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Third Sunday of Advent – Rejoice!

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Third Sunday of Advent – Rejoice!

12 December 2010 – Third Sunday of Advent ~ Gaudete Sunday

THIS SUNDAY: In many ways the readings this Sunday are simply a continuation of last week – Isaiah gives us more details about the work of the Messiah, and Paul invites us to continue to be patient until the Lord’s Coming. What is slightly different is the voice of John the Baptist this week: last week in Matthew 3 he was proclaiming with utter confidence that “someone is coming”. Now, in Matthew 11, he asks Jesus from prison: “Is it you?”  For us, as we listen to these scriptures, we are being offered something very particular – the prophecies of Isaiah (and indeed the prophet John the Baptist) are pinned down firmly and securely in the person of Jesus, Son of Mary – in fact, Jesus himself, in his reply to John says as much: “I am the Messiah that Isaiah prophesied.” Again we are invited to hold the images of the prophecies in our minds until Christmas, when we can look on the child in the manger and say “We know who this is: it is the promised Messiah – God who comes to save us!” Advent changes gear this coming Friday as our focus shifts to reflecting upon the coming of Christ in the stable of Bethlehem.

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 third 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 fifth session of preparation takes place on Wednesday January 12. The Bishop will be with us on Thursday 27 January. 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, 14 December, at Holy Family, Patchway. Fr Tom Dubois will lead us in reflection and deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit – the Lord and Giver of Life.. 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. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to come together and journey through the Christmas story by way of getting ourselves ready for the feast itself. All are welcome.

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.

PINK 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. There are some invitations for you to take away with you, either to give to those around you who may need a little encouragement to ‘come back’, or else you might think about popping one through  a letterbox by way of keeping people in touch and giving them an opportunity to celebrate Christmas with us.

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. The consultation ends this coming Tuesday.

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.

CHRISTMAS FLOWERS: Throughout the year our dedicated team of ladies continue to stun us with the beautiful arrangements they create each week. This 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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