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We are now planning for the next programme which will start in September 2021 with monthly (ish) meetings until 1st Holy Communion is received in July 2022.

In this new programme we are trying to accommodate both; the children who missed out this year (current year 3), as well as the new candidates who will turn 8 in the next school year 2021-2022.

If you wish to apply for your child please get a letter & form by emailing or picking one up from the parish office.
The deadline for the forms is 15/8/21.

Please be aware that, depending on the numbers applying and/or any restrictions, this “Plan A” may need to change. We will work to keep the plan as fluid as we can to ensure it goes ahead and will keep in close communication with the parents about any changes

Thanks, as ever, to Deacon Vincent for his reflections for this coming weekend - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

1st Reading from the Prophet Jeremiah 23: 1-6.
Jeremiah can be summed up as how to cope with disaster. Because Israel were unwise to support Egypt and its Assyrian allies against the Babylonians, who defeat, however them, there was still a sizeable majority who supported Egypt in Israel and they rebelled against Babylon in 597 B.C. King Jehoiachin was taken off into captivity to Babylon. Zedekiah was elevated in his place to rule in favour of Babylon. However, he was unwise enough to rebel against Babylon and the city of Jerusalem, the Temple and its social structure was utterly destroyed. Finally there was a third invasion which in 582 B.C. which completed the destruction of the Holy City and all the prominent citizens were taken off into Exile (except those who fled into Egypt). So this is the background to reading Jeremiah. Obviously, the people had become disillusioned, because they thought they had been backing the wrong God and people were falling away from the Covenant. Jeremiah is saying “Woe to those who scatter and destroy the sheep of my pasture.” God is being, once more compared to the Good Shepherd, an ancient description for God. God is going to bring his flock back into the fold and Jeremiah uses the phrase “They shall increase and multiply.” A direct reference to Genesis creation story, so the implication is that this will be a new creation, a new people of Covenant. The promise is renewed to David’s line of a new king. Christians have always interpreted this as Christ, but we are not sure who Jeremiah was thinking of when he wrote this. But Christians looked back into scripture to see how they could interpret the Jesus story, and that is what is meant by “prophecy”. Jeremiah’s call is one of hope in the future, and that God really is going to Shepherd his people back to Israel.

Psalm 22.
This lovely poem, a favourite with most people in the Psalms, is written in great poetry. It pictures God as the ideal shepherd and also a guide and a host. God is to be trusted and to be used as a shelter from those who would lead us astray. We can trust this Shepherd!!

2nd Reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 2: 13-18.
As you read this passage it is important to realise that Paul has already teased out certain themes for us. The uniting of Jews and Gentiles, the tension between the two, and the tangible difference Jesus makes he brings peace and shows us both the way to the Father. Everything is by Jesus and through Jesus. This is one of Paul’s main themes in his instructions to us. It is worth really digesting his message as it stops us getting above ourselves and always puts Jesus at the forefront.

The Holy Gospel according to Mark 6: 30-34.
The Apostles return from their missionary expedition, and they are eager to tell Jesus all about it, but the crowds have their eyes on Jesus and won’t give them a moment's peace. So Jesus showing great care takes the Apostles away to a quiet place to recoup and tell all, but the crowds guess where they are going and get there before Jesus and the Apostles arrive by boat. Instead of shooing them away, he takes pity on them, and he sees them like sheep without a shepherd. So, he sits down to teach them. He is the Good Shepherd, just like His Father in Heaven. Throughout our readings this weekend, we are shown the Good Shepherd. We can trust and rely upon God revealed in Jesus. We are his flock he loves and cares for us. We truly are Blessed.
God Bless you all and stay safe.
Deacon Vincent

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