A message from the parish Society of St. Vincent de Paul

While we are in lockdown it does not mean that the SSVP is inactive. In fact we have been helping the needy in the most practical way we can while observing the rules that are currently in place. As we are all aware the works of Corporal Mercy lie at the heart of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul; to feed the hungry, to shelter the homeless , to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive, to bury the dead. While we may be unable, because of restriction, to cover all of these works it does not mean that St. James’ and St. Matthew’s have been inactive. It was brought to our attention that Broke not Broken had received a significant increase in requests from those who now find themselves in need. From supplying food and help to a few families a week the number needing help has increased significantly, at the same time the supply of donations have also dropped significantly. Churches and other collection points have been inaccessible as collection points and donations had dropped. I spoke with Father Martin and we have now arranged for items to be left at St. James’ Church hall. As per normal the parishioners have been exceedingly generous in their response. To date we have arrange for around 20-30 bags of groceries that have been donated to go to Broke not Broken. Some of the parishioners who have not been able to get out have contacted us and given cash donations specifically for this purpose. For this we are exceedingly grateful and we have used this money after liaising with Broke not Broken to purchase items of which they are in specific need but have not received via donations. This has involved members of the Society doing the shopping for these items, collecting the goods from the Church and delivering them to Broke not Broken. Under the present circumstances this is the least we can do and it fits with the ethos of the Society and the Works of Corporal Mercy, to Feed the Hungry. While normally we would have received contact directly from people and provide help ourselves those requests have not occurred as yet. Therefore it was felt that if we can support the needy in this way it is the right and proper thing to do. When we get back to normal, things will no doubt change back to what they were in the past but under the current circumstances we felt it was only right to offer practical material support so that those in need can receive help. I have to thank everyone for their generosity both materially and finacially. We are also well aware that a significant amount of goods have come from St Matthew’s and have notified Broke not Broken of this and asked that they look favourably of requests from the landward areas of the parish. While we are unable because of restrictions to carry out a lot of the normal visits of the Society there are things that we are doing. One important area is in Masses for those who have died during Lockdown. With normal requiem Masses not taking place we are ensuring that we have Masses said for every soul who dies during this time. They are all in our prayers. Again I cannot thank you enough for all your help and generosity especially in these times when we ourselves may be finding it difficult. Thank You All. Bob Corrieri, President of SSVP St James’ and St Matthews

Scam Warning

Dear parishioners, God bless you, I hope you are keeping holy and healthy!

I’ve had a call this morning warning that some parishioners seem to have been sent an e-mail by me requesting funds to help a seminarian, or for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. I have not sent any such emails, please ignore them, this is part of a scam, please beware. Do not open the email, do not respond.

Thank you to the parishioner who informed me of this.

Please also remember that my landline is still out of action and that should you need to call me do so on my mobile number (07540534480)

No relationship, virtually… God wants the real deal

I hope and pray that you are all keeping well at this time, this unusual time. Whilst life might seem all over the place at the moment, routines out of the window, and so on, and attempts being made to create and embed new routines, we turn our eyes to the one constant – God. God who is always with us, unfailing in His faithfulness, true, solid, ever-reliable. Life is what we are experiencing at the moment, but perhaps more so: life is a state of flux, change, dissolution. Only normally we don’t experience it with the same intensity or rapidity. Standing back we can see that God alone is our Rock, for even in ourselves there is change, swings of mood, alterations, uncertainties.

What am I trying to say?… Well, if life around us is uncertain, if how we are in ourselves – how we feel – is uncertain, then the only “thing” the only person, in fact, who will give us the stability that we’re looking for is the Almighty. We need to turn more to Him, to cling to Him, to set our “feet” solidly upon the Rock that He is. This we do in prayer, this we do in intimacy of relationship with God that comes through prayer. So, pick up the Bible, pick up your Rosary, take hold of your prayer books and use them as the keys for entering into the Heart of the Lord. There’s no great secret to it, just do it, speak to Him from your heart knowing that His Heart is already open to communication, that He’s waiting for you to respond to the love that He has already lavished upon you in quantities beyond your reckoning.

My fear, whilst recognising some value to it, is that time spent merely watching Mass on live stream will make us more into spectators than participants, that we’ll just be watching and not engaging. Televised or streamed Masses may make us feel connected with the Church still, and that’s a good thing, but they’re certainly not a substitute for personal prayer, and they don’t fulfil our Sunday obligation – something we’ve been dispensed of at the moment, anyway. Our obligation, in these times, is to spend quality time in prayer with the Lord, equivalent, I would say to the time we would have spent at Holy Mass. But it also begs the further question… Have we fallen into being spectators even when we were physically at Holy Mass, were we there just watching what was going on, or were we praying the Mass, were we engaging with it in mind, and heart, and spirit?

I hope that this will be a time of renewal for us all, a time to cultivate a hunger for prayer, for the Mass, for our commitment to God, a time to renew and revitalize our relationship with the Lord, so that if any of it has just been watching on the side lines we’ll now let that go and really engage with Him from the heart. Don’t get me wrong, televised Masses help us see how “universal” the Catholic Church is, they stop us being narrow in our vision of the Church, and help us to experience the richness of Catholicism, but “virtual Church” as the Holy Father has said recently is never a substitute for the real thing, and “virtual prayer” is not a substitute for the real thing either. We’re not spectators but sons and daughters, we can’t visit our Father’s House at the moment, but we can still give Him a call, we can put our hands together and pray to Him. The relationship is real, and can’t be substituted with anything “virtual”.

Keep the Faith, keep strong, be of good cheer, and let’s keep remembering each other in our prayers.

God bless you, Fr. Martin

A few things…

Recently I have been posting items on Facebook, on the parish page, and would encourage as many of you as are able, if you are not already signed up to it, to access the parish Facebook Page – it is a much more fluid and current way of keeping in touch, although I quite understand the very reasonable reservations that people have about it. I’m not the greatest fan myself, but I find it quite practical at the moment. There I often have the daily Divine Office with live streamed audio, and also the Holy Rosary, as well as other articles and videos to encourage you in your faith.

Some of you who have not been accessing the parish Facebook Page, or who don’t look regularly at the webpage for the Diocese of Dunkeld may not be aware of the sad death of Mgr. Charles Hendry – latterly Parish Priest of St. Mary Magdalen’s in Perth, and formerly Parish Priest here in St. James’, Kinross. Sadly, Monsignor died on April 30th and his funeral took place yesterday in Perth (at the graveside only as all funerals at the moment). Please pray for the happy repose of his soul and for his family who mourn his loss at this time. Below you will find a link to the Service at the graveside which was recorded for the purpose of many who knew Monsignor being able to “virtually” pay their respects. I think the video will be there for a short while.


Otherwise, if you haven’t been able to keep up-to-date on Facebook I hope and pray that you and yours are keeping well, and keeping the Faith. Our prayer is our mainstay in these situations, and our assurance of the Lord’s presence with us in these difficult times. I encourage you especially to pray the Holy Rosary in this month of May, the month of Our Blessed Lady, and to keep always close to Her. You continue to be remembered in my daily Mass and, as always, Holy Mass on Sunday is offered for the intentions of all parishioners.

I made a video appeal on Facebook for help with “Broke not Broken” in Kinross, help with non-perishable food items, since their stocks have been drastically depleted with a hugely increased demand for help at the moment. I do know that those who shop at Sainsbury’s can leave items at the door, but you might also wish to leave bags of such items at the double doors of the church hall at St. James’ – whilst respecting the relevant social-distancing measures (which is quite easy in this case). To date twenty-two bags have been handed in, really just since a few days ago, which is a wonderful testimony to your kindness and generosity, so thank you very much.

Also please pray for the repose of the souls of Emma MacDonald and Jacqueline White who have died recently and whose funerals I will celebrate this coming week, remember too their grieving loved ones in your prayers. This is an especially difficult time for those who have had family members who have died, the current restrictions, sadly, make the loss of a loved one often more impersonal and distant.

Please also feel free to use the front garden of the church in St. James’, or the garden at St. Matthew’s for private prayer, respecting the guidelines on social distancing. I know that some people have popped in to pray on their daily walk, for a minute or two at the shrine, and there is no reason why people should not do this if they wish.

Finally, my landline is out of action, if you ring at the moment it may seem as if the phone is constantly engaged – at least I’ve been told so – so please contact me on my mobile phone if urgent, or even by e-mail if it’s not so urgent. (07540534480)

Take care, and God bless you and keep you,

Fr. Martin