10 July 2020


Dear parishioners and friends,


As you know, the First Minister announced yesterday that the country can move into Phase 3 of the route map out of lockdown and that places of worship can resume communal prayer/services from Wednesday 15th July with very restricted numbers and compliance with strict hygiene and recording requirements.


Consequently, public Mass will resume in St Joseph’s next Wednesday and we will follow our usual Mass schedule:  Wednesday 10am, Thursday 10am, Friday 10am, Saturday 10am, Saturday 5pm and Sunday 10.am. Please note that currently you are not under any obligation to attend Mass and Mass will continue to be broadcast live on Facebook. I will be unable to upload Mass to YouTube as you cannot broadcast live unless you have 1000 subscribers. Can I mention again that you do not need to join Facebook in order to view Mass – go to our Facebook page and click Not now when it asks you to join/log in.  www.facebook.com/stjosephsburntisland


Numbers able to attend are strictly limited to 29 and to avoid disappointment and ensure your place you are asked to use Eventbrite  www.eventbrite.co.uk  Reservations for next week will be possible from Sunday at 12.00noon. Initially, please do not try to attend more than one Mass a week to allow others to come who may wish to. Reservations will be possible up to 30 minutes before Mass begins.  If people turn up without using Eventbrite they will not be turned away if there are places available. The use of Eventbrite may prove not to be necessary, or we may find a better way of doing things, so we will monitor this as we go along.


This feels like a big step and I admit to being a bit anxious as we move forward, but I am grateful for the help of our parish Co-vid Group and for your own understanding and support.


The Church will be open again this Sunday for private prayer from 2.00pm-4.00pm. 


Coming to Church - a reminder: Hand sanitiser is provided, but it would be helpful if you brought your own, as well as your own face covering. You should sanitise your hands on the way in and out of the Church. A face covering should be worn and please respect physical distancing. Please only sit on the yellow disks. It may not be possible to sit together as a couple – this is to maximise available space. There are four pews reserved for families/same household groups.  A one way system is in operation – please exit by the Fire Door. The toilets and hall are not be available for use.


Press release from the Bishops Conference of Scotland: Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have welcomed the First Minister’s comments today (Thursday 9 July) on places of worship and have announced the resumption of communal worship in Catholic parishes from 15 July. Commenting on the move, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert said;


“Over the past month, our parishes have been preparing for the safe resumption of communal prayer and the celebration of Mass, which is at the centre of the life of the church. To have been unable to attend Mass for many months has been a source of real sadness for Scotland’s Catholics and I am sure there will be great joy at the prospect of returning.”


“Thanks to the widespread implementation of the church’s Infection Control protocols, Catholic parishes will begin the resumption of public Masses and other communal activities from 15 July.”


Bishop Gilbert added;


“The bishops are extremely grateful to all those who have worked tirelessly to prepare our parishes for public worship and to those who made their views known to their parliamentary representatives and the government on the subject of communal worship.

While thanking the Scottish Government for listening to these calls, we would remind parishioners that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended and ask those who return to do so in accordance with the infection control measures in force in each parish, mindful always of the need to protect themselves and others.”


Some reflections on Sunday’s Gospel: Today’s Gospel marks the beginning of the third long discourse given by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. Over the next few weeks, the Gospel readings will consist of the entire 13th Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, a lengthy teaching discourse.


Throughout this discourse, Jesus will offer several parables to illustrate for his listeners what he means by the kingdom of heaven. He begins with the parable of the sower, which appears rather straightforward—of course seeds grow best in good soil. Seeds that miss the soil, are sown on rocky ground, or are sown among other plants will not grow. The surprise in the parable is the enormous yield of the seed that is sown on good soil.

Jesus then explains his use of parables. Jesus seems to suggest that he uses parables to teach because the meanings of parables are not self-evident. The hearer must engage in some degree of reflection in order to comprehend the message of a parable. In this way, the medium—the parable—models the point of the parable of the sower. Those who are willing to engage themselves in the effort to understand will be rewarded by the discovery of the message and will bear fruit.


To bring home the point, Jesus interprets the parable of the sower to his disciples. The different types of soil in which the seeds are sown are metaphors for the disposition with which each individual hears the teaching about the kingdom of heaven. Some will be easily swayed away from the kingdom of heaven. Some will receive it for a time but will lose it when faced with difficulties. Some will hear the word but will then permit other cares to choke it out. Yet some will receive it well, and the seed will produce abundant fruit.


Children’s Liturgy during Lockdown:

Resources are available on the Archdiocesan Facebook page and also  https://www.facebook.com/Childrens-Liturgy-during-lockdown-101967264838340/






Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh Virtual Lourdes Pilgrimage July 10th-17th: Several daily events are available via Edinburgh Lourdes Website and Facebook pages. Please join us in prayer and celebration, everyone is welcome.  Pope Francis has granted a Plenary Indulgence to all who participate. Fr James will offer prayers for the Rosary on Saturday night and Mass on Tuesday.




www.edinburgh-lourdes.com    https://www.facebook.com/edinburghlourdes/


Online - Spiritual Conversation Course -September 2020 - May 2021:  Open up to speak about things that matter.  A course helpful to care workers, teachers, NHS workers, parish visitors etc. If you need a grant for this course please apply in July.
Further Information on SC Course


Online - Growth in Prayer and Reflective Living - September 2020 - May 2021:  A course of introduction to prayer and a reflective life using the techniques associated with Ignatian Spirituality.  A very popular programme.

Further Information on GPRL


Take one day at a time… with God:  St Ignatius of Loyola recommended a simple prayer for each day called the Examen, when we can review our day with God and ask him to help us the next day. This is helpful especially at the moment, when thinking about the future may be hard. 

Pray the Examen today >>


A new Hymn for our Times – from John Bell of the Iona Community


We will meet when the danger is over,

we will meet when the sad days are over;

we will meet sitting closely together

and be glad our tomorrow has come.


We will join to give thanks and sing gladly,

we will join to break bread and share wine;

and the peace that we pass to each other

will be more than a casual sign.


So let's make with each other a promise

that when all we've come through is behind,

we will share what we missed and find meaning

in the things that once troubled our mind.


Until then may we always discover

faith and love to determine our way.

That's our hope and God's will and our calling

for our lives and for every new day.          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y4DpYuncrg




How awful!

How obscenely extravagant!

How indiscriminate of God

to throw open the gates of the kingdom

so that anyone might find a way in.

No standards.

No safeguards.

But a generosity that is sure to be abused

and just as scandalous today

as was this message to those who listened to Jesus.

Still there are those

who do not want to believe,

who want to rewrite the story

of God’s unconditional welcome,

who want to maintain standards and conditions

and limit the sphere of the impossible kingdom of God.

Thankfully, the God of the Universe

knows no bounds

and cannot be subdued

but carries on regardless,

sowing and reaping,

shuffling and shoogling,

making space for all,

throwing wide the doors

and gathering us in.



Mass Intentions this week:

Sunday:  Charlie Robertson RIP

Monday:  Special Intention

Tuesday:  Thanksgiving

Wednesday: Rosina MacDonald RIP

Thursday:  Eddie Coyle RIP

Friday:  Special Intention   

Saturday:  Denis McKay

Saturday Vigil: Evelyn Rosiejak RIP

Sunday:  Gustavo Veneroni RIP


Thank you to those who submitted contributions. If you want to share anything you have found helpful, please e-mail me. Please keep safe and well.

Father James