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Second Sunday of Advent

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Second Sunday of Advent

8 December 2013 – Second Sunday of Advent

THIS SUNDAY: Throughout the first three weeks of Advent our focus is very clearly on the End of Time, and the Second Coming of the Lord – not on the run up to Christmas (that only comes in the last week). If we view Advent as a Season preparing for Christmas these readings will make little sense – and neither will the figure of John the Baptist who appears today: if it was about the preparation for Christmas, then John the Baptist, preaching after Jesus was born, becomes a confusing figure: his role is to preach to us, as he did of old, and to prepare us for the (second) coming of the Lord. Everything gets more specific today: what is being preached is not an event, but a person: Isaiah promises him, John welcomes him, Paul invites us to imitate him. We have here a thumbnail portrait of the Messiah – useful to refer to when we get to Christmas and he is revealed as a child in a manger!

FAMILY CRIB SERVICE: Our family gathering takes place NEXT Sunday – 15 December  – at 4.30pm 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!

ADVENT VESPERS: We continue to 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.

AN OPEN CHURCH: It is good to see the church open and used during the week, good to see people in and out because the doors are open. Do make use of this time and this opportunity…even just a moment or two offers us the space to know God’s presence in the midst of the day.

FIRST FRIDAY SOUP LUNCH: A huge thank you to those who supported last Friday’s soup lunch. You raised £100 towards our outreach projects.

200 CLUB MEMBERSHIP: Renewal is due and Collette will be sending out reminders in the next week or so in readiness for our January start. It only costs £12 per year and maybe as we ‘build for the future’, this continues to be one way of boosting our income. There are some spare numbers, so have a look at take your lucky number!

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.

REACHING OUT AND WELCOMING THIS CHRISTMAS: The simple cards with the Mass times for Christmas are there in the narthex for you to take away. They have been beautifully printed in the hope that you will take a two or three (or more) 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.

DIACONAL STUDENTS: Our diocesan students will be here with us this coming 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.

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. Just make sure they are marked with an ‘M’ or an ‘F’.

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 or three 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.

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.

CATECHISTS FORMATION: This opportunity could be for you… a real chance to explore and deepen your faith as this formation course seeks to prepare the people of our diocese for the task of handing on faith to others. It begins in earnest this coming January as David Wells leads the first session on mission and evangelisation.  Thursday 9 January at 7.30pm in the primary school. Ask FrC for more details. Come and see!

FLOWER COLLECTION: Next Sunday, the retiring collection for the flowers for the church this Christmas. You are always so supportive of our flower ladies and they do a fantastic job making our Church looks so radiant.

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