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Pastoral Message
Bishop Declan issues his Pastoral message for the start of Advent.
Click here to watch him read the message & the text is attached here.


Happy St Andrew's Day
We humbly implore your majesty, O Lord,

that, just as the blessed Apostle Andrew
was for your Church a preacher and pastor,
so he may be for us a constant intercessor before you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one god, for ever and ever.
Amen




'Carols on the Doorstep'
It is sad that we are unable to allow singing at Masses or to hold a Carol service this year, due to safety restrictions... our Carols by Candlelight events are always so well-loved.
However, we have come across this wonderful solution!

There is a 'Carols on the Doorstep' initiative with Premier Christian Radio being held on Sunday 20th December at 5.30pm.
They will play 4 carols for everyone to join in with, together with our neighbours or safely in our houses.
*Maybe you could sing on your doorstep with the people you clapped the NHS with earlier in the year? Did that forge any new community links or new relationships with neighbours you may not have known before?*
Click their website for all the information and to download your song sheet. There is also an invitation you can print off should you wish to invite your neighbours to do the same so you can all sing along down the street, along the crescents, round the roads or in your cul-de-sacs!

Thank you to everyone who is thinking of new solutions to keep our communities together. ❤️


Thank you Deacon Vincent for your Reflections for 1st Sunday in Advent Year B.
1st Reading from the Prophet Isaiah 63: 16-17, 64: 1, 3-8.
This section of the book of Isaiah is most probably written by disciples of the Prophet and was composed after the return from exile in Babylon. It is dealing with the disappointment of those returning from exile, as they find themselves poor, and the rich in Jerusalem oppressed them, and the great faith that had brought them across that vast desert was visibly weakening. Isaiah calls God, “Our Father”, anticipating Jesus’ understanding of God. There is this wonderful image of God tearing open the heavens and the Gospel writers pick up this theme with the heavens opening at Jesus baptism by John in the Jordan and declaring “this my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Isaiah has some wonderful images for us to contemplate and store in our hearts. This section is a cry from the heart, for God to remember that we are his creation, and Isaiah uses the beautiful image of the potter and the clay, the cry goes out to forgive us our sins and renew our hopes and desires that brought us back from exile and be re-united with Him. It is very appropriate for those of us exiled by the virus from attending Mass, and being able to receive the Blessed Sacrament. It is worth making this cry to God, together with those who had struggled to be close to the Father in his holy Temple. God willing, we too will be able to return soon and once again stand in the presence of Jesus, in the Blessed Sacrament.
Psalm 79: 2-3, 15-16, 18-19.
This is plea to restore the vineyard that God had planted. The church is the vineyard, so we prepare ourselves to receive the arrival of our Salvation, by examining where we are on our journey to the Lord. We seek to have God’s assistance in striving to get ourselves back into the footsteps of God’s plan.
2nd Reading St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 1: 3-9.
All the graces we have, comes from Jesus Christ, it is because he has inspired us and provided us with teachers or friends or particular priests or holy peoples’ inspiration to help build us up. Because he has done this for us, we can be confident that he will always be there to assist us on our journey. We can rely upon God who is always faithful, for we were called by him into solidarity with Jesus Christ. We are not alone and this should inspire us to pick ourselves up, and look anew at our lives and trim them more closely into Christ’s footsteps, so that we can truly welcome the arrival of Jesus, the Son of God, as a babe at Christmas.
Gospel according to Mark 13: 33-37.
We are challenged by Jesus to stay awake and read the signs. He will not disclose times and dates, we must always be ready for the coming of Jesus. We are in the midst still of a terrible pandemic, which has ripped apart the very fabric of our civilisation. Parents have been denied the comfort of embracing children and grandchildren. We have been cut off from the Blessed Sacrament at Mass, but, although shaken and perplexed, we are not broken. God is still there with us, and in fact, we are beginning to grow up in the knowledge and appreciation of the presence of God, even when cut off from all human contact.
He really has set us free, and soon he will literally set us free by providing us with vaccines so that we can resume social contacts again. We need to still stay awake and not drift back into complacency.
This is a wonderful time to prepare our lives, so that when we can once again resume normal association, that we will move to improve the lot of the poor and hungry and the deprived. Let us make the world a better place than when we left it nearly a year ago.
God bless you all. Deacon Vincent

LGBTQ+ Mass

In his Pastoral Letter for the First Sunday of Advent, Bishop Declan refers to those who fear marginalisation due to their sexual orientation. The pastoral ministry to the LGBT+ community in Clifton diocese and elsewhere seeks to send a clear signal of inclusion and welcome to people who do indeed not infrequently experience marginalisation, and worse, in their daily lives.
See details below of the Mass for LGBTQ+ Catholics, families, and friends at St Nicholas' Church. All are welcome.



Advent ideas for a 'Healing Christmas', from Bella Harding


"This Christmas is going to be a Christmas like no other.
At least 50,000 people in UK alone will be mourning someone from their family.
Let’s make it a Christmas to remember, not just those who have died and those who mourn, but a different Christmas.
As Biden said, there is a time for healing…

We could pray:
-the rosary of Creation
-the canticle of St Francis including those who suffer and those who work for peace (cafod)
-a really meaningful Grace at all meals

Lets:
-Decorate not the inside but the outside of our homes, with lights, with baubles, with wishes hung on our bushes and trees, ribbons of prayer: peace, joy, love, hope, goodness, kindness, happiness, memories, harmony, beauty friendliness, nature, birdsong blue skies
-Eat modestly and leave treats for passers by (in good weather) of chocolates, mince pies, sweets
-Buy modestly what we need without waste, and spend our surplus on food for food banks good quality and non perishable
-Be creative in our gifts, making things from what we have, using skills and artistry
-Have a zero waste Christmas, think of different and exciting ways of wrapping presents so there will be no waste, ban all packaging that is not reusable, boycott Amazon
-Give away beautiful things that we love and have already, to friends and family that like them too
-Share Christmas with people in our street with music and socially distanced chat
-Twin our family with a family experiencing the effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity
-Give presents of our time, for a walk, a phone call, or to do things for one another, repairing."

Thank you Bella.
Happy Advent to you all.

Apart, yet together.   #ChurchAtHome

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