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Second Sunday of Advent

Second Sunday of Advent

4 December 2011 – Second Sunday of Advent (B)

THIS SUNDAY: Throughout the first three weeks of Advent our focus is very clearly on the Second Coming of the Lord – not so much on the run up to Christmas (until the last week). If we view Advent as a preparation for Christmas these readings will make little sense – and neither will the figure of John the Baptist who appears today: if it’s about the preparation for Christmas, then John the Baptist, preaching after Jesus was born, is a confusing figure: but his role is to preach to us, as he did of old, and to prepare us for the (second) coming of the Lord. Today we have a very graphic reference to the end of time and the Second Coming in the reading from Saint Peter; it is a frightening picture, and so the first reading offers tender words of comfort to help us understand who is coming, and why we should be ready to meet him.

A HUGE ‘THANK YOU’: Mother Kathleen from the Little Sisters in Cotham has written to thank our parish for their continued support for the work at St Joseph’s.  Some of the Sisters and the residents came to the bingo night last weekend and had a fantastic time out. You raised £550 for the Sisters last Saturday because of your generosity. Thanks to those who supported the evening and those who helped make it a fun time!

200 CLUB MEMBERSHIP: Subscriptions for 2012 are due soon. Look out for your membership letter. The Grand Draw took place during the bingo night last weekend and there were three lucky winners: £50 – Norah Smalldridge; £100 – Clare Taylor; £200 – Fr Christopher.

FIRST COMMUNION 2012: The children began their preparation for First Confession last Wednesday and continue their preparation this coming TUESDAY in school. We look forward to welcoming them for their Mass on Enrolment in January. Do keep them in your prayers as they journey towards the Sacraments.

VESPERS: Continuing 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.

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

FAMILY CRIB SERVICE: On the Fourth Sunday of Advent (18 December) 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.

A CHRISTMAS WELCOME AND OUT-REACH: There are some beautiful cards available from the narthex 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! Take as many as you can.

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.

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. You can pop the money into the newspaper money box.

FIFTY YEARS ON – VATICAN II: This coming Tuesday – 6 December at 7.30pm in our cathedral, Fr James Hanvey SJ will explore two of the influential and significant documents of the Second Vatican Council – Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes – drawing us into reflection and inviting us to think about how we are called to be the Church in the contemporary world. This fantastic series of talks Opening the Windows (the complete list is in the narthex) offers us a simple route into re-introduceing ourselves to the fruits of the Second Vatican Council. Do go along if you can. It is free, open to everyone, and there’s plenty of parking, too.

RETIRING COLLECTION this Sunday for the Poor Missions of the Diocese. We support the parishes that aren’t as fortunate as we are to have the finances to do what we do throughout the year. Some of our parishes struggle and so this collection invites us into solidarity and support with them in their need. On Sunday 18 December, the Flower Ladies will be seeking your help and support through their flower collection.

THANK YOU to Michael Long for the beautiful way he has inscribed the new Altar Missals with the names of those in whose memory the donations have been given.

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