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Second Sunday of Advent

Second Sunday of Advent

5 December 2010 – Second Sunday of Advent

THIS SUNDAY: Throughout the first three weeks of Advent our focus is very clearly on the End of Time, and the Second Coming of the Lord – not on the run up to Christmas (that only comes in the last week). If we view Advent as a Season preparing for Christmas these readings will make little sense – and neither will the figure of John the Baptist who appears today: if it was about the preparation for Christmas, then John the Baptist, preaching after Jesus was born, becomes a confusing figure: his role is to preach to us, as he did of old, and to prepare us for the (second) coming of the Lord. Everything gets more specific today: what is being preached is not an event, but a person: Isaiah promises him, John welcomes him, Paul invites us to imitate him. We have here a thumbnail portrait of the Messiah – useful to refer to when we get to Christmas and he is revealed as a child in a manger!

DIOCESAN DIRECTORIES & YEAR BOOKS: The new editions of the Liturgical year book (£5.99) and the diocesan directory (£5) are available from the narthex table. Do pick up your copy.

VESPERS FOR ADVENT: We mark this second Sunday of Advent with a celebration of sung Evening Prayer. This will be followed by benediction. We begin at 4.00pm in the Church. This is a beautiful prayer of the Church – do come and join in that prayerful, Advent longing.

CONFIRMATION PREPARATION: The fourth session of preparation takes place this coming Wednesday, December 8, at 6.00pm in the Hall. The final session then takes place on January 12. The Bishop will be with us on Thursday 27 January. Our young people have been sent away from this last session to think about choosing a sponsor and a name under which they choose to live as disciples of Christ. Let us keep them in our prayers as they journey towards the Sacrament of Confirmation.

ROOTED IN CHRIST: This fantastic opportunity to deepen our understanding of faith continues on Tuesday, 6 December, at Holy Family, Patchway. Prof Tina Beattie will lead us in reflection and deeper understanding of Jesus – the compassion of God. It’s free and it’s open to everyone. Do go along. Starts at 7.30pm.

200 CLUB SUBSCRIPTIONS: The new Club year begins this December. Colette has sent out renewal reminders to existing members. Please hand in your subs asap, please. There are a number of vacant numbers should anyone want to join up. There is the chance to win one of the ten monthly £25 cheques and also pick up those bigger prizes in May and November. Your subs do support the parish, also, in a very real way.

FAMILY CRIB SERVICE: This beautiful, simple service will take place on Sunday 19 December at 3.30pm in the Church. Once again, as we gather as a parish family, the children are invited to come dressed as one of the nativity figures. We will journey through the Christmas story in prayer, reading and song. Refreshments afterwards in the hall. Do come along if you can.

GIFTS FOR THE NIGHT SHELTER: Tied in with the Family Crib Service, we are usually invited to think about those who are living on our streets at this time of year. The Crib Service invites us to remember these ‘guests’ and offer them a gift. The homeless shelter in town benefits from the gifts we bring along to the crib service. They are in need of underclothes for their guests. If you can help out, the box will be in the Lady Chapel. You can wrap them and just indicate whether they are for a man or woman. Alternatively, you can wrap up some toiletries or some chocolate – a little something just to let them know they are not forgotten.

ADVENT CONFESSIONS: Fr Michael, Fr Christopher, and Fr Michael Derrick will be in the Church on Monday 20 December to hear confessions. They will be there from 7.00pm until 8.30pm. Do pop in and make use of this wonderful sacrament of healing and forgiveness as part of your preparation for Christmas.

ADVENT PENITENTIAL: The cathedral is hosting an Advent Penitential on Tuesday 21 December at 7.00pm. There will be plenty of priests available to hear confessions. This is a wonderful opportunity to prepare for the coming Lord.

PURPLE MASS SHEETS giving the common prayers of the Mass are available from the narthex. These don’t need to be distributed along with the hymnbooks but are available for those who might need a little prompt with the prayers at Mass and especially those for whom English is not their first language. Help yourself.

CHRISTMAS MASSES: Christmas is less than thirty days away. There will be Mass at midnight beginning with the traditional half hour of carols at 11.30pm on Friday 24 December. On Christmas day, Mass will be celebrated at 8.00am and 10.30am. There will be no evening Mass on that Saturday. Christmas is also an opportunity to welcome people ‘home’ to our parish. You may know someone who has been away from Church and someone who has simply lost touch. This is a reach chance for us to reach out to them and invite them to StB’s for that celebration of Christ’s birth. Offer them the support they may need and bring them home to the Lord this year.

SCHOOL TRANSPORT CONSULTATION: Please have a look at the secondary school website and support them by taking part in the Council’s consultation. Cuts might mean that transport is removed… unless we voice our concern. Our Catholic schools seem very much under threat at the moment, so please do ensure your voice is heard by looking at the letters available from the narthex or by logging onto the school website.

PARISH FORUM GROUP meets this coming Thursday in the presbytery at 7.00pm.

BIG CLEAN UP: If you can lend a hand with getting the Church ready for the celebrations over the Christmas weekend then just turn up on Thursday 23 December from 10.00am and bring a duster or a mop, and with many hands we’ll make light of the work. There will be refreshments for the workers. Do come along and lend a hand.

ON THE MOVE! Fr Michael has been moving his things over to his flat in Bath this weekend and leaves us on Monday after the morning Mass. We remember him in our prayers, ask him to remember us in his, and hope he won’t be a stranger to St B’s.

CHRISTMAS FLOWERS: Throughout the year our dedicated team of ladies continue to stun us with the beautiful arrangements they create each week. Next Sunday, we are invited to contribute towards the flowers needed in the Church for Christmas and beyond. Please do give as generously as you can. The ladies do appreciate your gracious kindness and your generosity.

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