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Second Sunday of Advent (C)

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Second Sunday of Advent (C)

6th December 2009 – Second Sunday of Advent (C) THIS SUNDAY:

Again we hear about the coming “Day of Christ”, and meet the character of John the Baptist. Just as once before he “prepared the way” for the coming of Christ, so today he does the same for us. Our hearts should be open to his voice, as he calls us to repentance, and asks us to make the way straight for the coming of our Lord. The imagery of this Sunday is particularly rich: the dominant image is of a vast population moving together – the return from exile in the first reading, the going and coming of the sowers in the psalm, the community of the Church preparing together in Paul’s letter. We prepare for the coming of the Lord as His people – a community who cooperate to make the “processional way” of the Holy One – flattening the hills of opposition and ridicule, filling in the valleys of doubt and despair, so that “all mankind shall see the salvation of God.”

FIRST COMMUNION 2010: Those parents with children in present year 3 with children due to make their First Communion next June are invited along to a get together this coming Tuesday, 8th December at 6.30pm in the Church. This will be an information and registration meeting, so please do come along if this involves one of your children. This year the children from both St Gerard’s and St Bernadette’s will be prepared together whilst each parish still celebrating First Communion next summer. It is important that your child is represented at that meeting as the programme begins early on in January.

CHRIST THE KING – DAY OF REFLECTION:

Fr Michael invites us to join him in the day of reflection being hosted at Christ the King Church, Filwood Broadway.

ADVENT 2009:  Do think about how you will be marking Advent as a family this year. Advent calendars are still available from the Repository. Christmas Cards and Cribs available, too.

ADVENT CATECHESIS: Our Advent Catechesis continues this coming Wednesday. The Catechesis will take place in the hall following the 7.00pm Mass. This is a wonderful way of growing in our familiarity with the scriptures as well as preparing to hear the Word of God on the Sunday. All are welcome – please do come along.  (9 Dec; 16 Dec; 23 Dec)

ADVENT CONFESSIONS: As well as the usual opportunities on a Saturday, there will be a chance on Tuesday 22nd December from 7.00pm until 8.00pm to make use of the sacrament of Reconciliation. There will be a number of priests available to hear confessions… and a chance to make room for the Lord who comes to dwell in us as we journey towards Christmas. There will also be two priests to hear confessions on Saturday 19th December at 10.45am onwards and 5.00pm onwards. Do make this great Sacrament a real part of your preparations.

FAMILY CRIB SERVICE: One again, as part of our preparation for Christmas and our journeying through Advent, our children and families are invited to come together on Sunday 20th December. Children are encouraged to come as one of the nativity characters. The Crib Service begins at 3.30pm with refreshments afterwards in the hall. Children & families are invited to bring along their gifts for the homeless as last year. See below CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR JULIAN TRUST:

As we have done in previous years, we are invited (children most especially) to bring in a little gift for one of the homeless guests to Julian Trust this Christmas. A box will be placed in the Lady Chapel for you to pop your gifts in. You might like to think about the gift of a hat or pair of gloves; some warm socks or a scarf; some chocolate or some sweets by way of remembering those who will be on the streets this Christmas. If you want to wrap them, please make sure they are marked M for a male or F for a female. The boz and gifts will be taken down to the Night Shelter after the Crib Service (20th December).

WALK WITH ME: The little Advent reflect books are available from the table in the Narthex. They cost £1 and will offer you a reflection for the days of Advent and Christmas – a simple guide to accompany you through this lovely season of preparation and hope.

CHRISTMAS MASSES: There will be three Masses to celebrate the Feast of Christmas – Midnight Mass (24th December) will begin with a half hour of carols and readings to prepare us for Mass. This will begin at 11.30pm with Mass at Midnight. On Christmas Day, Mass will be celebrated at 8.00am and 10.30am. Full Christmas schedule out this weekend. Christmas is always a time to welcome ‘guests’ to Mass. It’s also an opportunity for you to bring someone along who may not have been to church for sometime. Be brave in inviting and be supportive and encouraging in the bringing along. Your invitation may be all that is needed to bring them back to the Lord this Christmas.

CHURCH CLEANING FOR CHRISTMAS: As many hands as possible, please, on Tuesday 22nd December from 10.00am. Refreshments will be provided. Do come along armed with duster, brush, mop, or polish. The more, the merrier.

DIOCESAN DIRECTORIES & LITURGICAL YEAR BOOK are still available from the narthex.

NEXT SUNDAY there will be a retiring collection as our gift for the flowers at Christmas and beyond. The flower ladies rely on your generosity to keep our church looking as beautiful as it does throughout the year. Your generosity to them at Christmas and at Easter enables them to do what they do and make our Church truly festive!

CALLED TO BE A PEOPLE OF HOPE – PARISH CONSULTATION DOCUMENT: Fr Christopher is sending in a parish response this week. Those of you who read the report would have noticed that the suggestion was made that St Bernadette’s should partner up with St Dunstan’s in Keynsham. Fr C’s comment (as many of you who fed in) was that we don’t naturally link up with Keynsham and we would be best served by clustering with St Gerard’s and with Christ the King. This makes sense when you bring into consideration our schools and the area we serve. The focus of the draft document is that with the projected number of priests in five years going down to 65 it does mean that we will need to work a lot closer with our neighbours to support our priests and to support our parishes. There will be more on this as we enter into the New Year. This is something the Forum Group has been reflecting upon and as a whole parish community we will need to face sooner rather than later. The document is not about closing Churches but rather building up community and encouraging collaboration across our parishes – working together to build up the church here in this part of our city and diocese.

PARISH FORUM GROUP meets this coming Thursday at 7.00pm. A very brief meeting in the presbytery looking at our parish agenda for the year ahead.

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