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The Baptism of the Lord (C)

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The Baptism of the Lord (C)

10th January 2010 – The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

THIS SUNDAY: It may seem strange, but this is a Christmas Feast. Not if we think of Christmas only in terms of the Baby in Bethlehem, but if we have followed the ideas of the Feasts of Holy Family and especially Epiphany, and have seen the Season in terms of the growing manifestation or appearing of the Son of God: first to the shepherds and then to the wise men from the East. Now in the River Jordan, Jesus, Son of Mary, is revealed to all as the fullness of all God’s promises: “This is my Son, the Beloved”. On this day we stand before the revelation of God’s love for us, such that he would send his only Son into the world. Christmas without the Baptism of the Lord, and the words that are spoken from heaven, would be incomplete, since it is only in them that we fully see the wonder of what happened in Bethlehem. As we come to the end of Christmas today, and look forward to hearing the Gospels in Ordinary Time, we do so having been shown who it is we listen to: the only Son of God, the Beloved.

THIS SUNDAY: As 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.

THE CHRISTMAS CRIB: The crib – the simple retelling of the Christmas story of Bethlehem – takes over 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.  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 next to the crib 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.

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 this coming Saturday, 16th January. All you need do is sign 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… but please note that seats are only forty in number. If there’s space on the list please sign up no later than this weekend.

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.

HCPT APPEAL: On the last Sunday of the month we welcome some of the members of one of the Bristol groups of HCPT who work hard throughout the year to enable children with particular difficulties and needs to make the Easter pilgrimage to Lourdes. Angela Parry will be with us on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st January to ask for our support. We contribute each year to HCPT through what you give for tea and coffee each Sunday morning. The invitation for this month is in the hoe we might be able to boost our support and our contribution to them. EDUCATION SUNDAY is the Sunday each year that we pray for all who work in Catholic Education – our schools, our colleges, and all involved in adult catholic formation. There is usually a retiring collection for the Catholic Education Service but as HCPT are appealing that weekend, the retiring collection for CES will take place the following weekend – 7th February. Apologies for two collections one after another! PARISH FORUM GROUP meets again on Thursday 28th January at 7.00pm in the presbytery. We will meet for an hour only and so should be finished by 8.00pm.

WEEKLY CATECHESIS: It is hoped that the catechesis that has taken place each Wednesday during this last Advent will begin again at the start of February. The catechesis enables us to look at the coming Sunday’s readings and to take time to reflect and to pray using the scriptures as our guide. Watch this space!

SCHOOL GOVERNORS: Fr Christopher needs two Catholics who have children in our primary school at present who might like to support our school as a governor. If this interests you, have a word with FrC asap for more details.

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