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Second Sunday of the Year

Second Sunday of the Year

16 January 2011 – Second Sunday of the Year

THIS SUNDAY: There is no break between Christmas and Ordinary Time – one flows almost seamlessly into the other through the Baptism of Jesus. We ended our Christmas Season thinking about the “revelation” of the Son of God – people realising who this “Jesus of Nazareth” actually was – and this continues today, as we interject a passage from Saint John before we begin our weekly reading through Saint Matthew’s Gospel. New Year is about beginnings, and as we return to the beginning of Our Lord’s public ministry there is a sense of something exciting about to happen – even though we know the story, we dive into it once more, like returning to a favourite novel or film. So it is with joy that we stand in the country of the river Jordan, and recognise Jesus of Nazareth as the Chosen One of God, who offers himself to do God’s work. The challenge from today’s liturgy is that, like John the Baptist, we need the courage to point out Christ to others, to point others in the direction of Christ and, by our words, reflect that he is the Lamb of God, and that he is the one who comes to set us free and offer us the tremendous love of the Father.

CONFIRMATION: The Bishop will be with us on Thursday 27 January to confirm our young people at Mass beginning at 7.00pm. You are warmly encouraged to come along to support our young people and pray for them with the Bishop. Do put the date in your diaries.  We pray for Lisa Armstrong, Abigail Armstrong, Rebecca Barr, Kieran Belcher, Curtis Chan, Joe Collins, Georgina Daly, Millie Dyer, Callum Fry, Siobhan Goff, Storm Hanks, Connor Humphries, Niall Jenkins, Dan Knight, Lucy Lipinski, Meenu Cyril, Alice Miller, Tasha Mwampamba, Kieran Nunnerley, Hannah O’Farrell, Stephanie Redhall, Jack Richards, Millie Talbot, and Elliot Wise. The youngsters gather on Tuesday 25 January for their rehearsal in the Church at 6.00pm.

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…and it is important that we do take part in this conversation. 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 year’s programme begins on Wednesday 26 January here in the church (first session only). The children gather, however, in Church on Sunday 23 January (next Sunday) for the presentation of their books and for the celebration of enrolment at 10.30am. Parents should have received information by post during this last week. The full details of the programme appear on our parish website.

DIOCESAN CERTIFICATE IN CATECHETICS: The course for 2011 begins this coming Wednesday – January 19. There are details in the narthex or on 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 or on our Notice Board.

THANK YOU to the Wednesday Coffee Club for the delicious Christmas lunch they provided in the hall last Saturday. We need to thank them, also, for their contribution of £500 to our parish funds as well as the raffle proceeds towards our crib offerings.

WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY: This annual and important week of prayer begins this coming Tuesday (18th) and lasts until the 25th. We pray that Christ’s desire for one flock and one fold may come to bear fruit in all that we do to draw the Christian family together in trust, in faith, and in love.

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