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First Sunday of Advent

First Sunday of Advent

1 December 2013 – First Sunday of Advent (A)

THIS SUNDAY: Advent opens with a great promise: “In the days to come…” the hope of a people who need God. “…The master is coming” is also a promise, not a threat to breed fear, but to answer our cry. So Advent begins, not with thoughts of the past, with the coming of the Lord we celebrate at Christmas, but with the future, and the promise that He is coming back. We are encouraged to stay awake, and treat every day as the day the Lord will come; we do not do this out of fear for a Master who beats his servants, but out of love of a Master who always treats us with mercy. Nevertheless we must always be watchful, because we can grow sleepy and complacent, saying that we can leave this prayer or that confession or the other change in the way we live to tomorrow. Even as we look forward to the tomorrow of the Lord’s coming, we must remember that it might be today!


AN OPEN CHURCH: Beginning at the start of Advent, the narthex of the Church will remain open until 12.30pm each day to allow people to pop in for a moment of quiet and a moment of prayer. Do feel free to make use of this opportunity if you are passing. That stillness and that quiet are a rare treat today! We’ll try it and see how things pan out.


FIRST FRIDAY SOUP LUNCH: Friday 6 December from about 12.15pm following Exposition from after the morning Mass. Do come and make use of this time of stillness and prayer.


PARISH BAZAAR 2014: Put the date in your diaries Saturday 17 May, 12noon until 3pm. The list of stalls is up on the board with names of some of those who have said they are willing to help. Add yours to the list; the more the merrier. The Draw Tickets have been printed and distribution will begin soon into the New Year.


ADVENT VESPERS: Beginning this Sunday, we mark the passing of Advent time with the celebration of Evening Prayer at 4.00pm. Do come along and make this part of your Advent preparations.


FAMILY CRIB SERVICE: Our family gathering takes place on Sunday 15 December at 4.30pm (wrong time last week) in the Church. We begin to focus our preparations for Christmas with that simple re-telling of the Nativity story with the children of our parish. We’ll even have a guest donkey this year. Carols and reflections for everyone. Do pass the word around and do invite your family, your neighbours and your friends. The children are invited to help make up a live crib by coming in costume, again. Refreshments afterwards, but a prayerful start to Christmas. Do come along! As part of the festivities afterwards, there will be an authentic piñata. If you can provide some sweets for the piñata, please hand them into the sacristy in the next week or so, in time for 15th.  ALL ARE WELCOME!


AMPLIUS CHRISTMAS CONCERT on Saturday 7th December at 7.30 in Counterslip Baptist Church.  The evening will include readings by children from St Bernadette’s; Carols, Salvation Army Band, Puppets and the Community Choir.


GIFTS AT CHRISTMAS: As we have done so for the last couple of years, there is the opportunity to reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves this Christmas through your gifts to the homeless in Bristol. A pair of gloves, or socks, or scarf, or jumper, or toiletries wrapped up can be placed in the box that will appear in the Lady Chapel.


CHRISTMAS SEASON LUNCH: As last year, there will be a parish Lunch just to keep our Christmas celebrations going on Saturday 12 January with doors opening at 12.30pm. All you need do is sign up if you would like to secure yourself a seat. Tickets will cost £10 a head (with a generous reduction for children) with the profits going towards our building project. Seating is limited to 50 so booking early is essential. The lunch is open to everyone. The list is on the notice board in the narthex.


PAINTING THE HALL: The appliances in the hall kitchen have been updated and it seems an opportune time to freshen up the walls in time for the Christmas lunch and in time, most especially, for the bishop’s visit at the start of February. FrC has put two days aside in the hope that there will be a good number of volunteers to paint the walls and wash down the woodwork. Thursday 2, Friday 3, and Saturday 4 January should give us plenty of time. If you can lend a little time (doesn’t matter how small an offer) please sign up on the list in the narthex – have a word with FrC.


CHRISTMAS MASSES: The simple cards with the Mass times for Christmas will be available from next weekend. They have been beautifully printed in the hope that you will take a couple away with you to hand on to others in the hope of attracting them to celebrate Christmas with us here at st Bernadette’s, this Christmas. A great mission of outreach.


BISHOP’S VISITATION: The bishop is visiting this deanery after Christmas and comes to us on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 February. Bishop Declan will celebrate both Masses over the weekend and would like to meet ‘the parish’ in our hall after Mass on Saturday evening. This is a great opportunity to share with him our hopes and our vision for this parish and its future. Put the note in your diaries, please.


ADVENT CONFESSIONS: As well as the usual times for Confession each Saturday, there will be chance on Wednesday 18th and Monday 23rd. There will be someone in Church from 7pm until 8pm to hear confessions.


ADVENT TAIZE PRAYER: The secondary school are hosting an afternoon Taize prayer on Monday 2nd December at 4.30-5pm. All are welcome. It will be a simple Evening Prayer by candlelight in the style of Taize, with chants, readings, prayer and silence. It will take place in our beautiful newly refurbished School Chapel, led by students.


DIACONAL STUDENTS: Our diocesan students will be here with us on Saturday 14 December for their study day. Two of the students, Mario and Tony, will join us for Mass in the evening which will be celebrated by Monsignor Massey, VG. He will admit them as candidates for ordination during that Mass – an important moment of commitment for them and for the diocese. please keep them and our students in your prayers.


CHRISTMAS CRIBS: Siobhan still has some beautiful Nativity sets for sale in the repository…get them whilst they are there! Once they’ve gone, they’ve gone. ALSO, Diocesan directories for 2014 are available from the table in Narthex.


WELCOME to our First Communion children this Sunday morning for Mass at 10.30am.

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