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The Holy Family

The Holy Family

29 December 2013 – The Feast of the Holy Family


THIS SUNDAY: As an example for us to follow, the Holy Family can seem a little too perfect: when we consider the more “dramatic” events of the Christmas and Easter story, it can seem so far removed from us. And yet, as today’s Gospel reminds us (especially in the shorter version), there were also the so-called “hidden years” – the many years of family life in Nazareth, spent in ordinary things. During that time, we hear how Jesus grew and matured, and in the glimpse of that family life we see our example. The family is a basic unit of our Christian society, despite coming under threat nowadays.  Our celebration of this feast, and the Word of God we proclaim, announces that there is a lasting value in the ideals of family life, and the relationship between husband, wife, parents and children. Whatever the changing details of each age, honour, understanding and love always remain the recipe for the perfect, and holy, human family. It is love that we put on over all the other clothes of changing cultures and places, to guarantee the life of the family in imitation of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

VESPERS:  Evening Prayer for this Feast of the Holy Family takes place at 4.00pm and followed by Benediction.

THE CHRISTMAS CRIB is situated over in the Lady Chapel and will remain in place until the fortieth day of Christmas, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas), 2 February. Do go and pay a visit during this beautiful Christmas Season, most especially to bring the needs and the concerns of your family before the Holy Family of Bethlehem. There are some copies of The 12 Days, a series of reflections for Christmas, near to the crib for you to take home with you. The basket next to the Crib is there to receive your traditional CRIB OFFERINGS which this year will go in support of the Christian Communities in Syria, made refugees by the ongoing conflict in their homeland. Our gifts will be sent to CAFOD to be sent out to those communities in need.

200 CLUB MEMBERSHIP: Renewal is due and Collette is already sending out reminders in readiness for January. It only costs £12 per year and maybe as we ‘build for the future’, this continues to be one way of boosting our income. Have a look at the spare numbers if you fancy joining up. CONGRATULATIONS  to Nicola Dawson (£200), Emma Kettle (£100), and Therese de Fonseka (£50).  Each monthly Draw will take place in the Hall on the last Sunday of the month. Half the monies raised goes back into our parish funds!

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. This coming 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.

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.

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 (silver, pearl, ruby, golden, diamond… or platinum), 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. The price is only guaranteed until the end of January, so deposits need to be in before 31 January.

MEDITATION GROUP breaks for Christmas and comes together again on Thursday 9 January after the morning Mass.

FUNDRAISING BAGS: These fantastic canvas bags are available at a price of £5. The money raised goes into our parish funds and you are contributing, bit by bit, to the next stage of our development project.

THANK YOU: There is always much to be thankful for in this parish; thankful for the good people who put so much work into feasts and seasons to help us journey with joy and enthusiasm. We have arrived at the Christmas Season and good people have worked hard to transform our church through cleaning, through putting up and decorating trees, putting up the crib and banners, preparing the beautiful flowers, through preparing the music for the liturgies, the liturgy booklets, through working behind the scenes with laundry and brasses and candles. Then we have had good people ‘ministering’ to us – our readers, our Eucharistic ministers, our welcomers and our servers. So many in this parish give of their time so generously – throughout the year as well – just to ensure that we continue to be a welcoming community that celebrates its faith in an enthusiastic way. To one and all, FrC says thank you, and thanks you, also, for your kindness and your generosity through gifts and cards and, of course, your Christmas Offering.

MASS ON NEW YEAR’S DAY is at 10.30am. Do come and ask God’s blessing upon the year ahead as well as thank God for the year gone by. It is a wonderful way to welcome in the New Year, truly making it a year of the Lord.

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