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Following the easing of restrictions here are the main points from this week’s update from the Diocese.
*The MAIN defense we have is to be fully vaccinated–The Bishops of England & Wales support & encourage us ALL to be vaccinated to protect ourselves & each other. Info & how to book can be found by clicking here
*PLEASE do not attend church if you have symptoms of covid or have tested positive.
*Transmission is mainly through the air so we will continue to ventilate the church & we still encourage mask wearing when inside.
*We will keep the socially distanced seating area at the front of the church for those who are vulnerable or concerned & we ask people to be sensitive to others’ space around them.
*Touch transmission is now seen as a much smaller risk but we still encourage you to sanitise your hands on arrival & Ministers will continue to sanitise their hands before Holy Communion.
*We are now able to reduce our sanitising regime between Masses.
*Communion under one form will continue for the time being & we will not reintroduce the holy water stoops until the risks are much lower.
*Lighting of votive candles will now be brought back.

All these decisions are in order to add that extra layer of safety for the good of our whole community.
Let us pray for the world to recover from this pandemic and pray for those whose lives have been lost. Fr Frank.
*Photo of the church in late 2020...

A big Thank You goes to Deacon Vincent for sharing his Reflections for 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C with us all.

1st Reading from the prophet Jeremiah 1: 4-5, 17-19.
This is an extract of Jeremiah’s call by God to be his Prophet to the Kings of Judah, its princes and his own people. It is a preparation for a hard time ahead with lots of opposition to the message that God wants him to take to his people. God assures him that he will support him through the troubled times and provide him with the perseverance to endure under duress. This is also a promise for us, and that is why this book is presented to us. These are tough times for most people with a Gospel message, the people see us as kill joys and a nuisance. We begin to question our own values, just like Jeremiah, and wonder if it is all worth it. But we need to remember that God will give us all the strength and consolation we need to carry out his mission.

Psalm 70: 1-6, 15, 17.
A song of hope and trust in the Lord, one we might consider from time to time when we are feeling hard-pressed and low, just to remind ourselves that God is always near, especially when we are under pressure.

2nd Reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 12: 31-13: 13.
This is, perhaps, one of the most well-known pieces of scripture. It is one of the readings that lots of people have at their weddings. For those who think of Paul as a cold fish, they have to re-think their examination of him. He has discovered just how important love is in all our actions, motivating us and making us love the other person and understanding just how much God loves his creation. We might like to contemplate that all this comes from Christ; knowing Christ; and understanding Christ’s message. With Paul, everything begins and ends with Christ. This description of love might even be a description of Jesus Christ himself. It is worth reading it out loud to ourselves; that way we might be brought up with a jolt, seeing where our own shortcomings are. This awareness of ourselves and how deep and sincere our own love has developed is very important, as we journey closer and closer to Jesus Christ. This description of love also helps us realise just how much Christ embodies love; He is love itself, and ready to receive us and love us into His Kingdom.

The Holy Gospel according to Luke 4: 21-30.
Luke is setting out his stall right from the start of his Gospel. There is the oral ripple effect as Jesus journeys through the various districts “ a report went throughout the whole district”. Luke always creates an atmosphere in his writings describing what it was like to be there. Also, Luke’s Gospel is the gospel of the poor and the oppressed, which is emphasised by the text that Jesus was given to read. Finally, there is the other theme of this Gospel and which is the going out of the Gospel to the Gentiles, hence Jesus mentions the widow of Sarepta and by Naaman the Syrian. In this first episode of Jesus’ Ministry, Luke has managed to summarise the whole thrust of this Gospel. It is interesting to realise that this Gospel is really presented to each one of us, if you like it is our own personal Gospel, as we are the Gentiles that Luke is reaching out for. We see how his own friends are unable to realise that God was now moving in Jesus, and so Luke enlightens us to realise that Jesus will have to cope with opposition and insult, even threats to his own life, just like Jeremiah. There is an interesting point just to ponder; the people were seeking to cast Jesus down to kill him, but he has to be lifted up, as Moses lifted the serpent in the desert, to save the people. Hence, God enabled him to slip through the crowd. Luke’s Gospel is full of hidden gems to discover. We really are Blessed to be able to study this Gospel in depth.

God Bless you All and stay safe.
Deacon Vincent

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Did you know we collect used stamps?... no? Well, you do now!
If you get a letter with a stamp on please rip it off and keep it handy, then bring them with you when you are next up at church and pop them into the wooden box at the back of the entrance area, or pop them through the Presbytery letterbox.
Thanks to Tom who organises this, these stamps are used to help St Elizabeth's Centre in Hertfordshire, where a relative of one of our parishioners works.
St Elizabeths, rooted in Christian, gospel values, exists to offer vulnerable people individually designed education, care and support services that maximise their opportunities to “live life to the full”.
Based across 60 acres of beautiful countryside, St Elizabeth's is a national charity supporting children and adults of all ages with complex medical conditions, the severity of which impacts upon their health, social, behaviour, learning and emotional development.
So, keep hold of those stamps and please #PassThemOn !

CAFOD’s Walk Against Hunger Lent challenge

There are 200 million children in the world whose lives are at risk from malnutrition. This Lent, challenge yourself to walk 200km, and help give hunger its marching orders.

Do 5k a day, your way, for 40 days, get sponsored and you’ll conquer your 200km target in time for Easter – and help people around the world to live free from hunger.

To take part, go to

A message from Divine Renovation UK

What is God Saying?
You are invited to join Fr. James Mallon, Bishop Robert Barron, and Revd. Nicky Gumbel for a conversation on ‘What is God Saying to the Church?’ March 2022 marks two years since the pandemic hit much of the world. What is God saying to the Church throughout the last two years? What have we learned? What should be our focus moving forward?

As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, we believe that we have an incredible opportunity to recommit our energies to finding new and old ways to evangelise. But there are important questions many are wrestling with:

What is the most urgent call for the Church?
What have the past two years revealed about the Church and how she is fulfilling her mission?
What are we being called to repent of, to turn from, and to turn towards?

This is a FREE online event happening on Tuesday 1 March 2022 and starts at 6pm.

How to sign up - Find out more and register at:

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Fr Frank's Post-Christmas Break!
"I really enjoyed my break in London this year. Along with having a good rest I attended the snooker at 'Ally Pally' for 3 different days and also caught up with long-standing friends who live in the area. (See photos attached from my trip to a few football stadiums with my friend Eammon!)

I was blessed with the fine weather and the location of the hotel I stopped in, in Wood Green, made it easy for me to get to Mass in a local church and to get the bus to 'Ally Palace'.
All in all, I had a wonderful time and I'm happy to be back home.
God bless you all."

Thanks to Deacon Vincent for his Reflections for 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

1st Reading from the Book of Nehemiah 8: 2-6, 8-10.
This book together with the book of Ezra are best considered one book, because they do overlap because they are covering the period of the reconstruction after the Exile. Nehemiah was responsible for building the walls around Jerusalem. He was not a priest, but a layman and appointed by the Persian administration. For Nehemiah this was not a political act but a religious one, for him it was putting God back in the centre. This is the rebuilding of the people, they had restored the blood lines, now they needed to understand where God was in all this. The reading of the Law is because they realised that it was by ignoring what God wanted for them that had led to their disaster, so this is an important part for the people, who have instructed the scribe to read the Law to them. They wish to put that Law back into the centre, which is where God needs to belong to get things right, and it might be a good idea for us, also, to read and study the Law and replace God back in the centre for ourselves as well. It is important to note that the people wanted this and instructed the scribe what to do, not the other way around. In this synod we have before us, that might be of interest for us also, to study the Law and instruct how to get God back in the centre for us today.

Psalm 18: 8-10, 15.
God is revealed in creation and the Law. This song continues the emphasis upon the greatness of God’s Law for us, and indeed the whole of His creation.

2nd Reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 12: 12-30.
This image of the Church as Body, he shows his sense of humour here as he teases the people with his comical counter points. We need to notice how the apostles and prophets come first in the listings and the gift of speaking tongues comes last. What really matters is that the body should work as one cohesive unit, striving to d the will of God. This is exactly what Ezra is trying to achieve in the first reading; God at the centre of all that we do, to His Greater Glory.

The Holy Gospel according to Luke 1: 1-4, 4: 14-21.
This is an unusual beginning for a Gospel, as Luke explains in detail why and how he has ordered things in this Gospel and again unusually it appears to be written for a distinguished person. However, the name Theophilus means, “Lover of God”, or “Beloved of God”, so it might mean that the Gospel is addressed any interested Christian. Then we move immediately to Jesus' Ministry in Galilee. Jesus’ teachings have been glorified by everybody and news had spread about him, when he comes to his hometown of Nazareth. Luke uses this story right at the beginning of his Gospel, unlike Mathew and Mark who have this episode later in their Gospels. This is because Luke’s Gospel focuses upon the less fortunate and the lowlier people, and he wants to emphasise this aspect of Jesus’ Ministry right from the start. So, Isaiah’s reading also links Jesus with Isaiah’s other themes of the suffering servant, Isaiah is an important figure in the background of this Gospel. Jesus’ sermon is very brief indeed, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled.” Another interesting point to note is the way Luke uses “Today”, it appears in the annunciation to the Shepherds, and in the Zacchaeus story, and finally at the crucifixion, when one of the thieves recognises Jesus. The Gospel is already spreading among the people, and Jesus is becoming loved and welcomed, which always will produce a counter point of jealousy and envy, which we will observe as we progress through Luke’s beautiful Gospel. Let us soak up the full import of Jesus proclaiming his Ministry for the poor and the downtrodden and align our own thoughts and lives to accord with where Jesus is trying to take us.

God Bless you All and Stay Well.
Deacon Vincent

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The new order for boxes will be placed soon and we will assume the current donors want a new box unless we hear otherwise. Please inform the office ASAP if you no longer require yours.

If anyone wishes to start a bank standing order to make easy, regular donations to the parish, please contact the office.
Also if any of our current Gift Aid donors are no longer able to claim gift aid or if your address changes, please let us know asap.

Thank you to everyone who generously gives to the parish in any way.

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Ashes have been interred into plots within our Memorial garden for over 21 years, when it was created by Mgr Bernard as a lovely option to be able to offer parishioners.

The garden has now reached the point where we will not be able to take any further reservations for individual plots for some years and so we are researching what other options are available in the hope that we can continue to offer a burial alternative to our parishioners.

We may get the go ahead for a new smaller area to be created within the Church grounds which could be a special garden with communal plots - this type of arrangement is what a few other parishes offer as well as being common within most crematoriums. and cemeteries. 

We have communicated to all those who already have a reservation to let them know this does not affect their contracts – it just applies to any new cases.

Please bear with us whilst we research the best solution – it may take some time to finalise – but please contact us if you have any knowledge or experience to offer for an alternative plan. Many thanks.

Thank you, as ever, to Deacon Vincent for your Reflections for 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
1st Reading from the Prophet Isaiah 62: 1-5.
The return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem will be a time of great delight and God will take possession again as a bridegroom takes his bride and God will delight in being worshipped in the Temple once more, by his people. Their time of trial is over, now is the time of resettlement and rebuilding, and the world will once again realise that God has returned to his people with delight. We will always have times of trial, but God loves us and wants what is best for us, we need to trust him and he will restore us, though we might fall away from him, he is always faithful. We can trust Him. With his help we can re-build our lives and find great joy in his company.

Psalm 95: 1-3, 7-10.
A song when the House (Temple) was being rebuilt after the Captivity in Babylon, they sing a new song to the Lord. It continues the theme of the first reading, of renewal, rebuilding and praise and joy in the Lord.

2nd Reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 12: 4-11.
There was obviously trouble in the Corinthian community with people thinking they were better because they had certain charismatic gifts than others, but Paul spends a lot of time trying to illustrate to them that one gift is not greater than another. The gifts of the same Spirit are given to each of us in different and varied ways to build the whole body of the community embracing everybody. We are all special, with a special task allotted to us for the Good of the Whole Community. We are united in the same Spirit, sharing the same Body and Blood of Christ, so building up the whole body of the Community, united in its endeavours. It is a lesson for us, not to think one person has more worth than another and not to assume one is superior because one is intellectually superior to somebody else. All our various gifts are for a good purpose, at the disposal of the God’s Holy Spirit. We are all invaluable to God’s plan.

The Holy Gospel according to John 2: 1-11.
This is an amazing story, the lines preceding our reading state that on the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee, so the Christian readers, or hearers immediately reads it as a reference to the resurrection. It takes us deeper into the mystery of Jesus. We notice that the Mother of Jesus is mentioned first and she will appear a couple of more times in tis Gospel and each occasion is an important unfolding of Jesus’ story. Then there is their conversation. She only mentions to Jesus that they were running out of wine, and Jesus’ reply seems very abrupt to us, she does not take it like that, instead, she instructs the servants to do whatever he tells them, with every confidence and not a shadow of doubt. Next we discover that Jesus effortlessly changes the water in jars to wine, an enormous quantity in the region of 180 gallons of the very best wine to the astonishment of the master of the feast and no doubt the bridegroom also. The whole point of this story is revealed at the end of the story which is a “sign”, to reveal his “glory”. These are very important in this Gospel of John, then we note that his disciples “believed in Him”, but nothing is said of his mother, presumably she was already a believer. It is a very enlightening insight into Mary’s Faith and influence, which the Church has always taught, as well as signaling Jesus going out to proclaim the Gospel to the people and leaving his private life behind. It is an important story for us to ponder over and absorb this astonishing episode, which would become the springboard for the Gospel journey of Jesus. We might align ourselves with his disciples and re-new our belief and trust in Jesus at the start of yet another year in our Journey towards Jesus.
God Bless you all.
Deacon Vincent

Finance Vacancies

The Curia Finance department in Alexander House are currently recruiting an Accounting Officer and a Parish Finance Support Officer to replace two vacancies within the team. The Accounting Officer role is responsible for managing the purchase and sales ledgers and updating the nominal ledger and the Parish Finance Support Officer role is focussed on supporting the implementation of OPAS and providing administrator support for parish bank, credit card and PayPal accounts. Further information regarding the roles is available on the diocesan website:

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School Vacancy...

For the past 50 years, Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering marriage enrichment programs all around the world. Focused on couples who want to enrich their relationship and gain a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage, it offers a unique experience to explore your relationship at a deeper, more intimate level, regardless of how long you have been together.
The next Marriage Encounter weekend is scheduled on 4th -6th March 2022 in Swindon and there are many other dates over the year (included Online Experience as well) –
you can find out more and book your place at or contact them on 0845 260 2016

The Synod: 2021 – 2023

In October 2021 Pope Francis announced that a Synod of the Catholic Church would take place. 

What is a ‘synod’? 

A synod  is a process of listening and discerning what God is saying to the Church, the People of God.

Pope Francis is enthusiastic that the whole Church explore our collective journey as a people of faith and hope in the light of the Gospel. The pandemic has changed the way we worship and organise, so this is a good opportunity for us all to reflect on our lived experience as a people of faith. 

The Pope has encouraged the world’s bishops to organise and engage in a wide listening process in their respective diocese, this is to include those who no longer participate in the parish community, and those on the margins of society. The Church is always aware of the dynamic relationship between the Gospel and life, and this synodal process is an important opportunity for all of us to listen to one another and prayerfully discern where God is leading the Church. 

And so, the Clifton Diocese has asked for delegates from each parish to coordinate this ‘listening process’, there are four members in St Augustine’s. These delegates went to an information and training day and have met with Fr Frank to organise this process in our parish. 

On Wednesday 19th January at 7pm to 8-30pm (in the parish hall) and on Thursday 20th January 10.30 – 11.30(in Church, after mass) the delegates will host meetings where anyone in the parish can share their thoughts and views on what God wants our church to be and to do. Notes will be taken of all salient points anonymously. Individuals can also email the Synod Team c/o the Parish office (e-mail ) and these will form part of the collective reflection. 

The last exercise for the delegates is to collate all the responses, read, and then produce a document which accurately reflects the main views of parish members. This document will be published on the parish website. 

Please participate in this process and thankyou for all your contributions.

Paul Evans (Synod Delegate)

Thank you Deacon Vincent for your Reflections for The Baptism of the Lord Year C
1st Reading from the prophet Isaiah 40: 1-5, 9-11.
The book of Isaiah is not the work of the one man, Isaiah ben Amoz; but he is the inspiration for this collection of prophetic works. He most probably formed a school of disciples who studied at his feet. He came from upper-class Jerusalem family and had his first vision in the Temple in the 740 B.C. when he was 25 years old, and this vision established him in his prophetic vocation. Chapter 40 is the commencement of the Second Isaiah’s writings, which are set in Babylon about the time that Cyrus, king of Persia took Babylon and allowed the exiles held captive there to return home. This was not universally seen as a liberation, so these works are to inspire the exiles to realise that God is with them and the gods of the Babylonians were not up to much, and encourages these exiles to imagine what it will be like to go back home to Jerusalem, hence we begin with “Comfort, comfort my people”, says God. Their time of trial is over now and their God is waiting to lead them back home to re-build the Temple, and resume giving glory to God within their own culture and traditions and be close to God. He will, once again, be able to tend his flock like a good shepherd and gather his lambs I his arms. God is always looking to comfort us and tend for us, if we but will allow him to do so. We are, indeed blessed who acknowledge him as our Lord and God.

Psalm 103: 1-2, 3-4, 24-25, 27-30.
A song in praise of God’s goodness and continues the theme, set by Isaiah’s reading. God is merciful and forgives all our faults and renews us. Our God is always trying to build us up and console us.

2nd Reading from the letter of St. Paul to Titus 2: 11-14, 3: 4-7.
Paul is saying that if the Church is to be a place where Christ can appear, then the Church leaders need to keep a firm grip on the appropriate patterns of behaviour that are adhered to, and there must be no un-godliness, or worldly behaviour, and we need to give the signs of the chosen people by our good works. This is to be our response to the fact that Jesus gave himself in order to ransom us. As a result, we need to have good relations with the non-Christians because we were in the same situation as them before our redemption by Jesus. We should show kindness or maybe “Christ-ness.”

The Holy Gospel according to Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22.
Luke here clearly indicates that John, himself, declared quite openly that he was not the Christ, and we encounter, once again, Luke’s reference to the Holy Spirit; but it is reference to Jesus, not John. Luke is quietly trying to convince John’s disciples that they need to look to Jesus to find the Messiah, just as John, himself, had done. Luke’s Gospel is very much about prayer, and this is the first of many occasions when he will show us Jesus at prayer. What a prayer, indeed, the heavens are torn open by his prayer and the Holy Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove to anoint his mission, and the voice of the Father utters, “You are my Son, the beloved – in you I am well pleased.” Jesus is the beloved Son, and we can rely upon him, his way of life and his teachings. We can confidently journey as people of the Good News proclaimed by Jesus. Let us, therefore go forward following Jesus by living appropriately the Gospel life. We are indeed very Blessed to have been ransomed by Jesus to become members of his family.

God Bless you all & a Happy & Holy New Year.
Deacon Vincent

Photo: Mass at John Baptist chapel in Ein Keren, Baptismal Site (River Jordan)
© Mazur/

St Nicholas' Church LGBT+ Mass