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The Baptism of the Lord

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The Baptism of the Lord

9 January 2011 – 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, that we fully understand the reason for the joy with which we celebrated Christmas Day. As we come to the end of Christmas today, and look forward to hearing the Gospel in Ordinary Time, we do so having been shown who it is we listen to: the only Son of God, the Beloved.

VESPERS FOR THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD:
To draw our festive celebration of Christmas and the season of Manifestation and Revelation, there will be sung Vespers today – Sunday 9 January – at 4.00pm. Do come along if you can. The Evening Office of the Church is a beautiful prayer and a simple signing of the psalms. If you haven’t been before, then do think about coming along.

CONFIRMATION PREPARATION:
The fifth (and final) session of preparation takes place this coming Wednesday, January 12. The Bishop will be with us on Thursday 27 January to confirm our young people. You are warmly encouraged to come along to support them and pray for them with the Bishop. Do put the date in your diaries.  The youngsters gather on Tuesday 25 January for their rehearsal in the Church.

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. If any of you are celebrating 25, 30, 35, 40, 50, or 60 years of marriage, please let FrC know asap as the bishop would personally like to invite you along to this important celebration.

CRIB OFFERINGS: 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. 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. Parents should receive information by post on Monday (if it hasn’t already arrived). The full details of the programme appear on our parish website.

POLISH CULTURAL EVENING:
Some of the Polish families in our parish are treating us to a cultural evening on Saturday 15 January – next Saturday. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity and a chance to taste some of the delights of Poland. There is a note on the notice board for you to sign up on to ensure you have a place… and you need to make sure your name is down this weekend. 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.

DIOCESAN CERTIFICATE IN CATECHETICS: The course for 2011 begins on January 19. There are details in the narthex or on cliftondiocese.com if you need them. This is wonderful opportunity for anyone who wants to involve themselves in the important work of handing on the faith to others. Do see FrC if you are interested. The Bishop begins the course which is taking place at Alexander House, Pennywell Road, on the 19th at 7.30pm.

ROOTED IN CHRIST:
This simple, reflective series looking at our faith continues after the Christmas break on Tuesday 8 February when Prof Gavin D’Costa will help us reflect upon Salvation and Redemption. The talks have attracted many over the last couple of months and they are a simple way to begin to deepen our understanding of what we believe. The talks take place in holy Family, Patchway, and are well worth going along to. Full details on cliftondiocese.com or on our Notice Board.

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