28th Week of Ordinary Time – Year A

Hello again,

With even more ‘lockdown’ information filling the news outlets, and with even more stringent measures being applied to so many people in other parts of the UK.  We have been very fortunate in this part of the world –  and long may it continue –  which will depend so much on our maintaining the observance of safeguarding advice which we have been following diligently during the past months.


We have purchased a machine that will help speed up the ‘deep clean’ that each church is given after every Mass.  It is being used in other Parishes, and based on their experience, we are now in possession of an, ‘ULTRA LOW VOLUME FOGGER; model SP-45’, (if you want to look it up yourselves.)

The literature that comes with it says it is, ‘suitable for rapid deep disinfection of……………………’  and goes on to list twenty venues, but with no mention of a church building   –  however, I imagine we come under the designation, ‘and many other locations.’


This gives me the opportunity to express the gratitude of all of us to our Stewards, who undertake this tiresome but vital task after all Masses, in addition to their more visible role of guiding People to their seats, not forgetting the work they do prior to Mass.


I am also reminded of all the work that goes into collating the information from the text messages and voicemails left on our two ‘dedicated’ phone lines, in order to make the fairest possible allocation of the limited number of places we are permitted to offer at Mass.  Thank you to those who do this for us, week in and week out.


For the work that has gone into the ‘revamping’ of our website.  A number of Parishioners have

been in touch to comment favourably on the new layout, presentation and content.


Many thanks for all the other jobs that take place continually and may go unacknowledged due to human failings   –   of course, no act of generosity or self-sacrifice goes unnoticed by the Lord, whose name we seek to serve our Sisters and Brothers.


This has begun and the feedback has been positive.  Any suggestions from you at the ‘viewing end’ would be gratefully received, in order to iron out the inevitable omissions/defects/imperfections to which human nature is prey.


I’m not sure what is the safest and best method of receiving these from you.  Some people are popping their requests through the letter box; others are leaving ‘Intentions’ in the post box on the wall at the front door of the presbytery; yet others are relying on Royal Mail; some people call to the presbytery in person; some use the telephone; and there’s always email, for those who have the facility.

Unfortunately, we are not allowed to leave sheets of paper and forms at the usual places at the back of the churches, but with the new disinfecting machine in use, this might change.  If it’s of any help, I’m sure we could generate an ‘electronic’ (?) form and attach it to the website pages. I must remember to ask about this.


The normal practice of handing out forms for you to include the ‘Holy Souls’ to be prayed for during November cannot be followed this year.  Once again, I will ask about the possibility of devising a Form that can be included in this weekly website information update.

I would think that Parishioners could complete the forms in the usual way, then reply by email?  Or you might like to print the form and send it back?  It would be so helpful if Parishioners could get the Form to other People who do not have access to the internet, then these could be included in this traditional and popular ‘corporal work of mercy’.

[As always, there is no need to worry about any ‘stipend’ or monetary consideration. It is the Names of the Holy Souls that is paramount.]


It has been suggested that it would better if all the Nativity Masses were celebrated without a Congregation –  though ‘streamed’ where possible.  The reasoning is that this practice would ensure that everyone is treated in exactly the same manner –  with nobody ‘privileged’ to be able to attend Christmas Mass, while so many others would be deprived of the opportunity.

From a personal point of view , I find it so much more  ‘natural’ to celebrate Mass with Congregation-participation and the dialogue that takes place  , which Pope St. Pius X so strongly advocated and promoted during his pontificate , (August 1903 – August 1914) , which pastoral policy was further developed by Pope St. John XXXIII , (October 1958 – June 1963) ;  then codified in the Decrees and Constitutions of the Second Vatican Council , (1962 – 65) ;  and made more explicit in the post-Conciliar documents of the Catholic Church.

Were we to adopt this policy, it would mean that there would be no Congregation at all on Christmas morning at St. Paul’s –  neither would there be a ‘streamed’ Mass from Caldicot, as we do not have the technical wherewithal at St. Paul’s.

In conversation yesterday, it was suggested that Families with young children be given some sort of priority   –   and I incline towards an approach on these lines. Your views would be most welcome.


We ordered a supply of ‘Real Advent Calendars’, in re-sealable packs, including a 24-page-full-colour ‘Christmas Story Activity Book’, with 25 ‘festive chocolate shapes’, made by the Meaningful Chocolate Company using FAIRTRADE ingredients. These have arrived and their distribution will be organized in the near future.


A good number of years ago, in a previous Parish, I received a phone call from a convent in Byelorus , with a request that a pair of Sisters might visit and offer for sale all manner of  ‘religious’ artefacts , with the aim of fundraising for their convent.  We organized an evening and the amount raised was a surprise and delight to the Sisters who then moved on to other Parishes. They may well have made a call here at that time?

While writing these few lines, there has been another call from the convent in Byelorus , with the very same request.    Sr. Elizabeth did not appreciate the measures we have had to implement these past few months   –   restrictions which might be further strengthened in the near future, from the subtle (and not-so-subtle) ‘trailers’ being broadcast in the news.

Notwithstanding all of this, Sr. Elizabeth is determined to make a flying visit to Chepstow on the morning of Wednesday 19th November, and my plan is to purchase a number of items   –   small icons, candle holders, beautifully decorated boxes, etc.   –   and offer these to Parishioners in the period prior to Christmas.


With the fitting of the camera that permits 24-hour ‘streaming’ of an image of the altar and sanctuary at St. Mary’s, it seems only right that we use the resource for other devotional practices.

It is only a matter of choosing a suitable/convenient day and time for periods of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  We can make a start next Wednesday, 21st. October, and let’s say there will be Exposition between 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm.

It may be that someone would like to take the lead in a ‘streamed’ Praying of the Rosary, or any other form of prayer that would be acceptable?


On Wednesday 14th October, the Funeral Service of TINA STAIT, of Sedbury, took place at St. Mary’s.  We assure Robert and all the Family, who have such close connections with the Parish over many years, of our prayers at this sad time.

On Wednesday 21st October, the Funeral Service of OLWEN IMELDA CLARKE, lately residing at St. Anne’s Care Home, Crossways Green, Chepstow, will take place at Langstone Vale Crematorium.

We pray for their Eternal Rest, and include so many Loved Ones in the prayer.


Please remember Marjorie, Margaret & Will Oliver, Pauline Shorrock and John Celaschi in your prayers.    Thank you.


Due to unforeseen circumstances, these pages are not being published until well into the week.  I apologise for the delay and hope that from now on they will be ready for distribution at the weekend –  to accompany the Bulletin that is prepared for Sunday Mass.

Keep well, safe and thanking the Lord for His Blessings,

Fr. Michael