Dear friends,

This Sunday’s second reading reflects on three interlinked dimensions of discipleship: believing, behaving and belonging. To be a Christian is to know God (to believe), to keep His commandments (to behave) and thus to be recognised as one of His children (to belong). These three dimensions support one another: if our faith feels weak, we can turn to others within the Christian community to support us, or re-immerse ourselves in prayer and good deeds; if our Christian practice has grown lacklustre, we should first seek the Lord’s strength in sincere, heartfelt prayer – and if we have fallen away from the Church’s fellowship, we should look for fresh opportunities to cooperate with our brother and sister Christians in worship and and service and care.

Such opportunities are available through our parish, in abundance: please see the attached pew sheet, for the times of Mass this week. Please now also return any outstanding Lent Appeal jars, for these donations to be counted – remembering that the current month’s collection is for Christians in the Holy Land, joined to Christ’s sufferings in an acute and moving way. I invite all parishioners likewise prayerfully to consider whether you might increase your regular financial giving to St Mary’s, as a new financial year begins: as we explored in the homily last Sunday, we give for others as much as for ourselves.

Coming up in the calendar are two very special events: on Saturday, 18 May we will join with our friends at All Saints RC Church, Kenton for a May Devotion in honour of Our Lady: please see the attached poster – and please invite your friends! The afternoon will begin with a short service at 2.30pm at All Saints, before we process to St Mary’s, bearing an image of Our Lady, and bearing public witness to God’s love. Here, there will be further concluding prayers (to which those who cannot make the walk are, of course, welcome) – and then we will enjoy a world foods Pentecost party together in the Hall. We would love for everyone from our two diverse communities to bring a dish to share which reflects a taste of home! Please see Pat if you can sign up to contribute something for the party, especially if your dish references your family’s heritage – although alldonations will be gratefully received!

There is also now in church a sign-up sheet for those of our young people (11-18 years old) who would like to take part in the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage this summer, 5-9 August. The Youth Pilgrimage is an amazing week of fun, fellowship and worship – in company with other young people from across the country, and indeed from other parts of the world! We are heavily subsidising participation, at just £100pp (to include travel, accommodation, meals and all other activities): however, further subsidies may be available for those for whom this cost might present a challenge – simply speak to me to find out more; and please register your interest on the sheet in church, by Sunday 5 May.

Please also find attached to this message a flier for a forthcoming community meeting with the Metropolitan Police, on Tuesday 23 April at 6pm in Belmont Community Centre.

May you know always the light and life of the risen Saviour,

Fr Richard