
  • The set-up or development of any social outreach, including our new Road to Resilience set of resources – helping people after the pandemic with listening exercises, community organising or a social justice response.
 To access this support, please contact your local Caritas Development Worker directly or email

Reflection, prayer and discernment  

  ‘The Why’ is a simple resource for parishes to use to reflect on social outreach activities undertaken during the pandemic, and to use Catholic Social Teaching to discern the next steps.   Download here.


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Climate Displaced People


Displacement in our Christian history is not new.  In the Preface to the Pastoral Guidance on Climate Displaced Persons (reproduced below), Pope Francis summarised the issues, concerns and guidance associated with displacement and migration associated with Climate Change.   The complete guidance document is available through the link at the top of the page.



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Please sign up for e-alerts (at the bottom of the page) to ensure you do receive the latest news.

Please ask other parishioners to do the same.

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The God Who Speaks

Scripture is at the centre of everything the Church does. The word of God shapes our prayer and worship. The Bible shows us how to understand the world, how we are called to live and relate to each other. ‘Today Jesus speaks those same words to you: “Take heart, I am here with you, allow me to enter and your life will change”. That is why the Lord gives you his word, so that you can receive it like a love letter…’ Pope Francis (

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Mary’s Meals

Mary’s Meals provides one good meal to some of the world’s poorest children every school day.  Our work is named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, who brought up her own child in poverty. Mary’s Meals consists of, respects, and reaches out to people of all faiths and of none.

“All around the world, schools are closed and homes have become places of learning. This means we have had to find new ways to feed the children who eat Mary’s Meals – sometimes the only food they receive in a day.  The UN recently published a report calling for urgent attention to be given to the plight of children globally. It highlights the catastrophic effect that loss of school meals during the coronavirus pandemic could have in the world’s poorest countries.”

To find out how you can help, go to Mary’s Meals – a simple solution to world hunger


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