It seems an age since I last wrote the parish newsletter’s front page and I do so now at a time of flux and adjustment. Since my accident on 25th October when I damaged the tendons in my right leg, and the subsequent operation less than a week later, I have been confined to the house, using crutches and wearing a cricket pad on my leg. I will be like this until Christmas. Fr John has been away; he returned to Nigeria for two weeks to attend his mother’s funeral. He is now back with us, and he tells me that the funeral went very well. Our absence has meant that Fr Ashley has celebrated the bulk of Masses for which I am very grateful.

Many of you will be aware that Fr Ray Brennan, parish priest of St Mark’s, West Wickham has been seriously ill for the last two years and has been on our prayer list for the sick which is read out during Mass. He has now retired, and the archbishop has asked Fr Ashley to take on responsibility for St Mark’s as parochial administrator. This will come into effect from the first Sunday of Advent (3rd December). It means of course that during my convalescence we will be down to one priest, namely Fr John, but with careful forward planning I hope to ensure we have priest cover throughout Advent and the Christmas Season.

Due to our current situation I have decided the Sunday Mass times from the first Sunday of Advent will be as follows:

  • 6.00 pm vigil
  • 9.30 am
  • 11.00 am
  • 5.30 pm

I apologise to those who regularly attend the 8.00 am Mass and I hope you will be able to find a suitable alternative here at St Edmund’s. For those who attended the 9.30 Family Mass in the Hall, this Mass will now be celebrated in the church and will still be aimed at pre-school children and those at primary school.

We will continue to have 10.00 am Mass on weekdays and Saturdays. In the last three weeks there has not been a 6.00 pm Mass and this will continue. A few parishioners have queried this but perhaps I could remind them that this Mass was introduced during the height of the pandemic allowing those anxious about coming to a Sunday Mass the option to fulfil their Sunday obligation by attending a weekday Mass. It was never intended that it should be permanent.

If I could now move onto the Mass schedule for Sunday 24th and Monday 25th December. It is as follows:

Sunday 24th – Sunday Mass times

  • 9.30 am
  • 11.00 am.

Christmas Eve

  • 4.00 pm Family Mass. This is for parents with young and primary school children.
  • 6.00 pm Mass With our folk Choir

Christmas Day

  • Midnight Mass (carols/readings from 11.30pm)
  • 8.00 am
  • 9.30 am
  • 11.00 am

I would have liked to discuss these changes with parishioners before implementing them, but we were not given the time to do this and had to make decisions quickly. We can consider how it is working in the new year.

I would like to express my thanks for your understanding regarding these changes and I hope they will not cause too much inconvenience. I would also like to thank the clergy team and the presbytery staff for giving me such marvellous support during my convalescence. Last but by no means least, thank you for all your get-well cards and food gifts.

God bless,

Fr Steve

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