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First Sunday of Advent

First Sunday of Advent

27 November 2011 – First Sunday of Advent (B)

THIS SUNDAY: Advent opens with a great cry, and a great promise: “Oh that you would tear the heavens open and come down!” is the cry of a people who need God. “…the master is coming” is the promise, not to breed fear, but to answer our cry. Advent begins, not with thoughts of the past, with the coming of the Lord we celebrate at Christmas, but with the future, and the promise that He is coming back. We are encouraged to treat every day as the day the Lord will come; we do not do this out of fear for a Master who beats his servants, but out of love of a Master who always treats us with love and mercy. Nevertheless we must always be watchful, because we can grow sleepy and complacent, saying that we can leave this prayer or that confession or the other change in the way we live to tomorrow. Even as we look forward to the tomorrow of the Lord’s coming, we must remember that it might be today!

RECEPTION AND BLESSING OF THE NEW MISSAL: At Mass this Saturday evening, as we begin mass and bless our Advent wreath, we will also receive on the sanctuary the new missal. We pray that as we embrace the new translation, our prayer and our liturgy may draw us ever closer to God and his love. Sunday Missals have also arrived and will be available from this weekend. Those of you who have ordered one from FrC will find your name on the missal. There may be one or two extras that have been ordered if you would like one.

200 CLUB MEMBERSHIP: Subscriptions for 2012 are due soon. Look out for your membership letter.

FIRST COMMUNION 2012: The complete list of preparation sessions, celebration Masses, and parents’ sessions can now be found on the notice board as well as on the parish website. If you missed the details and the meeting for whatever reason you will need to contact FrC, please. The children begin their preparation for First Confession on Wednesday 30 November in school. We look forward to welcoming them for their Mass on Enrolment in January.

ROTAS: You’ll find the December rotas online and paper copies as well as notes for Readers in the narthex.

FIRST FRIDAY SOUP LUNCH: The next First Friday soup lunch takes place this coming Friday 2 December, following Exposition, at 12.15pm. All are most welcome.

VESPERS: Beginning this Sunday, there will be the celebration of Evening Prayer at 4.00pm on Advent Sunday I, II, and III. This is a beautiful way of praying the psalms drawing the day to a close. Do come along and make this a real part of your Advent journey of preparation.

FAMILY CRIB SERVICE: On the Fourth Sunday of Advent we gather with the children of our parish to begin to re-trace that journey to Bethlehem and reflect upon the beauty of the Christmas story. The children are invited to come dressed as one of the characters of the nativity to help focus our reflection upon the people who responded to the invitation to welcome Christ into our world. All are most welcome and we begin at 3.30pm on Sunday 18th December here in the church. There will be refreshments afterwards in the hall.

WALK WITH ME: These simple books of reflection for each day of Advent are available, priced £1, from the narthex.

A CHRISTMAS WELCOME AND OUT-REACH: There are some beautiful cards available from this weekend that give clear details of the week’s build up to Christmas so that you can ‘invite’ folk to join us for Christmas this year. The cards give times of the celebrations at St Bernadette’s, opportunities for confession, and allow you to encourage those who may not normally be with us at the weekend to come back and join us at this special time of year. This is a most important part of reaching out to folk and an important aspect of evangelisation. There may be friends, family, neighbours who just need that encouragement from you to put them back in touch with Church and with that living encounter with Christ. You are encouraged to take the cards and hand them on!

CHRISTMAS MASSES: You’ll see from the little Christmas postcards that there are four masses over Christmas Day: 6.00pm Christmas Eve as well as Midnight (beginning 11.30pm with Carols) and then 8.30am and 10.30am on Christmas Day. It’ll be great to see you sometime over that Christmas weekend.

AMPLIUS CHRISTMAS CONCERT takes place on Saturday 3 December at Counterslip Baptist Church beginning at 7.30pm. We are warmly invited to go along. Full details on the notice board.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR THE HOMELESS: Once again, we’ll be collecting your gifts for the guests of Julian House this Christmas. You’ve been great in previous years wrapping socks, jumpers, toiletries and chocolates for the homeless. The box will be in the Lady Chapel in time for the Crib Service, mid December.

DIOCESAN YEARBOOKS AND DIRECTORIES: Get them while you can! There were only 20 directories (£5) and 8 liturgical yearbooks (£5.99) this year. There were too many left last year, so get these whilst they are available from the Narthex. You can pop the money into the newspaper money box.

FIFTY YEARS ON – VATICAN II: The next date for your diary is Tuesday 6 December, 7.30pm in our cathedral when Fr James Hanvey SJ will explore Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes, inviting us to think about being the Church in the contemporary world. This is a fantastic series of talks (the complete list is in the narthex) where we can simple re-introduce ourselves to the fruits of the Second Vatican Council. Do go along if you can.

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