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Third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete Sunday (C)

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Third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete Sunday (C)

THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday is called “Gaudete” Sunday — “Rejoice Sunday”. This comes from the readings we hear today, and it underlines an important point. In the Gospel, we hear John the Baptist telling different groups what to do – they must repent, and change their lives. We might think of this as a rather joyless thing – something which is hard and unrewarding. The message of this Sunday is that repentance and changing our lives to welcome Jesus is something richly joyful. When we are planning to welcome anyone we love to our homes, we set about cleaning and preparing for their visit with enthusiasm – nothing is too much trouble for someone we care for greatly. Even scrubbing the bath or polishing the furniture can be a happy and joyful thing! The message of this Sunday is that preparing to welcome the Lord – even though it may involve hard work – is something utterly joyful, be cause of our love for Him, and His love for us.                                  courtesy of www.salfordliturgy.org

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.  (16 Dec; 23 Dec). This is a wonderful opportunity, most especially, if you are one of our readers and, particularly, if you are reading this next weekend. It is an opportunity to allow those readings to settle in your mind as you prepare to proclaim them. The weekly Catechesis allows us to understand what it is we are reading so as to proclaim it message with conviction. Do come along if you can.

ADVENT CONFESSIONS: The message of this weekend’s Gospel invites us to get ready for the Lord to step into our lives. As we journey towards Christmas, we are called to conversion and that sincere change of heart. 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. Confession may not be something you have gone to for some time. Do not be afraid! The priest is there to help you return to the Lord who simply reaches us to us in love, in mercy, in healing, and forgiveness. Let the Lord in – and he will bring peace and joy in abundance.

DEANERY PENITENTIAL SERVICES: Wednesday 16th December: 7.00pm  at the Cathedral; Thursday 17th December:  7.00pm   at St Dunstan’s, Keynsham; Friday 18th December: 7.00pm at St Pius X, Withywood.

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 NEXT 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).

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.

THIS 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!

CHRISTMAS CRIBS: Siobhan has one or two beautiful cribs available in the Repository shop. Don’t forget, if you would like to bring the bambino from your crib at home to whichever Mass you come to on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you can place it around the Christ-child beneath our altar for a blessing.

SCHOOL MASS: As our school communities enter their last week of term before the Christmas break, our Primary School celebrates their end of term mass this coming Friday at 9.30am.  It also offers marks the last day of Mrs Celia Dolan’s Headship. At this stage, we must acknowledge the terrific contribution Mrs Dolan has made to our Parish community through leading our primary school to the excellent position it finds itself in. Mrs Dolan hands over a school confident in its mission and purpose, a staff enthusiastic and well motivated for the future, and a community of children and their families who are truly engaged in learning and knowing that our school has the best interests of its children at the heart of everything we do. We must say thank you to Mrs Dolan for her commitment to Catholic Education over the entirety of her teaching career and for the very confident and gentle way she has lead our school community over the last number of years as its Head. We, as a parish Community, wish her well in whatever lies ahead of her. We pray that, as she has worked heard to bring the Lord into the lives of others through teaching, that same Lord may now be good to her in whatever avenues open up before her. Let us keep Mrs Dolan, our school, and our children and their families in our prayers.

CHRISTMAS SCHEDULE: Copies are still available from the narthex as are the Christmas posters for your windows. Please do take one (or more) and place the Christmas message somewhere where it can be seen by those who pass by. Allow the Christmas story to touch others through the simple witness you give.

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