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The High Altar - St Francis Church

Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday 17th October 2021

Isaiah 53:10-11;   Hebrews 4:14-16;   Mark 10:35-45

Taken from the Gospel for 17th October 2021 (Mark 10:35-45): A Life of Service (shorter version)

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus. “Master,” they said to him, “we want you to do us a favour.” He said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.” “You do not know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?” They replied, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.” When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Three times in Mark’s gospel Jesus formally tells his disciples about his coming Passion, and each time they seem entirely deaf to it. So each time Jesus counters their misunderstanding by repeating the need for a disciple to follow him in suffering. Today’s reading begins just after the third prophecy, and – true to form - the sons of Zebedee reply with a request for the best seats at the banquet of the Kingdom! Matthew in his gospel spares the two disciples by putting the request in their poor mother’s mouth; only in a second exchange with Jesus do they woodenly accept to share Jesus’ ‘cup’ and ‘baptism’. Do they really know what they are accepting, or do they just blithely agree and answer ‘Yes’ to Jesus’ question about sharing the same ‘cup’ as their ‘Master’? The indignation of the other disciples prompts Jesus to deliver his clearest statement in words that authority in the Church should be regarded as service. His clearest statement in action about service is the smelly business of washing the travel-gnarled feet of his disciples at his last meal with them.

How does Jesus envisage leadership in the Church? How may we all live better lives of service?

Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB.

Special thanks to the Trustees of The Wednesday Word. The full version is available here.


St. Francis’ Church Welcomes You

We are delighted to be open for worship and to have you here. Everyone joining us is asked to please read the following recommendations.

New Covid Guidelines

Following the statement from the Catholic Bishops of England on Thursday 15th July 'Sunday - It Is Our Day' (link available here) and advice from our our Bishop Mark, I humbly request all those who come to St. Francis Church respect the following guidelines;

  • We encourage the use of face masks
  • Use the provided sanitiser for your hands
  • Respect social distance wherever possible
  • Use the cleaning wipes provided to clean your area before you leave the church
  • Deposit the used wipes in the bins
  • However, please note that these recommendations are no longer mandatory. As always, many thanks to our stewards. Help yourself and others to be safe.

    Br Jinson
    20th July 2021


    For Catholics Who Wish To Receive Communion

    • During the pandemic, receiving communion on the tongue is discouraged
    • Please receive holy communion in the hand without kneeling down
    • The priest may only administer communion on the tongue if he sanitises his hands after each reception
    • If you feel that you can’t receive in the hand, you may wait to receive on the tongue after Mass
    • The maximum capacity of this church is 88. Our apologies to anyone who may not be able to attend after that number is reached.


      Sunday Mass Times

      • Saturday 6:30pm - Vigil Mass
      • Sunday 8:00am
      • Sunday 9:45am - Family Mass
      • Sunday 12:00pm - Polish Family Mass
      • Sunday 4:30pm - Polish Mass

      Saturday and Weekday Mass Times

      • Saturday 12:00pm
      • Monday 12:00pm
      • Tuesday 12:00pm
      • Wednesday 12:00pm
      • Thursday 12:00pm
      • Friday 12:00pm


      Confession - The Sacrament of Reconciliation

      • Friday 11:00am - 12:00pm
      • Saturday 11:00am - 12:00pm
      • Saturday 4:00pm - 4:30pm

      • About Us

        Welcome to one of Chester’s oldest Roman Catholic Churches, St Francis of Assisi. Set in the heart of Chester City Centre, near the Grosvenor Museum and Race Course, it was originally built for the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. The construction of St Francis Church began in 1862 and was finally finished in 1875. It is now a thriving city Catholic Church serving a wide community over the Chester area.


        Contact Us

        The Brothers

        • Brother Jinson (Administrator)
        • Brother Michael (Guardian)
        • Brother Piotr
        • Brother Loarne
        • Brother Adrian
        • Brother Jim
        • Email

          • stfrancis.chester@gmail.com
          • Telephone (Not To Be Used For Business Calls)

            • 01244 351331
            • Postal Address (For Business And Personal Use)

              • St Francis of Assisi RC Church
              • Grosvenor Street
              • Chester
              • Cheshire
              • CH1 2BN

              • 'Open Churches Vital for Resilience during Lockdown'
                Cardinal Vincent Nichols

                Monday, January 4th, 2021 @ 9:23 pm

                With the announcement of a new lockdown for England to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said:

                “The regular practice of our faith in God is a well-established source of both personal resilience and dedicated service to those in need. Such resilience and enduring service are vital in these difficult circumstances.

                “I am glad that no measures have been introduced that would obstruct or curtail this essential source of energy for the common good. Catholic parishes will continue to serve the needs of their local community."

                The latest lockdown restrictions came into force on Tuesday 5th January 2021.

                The full statement and Government Guidance can be read at: www.cbcew.org.uk


                Shrewsbury Cathedral Online Services

                Here is a link to the online masses and services:  Shrewsbury Cathedral Webcam

                Prayer for an Act of Spiritual Communion

                • My Jesus, I believe that you are in the Blessed Sacrament
                • I love you above all things, and I long for you in my soul
                • Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart
                • As though you are already there, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you;
                • Never permit me to be separated from you, Amen.