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The Epiphany

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The Epiphany

3rd January 2010 – The Feast of the Epiphany

THIS SUNDAY: In the East, this Season of Christmas is called the “Time of Manifestation”, or Showing. Today is the ‘Feast of the Manifestation’, or the Showing of the Saviour to the whole world, to all nations. In the wise men who travel from the East, we see all the nations other than the people of Israel being welcomed at the New Temple of the New Covenant – the new born child in the manger. A look at the Psalm response shows this: “All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.” The same is true of the key word in the second reading: “Revelation”. Remember that for the people of Israel this was to be their Messiah, come to restore their fortunes. By this feast, we proclaim God’s plan was to extend his salvation to men and women of every nation, of every time and every place – including us. In many ways this is our Christmas Feast, when we celebrate the Good News of the Saviour’s birth revealed at last to us.                                                                                                       courtesy of www.salfordliturgy.org

THE CHRISTMAS CRIB: The crib – the simple retelling of the Christmas story of Bethlehem – takes up residence once again in our Lady Chapel. Do go and pay a visit to the crib whilst you are in Church during this Christmas Season… most especially if you come with the little ones.  begins to take shape after this weekend and, once again, will occupy the Lady Chapel. The crib will remain in situ for the forty days of the ‘old’ Christmas Season taking us up to the Feast of Candlemas. We have St Francis of Assisi to thank for origins of the crib. Maybe use his reflection as you come to gaze on in wonder and prayer. “Look deeper than this pleasant scene. See your God become your food for eternity in a feeding place for animals. See the simple bands wound around the helpless baby, not an embroidered dress. See a man and woman wearing the clothes of the poor. See and smell the animals. Feel the cold and dirt of the cave, lighted only by a little fire. And adore your God, who took a human heart that could know the greatest love and the sharpest pain, arms that could embrace the sinners, the wounded, the lepers, and hands that could touch cheeks running with tears, and be pierced with nails. Adore your poor and humble God.”

CRIB OFFERINGS: The basket (for our traditional crib offerings) next to the crib this year will go in support of the Kasisi Orphanage in Lusaka. Your offerings will support those without a family or abandoned by their own families because of their sickness (some suffering from HIV and AIDS) in very practical ways. The orphanage is run by a community of Polish Sisters who work so hard to ensure that the quality of life of these youngsters (some just days old) is as great as possible.  If you want to see more about the orphanage, have a look at their website –   www.kasisichildren.org – where you will find images of the orphanage as well as details of their expenses.  Our gift to them over the Christmas season will support them in all they do for these vulnerable and fragile members of our human family.

NEXT SUNDAY: We celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – the last of the feasts of manifestation. During the 10.30am Mass we welcome the Vinoy family who come to celebrate the baptism of their daughter.

FIRST COMMUNION PREPARATION: This year’s preparation programme begins at the end of this month of January. The children from St Gerard’s parish and St Bernadette’s will be preparing for First Confession and First Communion together. The programme begins with the Mass of Enrolment which will take place here at St Bernadette’s on Sunday 24th January during the 10.30am Mass. During this Mass the children will be presented to the parish and they will be presented with their workbooks for this coming year. It is a chance for us to pray for them and for their families as they journey into a deeper relationship with the Lord who reaches out to them in love.

WEDNESDAY CLUB CHRISTMAS LUNCH: The Club’s Christmas Lunch is taking place on Saturday 16th January. 26 places have been taken so far and there are a further 14 places up for grabs. All you need do is sing up on the list in the narthex and then arrive from 12.00pm for a 12.30pm lunch. You are guaranteed a superb lunch so do sign up.

PRIMARY SCHOOL NEWS: Mrs Barbara Lee has been appointed by the Governing Body of the school to act as head teacher for the next two terms. We offer Mrs Lee our good wishes, our support and, of course, our prayers as she takes the helm of our school and continues to make it a vibrant community where Christ and his Gospel are made known. We wish the staff and the students a very happy start to this new term

COORDINATOR FOR YOUTH MINISTRY: The Diocese is seeking to appoint a coordinator for Youth Ministry who will evaluate the current provision for youth ministry in our diocese as well as develop a strategy to take us forward into this new decade as well as supporting and encouraging our parishes and groups in all they do for our young people. Full details are on the board in the narthex as well as details of where to find an application form. You can always look on the diocesan website cliftondiocese.com for all the details, too.

DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGE TO LOURDES: Bishop Declan invites you to join him on the annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes which is taking place from Friday 20th August to Friday 27th August. Details are available from Deacon David Wakefield whose contact details can be found on the poster in the narthex.

YEAR FOR PRIESTS – MONTHLY DAY OF PRAYER: Our next day of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in this year for priests takes place on Friday 5th February. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed after the 9.30am mass and will remain on the altar until Evening Prayer at 6.00pm. The list for those half hour slots is up on the notice board. Please do be generous in giving that time to pray for the priests of our diocese.

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