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Third Sunday of Advent

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Third Sunday of Advent

15 December 2014 – Gaudete Sunday

THIS SUNDAY: In many ways the readings this Sunday are simply a continuation of last week – Isaiah gives us more details about the work of the Messiah, and Paul invites us to continue to be patient until the Lord’s Coming. What is slightly different is the voice of John the Baptist this week: last week in Matthew 3 he was proclaiming with utter confidence that “someone is coming”. Now, in Matthew 11, he asks Jesus from prison: “Is it you?”  For us, as we listen to these scriptures, we are being offered something very particular – the prophecies of Isaiah (and indeed the prophet John the Baptist) are pinned down firmly and securely in the person of Jesus, Son of Mary – in fact, Jesus himself, in his reply to John says as much: “I am the Messiah that Isaiah prophesied.” Again we are invited to hold the images of the prophecies in our minds until Christmas, when we can look on the child in the manger and say “We know who this is: it is the promised Messiah – God who comes to save us!”

FLOWER COLLECTION: This 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.

FAMILY CRIB SERVICE: Our family gathering takes place THIS 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, and this should be a most prayerful start to Christmas. Do come along!

WELCOME TO Monsignor Bernard Massey, one of our Vicars General, who comes to admit two of the students for the diaconate to Candidacy. We welcome, also, Tony Inganni and Mario Kossmann who present themselves to him at Mass this Saturday.

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.

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 just to keep our Christmas celebrations going on Saturday 11 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.

PAINTING THE HALL: 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.

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! This is such an exciting opportunity.

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.

MARRIAGE CELEBRATION: This annual celebration drawing our diocese (and especially our married couples) together in celebration of the gift of marriage is taking place on Saturday 8 February at 12noon. All are welcome. If you are celebrating a significant anniversary in 2014, would you please let FrC know so that he can arrange a particular invitation? Poster in narthex.

DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGE TO ASSISI: Bishop Declan is leading a week’s pilgrimage to Assisi, walking in the footsteps of St Francis and St Clare. The pilgrimage is set to take place from 22 – 29 September 2014 and full details of the itinerary are on the notice board. FrC has further copies and booking forms. Details are also on the diocesan website.

SECONDARY SCHOOL ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS SERVICE: This coming Wednesday (18th) at 7pm

ADMISSIONS – PRIMARY SCHOOL: Applications for this September’s Reception class need to be in no later that 15 January 2014 via the local authority website. Supplementary forms need to be sent into the school no later that 1 March 2014. Make a note of the dates and don’t miss out on these places.

A CHRISTMAS WELCOME: There are still some postcards in the narthex with details of Mass times over the Christmas celebrations. Take one for yourselves as a reminder but, more importantly, pass one or two around to people who may just need that little encouragement to come back to Mass. Take as many as you need and pass them on.

CHURCH BIG CLEAN: Can you spare an hour first thing Monday 23rd just to flick round in readiness for Christmas and our guests? We’ll start at 9.30am and crack on! The more the merrier and we won’t need to take too long, either.

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