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Twenty Second Sunday of the Year

Twenty Second Sunday of the Year

30 August 2015

THIS SUNDAY: We now return to Saint Mark, for the rest of the year. The Gospel brings out one of the central problems of all religion: the way in which peripheral laws and customs gradually take over the more fundamental command­ments, and the way in which “externalism” and a concern with superficialities gradually suffocates a true “internal” faith which is lived out. Here we see the angry Jesus: he calls them “hypocrites”, as he condemns their “worthless worship”. He teaches a central truth: it is what comes from within that determines whether we are clean or unclean, good or evil. The com­mandments of God, which Moses puts before the people with such great pride, become the source of justice when they are given a place in the heart. When other rules and regulations about how to wash and what to eat displace them, then they are stifled and justice is practised no longer.


PROCLAIM ’15 PRAYER: Loving Father, you so loved the world that you sent us your only Son, that we might believe in him and have eternal life. May we encounter Jesus Christ anew this day and live the Good News with joy. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, help us to “go out to the whole world and proclaim” our faith with confidence. Give us the courage to witness to the Joy of the Gospel by our words and actions. Help our parish to become more welcoming and missionary, so that you may be known and loved by all people. We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever, Amen.

ASSISTED SUICIDE BILL: On Friday 11 September the House of Commons will vote on a Bill to legalise assisted suicide. The Bishops have also just sent through some postcards cards and some details for you to collect from the Narthex as the way of getting in touch with your MP – Karin Smyth for South Bristol – – or by post: Karin Smyth MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA


FR MATT ANSCOMBE arrives here in St Bernadette’s, taking up his new position as parish priest, on Monday 31 Augustthat’s THIS Monday! This is a great time for St Bernadette’s, to be welcoming an energetic young priest to his first appointment as a parish priest. As you know Fr Matt has spent some time as chaplain at Bristol University and so brings with him a certain dynamism for working with young adults. He will bring so many skills to Whitchurch and will bring a wonderful care and tenderness for a community entrusted to him. He also brings with him a ministry of Vocation, discerning and nurturing the call to priesthood. This will add something to our parish community and to its mission and purpose, just as we have walked with those journeying towards permanent diaconate over the last couple of years. Those of you who have parish ‘jobs’ or are responsible for bits and pieces in the parish may like to think about getting in touch with Fr Matt once he has moved in just so that you can introduce yourself to him and gradually get him familiar with what’s what and who’s who. It will allow him to come to a greater understanding of who he has around him and also who he will be working with. This will only allow him to settle in more and to grow in familiarity with our parish family. It’ll help him in these early weeks of getting to know folk, too. Remember he will have so many new names to learn and so many things to take on board…!


UNFOLDING MERCY: As you know, the Holy Father has given the Church a Jubilee of Mercy which begins on 8 December and closes on 20 November 2016. To help us prepare for the Jubilee and to begin to immerse ourselves in an honest understanding of mercy, David McLoughlin will be leading a day at St Brendan’s, Brislington, on Saturday 3 October from 10.00am – lunch will be provided. This should be a superb gathering of our diocese as well as a wonderful opportunity to get ourselves ready for the Jubilee ahead of us. Please put the date in your diary now. The Bishop will be opening the Jubilee with Evening Prayer on 8 December at 7pm in our Cathedral. Do make sure St Bernadette’s is represented. More details to follow. The Jubilee is an invitation from the Holy father for us, as a Church, to learn once again the mercy of God and how he shows his tenderness, his gentleness and steadfast love so that we can be that mercy to our world and to others. It is worth reading Misericordiae Vultus as a way of preparing us for the journey ahead.


PARISH EMAIL ADDRESS: Diocesan email addresses have recently been updated as a way of making communication across the diocese a little more streamlined. St Bernadette’s has a parish email address as well as an individual email for its priests. and should mean you can direct mail one way or another.


CHURCH CLEANING: It would be great to have as many willing hands as possible, please, to give the church a monthly brush and polish. If you can come along for an hour this coming Wednesday, 2 September at 9.30am, your help would be appreciated.


CAFOD SUPPORTERS DAY: Our parish is hosting this years Supporters Day for CAFOD on Saturday 12th September in the parish hall. The day starts at 10.30 am and will finish at 4,00 pm. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. A programme is on the notice board in the narthex. All are welcome for either the day, morning or afternoon sessions. Please bring your own light lunch if you are planning to stay the day. The day will give an insight into the work of CAFOD and you will not be expected to sign up for anything.


A FINAL WORD: After nine and a half years here in Whitchurch, I find myself about to close one particular door and open another onto something completely new and one that takes me slightly out of a comfort zone. For twenty one years I have worked in a parish environment and so not having a community around me to keep me sane (!!!) and grounded is something that may take a while to get used to. But amidst the sadness of leaving this parish family there is, nevertheless, an excitement about the path before me. I have enjoyed working in the world of formation, evangelisation and education for the last six years and so the prospect of immersing myself in this full time brings with it an enthusiasm even if it is tinged with anxiety. But I cannot leave Whitchurch without thanking you for the care and gentleness you have shown me over the last nine and half years. I have found here true witnesses and examples of what it means to be a disciple and I have found myself surrounded by sincere and honest people who truly want to live a life of faith as best they can. I thank you for the joy you have shown, the humanity you have revealed to me, the thirst for faith, the sincerity of prayer, the wonder of life, and the real courage that so many of you show in the way you get through one week after another. You have welcomed me into your midst, and I thank you for allowing me to walk with you thus far. I pray that the journey ahead of us, most especially through the coming Jubilee, will be one that finds us filled with so many good things. God bless each of you… and thank you!


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