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First Sunday of Lent

First Sunday of Lent

THIS SUNDAY:  In the Cycle of Sunday Readings, the oldest are those of Year A in Lent – these Gospels have accompanied the Church for many centuries. We must realise why: Lent was originally the time of immediate preparation of candidates for Baptism at Easter (something which has been reintroduced to the Church by RCIA): those already baptised used it as a time to prepare for the renewal of Baptismal promises. This is why so much of the Scripture in Lent is about Baptism, New Life and Salvation. What is the new life of Baptism? What are we set free from? What is sin? We begin Lent by hearing about sin and temptation; the Gospel will tell us of Jesus’ own temptations, something he shares with us, though he did not sin. The other Scripture readings prepare us for the Gospel, in which Jesus, the new Adam, triumphs over temptation.

FIRST COMMUNION PREPARATION: Preparation continues on Wednesday 9 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.

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 present series on the Sacraments focuses on those tremendous signs of Christ’s presence on our journey through life. Fr Gregory Grant is reflecting upon Reconciliation this week – Tuesday 15 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. 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.

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.

CAFOD LENTEN FAST DAY: 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 are attached to the newsletter 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 (please Gift Aid if you are a tax payer). We give up something (as part of our Lenten penance) so that we can be transformed in the image of God and his desire to love us. We show our love for our brothers and sisters by reaching out to them in very practical ways seeking to support them.

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 (except this Sunday as Fr C is supplying at St Gerard’s for their 5.00pm Mass). 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: One of the first changes in translation to our present missal comes with the I Confess. This prayer, asking God for mercy and seeking the help of the saints as we seek to return to the Lord, is reminding us of our utter dependence upon the Lord and acknowledging our need for his forgiveness. In the new translation, we will pray: I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

DIOCESAN FAMILY DAY: Bishop Declan is inviting us to join him at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College on 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. There is something for everyone of all ages.

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

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