Dear friends,

What an encouraging Sunday we enjoyed last weekend, and thank you to all who supported our Mothering Sunday services – especially to those who prepared such beautiful posies (and to Fr Mike for his delicious simnel cakes!) This coming Sunday, 17 March, we will welcome as our guest preacher the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Rev’d Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy – do make sure to be present to welcome him, and to hear him as he breaks open for us God’s Word.

This coming Sunday is also the beginning of Passiontide, and to prepare for this we need to veil the crosses and images in church – which we shall do after the 9.30am Mass this week on Friday, 15 March: please lend a hand, if available.

The readings at Mass this Sunday call us to renewal: as we enter into these final days of Lent, and approach the sacred celebrations of Holy Week and Easter, let us renew our relationship with the Lord through repentance, reconciliation and by reaching out to our neighbours in need; let us find a fresh attentiveness to God’s work, for ‘[d]eep within [us God] will plant [His] Law, writing it on [our] hearts‘: and thus we pray, ‘A pure heart create for me, O God, [and] put a steadfast spirit within me.’

This coming Sunday is also the final opportunity to sponsor an Easter lily in remembrance of a departed loved one (suggested donation £5pp): we need these last names and contributions as soon as possible, so that the sponsorship poster can be produced, and the Easter flowers ordered! Thank you for very generous donations to date of £500.

Please prepare to return your Lent Appeal “jars of change” with your donations for WaterAid, completing and including the Gift Aid slip as appropriate: these can be returned from Easter Day. I have also received a letter of thanks from St Luke’s Hospice, following our collection (of £603 + Gift Aid) for them last month: they write that our donation ‘could fund 20 hours of nursing care within our In-Patient Unit, giving people personal end-of-life care, helping to manage their pain, ensuring all their needs are met and providing support to their families.’

Next week on Tuesday, 19 March we will experience that rare thing – a Solemnity during Lent, namely the Feast of St Joseph. Do make time to come to Mass at 6.30pm, to honour this man who accepted the will of God, cared for Mary and Jesus and was a good and responsible father to God’s Son. A carpenter, his example encourages us to do good work with the gifts and talents God has bestowed upon us; and as a foster-father, he inspires us to support the whole human family, and the family of the Church.

We extend our condolences to the family of Andrew Doherty, who died this past weekend – and assure them of our prayers for the repose of his soul: Andrew’s funeral will be in church next week on Friday, 22 March at 2pm – to which all are welcome.

Please note that there will be no (Evening Prayer, Confessions or) Vigil Mass on Saturday, 23 March, because of a concert in church: this will also mean we can worship together as a massed congregation on Palm Sunday, 24 March: the 10.30am Mass will begin with the Blessing of Palms in the Hall, and the Palm procession.

Please find attached a poster for Bishop Jonathan’s Chrism Mass on Holy Tuesday, 26 March at St Andrew’s Church in Holborn, at 11am: if you wish to travel together to this special service, please meet on the platform at Harrow-on-the-Hill station at 9.30am.

Please likewise note that an additional Mass will be said during Holy Week on Monday, 25 March at 6pm (Evening Prayer, 5.45pm) – but that there will be no public Morning Prayer on Tuesday, 26 March. Please familiarise yourselves with the times of all the principal liturgies during Holy Week: there is a pop-up on the homepage of this website, plus posters in and around the church.

May Christ crucified draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven,

Fr Richard