In the second reading at our Mass this Sunday, St Paul says the following about the Christian understanding of death and eternal life: “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
Paul’s point is simple. When we die, God in Christ will gather us to himself so that we can share the fullness of life in his presence for ever.
Paul seems to be adamant about one thing: believing in Christ means when we think about death, no matter how difficult or complex that might be, we do so with hope. That makes us different, for we do not grieve like the rest of humanity who have no hope.
As we come this weekend to pray for those who have died in war, as Christians we remember with hope. We know that in Christ, the way to eternal life has been opened up through his death on the cross to those who believe in him. Christ’s was a death that destroyed death. It destroyed death because it led to new life – a resurrection that those baptized into Christ share in.
We cannot remember the War Dead this year by gathering together for worship at the moment, but we can all make sure that somehow this Sunday morning we take time to ponder the sacrifices of those who died to ensure our freedom.
St Benet’s Church will be open from 10.00 am until 12 noon for private prayer, and you are all welcome to come and use the space for your own remembrance and prayer, and to light a candle.
Fr Peter Anthony
Lockdown and online worship
St Benet’s Church is now closed for public worship as a result of the recently announced Coronavirus lockdown. This means it will not be possible to attend Sunday Mass, Sunday School or the daily Mass for at least the next four weeks. We hope public services will recommence some time in December when permitted by government legislation.
During this period, the Mass will continue to be offered daily in St Benet’s by Fr Peter on his own on behalf of our whole parish, as it was during the first lockdown.
A recording of the Mass will be uploaded each day to our YouTube channel, and this includes a Sunday Mass with a homily, which will be available from Saturday evenings onwards. We hope this will be of use for all those who wish to unite their prayer with that being offered at the altar of St Benet’s during this period.
In addition, it will be possible to visit St Benet’s for private prayer on a Sunday morning. The church will be open between 10.00 am and 12 noon each Sunday. It must be noted that no form of corporate worship is permitted in the church during that time and that this is for private devotion only, such as quiet reflection, individual prayer, or lighting a candle.
If you visit St Benet’s during that time, you are asked to observe the now customary regulations of keeping a 2 metre distance from anyone else in the building, sanitising your hands upon entry, and always wearing a face mask.
Recent COVID developments have also meant the cancellation of all the Advent Carol services we had planned for early December. We still hope to be able to offer a range of COVID safe Christmas liturgies once public worship recommences in December.
Please be in touch with Fr Peter if you are concerned about yourself or any other individual, or need help of any kind during this time of lockdown and isolation.
Planning for Christmas 2020
We are attempting to plan our schedule of services for Christmas 2020, assuming that public worship will be permitted again by the end of December.
This year’s services will be made complicated by the need for social distancing and could be affected by regulations that may emerge closer to the time. At the very least, it will be necessary to book (entirely free) tickets for most of the main sung liturgies so we can predict how many people will be present in our building. We can fit a maximum of around 50 people in the church at the moment.
We aim to have a Christmas Carol Service on Sunday 20th December at 6.00 pm and Midnight Mass on Thursday 24th December 9.00 pm. There will be no congregational singing at any of our Christmas liturgies, but there will be a choir present singing for us.
Could we ask parishioners to start booking tickets NOW for the Christmas liturgies they intend to come to? Please send Fr Peter an email indicating how many tickets you need for which service, and whether those attending form the same household or bubble.