Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on 14th February.
Masses for Ash Wednesday will be at 9.00am and 7pm. Please note the slightly earlier time of morning Mass, which will be celebrated by Fr Francis from St Cuthbert’s as Fr Alex is away. Evening Mass will be celebrated by Fr Jereus.
The Liturgy Committee have planned a full programme for Lent.
Every Friday evening during Lent we will have Mass at 6.30pm, followed by Stations of the Cross at 7pm. The Stations will be led by volunteers and groups from the parish. If you would like to volunteer to lead the Stations, please write your name beside your chosen Friday on the sheet at the back of the church. We would especially appreciate volunteers or a parish group to lead the first session this coming Friday, 16th February.
A series of reflection mornings, using materials from the acclaimed Sycamore Course will take place over three successive Saturdays in the hall. These will be on Saturdays 24th Feb, 2nd March and 9th March from 10.30am.
On Saturday 16th March, we will have a Confession morning at 10am, followed by Mass at 11am.
Please do come along to these events and maximise your Lenten experience. The full Lenten schedule can be seen in the image below. Click on the image to view a larger, easier to read version.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has begun, running annually from 18th--
25th January. During this week, we are invited to mediate on this year’s theme:
“You shall love the Lord your God… and your neighbour as yourself, while
ensuring we extend the hand of friendship and hospitality to our brothers and
sisters of different Christian denominations, as well as those of other faiths and
To mark the event, we will be hosting a special Ecumenical Prayer Service at 7pm on Thursday 25th January. The service is a collaborative effort between ourselves, St David’s Broomhouse (Church of Scotland) and St Salvador’s, Stenhouse (Scottish Episcopal Church).
The liturgy we have planned is really quite beautiful, so please do join us as we
come together as one, wider Christian family to pray for peace and unity, and in the spirit of the celebration, feel free to extend an invitation to friends from other Christian churches.
Includes fellowship in the hall afterwards.
Agricultural Rich World / Poor World
Season of Creation Reflection #3
In this weekend’s Gospel reading, we hear the parable of the vineyard owner who employs different people at different times of the day. Some employees work the full day, others only half the day, but at the end of the day everyone gets paid the same salary.
There are perhaps two ways we can connect this parable to our reflections on the Season of Creation. The first way is to examine our modern agricultural practices and their impact on the global food crisis.
Today, we hear much about the plight of seasonal agricultural workers, the removal of land tenure rights and income inequality in our agricultural processes. Our modern agricultural processes have a large footprint both on the landscape, through monocropping (leading to habitat destruction) and factory-style animal husbandry (leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions). Our modern food production practices are leading to increasing biodiversity loss, the alienation of people from food sources and at the same time increasing global hunger.
The second way we can look at this weekend’s Gospel is from the perspective of income inequality, both at home and further afield.
The vineyard owner in the parable deliberately employs all those looking for work. In our world today, so many people have to work more than one job just to make ends meet, or worse struggle to find work at all. We often hear of situations where workers are working long hours, for little reward while profits go back to making corporations richer. This is often at the expense of the earth and the poor. We are so often told that the richest 10% of the world hold 85% of the world’s wealth, while the bottom 90% hold the remaining 15% of the world's total wealth. A recent survey showed that the world’s ten richest people doubled their wealth over the past two years, while 99% of others’ income dropped.
The theme for Season of Creation 2023 is “Let justice and peace flow like a river”. One of the greatest injustices in our world is the global food crisis. The World Food Programme (WFT) estimates that 345 million people in 73 countries around the world are food insecure in 2023. And yet 17% of all food produced is dumped between harvest and retail.
Pope Francis, in Laudato Si, calls us to engage in “big picture thinking”. Like the vineyard owner, we are called to work for the common good, to have a preferential option for the poor, to raise their voices and the voice of the earth, the vineyard. The owner of the vineyard pays everyone the same, regardless of their work. What would our society look like if everyone was raised up and empowered? The more we can provide meaningful work with a just wage for all, the more everyone will feel included and can be given the opportunity to flourish.
In the first reading, the Israelites cry in hunger as they wander through the desert. Gid responds by sending them “manna from heaven”, reminding us that God has a plan to ensure our needs are met. May we always raise up the voices of the poor, who are bearing the brunt of the climate change and the global food crisis. May this weekend’s readings be a constant reminder that the Lord provides enough to satisfy all our needs and we have a responsibility to only consume our fair share. And finally, may we always be challenged to work and grow for the common good, to love God and our neighbour so that quality of life for all may improve.
Forgive Us Our Debts
In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus' teaching is very clear. We are called to forgive our neighbour's debts - not just seven times, but seventy seven times!
Often, we think this passage is about how many times we are called to forgive others. Yet on reflection, we can see the challenge is actually much deeper than mere numbers. We are being challenged to realise how blessed we are and invited to use our privilege and power to support, not oppress, all around us. We are invited to be like the Lord, who is described in the Psalm as "slow to anger and rich in mercy".
In Matthew’s account of the Gospel, we hear Jesus’ parable about a king forgiving a debt – that is, the King uses his power to set someone free from what was oppressing them. Then we hear how the now-free-from-debt servant fails to offer the same freedom to another. This enrages the King, who condemns the man. His condemnation is not about the money though. Instead, the King expects that the privilege granted to his servant would have transformed his heart, and he is shocked that it hasn’t. The servant had had the experience but missed the meaning – the opportunity to grow and live in kindness. Instead, he chose to remain greedy.
We see here the devastating impact of debt as the man cannot pay and all that he has must be sold, including himself and his wife and children.
There is no doubt that Climate Change is throwing people into debt. In Africa, for example, developing nations are being forced to take out loans to repair infrastructure, roads, schools, hospitals and homes in the wake of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods. Each fresh disaster increases the debt of the country.
On an individual level, families are struck by climate change related disaster such as floods or drought that makes them lose their harvest for the year. The only way to buy seed and other necessities is to take out loans. Survival becomes more and more difficult as you are servicing the loan and when another disaster strikes -the family is thrust into abject poverty.
The theme of this year's Season of Creation is Let Justice and Peace Flow. We are called to recognise the impact of climate change, loss of life and livelihoods and damage to infrastructure and economies and to pay into a loss and damage fund. Loss and damage is and will continue to harm vulnerable communities the most, making addressing the issue a matter of climate justice.
In his annual message, Pope Francis tells us that we can contribute to the mighty river of justice and peace by resolving to transform our hearts, our lifestyles, and the public policies ruling our societies.
This week’s gospel, and this season of creation, is an invitation to transform our hearts. Rather than remaining trapped in fear and greed, our hearts should remain grateful for how privileged we are in the Developed World, and open to using that privilege for the good of others.
The first reading today asks: “Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?” We ask our leaders, our churches, our neighbours and ourselves – Could anyone know the love of God and not recognise and respect God present in every living thing?"
Harmony with God and Creation
In the Gospel this weekend, we will listen to a passage from Matthew, chapter 18, which describes how the early Christian community were expected to live in harmony. It reminds us that we have a responsibility to one another and a duty to care for those in our society who are the most vulnerable.
This is an appropriate passage as we reflect on the Season of Creation. The theme this year is “Let Justice and Peace Flow”, and the emphasis is on the social injustices of climate change. In his message this year, Pope Francis laments that the “heartbeat of creation and the heartbeat of God” no longer beat in harmony, because they are not “harmonized in justice and peace.”
Climate injustice is causing a series of detrimental social, economic and health impacts on some of the poorest, most vulnerable nations in our world. Pollution, exploitation and greed by the richest nations is leading to a climate catastrophe that the poorer nations have neither the economic or logistical capacity to deal with.
There is great disharmony between rich and poor. There is great disharmony between humanity and creation. We are not living in harmony with our world, nor with our sisters and brothers who suffer the most at the hands of the climate crisis.
Pope Francis calls the destruction of the planet an “ecological sin”. But during the Season of Creation, we are called to repent of our sin and make positive changes for the future of our world. We are presented with an opportunity to call others together and discern how we can protect God’s creation.
At the end of this weekend’s Gospel, we are told “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” This is a reminder to us that we share a common home, but we are also not alone. God is right there with us in the midst of his creation. And we have a duty to take care of his wondrous creation – a duty to ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and to the Creator who lives among us.
Let us pray, then, this weekend, that our eyes may be opened to our own ecological sin. By your grace, help us to make lifestyle choices that are selfless and sustainable, promote the care and safeguarding of our ecosystem. We pray that all in our world will be guaranteed access to the most basic of resources, and that this can be achieved through nations, political leaders, religious leaders, neighbours, brothers and sisters all working together in harmony for the greater good.
Today marks the beginning of the Season of Creation. This is an annual ecumenical event which runs until October 4th, the feast of St Francis of Assisi.
Although a fairly new event, the Pope has asked us to ensure that it becomes very firmly a fixture in our liturgical calendar, and so it has been for the last few years.
The theme this year is "Let Justice and Peace Flow", In his annual message, Pope Francis urges us to "heed our call to stand with the victims of environmental and climate injustice, and to put an end to the senseless war against creation."
We will be marking the Season of Creation each Sunday through our liturgy at Mass, through prayers, music and reflections. We will also culminate with a special ecumenical service on October 4th, where we will echo the pleas of Pope Francis.
There will also be a special series of social media posts every Friday, with further quotes and reflections from the Holy Father. These will be replicated here on our website and the images will form the basis of the bulletin cover every weekend.
Watch the video below to get a flavour of the Season of Creation.
We were saddened to hear of the passing of parishioner Margaret Mullen on Sunday 2nd July. Margaret was always a happy, generous and caring presence at our Masses and parish events.
A tribute to Margaret has been written below by her granddaughter, Claire.
Many thanks to the wonderful people of St Joseph’s parish who showed Margaret great kindness in the past few years. Her funeral will be held in the church.
Date: Wednesday 26th July 2023
Mass: St Joseph's RC Church, Broomhouse Street North, EH113SB at 12:00
Burial: Mount Vernon Cemetry at 14:00
Margaret Mullen (nee Boles) was a spectacular woman. One of 6, Margaret was a huge family person and talked fondly of her childhood and her hometown, Hawick. She married her husband Hugh in 1959 after meeting him on pilgrimage to Lourdes. A place that she held dear and a love of which she passed on to the generations after her. Margaret's faith underpinned her whole life.
She was Mum to 6 children who she loved dearly. She was known to her Grandchildren, and non family members alike, as Grandma. She loved her 12 Grandchildren, 1 Step Grandchild and 4 Great Grandchildren so much. She especially loved spoiling them with bacon rolls, sweet treats and an almighty sack of presents at Christmas time!
Margaret started her teaching career in her beloved hometown of Hawick then moved to Edinburgh where her first job in the city was at St Joseph's Primary School. After the children were born she took a job with St Cuthbert's Primary School before finishing her career as Head Teacher of St John Vianney. She is still remembered fondly by many of her pupils and colleagues throughout her long and dedicated career.
Margaret always loved sports and tried everything she could when she was younger. From hockey to horse riding she tried it all but she loved watching Hawick Rugby most of all. She was a dedicated supporter of the team her whole life - travelling through to see games was a highlight for her. Most recently she watched the team win the final at Murrayfield, just a couple months ago. When she arrived in the stadium she said with a tear in her eye "we're here" and proceeded to shout and cheer for Hawick the whole 80 minutes! She was a true fan and lover of all things Hawick.
Most of all, Grandma loved spending time with the people in her life. Her face lit up when you walked in the room. I'm sure that will be the reaction of her loved ones now as she joins them in heaven.
As was announced last weekend, the India-UK-Ireland Province of the Society of St Paul have initiated some clergy movements which affect our parish.
Fr Baji, outgoing Parish Priest, left the parish on Friday (12th May) to return to India on a new assignment. He has now settled in the Pauline community in Bangalore. Our incoming Parish Priest, Fr Alexander Anandam, SSP, will arrive some time this coming week.
It was announced this morning that Fr Shinto will be leaving us some time around the beginning of June to take up a new assignment in London, with another Pauline arriving over the next few weeks to take his place.
On behalf of all the parishioners of St Joseph's, we'd like to take this opportunity to thank Fr Baji and Fr Shinto for their service here and for providing some stability during what was a very turbulent time for the parish, between the departure of the Augustinians and the onset of the pandemic.
As a parish community we look forward to welcoming and getting to know our new Pauline priests over the coming weeks and months.
Celebrate Holy Week and Easter at St Joseph's.
Palm Sunday, 2nd April:
Sunday Masses, 8.30am and 11am (with procession from the church hall)
Maundy Thursday, 6th April:
Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper (with Washing of the Feet), 7pm
Good Friday, 7th April:
Commemoration of the Lord's Passion, 3pm
Stations of the Cross, 7pm
Holy Saturday, 8th April:
Easter Vigil, 8.30pm
Easter Masses, 8.30am (quiet Mass) & 11am (family Mass)
Lent begins on With Ash Wednesday on 22d February. There will once again be a full programme of events in the parish for Lent and Easter. You can find the programme below.
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