OUR SUNDAY OBLIGATION

An invitation from the Bishops of England and Wales
This is the bread come down from heaven (John 6:58)

A beautiful hallmark of the Catholic faith is the profound desire to participate in the Holy
Mass and share in the Eucharist. We do so with deep gratitude and joy. The Eucharist gives
the Church her identity – “The Eucharist makes the Church, and the Church makes the
Eucharist.” It enables us to worship Almighty God, to support each other on our journey of
faith, and to be a visible sign of faith in the world. This hallmark is supported and
strengthened by the precept that our fundamental Christian duty is to worship God by
participating in the celebration of Mass. Attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is the
greatest of all privileges, sometimes referred to as “the Sunday Obligation.”
Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, until the present time, we have shared with you
our judgment that the situation of the last two years has meant that the Sunday Obligation
has been impeded and has needed to be fulfilled in other ways. We thank God that this
situation has now changed. The pressing challenges of the pandemic have lessened
significantly. Most people have resumed the wide range of normal activities, no longer
restricted by the previous Covid measures. We therefore believe that the reasons which have
prevented Catholics from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation no
longer apply.
We understand there will still be some members of our congregations who, for reasons of
health, do not feel safe enough to return to Mass. It has always been the understanding of
the Church that when the freedom of any Catholic to attend Mass in person is impeded for
a serious reason, because of situations such as ill health, care for the sick or legitimate fear,
this is not a breach of the Sunday Obligation.
Our Catholic people and parishes have benefitted during these difficult times from the
online streaming of Mass and other services. “Virtual viewing” of Mass online does not fulfil
the Sunday Obligation. It may, however, be a source of continual spiritual comfort to those
who cannot attend Mass in person, for example those who are elderly and sick, for whom
the obligation does not apply. In this context, we recognise gratefully the ministry of those
who administer Holy Communion to the elderly, sick and housebound.
We are grateful to our clergy, religious and lay faithful who have served our parishes,
schools and communities with dedication and distinction throughout this pandemic. Now
we look forward with renewed faith and confidence.
In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Lord’s Supper, the Lord Jesus entrusted to us the
precious gift of Himself. With humility, we glory in being a Eucharistic people for whom
attendance at Mass is essential. Looking forward to the forthcoming feast of Pentecost, we
now invite all Catholics who have not yet done so to return to attending Mass in person.
As the Church needs the witness of the presence of each person, so too each believer needs
to journey in faith and worship with their fellow disciples. Nourished by our encounter with
the Risen Lord Jesus, fed with His Word and His Body and Blood in Holy Communion, and
supported by the presence of each other, we receive strength week by week, to serve the
Lord and glorify Him with our lives.

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WHAT A GREAT RESULT

Our parish walk was supported by a lovely crowd from all three churches and was a huge success

Over £1,000 was donated through the website and many other donations came in the same weekend, some specifically given for the relief efforts CAFOD are making in the Ukraine

The ladies at St Thomas More Church put on a wonderful spread so that walkers could relax after Mass and make new connections across our three churches. Many thanks to Richard Sear for being the catalyst for this great effort on the part of all who took part and supported in such great style.

 

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TEWKESBURY FOOD BANK

Our local foodbank – so very well supported in our parish – are particularly grateful for the chocolate eggs placed in the collection box last week – An unlooked for treat for some young Foodbank users.

Please remember that families in need can apply for help through the office here at St Joseph’s. Please encourage them to see Chris Davies – Tuesdays are the most quiet mornings and will be helpful to ensure confidentiality.

Please continue to support our local brank and bring the information above to anyone you know in the area who may be in need of some extra help this Easter

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SYNOD 2021 – 2023

Last year Pope Francis and the Synod office in Rome invited the whole Church to become Synodal – everyone was asked to speak out, listen to others and pray together for the church. We were invited in each parish to journey together, listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the lives of the people we meet.  Our part is now done and the ‘Synod’ continues on its course, with reports going to our Bishop at the end of February – moving on to a national, then international stage. Thanks to all in our parish who were involved and submitted their thoughts and ideas through our facilitators and Parish Representative.

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