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The Epiphany

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The Epiphany

8 January 2012 ~ The Epiphany of the Lord (B)

THIS SUNDAY: In the East, this Season of Christmas is called the “Time of Manifestation”, or Showing. Today is the ‘Feast of the Manifestation’, or the Showing of the Saviour to the whole world, to all nations. In the wise men who travel from the East, we see all the nations other than the people of Israel being welcomed at the New Temple of the New Covenant – the new born child in the manger. A look at the Psalm response shows this: “All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.” The same is true of the key word in the second reading: “Revelation”. Remember that for the people of Israel this was to be their Messiah, come to restore their fortunes. By this feast, we proclaim God’s plan was to extend his salvation to men and women of every nation, of every time and every place – including us. In many ways this is our Christmas Feast, when we celebrate the Good News of the Saviour’s birth revealed at last to us.

THE 12 DAYS: A beautiful book of reflections composed by folk within our diocesan community is still available for you to pick up from Mass this weekend. As we celebrate this wonderful feast of the Epiphany, there is still chance for us to gaze into the Christmas mystery so as to deepen our awareness of the love of God for us. Do pick up what copies are left by the crib, joining the Magi in their adoration of the Light to the nations.

THE CRIB: Over in the Lady Chapel you will find that familiar scene which draws us ever deeper into the story of God’s unconditional love for us, and reminds us that God is near. Do go and spend a little time at the crib, most especially with loved ones and family. Come close to the Christ who came to bring us joy; bring him your selves and your lives, and allow him to bring himself to you.

YOUR CRIB OFFERINGS: As usual, there is a little basket next to the crib for your offerings. This year, our crib offerings will go in support of the work done at St Nick’s, Lawford’s Gate, for the homeless and the refugee.  Your gifts across Christmas will help those who turn to them for help in their need.

FIRST COMMUNION 2012: We welcome to Mass this Sunday those journeying towards their First Holy Communion this summer. They come to present themselves to us, as their family of faith, asking us to support them in their journey of discovery. They are presented with their books that will unfold for them the mystery of our faith in the Eucharist. We pray for: Graziella Bennett, Kieran Parsons, Joshua Sims, Evie Nathasingh, Billy Jackson, Divya Rajesh, Megan Sanders, Maisie Sanders, Tommy Holland, William Bennett, Joseph Bennett, Georgina Cox, Isabelle O’Toole, Shane Parry, Tore Popek, Calum Chilcott, Callum Witts, and Archie Daniels. The preparation sessions for our youngsters picks up again from Wednesday 25 January. There is a parents’ meeting on Thursday 19 January at 7.00pm in the Church. Please do make a note of the date.

CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE: Although it seems some time away, the Bishop invites all married couples to join him as part of National Marriage Week on Saturday 11 February in the Cathedral for Mass at 12noon. It’s a wonderful gathering from across our diocese. Do go along and celebrate the beautiful state of married life with him. Poster on the board and copies for you to take away from the narthex. If you are celebrating a significant anniversary this year (25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th, 50th, 55th, 60th, 65th…) please do let Fr Christopher know that he can ensure you receive your individual invitations from the bishop.

FIFTY YEARS ON – VATICAN II: Responding to our Bishop’s pastoral letter last weekend and his invitation to listen to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, the next in our series of reflections on the Council is on Tuesday 24 January 2012 at 7.30pm. Fr Timothy Menezes will be leading our consideration 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.

AN ITALIAN FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY – The ITALIAN CONSULAR AGENCY in Bristol is being re-opened at the start of this New Year. There will be a reception to welcome this opening this Sunday afternoon, at St Bernadette’s, Wells Road, Whitchurch, Bristol. After the celebration of Mass (in Italian) for the Epiphany at 5.30pm,  there will be a short presentation informing you of the services that the agency will be able to offer. There will be some light refreshments, an opportunity to meet friends, as well as have your questions answered. All are most welcome. Please pass the word around and encourage your Italian friends and family to come along…and come, even if you are not Italian!

PARISH FORUM GROUP meets again on Wednesday 8 February at 7.45pm in the presbytery.

ARCHBISHOP NICOLA GIRASOLI: Our friend in Zambia is to take up a new position later this month. He bids farewell to Zambia and Malawi and en route to his new post he stops in the UK for two nights. He will come to celebrate Mass with us here in Whitchurch on next Sunday – 15 January – at 10.30am. Do come and make him welcome.

GROWING IN CONFIDENCE IN OUR FAITH IN 2012: There will be one or two opportunities for us, as a parish community, to explore our faith, to ask questions about our faith, and grow in our confidence to live and proclaim our faith throughout this year. The spring will offer us chance to come together in an informal way to ask simple questions and find simple answers. There’s also something planned for the autumn to enable us, as a parish community, to take up the bishop’s invitation to explore to teachings of the Vatican Council. Watch this space and get ready to respond, maybe, to the invitations on offer.

FOR OUR PRAYERS: We keep in our prayers Raymond Balson who died during this last week and who’s funeral takes place on January 19th, and also Daniel Fenlon who died in Thailand just before Christmas, aged 25. We remember them and their families at this sad time. May they rest in peace.

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