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Second Sunday of Lent

Second Sunday of Lent

THIS SUNDAY: There is a real sense of encouragement in today’s account of the Transfiguration. We come to the place of encounter with the Most High – the mountain – and with prophets and law we open our eyes to the radiant truth about who Jesus truly is. The father’s voice that was heard in the waters of the Jordan affirms Jesus as his Son, as the anointed One. This mysterious encounter witnessed by Peter, James and John, gives us a glimpse of what is to come… not just the cross, but also the glory that is the resurrection. As much as we might like to stay put on this mountain gazing upon the glory of Jesus, confident in who he is, we are – nevertheless – invited to journey on. It may be a journey leading us to the cross but today’s gospel encourages us in hope as the transfiguration encouraged Jesus and the disciples in the knowledge that there was something beyond a death awaiting him… and that promise awaits us, too, at the end of our Lenten journey to renewal at the font.

FIRST COMMUNION PREPARATION: Preparation continues on Wednesday 23 March at 3.45pm in the school. Bishop Declan meets with the parents of this year’s group on Thursday 31 March at 7.00pm in the Church. This is always a wonderful opportunity for our bishop spend time with the parents encouraging them in all they do to hand on faith to their children.

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 present series on the Sacraments focuses on those tremendous signs of Christ’s presence on our journey through life. Fr Tom Finnegan is reflecting upon the Sacrament of the Sick this week – Tuesday 22 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: Lent has always been the traditional time whereby we accompany those who are journeying towards the Sacraments on Initiation at Easter. It was, in the early Church, an intensive time of preparation as the catechumens walked ever nearer to the font. 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. The Scrutinies, as they are called, are the Rites and prayers that ask for strength and courage in those walking towards the sacraments. At Easter, we will also be celebrating the reception into the Church of four members of the Anglican Communion who are seeking entry into the Church through the Ordinariate – Pauline & Michael Long, and Bernard & Beryl Coombs. 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. They took part in the Rite of Election this weekend, welcomed by the Bishop, supported by the diocesan community. You’ll notice that the cover is over the font, inviting us to look forward to its ‘unsealing’ at the great Easter Vigil as we renew our baptismal promises in the presence of the newly baptised.

Our Lenten Lunch series got off to a great start this Lenten fast Day on Friday and it was good to see so many of our fellow Christians from the churches around coming along for lunch. This Wednesday, 23 March  – Christ Church, Petherton Road, are hosting the lunch. Please do go along to offer them some support as they did to us. Then, 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.

You envelopes that were attached to last week’s newsletter can be returned via the retiring collection this weekend. You gift to the world’s hungry and thirsty is a tremendous sign of showing love and compassion, and a sense of solidarity through our own Lenten fasting.

CAFOD BOXES: To accompany your Lenten journey, there are still 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 NEXT 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! Make sure you indicate whether you would prefer an Italian style brunch or a hearty English brunch. We’ll need to cater accordingly. You may just check you’ve signed up as there were names on the Friday list that may have been meant for next Sunday’s.

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 we start 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.

Bishop Declan is inviting us to join him at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College on Saturday 21 May (from 10.00am – 4.00pm) with our diocesan community, drawing us together to celebrate our faith. There is a poster in the narthex, and please put the date in your diary. It is a great opportunity for the parish communities across the four counties of our diocese to come together – from climbing walls to workshops – there is something for everyone of all ages. Please go along and represent our own parish community.

Copies of the financial statement for 2010 are still available from the narthex if you didn’t have chance to pick one up. Thank you to those of you who responded to the Gift Aid scheme. There’s still chance for you to ‘sign up’ as we approach the start of a new financial year at the beginning of April. If you are already part of the scheme, don’t forget your new boxed set of envelopes. See Dave Lavelle if in doubt. Please do think about how we can best contribute to our parish’s upkeep. It is important that we are in this part of the city and the Church, and we can only do that with your commitment and your most generous support. From April, the collection figure at the foot of the newsletter will give the broader picture of what comes in each week so you can see how we fare by standing order and gift aid rebates.

Our welcomers come together on Thursday 7 April in the Church for a short time together.

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