Dear friends,

We are looking forward to welcoming the first of our Lenten guest preachers this coming Sunday at the 10.30am Mass: Fr Thomas Cotterill is Assistant Curate in the parishes of St Bartholomew and St Paul, Brighton – and I have no doubt we will give him a warm welcome and an attentive ear! Please be present to listen to Fr Thomas, who will be driving 70mi on Sunday morning to share with us our worship!

Also this coming Sunday evening, the Willan Singers will be with us again for an additional and very special Mass at 6pm, to sing the eighteenth-century Italian composer Casciolini’s Missa Brevis in A Minor: please likewise support this beautiful service, which will be followed by light refreshments – volunteers to assist in serving these would be gratefully appreciated.

Volunteers are also requested to deliver Easter invitations around the parish: these cards – to go through our neighbours’ letterboxes – not only let the local community know what will be happening here during Holy Week, but are also a reminder of our constant prayerful presence in their midst. I will be approaching particular individuals to ask to deliver to their own roads – but please would everyone think about taking a handful of cards, and ticking off one of the roads on the list at the back of church. Next to this list is another list(!), for you to add your name to volunteer to read at various of the Holy Week services, and/or to have a foot washed on Maundy Thursday, and/or to help steward the ecumenical Walk of Witness on Good Friday, and/or to assist with the children’s Easter Egg hunt on Easter Day!

It takes a lot of hard work to make Holy Week happen – and we require, and are very grateful for, the contributions of the whole congregation. Don’t forget likewise that we are preparing for the “Big Spring Clean” in church on Holy Saturday morning (30 March), from 9.30am, and that Pat will soon be approaching you to sign up to bring food to bring and share at the party after the Easter Vigil.

The final list in church is for Easter lilies: please PRINT the names of departed loved ones you wish to be remembered, and place your donations (suggested £5pp) in the basket. Thank you for continuing to collect (throughout Lent) for our Lent Appeal in support of WaterAid.

Please note that there will be no public Morning Prayer on Thursday next week, 7 March: however, the PCCwill meet in church following the 6pm Mass that evening.

On Friday 8 March, after the 9.30am Mass, we invite volunteers to assist putting together the daffodil posies for Mothering Sunday: on Sunday 10 March we will distribute these special gifts, and celebrate the beautiful ritual of Sprinkling with Walsingham water. Do encourage mothers and grandmothers and family and friends to join us – not least for a glass of something sparkling after Mass!

Herewith attached are fliers for the forthcoming Stanmore Choral Society Concert on Saturday 23 March at 7pm (featuring musicians from the Royal Academy of Music, and Brent Music Service), as well as for a Lent Lecture and Lent exhibition, both themed around the Holy Land, at All Saints Church, Notting Hill. You can also read the latest newsletter from the diocesan Angola London Mozambique Association (ALMA) here.

Pope Francis’ prayer intention for the month of March is for the martyrs of our day, witnesses to Christ. We are so fortunate in this country to worship in freedom and peace – and can often take this liberty for granted. We should cherish our opportunities to practice our Christian faith openly, and we should pray for – and look for ways to support practically – the modern-day persecuted Church. The faithfulness of modern Christian martyrs should lend zeal to our own Christian witness: may we recover a missionary drive, as we contemplate the example of those who, around us in the world today, suffer and die in the name of their Saviour.

May God, whose foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and whose weakness is stronger than human strength (1 Cor. 1.25) guide and strengthen you in the days and weeks ahead,

Fr Richard