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First Sunday of Lent

First Sunday of Lent

9 March 2014  – First Sunday of Lent (A)

THIS SUNDAY:  In the Cycle of Sunday Readings, the oldest are those of Year A in Lent – these Gospels have accompanied the Church for many centuries. We must realise why: Lent was originally the time of immediate preparation of candidates for Baptism at Easter (something which has been reintroduced to the Church by RCIA): those already baptised used it as a time to prepare for the renewal of Baptismal promises. This is why so much of the Scripture in Lent is about Baptism, New Life and Salvation. What is the new life of Baptism? What are we set free from? What is sin? We begin Lent by hearing about sin and temptation; the Gospel will tell us of Jesus’ own temptations, something he shares with us, though he did not sin. The other Scripture readings prepare us for the Gospel, in which Jesus, the new Adam, triumphs over temptation.


PARISH BAZAAR – 17 MAY: Keep those items for the bazaar coming in – gifts and new goods, bottles and fancy goods, too; toys and children’s books. They can be handed into sacristy or presbytery, or left in the narthex.


GRAND DRAW TICKETS: Once sold, the completed counterfoils and monies can be put in an envelope and pushed through the presbytery front door, please. Keep picking them up from the narthex and selling them on.


LIVING LENT: There will be two Lenten Soup lunches, one on CAFOD Lenten Fast Day, (this Friday) 14 March, and the second on Palm Sunday, 13 April. The other Christian churches in Whitchurch are also hosting soup lunches: 19 March: Christchurch (12noon), 25 March: URC, 7 April: Baptist Church. All are welcome. The monies raised through these simple yet nourishing lunches goes to support outreach projects across the church communities. Don’t forget the opportunities for prayer – Lectio Divina (see below) and the Mediation Group which meets each Thursday morning around 10.15am. Have a look at the CAFOD table to see how your Lenten almsgiving can make a difference in communities in the developing world.


BRISTOL FASHION CHORUS will be coming to St Bernadette’s on Saturday 22nd March  to help us raise a little money for our building project. This award winning chorus is one of the top ten in U.K. and has previously sung in the Colston Hall and Bristol’s City Hall. The chorus has over 40 singers and a wide repertoire from musicals, movies, and sacred pieces. Three other vocal ensembles and some sing along will complete what promises to be a fantastic and entertaining evening. The concert begins at 7.30pm in the Church. Tickets £10, concessions £8. You can get hold of tickets after Mass this weekend.


SECONDARY SCHOOL MISSION:  Do keep our secondary school in your prayers during this week of Mission. You are invited to their Mission Mass on Wednesday at 7.00pm in the school. All are welcome.


ROTAS FOR MARCH AND APRIL are available from the narthex as well as online.


MARY’S MEALS:  Thank you for the kindness you showed to Ann White last weekend as she came to introduce us to Mary’s meals. Whilst she was aware that she wasn’t here to take a collection, nevertheless you sent her away with £327.50 – a staggering amount considering it was so impromptu. If you took a little blue box away with you for Lent, you can hand it back into the sacristy or presbytery to be handed onto Ann when it’s full.


OFFERTORY ENVELOPES: The new boxed sets of envelopes are available in the narthex. Please make sure you collect yours if you usually have a set. If you are a tax payer and not yet signed up for the Gift Aid scheme, why not have a word with Dave after Mass? It costs you nothing but reaps a harvest for our parish. You might like to consider Standing Orders instead to make life easier and simpler. Dave is around at both Masses this weekend.


FAMILY RACE NIGHT: A fantastic opportunity to come together as the schools finish for Easter – Saturday 5 April from 7.30pm. Entrance is by ticket (60 available), and you can buy your tickets for the evening (£2.50 to include Ploughman’s – under 12’s, 50p) after each of the Masses. A good evening for all the family. Do think about coming along and reserving a table for your group of friends.


THIS SUNDAY we welcome the children preparing for First Communion this summer. They come to receive the gift of the cross at the 10.30am Mass. The Cross? – simply as a reminder of the need to follow Christ, even though it means facing difficulty and the challenge that comes with living and loving as he calls us to live and love. We welcome and pray for: April, Sophia, Freya, Adrian, Toby, Jack, Sofia, Joseph, Leandro, Ellie, Daniel, Shaianna, Grace, Jake, Lenny, Bobbie, Erin, and Lucy.


HAVE YOU THOUGHT… about becoming a Catholic or is there someone you know who might be pondering faith in their own lives? Well maybe now is the time to allow that pondering to take a further step forward into the fullness of life within our community of faith. It is the personal invitation that can often be the gentle nudge for someone to draw closer to the Lord in faith. This Lent could be the time to ask and invite. If so, then what’s next might be a gentle way for that next step to bear fruit! Read on…


LECTIO DIVINA: Lectio is a gentle way of reading and praying the scriptures and allowing the Word of God in prayer to speak into our lives. Each Thursday evening a group meets in the presbytery to listen to the Word of God proclaimed and allow that word to resonate within them and draw them to the Lord who speaks to us. If you feel you might like to explore this way of praying, then come along on a Thursday from about 7.30pm – you’d be more than welcome. If you want to learn how to pray or deepen your prayer, then this might just be for you. If you are dipping your toe in the Catholic pond, then this prayerful reading of the scriptures is a beautiful way into the life of faith and the life of love.


JOURNEY IN FAITH: Donna Hatto took part in the Rite of Election this Saturday where she came before the bishop with all those seeking to be baptised this Easter. The Rite of Election reminds us that it is God who calls us near, and the Church which helps us discern the gentle voice of the Lord in our lives. This season of Lent is important for Donna and all the Elect as they use this time to deepen their prayer and openness to the presence of God in their lives. Do keep Donna and all those journeying to the Sacraments this Easter in your prayers.


CAFOD LENTEN FAST: Envelopes for next Sunday’s retiring collection are attached to your newsletter.

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