Dear friends,

Last Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration, in which a foresight of Christ’s Resurrection glory was gifted to his disciples, before he underwent his Passion. This Sunday, we look ahead to next week’s beautiful celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in whom the power of Christ’s Resurrection was at work at the close of her earthly life to raise her, body and soul, to heaven. The Solemnity of the Assumption is what the Church calls a “holy day of obligation”, that is, a day on which all baptised Christians are ordinarily expected to come to Mass.

Besides Sundays, there are only six such days in the ordinary course of a year – Christmas and the Epiphany; the Ascension and All Saints, and the joint celebration of the Apostles, St Peter and St Paul, as well as Our Lady’s Assumption. Holy days of obligation help us to remember that our faith is not just for Sundays, and keep us from falling into religion by rote. Please therefore make every effort to attend Mass next week on Tuesday, 15 August, at 6.30pm.

This weekend, please also return any rogue Children’s Society collection boxes which may be gathering dust at home somewhere: we would like to count these donations and send them on to the charity.

Please also this weekend bring payment (£20) for the coach to Walsingham on Bank Holiday Monday, 28 August – as we need to share final numbers with the coach company. If you have signed up but now cannot come, please cross your name off the list. Wasted places not only cost the parish money to subsidise, but deprive others of the chance to attend instead of you. At the time of writing, twelve people who have signed up have yet to pay for their places.

It is astonishing to think it, but just six weeks from now – on Sunday, 24 September, I will celebrate the first anniversary of my Induction as your Vicar. 24 September is also the Solemnity of Our Lady of Walsingham, and our parish’s Patronal Festival: the 10.30am Mass will therefore be followed by a parish lunch – and you are invited  to bring buffet food to share. Please let Gloria know what you will be bringing, and please encourage family and friends to join us on this very special occasion, when our guest preacher will be Fr William Davage, Emeritus Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford, and sometime Priest-Librarian of Pusey House.

The summer newsletter of the diocesan link with the Anglican Church in Mozambique and Angola (ALMA) can be found here.

May you know the warmth of the summer sun as an expression of God’s great creativity, and as a symbol of His power, His beauty and His love.

Fr Richard