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Holy Week and Easter

As at today (Mon 29th March) all places have already been booked for the services on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday.

If you have not yet booked your place for Easter Mass you are invited to attend during Easter week/the Octave of Easter as all Masses that week are Solemnities and count as your Easter Obligation *
God bless you all. Canon Frank.

A message from Bella Harding:
This is a really good talk by Lord Deben about how looking after the planet is our duty as Catholics - absolutely fascinating and very humane and sensible. Well worth watching to the end, (only an hour)

Stewarding help needed:
We need a new second steward to help every OTHER week on a Saturday night.
If you regularly attend Mass on a Saturday night and can help by; arriving a little earlier, helping to remind people to sanitise hands on arrival and stewarding to seats/ for communion during the Mass and then helping to sanitise afterwards for 15/20 minutes, please let us know asap.
Thank you to all our brilliant volunteers who are helping to keep our church open.

St Patrick's Church
Parishioners in St Patricks Catholic Church Redfield are already gearing up for their centenary celebrations with a new video describing the church and parish. St Patrick’s Church was founded in 1923 by Canon William Dillon with a congregation of only a dozen. Canon Dillon founded St Patrick's school in 1933.
Since then, the congregation numbers have grown to 650 adults and children from more than 40 countries who worship in a beautiful new church built almost 26 years ago by Rev Canon Gregory Grant.
He said: “We feel our congregation is still growing as hundreds of people from all over the world tune in to our daily Mass. With our centenary approaching, we felt the time was right to launch a video to describe our beautiful church and parish.”

Don’t forget Holy Land and Middle East Christians over Easter, says Bishop Declan
Ahead of Holy Week, Bishop Declan Lang, chair of the Bishops’ International Affairs department, has issued a reminder that the Christians living in the lands of Christ should be held in prayer.
Starved of pilgrim visitors to the Holy sites, and facing the daily realities of conflict and occupation, the Christians, as Pope Francis puts it, are suffering “the economic inequalities and regional tensions that threaten the stability of these lands.”
Bishop Declan is asking Christians to reaffirm their commitment to justice and peace in Middle East.
He also calls on our leaders to “increase their support for peacebuilding, humanitarian relief, and the protection of human dignity, while forsaking narrow political or economic interests, including the sale of arms which only fuel conflict.”
Read the full statement here.

Thank you to Deacon Vincent for your reflections on Palm or Passion Sunday Year B
Palm Sunday 2021 - Westminster Cathedral
1st Gospel from St. Mark 11: 1-10.
At last, we have the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and we join with those who welcome the Messiah, holding our palms high in greeting of the “One who comes in the name of Lord. Hosanna in the Highest.”
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark 14: 1-15, 47.
Suddenly with the imminence of the Passover, we are rushing towards the end, which we have seen coming for some time now. We have the high priests and the scribes planning to commit legal murder, and then joyfully finding a willing accomplice in Judas, one of Jesus’ inner circle. In the midst of all this, we hear of this woman who generously anoints Jesus with very expensive oil, contrasting with the treacherous acts of the high priests and Judas, as well as the small-minded guests at Simon the Leper’s house. This Mark’s way of guiding as to how to read the passion story. Jesus informs us that this is not the whole story, for the lady has anointed him for his burial. We, come now, to the greatest and most joyous meal of the Jewish year, the Passover meal. His disciples had forgotten to arrange everything, but Jesus was one step ahead of them. No sooner than we start the meal, then Jesus informs them and us that someone, who is sharing the table with him, is about to betray him, a most heinous offence in the Near Eastern code of hospitality. The mood does not lift as Jesus takes the bread and wine and says “This is my Body …. This, is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many.” Whatever else it means it sounds like death. After the meal they leave the city and enter a very sombre period, Jesus tells them that they will all desert him this very night; and it is where Jesus confronts his coming passion. He takes his special friends with him and all he asks of them is “Stay awake”, whilst he prays to the Father. Mark allows us to hear Jesus’ intimate prayer to his Father. However, his close friends can’t keep their eyes open. After this, something has happened, because Jesus has complete possession of himself again; his friends will all desert him, one will make a vain attempt to save him, but he also runs away, as Jesus is left alone to confront the mob, who are being led by his friend Judas, who identifies Jesus to the mob by a kiss. We come face to face with this terrible betrayal, and how it must have hurt Jesus. Whilst Jesus stands firm and erect Judas fades out of history into the darkness. Jesus is hauled before the Sanhedrin, who are intent upon Jesus’ death. Finally, the High priest asks the question, which has been lurking beneath the surface all the way through the Gospel. “Are you the Christ the Son of the Blessed One? Jesus’ unequivocal answer and his death sentence. “I Am.” This is the quote of God himself when questioned about his name. Peter denies Jesus three times, as foretold by Jesus and goes off in a terrible state; and is healed by his tears of sorrow. The Sanhedrin take Jesus to Pilate so that he can be executed. Pilate tries to wriggle free from the situation, and we have to two sons of God, Barabbas, a name which means son of God, and Jesus who is the Son of God, and like the two goats of old, one is saved the other cast out to die in the wilderness carrying all the sins of the people away with him; so Barabbas is saved, a common criminal, and Jesus will die on our behalf the shameful death of the Cross carrying all our sins on his back. Pilate, having failed to quell the disturbance orders Jesus scourged and crucified. The soldiers hearing that Jesus was declared a king, decided to play the cruel game of kings, which was a very painful mock coronation after a vicious scouring. Simon is conscripted to help carry the cross for Jesus, as they did not want him dying on the way. Something must have happened on the way for he and his sons are known by Mark’s community. Finally, the lonely death of Jesus, and the division of his clothing, just as the suffering servant of Isaiah. Amazingly Joseph of Arimathaea asks Pilate for the body, and it is granted. They bury him in a tomb, hewn from the rock, rolled a stone over the front and left sorrowfully. Jesus our loving saviour, Thank You, for your redeeming act.
God Bless. Deacon Vincent.


The Catholic Herald
is pleased to let us all know that the digital Holy Week issue of the Magnificat is available, free, at the following link:

Holy Places
A reminder that we will have a basket as you enter Church on Good Friday for the annual collection for "Holy Places", supporting the work of the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land who have the unique responsibility of maintaining the Holy Places and preserving the Christian presence in the Holy Land.
We will also have a basket over Easter Weekend and Octave of Easter for the traditional offering for our parish priests.

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Easter Offerings
With Easter approaching, several people have inquired about the traditional Easter Offering to the Parish priests.
We will not make donation envelopes available this year at the back of Church as we are still trying to keep any items that require people to pick things up or have them handed out to a minimum for added safety (ie newsletters / Mass sheets etc).
If you are attending Mass at any time over Lent / Easter and wish to give an Easter offering to our Priests please pop your donation into an envelope of your own and place it in the basket as you enter Church, or pop it through the letterbox of the presbytery.
Fr Frank recognises how generous the people of St Augustine's Parish have been to him over this past difficult year and he thanks you all for your care, support and generosity through this time.

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Day of Reflection
National Day of Reflection - Tuesday 23rd March

Don't forget, we will open the Church from 11am-12.30 for private reflection tomorrow for the National Day of Reflection (Tues 23rd March) to mark the anniversary of the UK's first Covid lockdown & to remember those who have died in the pandemic. You are invited to come in for silent prayer with the Blessed Sacrament between those times or to join together for the minute’s silence & the saying of the Angelus at noon. We will also observe the minute's silence at the end of our usual Mass that evening, coinciding with the national doorstep vigil at 8pm.

Tree of Hope
What an amazing response we have already had to the TREE OF HOPE outside of St Augustine's Church!
There have been so many ribbons tied to the tree over the weekend with a chance to pause and remember loved ones, to reflect on the past year, and to pray for HOPE for the future...
You are more than welcome to bring a ribbon with you to tie onto the tree at any time to suit you or, if you are attending Mass, we will leave white ribbons in a basket to take with you when you arrive and tie onto the TREE OF HOPE as you leave.

Thank you to Deacon Vincent for your Reflections for 5th Sunday in Lent
1st Reading from Jeremiah 31: 31-34.
Jeremiah is taking a message from the Lord to the people. The Lord wants to make a new covenant with the people, not one written down, but one born of love. He wants us to carry his commandments in our hearts so that we automatically do what is right, because we know what the Lord wants of us. Jesus would sum the covenant up as Love God with all you have, and love your neighbour, as yourself, for God’s sake. This is the covenant that Jesus would bring. You will find references to this new covenant in (1 Corinthians 11:25, Luke 22:20 & Mark 14:24, as well as Hebrews 8). This is a strategic point of uniting the Old Testament and New Testament thought. It is an important point for us to ponder at this point in our preparations for Easter. Write God’s Word in our hearts; and come alive with the Spirit.
Psalm 50: 3-4, 12-15.
This penitential psalm continues the theme of Jeremiah, whereby it requests a new heart, a pur heart, and a steadfast spirit. There is a request that God blot out our offenses, as he promised to do in the first reading from Jeremiah “I will forgive their iniquity and never call their sin to mind.” It is a truly beautiful psalm to ponder coming towards Holy Week.
2nd Reading from the letter to the Hebrews 5: 7-9.
Hebrews here is considering Christ as High Priest. Jesus is invited by God to the high priestly task; Jesus painfully gave obedience to God, and so became the source of eternal salvation. This book, although not the easiest, is worth working through as it opens up a view of Jesus as the real thing.
The Holy Gospel according to John 12: 20-30.
Now, Jesus realises the final crisis has arrived, with some Greeks, most probably Greek-speaking Jews, and they approach the two Apostles with Greek names for a meeting with Jesus, and immediately Jesus realises that the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. In the parable of the seed falling to the ground, we realise that death is stalking Jesus. We discover that his disciples must also go his Way, but God is still in control. This is the closest John will get to the Agony in the Garden, but God affirms Jesus, and finally Jesus gives a clear indicator of the type of death he must undergo. “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men to myself.” By his death we are saved, and are drawn more closely to him, so that in our turn, we also will draw all men to Jesus. That is our task; and it is worth pondering this notion over the coming weeks.
God Bless you all & keep safe.
Deacon Vincent

Act of Worship for the 5th Sunday of Lent
Thank you to Martin Le Poidevin for sharing his musical talents with us once again.

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Weekly Prayer Group
Did you know that there is a Prayer Group within St Augustine's that have continued to meet online over the
past year, each Monday evening, 8-9pm, via Zoom?
Bella Harding from the group said "All are welcome to join us. We start with a little time of prayer and praise, followed by a short talk, and then 'intercessions'."
Would you like to join in with their gatherings and help to pray for the intentions that are passed their way?
When discussing the practical details of running the group over Zoom Bella said "We try to leave social chat to another social meeting, and we keep whatever is said confidential."
If you would like to join them for company, prayer and praise, regularly or occasionally, please email Bella:
** PLUS, if you have something or someone you would like the Prayer Group to pray for, please email the details to Bella or to us at the Parish Office and we will pass them on.

In solidarity with the wonderful idea by
Christ Church Downend, we are also creating a TREE OF HOPE this Lent and Easter outside of St Augustine's Church
- a chance to pause and remember loved ones, to reflect on the past year, and to pray for HOPE for the future...
When the Church is open for Mass, we will leave white ribbons in a basket to take with you and tie onto the TREE OF HOPE.
Or, if you are unable to come at Mass times to collect a ribbon, you are more than welcome to bring a ribbon with you to tie onto the tree as we would not want anyone who wishes to take part to miss out. Everyone is welcome.

National Day of Reflection –Tues 23rd March
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is backing charity Marie Curie's plan for a minute's silence and a national doorstep vigil to form part of a day of reflection to mark the anniversary of the UK's first Covid lockdown & to remember those who have died in the pandemic. There will be a minute's silence at 12:00 GMT with people encouraged to light up their doorsteps that night at 8pm.
* * We will open the Church so people can come in for silent prayer with the Blessed Sacrament from 11am-12.30 for private reflection at any of those times or to join together for the minute’s silence & the saying of the Angelus at noon.
We will also observe the minute's silence at the end of our usual Mass that evening, coinciding with the national doorstep vigil at 8pm.

Apart, yet together. #ChurchAtHome

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Sunday 21st March is the latest Mass for LGBTQ+ Catholics, families, friends, and allies at St Nicholas' Church. It will also be live-streamed. All are welcome to attend.

Monday 15 March Myanmar/Burma Day of Prayer 7pm
We read in last week's Diocesan Newsletter the closing words in a statement from the Executive Committee of Justice & Peace, Europe on the situation in Myanmar 'We stay united in prayer with the people of Myanmar. You will not be forgotten. May truth, justice and peace prevail'.
We too can add our prayers to those being offered around the world by joining with Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) in its annual day of prayer for Burma online. Benedict Rogers, CSW’s Senior Analyst for East Asia, will host the event and will be joined by Cardinal Charles Bo and Lord David Alton amongst others. Please join in prayer for Burma at this critical time.
See the link to sign up for the prayer session by CLICKING HERE

Thank you Deacon Vincent for your reflections on the reading of 4th Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday)
"1st Reading The Second Book of Chronicles 36: 14-16, 19–23.
This book, in the Jewish version of the Old Testament, is the last book and so the editors end at verse 23, with a message of HOPE, because whatever the disaster to befall the people of God, He is always Faithful to his plan of Redemption. The writers of this book pondered over why God seemed to have abandoned the people and allowed the Sanctuary of the Temple to be destroyed and the survivors taken in slavery to Babylon. This was a disaster for the Jews of the similar proportions to the recent Holocaust. They had to discover why they were suffering, and so they determined it was because they had defaulted on the Covenant and despite the many Prophets God sent, they ill-treated them and followed other ways of living. Hence when the crisis came they did not have the wit to be able to resist the Chaldean invaders, and so were defeated and became slaves, carried away from their homeland to serve in Babylon. Their Sabbaths away from home would last 70 years. But God’s plan had to be accomplished, so Jeremiah was sent to Cyrus, who listened and obeyed the Word of God spoken to him and allowed the Jewish slaves to return free, to re-build the Sanctuary in Jerusalem. God will use Gentiles to accomplish his tasks, so he blesses Cyrus’ endeavours. It is important for us to ponder how God extracts us from disasters, by using scientists and strangers to find solutions, so that we can continue to give glory to Him, and spread the Good News of His Love throughout the world, enabling His Kingdom to Come!!
Psalm 136: 1-6.
In this psalm of one of the exiles to Babylon, we begin to grasp the pain of them being taken away from their home, and they think from their God, as they live among the unbelievers. “Sing us one of Zion’s songs.” Their captors ask, “O how could we sing the song of the Lord on alien soil?” This is a heartfelt cry, so we can get a glimpse of their despair, and sense of loss.
2nd Reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 2: 4-10.
We are invited by St. Paul, to be astonished at God’s generosity, and concentrate on the main theme of Paul’s belief that the Resurrection has a distinct effect on our lives, as Christians, not from anything we deserve, but from the bottomless bounty of God’s loving generosity. He describes us as God’s work of art (or poem). It is worth pondering on the fact that God considers us as his work of art, or poem. We might just think about this in all our sorrow for our offenses, the times we have not lived up to our calling. God regards us as his works of art, so rejoice and be glad at his great generosity.
The Holy Gospel according to John 3: 11-21.
Nicodemus comes by night to the “Light of the World”, Jesus Christ. John is implying that we are in the dark, but if you but move into the light of Christ you will understand. God is not interested in punishing the world. Things go wrong when we move away from his “Way”. He sent Jesus not to condemn, but to save the world. This great saving act will be revealed when Jesus is lifted up on the cross, just like Moses cured the people of the snake bites when he lifted up the serpent in the desert. This is God’s great generosity, so we should always rejoice in our Baptim into the Light of Christ. Evil hates the light, but those who choose Christ come out into the Light. By our Baptism we are re-born into the Light of Christ. This a great day of Joy for us, so we should always be glad and rejoice in God’s great love for us, his works of Art.
God Bless you all, and Keep Safe.
Deacon Vincent"

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Way of the Cross
I have recorded a Way of the Cross for us all to follow in our homes during Lent. I invite you to watch the short film and join in with the prayers.
I say: We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
You respond: Because by Your Holy cross You have redeemed the world!
and then after each station
I say: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.
You respond: Have mercy on us.
Each station will have a moment to pause for your own reflection or prayer - pause the video should you need longer.
We hope you enjoy participating in this Way of the Cross as we prepare for Easter.
God bless you all.
Fr Frank.

Holy Week and Easter plan:
As we prepare for this holiest time of the year we wish to offer as much opportunity as possible for people to attend Mass, if they are able to, whilst keeping our strict safety measures in place.
We have now made a plan & we ask people to book a place using the Eventbrite link on our website or facebook page for the services they wish to attend.
*Thank you to all our stewards and ministers for helping to make this happen*
In similar ways to Christmas, all services will be shorter, simpler versions of the traditional Masses to limit time inside the church & you can attend ANY MASS during the 8 days of Easter as your Easter Obligation (they are all Solemnities) as we will have to keep to a max 70 places for Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday so cannot accommodate the usual numbers.
(Note: there will be no public invitation to the Chrism Mass at the cathedral this year due to safety limits with their numbers.)

Our planned services, all at St Augustine’s, are as follows:
Wed 31st March – 7.30pm for Stations of the Cross (a short service of reflection)
Maundy Thursday 1st April – 7.30pm
Good Friday 2nd April – 3pm
Easter Saturday Vigil 3rd April - 6pm (Max 40 minutes)
Easter Sunday 4th April – 9.30am
Easter Monday 5th April – 10am
Tuesday in the Octave of Easter 6th April – 7.30pm
Wednesday in the Octave of Easter 7th April – 10am
Thursday in the Octave of Easter 8th April – 10am
Friday in the Octave of Easter 9th April – 7.30pm
Saturday in the Octave of Easter 10th April - 6pm

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St Augustine's PTFA
As COVID has affected the ways in which charities can fundraise, this has hit all across the charity sector, including those closest to home. Our own St Augustine's PTFA are reaching out to the Parish community with a way of helping, for those in a position to do so.
Here is a message from Chair, Anne-Marie.
"COVID has limited our opportunities to run fundraising events & we are really struggling to raise the usual level of funds.
Last school year we funded some wonderful additions to the school, a revamp of Reception equipment playground storage and equipment being one of them. In November '20 we paid £2,500 towards new reading books for the school, to support the new bubble system and quarantining of returned books. We also funded a few smaller initiatives for the children.
As a result of a lack of new funds coming in from March last year though, we have depleted funds to our minimum balance level. Therefore, we have had to pause payouts to the school until we can boost the bank account back up.
To help with this we have set up a Just Giving Campaign, which will be left open until the 30th June ~ The purpose is simply to give people the opportunity to make donations at any point if they feel they are able to do so. The Parishioners are always so generous at events like the Summer Event and quiz nights and we are really missing those community events. Thank you so much."

If you feel you can help, please visit the site - CLICK HERE for the link.

Thank you to Deacon Vincent for your Reflections for 3rd Sunday in Lent:
1st Reading Exodus 20: 1-17.
This is the great Decalogue, the manifesto for a free society. The thing here is not to get caught up in the negativity of it, but to grasp the loving relationship that God is offering, the moral landmark that God offers as living out that relationship. “You shall have no god except me.” In the Hebrew it is a direct order “don’t” and is addressed directly at Moses himself and each one of us. It is a singular command. In remembering the Sabbath day, to keep it Holy. God refers us back to the creation. It is the Sabbath that has always been the main Jewish Festival, and the source of Jewish identity. The Sabbath is something we have lost and should somehow restore. The order of killing, adultery and theft, are different in Septuagint translation, where it has adultery, theft and killing, but in the Septuagint Deuteronomy, it is adultery, killing and theft. The Greek Jew Philo thought that this put adultery in its right place, as the most serious sin. So today and this week is a time to contemplate the great covenant with God our Father. These are road signs for a happy and contented life walking with our God, and it is worth deep study.
Psalm 18: 8-11
This psalm celebrates that God is revealed in his Law. God is indeed revealed in his law, for there we discover just how much he loves us and wants us to be at one with him. He does not stand aloof from us, but stoops down to speak to us individually, in the hope that we will come to love him with the whole of our being.
2nd Reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 1: 22 – 25.
This is a very audacious speech from Paul, where he dares to talk of God’s stupidity, and God’s weakness, as he uses a series of daring paradoxes to illustrate the key move of God in saving of the world. He uses wisdom or cleverness and stupidity, and strength opposed to weakness, and finally the miserable death of Christ on the cross, as being the key act that saves us all. For it is folly for the Gentiles and an afront to the Jews, that God should dare to use the crucifixion as the great redeeming action. It shows how Paul has transcended human thought and has completely tuned himself into God. We might ponder this in the coming weeks and see where God’s folly as would appear to the world is in fact his guide to lead us to eternal life with him.
The Holy Gospel according to John 2: 13-25.
Suddenly Jesus is in Jerusalem, and we are on the point of celebrating Passover, which occurs three times in John’s Gospel, but only once in the Synoptic Gospels. He drives out, all those who are doing business in the Sanctuary. The religious leaders ask him by what authority he has acted so outrageously. His disciples immediately call to mind the psalm 69: 9 to explain what has just occurred, secondly, they grasp what he is saying about re-building the Sanctuary in three days, as meaning his body, but only after the Resurrection itself. Jesus’ opponents can only see the ridiculous claim he is making, and quite frankly find it laughable, and disgraceful. Also there is an ominous warning in the section where many came to faith while witnessing the things he was doing, but he did not entrust himself to them; he knew what was inside every person, without having to be told by anyone. It is an important element in our faith relationship with God, not to try and pull the wool over his eyes. We need to approach our faith; our relationship with Him, in an honest and realistic way. That is why he was so impressed by the Sinner who bowed low beating his breast, acknowledging his failings before God; whilst the Pharisee who was lauding himself went away not at one with God. Let us prepare ourselves more deeply for the full meaning of Faith in God. For Jesus, it was important that we tried to love and serve the Father from the depths of our beings, by keeping his Commandments. He always understands our weaknesses and is eager to forgive us and set us on the right road again, so we should never be afraid to follow him closely. God Bless us and be merciful to us all.
Deacon Vincent

Realising the Vision of Laudato Si' - Webinar January 21, 2021

Act of Worship for the 3rd Sunday of Lent
Thank you, as ever, to Martin for sharing his musical talents with the Parish.

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International Women's Day 2021
As Pope Francis prepares to touch down back in Rome after an historic first papal visit to Iraq, the words he used in Qaraqosh are so appropriate on International Women's Day. - See the photo for his words.....

Thank you to all the amazing women who work so hard throughout our Parish community and the Diocese.
From one woman to another, I'm sending love and solidarity to all our sisters throughout the world, wherever you live, whatever your circumstances, whatever your situation - we should always support each other and raise each other up!
Love from Bernadette
(Fr Frank's secretary)

Thank you to St Bonaventure's Church for sharing stories of 4 incredible female Saints with us all today to mark IWD 2021

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Please see the Newsletter and reflection sheet for this coming weekend.
We look forward to welcoming back those who are able to attend Mass again and will be praying for those who, for whatever reason, cannot yet return to Church.
Please remember to book your place at Mass so we can control numbers and use the information for any potential track & trace queries.
The booking page (Eventbrite-CLICK HERE) will show you all the plans set in place to keep us all safe so please read them through before returning to Mass so you will know what is expected of you and what we are doing for everyone's safety.

God bless you all - Canon Frank

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Masses will resume from this coming weekend.
I am delighted that a decision has been made, with my fellow local Priests and the Dean of our area, to reopen from this coming weekend - Saturday 6th March.
St Augustine's Church remains a very safe place to visit for Mass and as the rates of infections have reduced and the vaccination levels are increasing it feels the right time to invite people back for safe, distanced public worship.
It is clear that not everyone will be comfortable to return to Mass quite yet and whilst the lockdown message is still to stay at home unless essential, but by providing a very COVID safe place to worship - an essential part of our lives - we can try to help with the loneliness and isolation that so many are suffering from right now by providing parish community contact but in a controlled and safe way.
We look forward to welcoming back those who are able to return. 
Please book a space at your chosen Mass, as before, remembering that there is no Sunday obligation so you can attend on any day each week.
Please read the rules to observe on the front page of our Eventbrite site before booking your dates.
As before, no need to print off / bring any tickets with you.
For those of you who are still isolating or unable to return quite yet, please continue to visit Mass online at our Cathedral.
God bless you all. Fr Frank.

World Rare Disease Day.
We join the Holy Father in prayer for World Rare Disease Day.
We pray especially for the work of our Parish Project, The Patrick Wild Centre.

Act of Worship
Thank you to Martin le Poidevin for continuing to share your musical talents with us all.
Act of Worship for the 2nd Sunday on Lent.

Thank you Deacon Vincent for sharing your Reflections for 2nd Sunday in Lent.
1st Reading from the Book of Genesis 22: 1-2, 9-13, 15-18.
It is worth reading the whole episode of this very traumatic story from Abraham’s life with God. Human sacrifice was very common amongst cultures at this time, but it still shocks us that God should put Abraham to such a test as to offer his only son, Isaac, as a human sacrifice to God. We, as Christians interpret this as God illustrating just what an awful sacrifice God will make to redeem us from slavery to sin and evil. God stays Abraham’s hand at the last moment and his reward is that Isaac will become the means of fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham, that he would be the father of a great number of people, impossible to count, who would serve God, and become his chosen people. Through our baptism by water and the Holy Spirit, we become spiritual brothers and sisters of this chosen people, and so share in the one true God’s covenant, the gift of life eternal. It is an exciting story with so many references to the death and resurrection of Jesus; it is almost a prophecy of God’s own sacrifice of his only son Jesus Christ. If you read the whole story you will find that it is on the third day that Abraham finds the mountain upon which he is to offer Isaac. He looks up and you will find in Mark’s gospel how the women look up when they come to the tomb on the third day. Abraham looks up and sees a ram caught in the brambles and offers this instead of Isaac. God will also find a male “Lamb of God”, who will be offered for our redemption. A good way of viewing this story is the way that God moves his people away from the idea of human sacrifice as an offering to this God. He is the only one who will make that sacrifice for us. We will feed on the benefits of his once only sacrifice for the salvation of us all. But this story just shows us how much God really loves us, right from the beginning of our relationship with him. It is the obedience of Abraham, as opposed to the disobedience of Adam, that gains Abraham’s great blessing of being the father of many nations, and it is Jesus’ obedience that earns a mighty number of people, impossible to count to offer worship to God his Father. We should ponder this story and delve into its depths during this coming week.
Psalm 115: 10, 15-19.
This psalm continues with the thanks we owe to God for his love and care for us and his tolerance of our shortcomings.
2nd Reading from St. Paul to the Romans 8:31-34.
Paul echoes the theme of thanksgiving that we owe to God for the great sacrifice of his only son for our redemption. It is following the story of Abraham, whereby God will sacrifice his only son, the beloved for our redemption. Indeed, we should never cease to wonder at God’s love for us in making such a huge sacrifice for us. Always be thankful for our Baptism into this wonderful family.
The Holy Gospel according to Mark 9: 2-10.
In this passage, Mark relates how Jesus takes his special friends up a mountain, so we know something special is about to take place and we are given this amazing picture of Jesus transfiguration, and they see Jesus in his glory, talking with the great Lawgiver, Moses and the great Prophet Elijah, the fore-runner of all the prophets. They are discussing the great sacrifice he will make when he comes to Jerusalem. It is a reminder for those whom Jesus will rely upon to hold his disciples together at the crucifixion and rebuild them after the resurrection. This was to let them see Jesus in his glory, and the confirmation of His Father “This is my Son, the beloved. Listen to him.” It is also a timely reminder for us to realise that Jesus is God’s beloved Son, and for us to LISTEN to him. In these trying times, we need to realise that Jesus has not abandoned us, we need to reflect upon who he truly is, as also to remember that he has redeemed us. Whatever the world throws at us we are required to stand firm and trust in Jesus’ great redeeming sacrifice.
God Bless you All.
Deacon Vincent.