X OUR PRAYER IN LENT – during Lent we are asked by the bishops of England and Wales to pray specially for those preparing to be received into the Church at Easter. In our parish these are our Catechumens and Candidates, formally enrolled a week ago at the Cathedral - Alex, Helen, Katherine, Natalie, Roy, and Yassin. The whole story of Lent grows out of the Church praying for her catechumens, and so we gladly obey the bishops’ request.  We’re also praying specially at this time for everyone who comes to Confession during Lent and Easter. The Church requires us all to make our confession at least once year, and urges us that if it IS only once a year, that should happen during Lent - so that we are ready for Easter. In Lent we also pray for the poor and hungry – after all, Lent is pretty tied up with almsgiving – and praying for and supporting the work of CAFOD is one good way of doing this. And in addition, during this Lent the bishops of England and Wales have asked us to pray for survivors of child sexual abuse. This is a bitter and grave subject; it is close to many people’s experience, and it is a raw and live topic among both Catholics and non-Catholics. Many people have realised with dismay that areas of horror and cruelty exist (and existed), of which they had had no inkling when they were growing up. And of course people and priests inside the Church have been involved, and the Church is afflicted with a great sense of puzzlement and betrayal. The bishops have asked us to pray about this, and for those poor souls whose deepest and most intimate sensibilities have been seared, uprooted and destroyed; and this we must do, penitently and faithfully.

X CAFOD FAMILY FAST DAY Just a “thank you” in advance for your offerings for this Lent’s CAFOD appeal!  We’ll be collecting envelopes after Mass as you leave and – for anyone who’s forgotten their envelope – just put a contribution in the basket as you go out.  CAFOD – the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development - is committed to helping the poorest, most vulnerable in our world.  With its partner agencies worldwide, CAFOD is a major contributor to relief in some of the hardest-to-reach places on the planet.  You can give online, too:

X SVP LENT COLLECTION BOARDS – these boards offer us a simple and attractive way of supporting the work of SVP in our parish. You may remember we did it a couple of years ago. Take one of the wooden boards with pound-coin-shaped holes in it from the back of the church, and contribute towards the work of the SVP in our parish - £1 for every week of Lent. The work of the SVP is important in our parish.

X CONFIRMATION Children in this diocese have to be at least 12 years old on the day of confirmation (which is May 17th). The Deanery Confirmation will be in St Paul’s Dover on that day. Classes continue weekly on Wednesdays from 6.00pm to 7.00pm. IF YOU, OR YOUR CHILD, OR YOUR GRANDCHILD OUGHT TO RECEIVE THIS SACRAMENT, please get in contact with Fr Stephen or the Presbytery (or both!), pick up a registration form, and bring it with you – filled-in! to the next class on Wednesday at 6.00pm.

X FIRST HOLY COMMUNION classes continue on Wednesdays in Stella Maris at 3.30pm. Since we were thinking about penitents and making our confession a few lines back, let’s remember to pray for all the First Holy Communion candidates, who will be making their First Confession this Wednesday.

X THE UNION OF CATHOLIC MOTHERS Annual General Meeting is on Tuesday, April 2nd, after the 10.00 Mass. Talking of which…

X UNION OF CATHOLIC MOTHERS - The UCM’s Recruitment Officer from the Diocese, Sharon Bishop, will be giving a short talk, explaining what the UCM is about after the 9.00am and 11.00am masses today, March 17th, and she and UCM members will be giving out leaflets. The UCM is a crucial organisation in the parish. The part played in the Church by the women of the Church is another area that the bishops have asked us to pray about in Lent. Women of the parish - you may be astonished to find that the UCM is in fact for you!

X OUR LADY & ST JOSEPH’S 100 CLUB - the March draw will take place today, Sunday, March 17th, after the 11.00 Mass.

X THE MORE PEOPLE come into church to pray with our Lord, and to our Lord, present in his Holy Sacrament, the better. Our Lady Help of Christians is once again usually open throughout the day (except Sunday afternoons) - so, you to whom it belongs, do use this, God’s House of Prayer, for what it was built for: to house the prayers of the People of God, and his sacramental presence.

X QUIZ NIGHT (or should that be “NITE”?) - SPUC are holding a Quiz Night at Hythe Catholic Church Hall next Saturday, March 23rd, at 7.00pm. It costs £5.00 per person, and table maximum is eight people. Refreshments are provided. Please come and support this very worthy cause! Please ring Pam all for further information, on 01303 278394

X EAST KENT HOSPITAL CHARITY are raising money for a new scanner at the William Harvey. Why not go along to St Michael’s Methodist Church in Chapel Street, Hythe, on Saturday, March 30th and take part in their Coffee Morning? £3.50 at the door. Please ring Pam Boxall for further information, on 01303 278394

X GIFT AID It’s coming up to that time of year when we notice we’re running short of giving envelopes and think once again about our giving to the parish. George Pound, our Gift Aid Officer, will be speaking about this at the Masses next weekend.

X THE EASTER TRIDUUM - EXTRA SINGERS ARE NEEDED! We have already started to practise the music for the Easter Triduum, but it is not too late - come and join the singing group on a Thursday in OLHoC Parish Hall at 6.00pm. People from both St Joseph’s and Guildhall Street are invited to come along and join in. You do not have to be a champion singer! We call it the Singing Group, not “The Choir”, because we are all pretty ordinary (except for Ben, who is just simply our belovèd gift from God). Music and song - and therefore the singers! - play a VITAL part in the Church’s celebration of the Easter Triduum. And if you are a Catholic, the Easter Triduum is at the heart of who you are. THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (Para 1168) TELLS US: “Beginning with the Easter Triduum as its source of light, the new age of the Resurrection fills the whole liturgical year with its brilliance. Please think about contributing to this important ministry.

X OLHoC CHURCH KNEELERS APPEAL – Its just wonderful how people are continuing responding to this! Thank you now to many people for their generosity! (This includes the Young Wives and the people who support the 9.00am Sunday coffee who have recently given £100.) Our target is £3497.00 (which is £67.25 per kneeler), and we have so far raised £1947.80. So we have covered 29 kneelers (pun intended!). We still have £1549.20 to raise for the remainder. Mr Evans, our upholsterer, will start the work in about five weeks.
Please pray for the people named below, who have asked us to hold them in our prayers: Anne Craighill, Blanche Ellis, Cecilia Wells-Tilling, Giovanni Toffetti, Joan Martin, John McGarry, Patricia Barry, Ray Smith, and Roy Blake

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