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Ninth Sunday of the Year

Ninth Sunday of the Year

6 March 2011 – Ninth Sunday of the Year

THIS SUNDAY: “Solid as a rock” is something we say about people we can trust and rely on: it’s an image which figures in our readings this Sunday: we are invited to consider where we are going to build our lives. What are the “props and supports” that will hold us up in times of difficulty and trouble? The Biblical texts teach us quite clearly that in the midst of a changing and sometimes unpredictable world, and even when we are let down by other people, there is something that we can always rely on – God. But relying on God does not always come easily – as Saint Paul reminds us, it springs from faith. Anyone who has faith can lean on God. We should “take courage”, and “hope in the Lord.”

FIRST COMMUNION PREPARATION: We welcome those preparing for First Communion this June to Mass at 10.30 this weekend. As part of their journey they are reflecting upon the Scriptures in our lives of faith and are presented today with a copy of the scriptures. We use this opportunity to remind ourselves of the beauty of God’s Word – that it is a lamp for our steps and a light for our path. Preparation continues on Wednesday 9 March at 3.45pm in the school.

ASH WEDNESDAY and the beginning of Lent falls on Wednesday 9 March. Mass with the traditional imposition of ashes will be celebrated in Church at 10.00am (where we will be joined by KS2 children from school) and 7.00pm in the evening. It is also a day of Fasting and Abstinence.  Fasting should be observed by all aged 18 years and over (up to 60). One full meal and two ‘collations’ (light meals) adequate to maintain strength. Even though you may be ‘over’ 60, still there is that encouragement to embrace the spirit of fasting whilst still being sensible. We can fast from those little treats and those little extras that we don’t necessarily need. Abstinence is observed by those aged 14 years and older. No meat is to be eaten on days of abstinence.

ROOTED IN CHRIST: 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. The forthcoming series on the Sacraments should be a really good couple of sessions focusing on those tremendous signs of Christ’s presence on our journey through life. Fr Michael McAndrew is reflecting upon the Eucharist this week – Tuesday 8 March at 7.30pm. Find out more either on our diocesan website or else on our notice board in the narthex.

THE SEASON OF LENT – PREPARING FOR THE SACRAMENTS: Ash Wednesday – 9 March – marks the beginning of the season of preparation for Easter. It is also the traditional time whereby we accompany those who are journeying towards the Sacraments on Initiation at Easter. As a parish we are in a most fortunate position whereby (at the moment) we will have three adult Baptisms – Joe Alsop, David Fitzgerald and Rebecca Fitzgerald – as well as two celebrations of Confirmation – Nora O’Brien and John O’Brien.  This will mean that some of the Sunday’s in Lent (three, four and five) will be used to celebrate the Rites appropriate for those journeying towards Baptism and the Sacraments at Easter. We will also be celebrating the reception into the Church of six members of the Anglican Communion who are seeking entry into the Church through the Ordinariate – Pauline & Michael Long, Bernard and Beryl Coombs, and Ellie and John Haynes. They are part of a wider community spread across Bristol. This is a most encouraging prospect for our parish community and should find us wanting to use their journey as one that encourages us in our faith, too.  Keep them and all those journeying towards the Sacraments this Easter in your prayers. Each of them will be taking part in the Rite of Election in our Cathedral this coming Saturday at 11.00am. Do go along and take part if you can. It is always a wonderful welcome and affirmation of faith.

LENTEN SOUP LUNCHES: The series of Lenten Soup lunches taking place both here and at some of the other Churches round about will begin from the start of the Lenten Season. This is a great way of tapping into the spirit of Lenten fasting as well as supporting charitable causes through your giving. Friday 18 March  –  St Bernadette; Wednesday 23 March  – Christ Church, Petherton Road; Monday 28 March  –  United Reformed Church, Whitchurch Village; Saturday 9th April – St Nicholas, Whitchurch Village; Palm Sunday, 17 April – St Bernadette. All at 12 noon. Do go along and support this charitable initiative. The proceeds from our two lunches will go to support CAFOD.

This important day focused on our charitable giving during Lent to some of the world’s hungriest people takes place on Friday 18 March. The CAFOD envelopes will be attached to the newsletter next weekend and, of course, the Lenten soup lunch also takes place on that Fast Day. The retiring collection on 20 March will be our Lenten gift to CAFOD.

CAFOD BOXES: To accompany your Lenten journey, there are some CAFOD pyramids and boxes for your Lenten gifts (alms) which you are free to use across the six weeks. Just bring them back to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday where they will be taken up with the gifts and our offerings for the poor.

LENTEN BRUNCH: make a note in your diaries, a good hearty brunch as British Summer Time begins will take place on Sunday 27 March following the 10.30am Mass. All proceeds will go in support of our parish outreach projects. There is a poster for you to secure yourself a place on the notice board – do sign up!

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Each Sunday of Lent we will make that prayerful journey to the Cross and to the tomb following in the footsteps of Jesus. The Sundays of Lent at 4.00pm in the Church ending with benediction. Palm Sunday will find us celebrating Vespers at 4.00pm, and on Good Friday, the Stations for children and our young people will be celebrated at 11.00am. This gives the children a chance to enter into the story and the drama of Good Friday walking with Jesus to the Cross. This is also a chance for families to draw together on this important day in our lives of faith.

CHANGES TO THE PRAYERS OF THE MASS: As you know, some of the prayers of the Mass are undergoing a revision of translation. That means we will all have to get used to a new ‘language’ and a new translation. There is plenty of time for us to prepare for the new translation of the Missal which comes into effect at Advent 2011. During Lent we will use the new translation of the I confess and during Easter time, we can familiarise ourselves with the new translation to the Gloria. It will give us an opportunity to think about the prayers we can easily take for granted and maybe, even, think about why these prayers have been revised. Watch this space.

Our Nuncio friend in Zambia is celebrating the fifth anniversary of his Episcopal ordination this coming Saturday. Maria Amesbury will be representing our parish community at the Mass in the Cathedral in Ruvo, Italy, and presenting him with our gift of a Bristol Blue plate. We keep him in our prayers at this time and look forward to his forthcoming visit later this year.

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