Warm sun, shouts of laughter and joy, riding on the back of a donkey. Holy Week begins victoriously on Palm Sunday with Jesus welcomed into Jerusalem as one who "comes in the name of the Lord.” A crowd lines the streets with palms and praise for the teacher and healer they love. A ray of hope and light promising to break the darkness.
In contrast, Good Friday is much different, condemned to death, Jesus is sent out from the city with the cross as a burden on his back. The crowds lining the street on that day are not full of praise, but here to watch his gruesome death. We live our faith in this juxtaposition.
Like all our experiences of life, Palm Sunday and Holy Week are a mixed bag of joy and sorrow, intimacy and rejection. It is easy to wonder, as the Son of God, did Jesus know what the darkness growing over him meant? Even as he rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, did he know how he would leave? That he would soon be abandoned by his followers, that his death is at hand? Did he know what would happen, or did he go forward trusting God's plan? Does it matter?
In his walk through despair and desolation, he walks with us, to be with us, truly as our brother in both joy and sorrow. He walks willingly into a place that feels so devoid of God that he sweats blood in the face of the terrors before him. He feels the abandonment. He knows pain and suffering. Amidst his deepest, darkest pain, Jesus cries out to God. "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" This passage from Psalm 22, lives deep within Jewish memory from the time of Egyptian slavery, Babylonian exile and in Jesus' time, Roman occupation.
Our own darkness comes from so many places in our lives – unfulfilled dreams, broken relationships, tragedy and disaster. Some we can see before they manifest, while others set upon us without warning. They leave us feeling the same abandonment and loss shared by Christ in his passion and death. We too, know the cry, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" Our faith of juxtaposition tells us that it is precisely by entering into this pain, by allowing it to happen and, yes, even by questioning God, that our healing begins.
On Thursday evening, just before the joy turns to horror, Jesus himself promises, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy." (John 16.20). Can we hold onto this promise in the face of what is to come? Can we walk each day in faith trusting in God's goodness?
Brief daily reflections for the remainder of the week:
Monday, 29th March – On Palm Sunday Jesus enters the gates of the city in triumph, being praised by others. When have you felt the support of friends and loved ones in this challenging season?
Tuesday, 30th March – This week is one of joy and suffering. The elation of Palm Sunday, the intimacy of the Last Supper and the devastation of Jesus' arrest and death. How does God help you hold these conflicting experiences?
Wednesday, 31st March – The light is just a glimmer. The hope seems still out of reach. This Lent and last year's Lent seem to run together, holding us hostage as we long for release from the pandemic. How can we hold onto the light and joy that are just glimmers and promises of what is to come?
Thursday, 1st April - Holy Thursday reminds us of another meal where God promised to be with us, and to go before us. In the Passover before the Exodus, God pledges to be with God's people. In ritually remembering this meal, Jesus makes the same promise to his disciples now and forever. Who needs your steady faithfulness?
Friday, 2nd April – It should have never ended this way, but it was the only way. God promised Abraham that if ever the covenant was broken, God would fulfill it. Where have you felt God step into your darkest moment and fill them?
Reflection from the Catholic Health Association of the United States
Sunday Gospel (The Passion) Mark 14:1-15:47.
Those of you who are registered for the Parish Newsletter, will in the course of the week, receive a two page summary of the history and ceremonies of Holy Week.
Due to the limited numbers at Services in Holy Week (Thursday, Good Friday, Saturday Vigil and Easter Sunday Mass), parishioners are invited to attend, in person, only one of the Services and participate in the rest from home.
So please, in order to allow more people to attend, please ‘sign-up’ for just one Easter Service.
EASTER COLLECTION As many of you know, The Easter Collection is traditionally taken for our Priest and this (along with Christmas) is the main part of his income. All collections over the Easter weekend (including all contactless donations) will be transferred directly to Fr Liam. In addition, you are very welcome to use the Gift Aid envelopes to donate. You will find these on your exit from Mass outside the offices. Or indeed you can donate directly to Fr Liam’s bank account:
Sort code: 09-01-26
Account no.: 80496271
CHURCH OPENING EVERY DAY Thanks to the generous response for asking for extra stewards, we will now open every day for public worship from this weekend (Palm Sunday).
MASS TIMES Mass is celebrated every day at 10am (Monday to Friday). Weekend Masses are the Sunday Liturgy. Masses for Sunday Liturgy are Saturday 10am & 6pm; Sunday 10am, 12pm & 6pm. For weekend Masses you will need to sign in via the website.
ZOOM is now live from 9.35am to 11am every day, for Mass at 10am. This means you can connect for Mass every weekday. The services go live on YouTube around 10 minutes before Mass starts
FACE COVERINGS DURING MASS It is most important that if you do come to the church for Mass, you wear a face covering (mask or face shield). Scarves are not sufficient, and masks and face shields must cover the nose. Up to now, loose face coverings have been allowed but we need to be stricter in order to keep this virus at bay. We ask that people who, for one reason or another, are exempt from wearing, or will not wear a face-covering, to consider participating with Mass online via Zoom or YouTube. Please understand that while we do not wish to exclude anyone from Mass, we must endeavour to comply with all regulations in place to keep everyone protected.
ST EDMUND CAMPION VIRTUAL PILGRIMAGE - 28th March to 30th April 2021
This year we are going to follow St Edmund Campion on some of the journeys during his life, from London to Dublin and then to places in Europe and back to London, just over 3500 miles !
Don’t worry, we are doing this as a communal effort, and with us all being encouraged to walk during lockdown, parishioners, their families and friends are invited to regularly report how may miles they have walked. These miles are added up and the progress on St Edmund Campion’s journeys will be shown on-line, highlighting some of the key places he would have visited, studied or worked in.
It will begin on Palm Sunday, 28th March and will run until 30th April. This is an event for our Lenten Project in aid of MISSIO and WORK. Donations can be made by transfer into a dedicated Parish Bank Account:
Sort Code: 30-93-04
or to the parish office by cheque or cash in an envelope marked Pilgrimage.
SUPPORT FOR PARISHIONERS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC A number of parishioners are offering support to other parishioners who are vulnerable or self-isolating. If you or a friend or relative would welcome a phone call, a bit of shopping, want the newsletter dropping through your letterbox etc. please phone the parish 01628 628274 or contact Father Liam on 07776 580596. Your request will be passed to a trusted parishioner who will contact you to discuss your request. It would be helpful if those parishioners who have contact with others who are not able to access the newsletter online could alert them to this item. Thank you.
WEBSITES AND RETREATS FOR LENT We have been offered four amazing retreats from our Diocese and you can link into any of them.
Other websites that are excellent include:
It is greatly appreciated that many of you transferred your ‘church offering’ from cash to direct debit and standing order over the last number of months. Our parish has had its financial income greatly reduced and this has impacted on our church activities, donations to various charities and parish maintenance. From September 1st, there will be an Offertory Collection Basket at the church entrance and exit each day if you wish to make a very welcome donation. There is also a contactless “tap to donate” machine, where you can contribute to the weekly collection.
NB: It would be helpful for the parish if the vast majority of our Weekly Collection could be done via Direct Debit / Standing Order. I ask that you reflect and, if possible, switch your donation from cash to bank. This would be invaluable and would give the Parish Council and Finance Committee more solidity in planning for the months/years ahead. At present, we are a vastly cash—giving parish, and with the dramatic decrease, it is very hard to plan and donate to those most vulnerable and in need, as well as care for our parish community..
Account name: St. Edmund Campion Maidenhead
Sort code: 30-93-04
Account number: 00882551
TODDLERS GROUP Good News! From 29th March, parent and child groups can take place outdoors with a limit of 15 attendees (children under five-years-old don't count towards the attendee limit) so we will be running the St. Edmund Campion Toddler Group after the Easter holidays.
The first session will be on Friday 23rd April. Weather depending, we are planning on going to various parks within walking distance from the Parish Centre. It's free and will run from 9.30am to 11am. Please book with Jenny on firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday 22nd April. For our first session we will be meeting at the playground at Boyne Grove Park (SL6 6JD). We can't wait to see you all, Jenny.
APPOINTMENTS If you wish to speak to Fr Liam in confidence on any matter, please contact him by phone or e-mail
HOUSEBOUND If you know of anyone who is sick and/or housebound, please let Sarah (Parish Office) or Fr Liam know.
ADMISSION INTO ST EDMUND CAMPION SCHOOL AND NURSERY is based on Mass attendance for some categories. In our parish, we have an attendance card available from the table in the church lobby. Every time you come to Sunday Mass get your card stamped. For information on the current Admissions Policy see the school's website, www.st-edmund.org.uk.
Please be aware that attendance cards are available and must be stamped to record attendance on days when Mass allows attendance in-person.
SIF FORMS Please contact Fr Liam directly if you need a SIF form signed.