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Fourth Sunday of Advent

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

THIS SUNDAY: Here we enter a new stage of Advent: having spent so much time on the Second Coming, now we look back, to remember the details of the Lord’s First Coming. Today we focus on the characters of Mary and Joseph, and hear of the circumstances surrounding the conception of the child Jesus, and the reaction of Joseph. This mystery springs from the House of David, and so we lead into the Gospel by hearing of the promise that the Messiah would come from that line. The link between the First Reading and the Gospel is quite explicit today, since Matthew actually quotes Isaiah. Joseph, descendant of King David, is invited to take his place in the great story of God’s relationship with the Chosen people. There is great sense of a timeless mystery reaching its focal point, as that which was “promised long ago” (Second Reading) now takes flesh in the womb of Mary.

VESPERS FOR THE HOLY FAMILY: To continue our festive celebration of Christmas and the Holy family, there will be sung Vespers on Sunday, 26 December at 4.00pm. Do come along if you can.

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.

BAMBINO FROM THE CRIB: Don’t forget to bring the bambino from your crib to be blessed at Mass this Christmas.

FAMILY CRIB SERVICE: This beautiful, simple service will take place THIS Sunday (19 Dec) 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.

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: 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.

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: Thank you for the generosity to showed to our flower ladies last weekend. You managed to raise £288. Thank you.

COFFEE CLUB CHRISTMAS LUNCH: The annual Christmas Lunch hosted by the Coffee Club is taking place on Saturday 8 January at 12.30pm. Please sign up on the notice board in the narthex.

DIOCESAN CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE: The Bishop is inviting our parish community, and especially our married couples, to join him in the cathedral for a diocesan celebration of marriage on Saturday 19 February at 12noon. We need as many from our parish to go along to join our bishop on this occasion. More details to follow.

MASS FOR NEW YEAR’S DAY: Saturday 1 January, Mass will be celebrated at 12noon as we begin the New Year in the presence of the Lord. Do come along to entrust 2011 to the Lord.

EPIPHANY is celebrated on Sunday 2 January. Vespers at 4.00pm.

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