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The Feast of the Epiphany

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The Feast of the Epiphany

The Epiphany – 2 January 2011

 

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.

VESPERS FOR THE EPIPHANY:
To continue our festive celebration of Christmas and the Epiphany, there will be sung Vespers today – Sunday, 2 January – 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.

COFFEE CLUB CHRISTMAS LUNCH: The annual Christmas Lunch hosted by the Coffee Club is taking place on Saturday 8 January (this coming Saturday) at 12.30pm. Please sign up on the notice board in the narthex ~ this is always a great social occasion; be sure not to miss out!

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. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the gift of marriage to our church and our society. It is a chance to come together, whatever state of life we find ourselves living, and join our diocesan community in celebrating the tremendous reflection of God’s love that is the gift of marriage. The bishop encourages those of you who are engaged and maybe marrying this year to come along and join him too. More details to follow.

A VISIT TO THE CRIB: Once again, to grace our celebration of Christmas, the crib has taken up position in the Lady Chapel. This simple retelling of the nativity story invites us to gaze on and see the wonder of the first Christmas. The crib will remain in its place until February 2 – the Feast of the Presentation in the Temple. Whilst you are here at Church during the Christmas season, and most especially if you come with children or as a family, do go and pay a visit to the crib, entrusting your family and those you love to the prayers and intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

CRIB OFFERINGS: The basket next to the crib is, traditionally, for your crib offerings. This year, the offerings will go in support of the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Theresa’s nuns) who run a terrific orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia. The sisters work hard to make ends meet and rely on the generous donations that come their way. Our little gift to them will truly make a real difference to the lives of the children either abandoned, left, or orphaned. The offerings will be sent over to the Sisters once the crib has been taken down in February.

PARISHES IN COMMUNION FOR MISSION:
Bishop Declan visits St Bernadette’s on Tuesday 1 February to meet with parish representatives and enter into conversation with them about how they are working together. As we are hosting this gathering of parish communities, it would be great if our own parish could be well represented. The members of the Parish Forum group are encouraged to come along, especially, but the evening is open to all those who wish to come along and take part in the conversation about how our diocese will be journeying over the next couple of years. As you know, the Bishop’s recent document encourages us to work closer together with our neighbouring parishes. The Bishop is with us to listen to how we are implementing the guidelines in our own area. the evening is also a chance for us to listen to the experience of other parishes working together and maybe for us to pick up some ‘tools’ for how we grow and develop as a community of faith and mission. Please make a note of the date in your diaries and come along. The evening begins at 7.00pm with refreshments from 6.30pm.

FIRST COMMUNION PREPARATION:
This coming year’s programme begins on Wednesday 26 January. The children gather in Church on Sunday 23 January for the presentation of their books and for the celebration of enrolment. Details to follow.

THANK YOU: So much hard work has gone into the beginnings of our Christmas celebration. You only have to look at our Church to see the care and attention to detail. If you were here over the last couple of days you will appreciate the tremendous hard work that went into the Liturgies to make them truly prayerful occasions. So many people continue to show great commitment and generosity to our parish by giving so generously of their time and their talents. We are so fortunate as a community to be in a position where we can benefit from the skills and imagination of others to grace our celebrations and our liturgy. Fr Christopher wants to note his appreciation of the hard work put in by so many of you to make the beginnings of the Christmas season so wonderful.

POLISH CULTURAL EVENING:
Some of the Polish families in our parish are treating us to a cultural evening on Saturday 15 January. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity and a chance to taste some of the delights of Poland. There will be a note on the notice board next weekend for you to sign up on to ensure you have a place. You will be able to taste some of the tasty delicacies of Poland from the hands of the talents Polish cooks within our own parish community. Doors open at 7.30pm next Saturday and it will cost you a donation towards some of our outreach projects. Sign up on the board and come along to what should be a tasty, enjoyable evening.

NEXT SUNDAY: Our Christmas season draws to a close with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord. There will be Evening Prayer at 4.00pm next Sunday.

A LETTER OF THANKS
from Fr Michael is to be found on the notice board in the nathex.

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