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Sixteenth Sunday of the Year

Sixteenth Sunday of the Year

22 July 2012 – Sixteenth Sunday of the Year

THIS SUNDAY: “Sheep without a shepherd.” This is the simple theme of today’s readings. It is interest­ing that Jesus’ reaction to the crowd is one of pity – as he sees their great thirst for his teach­ings. This is, in a sense, a clear fulfilment of the prophecy we hear in the first reading, where God promises a true shepherd who will care for the people of Israel. Shepherding is a particularly suitable im­age of God’s love and care. The dependency of the sheep on their shepherd, their wandering and drifting without someone to guide them, is also a suitable image of the people God loves. Our own age also displays sheep without shepherds ‑ a great wandering crowd, seeking something, but not knowing what they are seeking. It is to this flock that the present day followers of Jesus are sent as shepherds.

JOURNEY IN FAITH: Are there people you know who may be interested in the faith we profess and the faith we live? Are there people you know who come to Mass and yet are not, maybe, Catholic? Are there people you know who may just need a little encouragement to deepen their faith, their understanding of the Lord, and deepen their relationship with him? If so, then maybe now is the time to sow that seed and invite them to take a step deeper into communion and friendship.

YEAR OF FAITH: This coming October, at the Holy Father’s initiative, we embark upon a momentous journey of celebration as we recall the opening of the Second Vatican Council fifty years ago. The Holy Father seeks to draw us into deeper discovery of the One who lies at the centre of our faith, and draw us into deeper love with the One who gives life purpose and meaning. Our parish will mark this year’s journey with an exploration of our creed, with moments of prayer, retreat, and reflection, with a pilgrimage, and chance to explore once again the thoughts and reflections of the Council through looking at those important documents. This Year is for all who seek to understand their faith and to deepen it. The series on the creed takes place on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm until 9.00pm – 25 Sep, 23 Oct, 20 Nov, 04 Dec, 22 Jan 2013, 19 Feb, 19 Mar, 23 Apr, 21 May, 18 Jun, 16 Jul, 10 Sep, 08 Oct. Put those dates in your diaries, now. The Bishop is inviting our diocese to come together at the start of the Year of Faith for a celebration of Evening Prayer on Sunday 14 October at 4.00pm. Cardinal Danneels also visits our diocese for the last in the series, Opening the Windows, looking at the ongoing agenda of the Council on Wednesday 17 October at 7.30pm in the Cathedral. This talk follows Professor Tina Beattie’s talk on the place of Mary in the Council. This is taking place on Tuesday 18 September at 7.30pm, also. Do put these dates in your diaries – it’ll be good to see our parish taking place in this superb opportunities. The Year of Faith diocesan programme will be available next weekend when it is delivered to our parishes.

CONFIRMATION PREPARATION: The Bishop will be here at St Bernadette’s for the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation on Thursday 21 February 2013. This gives us a good period of time to journey with those who wish to put themselves forward to take part in the preparation programme. The first session will take place on Wednesday 19 September… with the time to be confirmed… but it will probably be from around 5.30pm, giving our young people time to get home from school. There will be six sessions (one per month) but a certain expectation that those journeying towards confirmation will be a regular part of our parish community Sunday by Sunday as that forms an integral part of their faith formation. Full details of all preparation dates and an application form will be available for download from the parish website later this week.

FIRST COMMUNION PREPARATION 2013: It may seem an age away, but parents of those children who will seeking to prepare for First Communion next summer will be asked to make contact soon into the new school year. The programme will be put together which will involve parents during this next year. There will be some formation session for parents to take part in as a way of deepening their own faith and helping them to accompany their children in preparation for these sacraments of encounter. Details will be available on our parish website over the summer and soon into school when the children start back.

PARISH REPOSITORY: Our repository will have a little face-lift over the summer in the hope of being able to provide a fitting resource for our own parish and beyond. Siobhan is looking to restock the repository, and also hopes to be able to open it regularly for each weekend Mass. We also hope to be able to use space in the repository for selling the Traidcraft stock instead of off the trolley. FrC is hoping that with enough volunteers, we can keep the shop open Sunday after Sunday. If you would like to lend a hand in the little shop, please do have a word with FrC or with Siobhan. The more willing hands, the more the burden is eased on those who help. There will be a sale of some of the remainder stock over the next couple of weekends.

RECOMMISSIONING OF EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS: The annual re-commissioning of our Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will take place over the weekend of 22/23 September and those who serve our community in this way will be commissioned for another year’s service. There are a couple of new ministers who will be commissioned over the next week or so.

PERMANENT DIACONATE FORMATION: From September, the students on their journey of discernment towards the permanent diaconate will be coming to St B’s for their Saturday formation sessions. The context of the parish community will allow them to develop some of the skills we would look for in those who minister as deacons. Fr Christopher, who directs the formation programme, will see them preside at Morning Prayer, serve at Mass, read, distribute Communion from the chalice, and one of the students near to ordination will also give the homily after the readings. As a parish community we can be a real part of their formation by supporting them in our prayer. FrC will give you plenty of notice when they are coming each time. Do remember to pray for them as well as praying for vocations, too. The first session of the new academic year takes place on Saturday 8 September.

THANK YOU to Jane Critten and Bernard Price for leading the Parish Café series over the last couple of weeks here in the parish. Thanks also to those of you who supported the eight sessions. Hopefully it was something you found informative, enriching, and helpful. Thanks, also, to those who provided the fine cakes, too.

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