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Third Sunday of Advent

Third Sunday of Advent

11 December 2011 – Gaudete Sunday ~ Third Sunday of Advent

THIS SUNDAY: So who is coming? This Sunday’s readings help to answer that question. John the Baptist is asked about the coming of the Messiah – is it him? He affirms his role as “a witness to speak for the light”, by pointing to the one who stands among the crowd unknown to them who is coming after him. This idea is present in the First Reading, where Isaiah proclaims what the “anointed one” (‘Messiah’ in Hebrew) will do, and the joy that this will bring. It is interesting that the Psalm appointed for this Sunday is the Magnificat – Mary’s song of praise at the announcement that the Messiah would be born of her – in which she sings of the works of the coming Messiah. Paul then reminds us that we are still waiting patiently: “God has called you, and he will not fail you.” This is why, on this ‘Gaudete’ Sunday, we as God’s people rejoice in his care, made visible in his promises, fulfilled in Jesus.

200 CLUB MEMBERSHIP: Subscriptions for 2012 are due soon. Look out for your membership letter. Your membership supports our parish in such real ways. With all 200 numbers taken, half that subscription money goes to parish funds – that’s £1200 if all numbers are taken. The other £1200 is given out in prizes throughout the year – ten £25 monthly prizes and two Grand Draws (May and November) with the potential first prize of £200. Do think about renewing your subscription and, if you haven’t got a number, have a word with Colette and sign up before the end of this December.

FIRST COMMUNION 2012: The children began their preparation for First Confession last Wednesday and continue their preparation this coming Wednesday in school. The children celebrate their First Confession this coming Saturday. We keep them in our prayers.

VESPERS: This Sunday afternoon, the last of our Advent Vespers takes place at 4.00pm. This beautiful praying of the Prayer of the Church is a wonderful way to unite ourselves with the Church across the world at prayer.

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.

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.

CHRISTMAS CONFESSIONS: Responding to the call of John the Baptist to turn back to the Lord this Advent, you’ll see from the little postcards that there are opportunities other than the two usual Saturday sessions of Confessions. On Tuesday 20 December, there will be a couple of priests hearing confessions from 7.00pm – 8.30pm. Then on Thursday 22 December, an opportunity from 10am – 10.45am. Don’t leave your Christmas confession until the last moment. Make room for the Lord this Advent!

BIG CLEAN FOR CHRISTMAS: On Wednesday 21 December from 10am onwards, willing volunteers are needed just to get the Church ready for the Christmas weekend. If you can spare a little time along with a duster and a brush, just turn up for half an hour or so and lend a hand. Many hands make light of the work.

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.

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.

RETIRING COLLECTION this Sunday: the Flower Ladies are seeking your help and support through their Christmas flower collection. Your support enables them to make our Church look so beautiful and stunning for the Christmas feasts.

PARISH MAGAZINE: The Advent and Christmas edition of the parish magazine is available for you to collect from the Narthex. There are some fantastic articles in this edition – its well worth picking up. When you;ve finished with it, pass it on! There’s no charge for the magazine. If you want to pop a little something into the newspaper pot, then please do.

FIFTY YEARS ON – VATICAN II: This next date for your diaries ready for the New Year – Tuesday 24 January 2012 at 7.30pm. Fr Timothy Menezes will be leading our reflection upon Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Council’s document on the liturgy. This fantastic series of talks Opening the Windows offers us a simple route into re-introducing 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. Downloads on diocesan website.

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