Dear friends,

The New Year is off  to a flying start at St Mary’s, with well-attended Masses on New Year’s Day and for the Epiphany. We now return to what is called “Ordinary Time” – but still we are called to continual growth, in faith and hope and holiness!

In particular, this Sunday’s Mass readings encourage us to listen for God’s voice in our daily lives – in our prayers and personal, pastoral encounters – and to ask the Lord for courage to respond, as He calls us forward along our pilgrim path.

There are (at the time of writing) just a few pieces of blessed Epiphany chalk left in church: we use this chalk to mark the doorposts of our houses, to bless them over the coming year. In addition to the simple prayer included in the pew sheet, you may wish to pray as follows as you use this chalk:

O God, make the door of this house wide enough to receive all who need charity and companionship; narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride and strife. Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling-block to children, nor to straying feet; but rugged and strong enough to turn back the Tempter’s power. O God, make the door of this house the gateway to Thy eternal kingdom: through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord. Amen.

Please note that I will be on annual leave for a week after Mass this coming Sunday: Fr Mike has very kindly agreed to cover the majority of the weekday Masses – but, next week, there will be no Mass on Saturday, nor will there be public Morning Prayer on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. See the attached pew sheet for further details.

We congratulate Fr Matthew Cashmore, Vicar of St Anselm, Hayes and assistant curate here at St Mary’s 2019-2020, whose appointment to a new living in the Diocese of Exeter was recently announced. We hold Fr Matthew and his family in our prayers, as they prepare to move after Easter.

Please find attached a poster for a Quiz Night (including a fish-and-chip supper, at £15pp) at St William of York RC Church Hall, Stanmore on Saturday, 3 February – and please see me if you would like to join a St Mary’s team (up t0 8 people).

Please also find attached a flier and booking form for the St Andrew, Kingsbury pilgrimage to Lourdes later this year: bookings should be made by the end of January. The pilgrim party will be staying full-board in a four-star hotel: the total price (of £625pp sharing; £745 single-room) includes flights and transfers, and a full spiritual programme.

With greetings, gratitude and hope for growth,

Fr Richard