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Twenty Fifth Sunday of the Year

Twenty Fifth Sunday of the Year

THIS SUNDAY: The tone of the Gospel begins to grow darker: Jesus is now on his way to Jerusalem, where he will be arrested and killed. Despite this, both this week and next week, there is a lighter contrast in the children that Jesus welcomes and blesses. Perhaps this tells us something about Jesus and his mission: despite the gathering clouds, (and possibly even because of that) he is still the manifestation of God’s love for all his children, a love that will be most clearly displayed when he faces that death for our sake. There is one quite chilling phrase which links these together, in the first reading, where the plotters against the good man say “Let us test him with cruelty and torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his.” The cold calculation of this is not far removed from the plotting of those who saw in Jesus a threat to their positions, with all his purity of worship and faith, with all his “reproaches for our breaches of the law”. There is indeed a storm gathering. But the last line of the first reading, though meant mockingly, will come true: “God will look after him; we have his word for it.” And three days after his death he will rise again.

HARVEST CELEBRATION: As we journey into autumn, we celebrate the gift of the harvest this weekend. We remember in our prayers all those who work on the land to help provide and harvest our food. We also keep in mind areas of our world where folk don’t enjoy an abundance such as we are able to enjoy. We ask God to bless the land, to make it fruitful, and to bless those who cooperate with him in his work of creation and abundance.  Our harvest gifts collected over the last couple of weeks will be taken down to the homeless shelter after this weekend. There’s still time to pop in your provisions before they go:  tins of meat (ham, corned beef, spam, stew, mince, chilli etc.) tins of fruit; tins of beans; tins of tomatoes and sugar.

THE YEAR OF FAITH: In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism, Pope Benedict has invited the whole Church to embark upon a Year of Faith in which we re-discover the beauty of that friendship with Jesus that has been passed onto us. It is a Year in which we can explore the great treasure of our faith, deepen our prayer and our awareness of the presence of God, and grow in confidence in the faith we profess. It’s a Year that invites us, also, to reflect upon how we allow our faith to invite us to engage with our world and our society with the message of the Gospel. There is much we can do – on a parish level, a personal level, and a diocesan level to grow in love and wonder of the God who reveals himself to us through the relationship of faith. This Year maybe a chance for you to think about your life of prayer, or to find out more about your faith and seek answers, or it maybe about you seeking to get involved in something along the ‘outreach’ lines, seeking to bring Christ into the lives of others. Pick up one of the diocesan newsletters and see if there’s something that attracts you.

THIS IS OUR FAITH: You’ll see posters in the narthex of this simple course taking us through the Year of Faith in our parish. The series on the creed, hosted here at St B’s monthly on Tuesday evenings begins this Tuesday 7.30pm – 9.00pm, and aims at enabling us to understand our faith a little more, helping us to grow in confidence in being able to articulate what we believe.  Put those dates in your diaries, now. The poster giving the focuses of each of those weeks can be found on the notice board. Do encourage someone to come along with you.

OPENING THE YEAR OF FAITH – VESPERS: Evening Prayer at the Cathedral with our bishop on Sunday 14 October at 4.00pm.

OPENING THE WINDOWS: On Wednesday 17 October at 7.30pm in the Cathedral, Cardinal Godfried Danneels will give the final lecture in the series… and this should be well worth going along to. FrC will arrange transport from St Bernadette’s to the Cathedral on 17th to maximise on the opportunity. If you would like to make use of a lift, pop your name on the notice board. Put the date in your diary.

IMAGES OF THE COUNCIL: A superb exhibition of images from the period of the Second Vatican Council from now until 19 October at the Cathedral. The Cathedral is open all day and the exhibition is free… and well worth a visit.

EXPLORING THE DOCUMENTS OF VATICAN II: Professor Gavin D’Costa will be leading five sessions at the Cathedral exploring what happened at Vatican II and four key documents produced by the Council.  Thursday evenings – 22 Nov, 17 Jan, 14 Mar, 16 May, 11 Jul at 7.30pm in the Apostle Room at the Cathedral. We will follow that up in our parish with a Café-style reflection both upon the documents and Gavin’s input. If you want to take part in those then come along on Wednesday evenings (7.30pm) – and they are open to all: 12 Dec, 20 Feb, 24 April, 12 June, 24 July. Great opportunities to journey through the Year of Faith.

CONFIRMATION PREPARATION: The next session for our young people journey towards Confirmation is Wednesday 10 October, 5.30pm in the Hall.

PARISH FUNDRAISING: Draw Tickets for the New Year Draw are available from the narthex. Each envelope contains £5’s worth of tickets. It may seem some time away yet, but take as many as you can and buy them/sell them over the autumn. This is our only major fundraising event of 2012 as there will be no bazaar. Please do your best to make it fruitful. Money and stubs returned to the presbytery, please, in clearly marked envelope. Draw – 5 January 2013.

CAFOD ‘HARVEST’ LUNCH: 5 October at 12.15pm in the hall. Do come along if you can… following Exposition. CAFOD envelopes for the Harvest Collection on 7 October will be given out next weekend.

RECOMMISSIONING OF EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS: The annual re-commissioning of our Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will take place this weekend. EM’s simply come forward after the homily at whichever Mass they come to. We also welcome Virginia, Andrew and Wendy, Val, Pat and Tim, and Frances. The Recollection Hour for all Eucharistic Ministers takes place on Tuesday 30 October, 7-8pm.

VOLUNTEERS: FrC needs willing hands to help look after the Traidcraft stall and Repository. It would be good if we could have the shop open each weekend and if there were a willing group of helpers to give Ann, Gordon and Siobhan a hand, it would share the load. There is a list in the narthex, so just sign up and he’ll be in touch.

OCTOBER DEVOTIONS: Sunday 7 October at 4.00pm. We’ll start this month of the Rosary off with our prayer.

DIACONAL FORMATION: Our students on the road to the diaconate are with us next Saturday for a day of study. They join us for Morning Prayer and for Mass. Do keep them in your prayers.

DIOCESAN PASTORAL COUNCIL: The DPC is a gathering of representatives of all the deanery pastoral councils from across the diocese. Each October, the Bishop opens up the invitation for the people of our diocese to come together. On October 13 at St Bede’s, Lawrence Weston, the invitation is given to all parish councils and those interested in reflecting upon the Vatican Council and its invitation to be the Church in the modern world. Prof Gavin D’Costa will be speaking and opening up the documents for us. 9.30am start. Do think about going along and representing our parish community.

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