THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY started on Tuesday 18th January and ends with the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. Each day at Mass, we remember different Christian Communities in our prayers as we pray that ‘all may be one.’
Materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022 have been prepared by the Middle East Council of Churches on behalf of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches based in Beirut, Lebanon.They chose the theme, “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him” (Mt 2:2). More than ever, in these difficult times, we need a light that shines in the darkness and that light, Christians proclaim, has been manifested in Jesus Christ.In a region of the world where human rights are habitually trampled underfoot by unjust political and economic interests, in the face of an unprecedented international health crisis and bearing the human and material consequences of the serious explosion that devastated Beirut on 4 August 2020, the local ecumenical group nevertheless made every effort to present the results of its work by participating in the online meetings.We pray for greater unity among Christians in the Middle East and around the world that they may contribute to a more dignified, just and peaceful life for all men and women in our time and in the times to come.
SYNOD 2023 Pope Francis has asked the whole Catholic Church worldwide to engage in a process of discernment under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This process is called a synod. It involves everyone in the Church – clergy, religious, and lay Catholics, each participating according to the gifts and charisms of their vocation. Our next PPC meeting on Thursday 20th January will be focusing on our own Parish approach to Pope Francis’ invitation to journey together, listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the lives of the people we meet. We are currently exploring various ways in which we can engage with our wider Parish community, not just those who currently attend Mass, so that all are able to share their experience of the Church with us, including a possible on-line parish questionnaire. This will enable our parish to give a considered and unified response. In the meantime, the following Listening Events (both face to face and via Zoom), have been arranged by the Clifton Cathedral delegates: CLIFTON CATHEDRAL LISTENING EVENTS We aim to provide a range of events for you to choose from. The first three dates are consecutive and intended for you to attend all three if you can. The Saturday dates cover the same themes but over a three-hour period. The final three dates are consecutive but on Zoom. Three consecutive Tuesday evenings – 11th, 18th, 25th January: after Mass until 9pm in the Apostle Room; Saturday 15th January: after Mass until 1.30pm in the Apostle Room; Three consecutive Thursday evenings via Zoom – 13th, 20th, 27th January: 7.30pm – 9pm. To get your Zoom invitation, please register via Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/clifton-cathedral-synod-listening-event-tickets-239466590017 Saturday 22nd January: after Mass until 1.30pm. There will also be opportunities for you to share your views outside of these meetings by talking to the delegates, or by writing to them at email@example.com
THE FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY On this, the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, we honour the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Why did Jesus choose to become a baby born of a mother and father and to spend all but his last years living in an ordinary human family? In part, to reveal God’s plan to make all people live as one “holy family” in His Church. In the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, God reveals our true home. We’re to live as his children, “chosen ones, holy and beloved.” The family advice we hear in today’s readings—for mothers, fathers, and children—is all solid and practical. Happy homes are the fruit of our faithfulness to the Lord, we sing in today’s Psalm. But the Liturgy is inviting us to see more, to see how, through our family obligations and relationships, our families become heralds of the family of God that He wants to create on earth. Jesus shows us this in today’s Gospel. His obedience to His earthly parents flows directly from His obedience to the will of His heavenly Father. Joseph and Mary aren’t identified by name, but three times are called “his parents” and are referred to separately as his “mother” and “father.” The emphasis is all on their familial ties to Jesus. But these ties are emphasised only so that Jesus, in the first words He speaks in Luke’s Gospel, can point us beyond that earthly relationship to the Fatherhood of God. In what Jesus calls “my Father’s house,” every family finds its true meaning and purpose. The Temple we read about in the Gospel today is God’s house, his dwelling. But it’s also an image of the family of God, the Church. In our families we’re to build up this household, this family, this living temple of God—until He reveals his new dwelling among us and says of every person: “I shall be his God and he will be my son.”
You might like to watch the Christmas Masses streamed from Saint Patrick’s this year.
Christmas Eve 9.00 pm – https://youtu.be/1og2Zrr9-uI
Christmas Day 9.00 am – https://youtu.be/7zlxXHzT-D8
GAUDETE SUNDAY The third Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete Sunday.” In the readings, we hear of miracles associated with the Messianic age, its coming, and what we need to do to prepare. Why Gaudete Sunday? Its name is taken from the entrance antiphon of the Mass, which is: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near. This is a quotation from Philippians 4:4-5, and in Latin, the first word of the antiphon is gaudete (Latin, “rejoice”) Advent is the season of preparing for the arrival of the Lord Jesus (both his first coming and his second coming), and by the third Sunday of Advent, we are most of the way through the season. Thus, it is appropriate to rejoice as we see the goal of the season approaching: “The Lord is near.” In this mass the liturgical colour rose may be used.
SYNOD 2021/ 2023 Please visit the diocesan website for latest resources and information for the Synodal journey we are all invited to participate in, including videos of the keynote talks. As part of our Advent Journey and our response to the call to prepare for the Synod 2023, there will be a time of prayer and reflection on the Synod themes of Communion, Participation and Mission, on Wednesdays December, 8th, and 15th from 11.15am to 12noon with Eucharistic adoration. Francis invites everyone to participate in the 2023 Synod Process. In prayer we are asked to listen to each other’s hopes, dreams and concerns for the Church in the future. During Advent we will spend time listening to God first. Then we will gather in January to listen to the community and a parish response will be sent to Bishop Declan by the end of February. This process will be guided by Fr Michael and the PPC.
HONOURING SUNDAY As people begin returning to more regular patterns of parish life and following the first face to face meeting of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales in Leeds, the bishops have issued the following statement about the importance of honouring Sunday: www.cbcew.org.uk/bishops-statement-honouring-Sunday. It is also available to read on the notice board in Church.
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY is a national opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of all those that have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life. We remember the Armed Forces, and their families, from Britain and the Commonwealth, the vital role played by the emergency services and those that have lost their lives as a result of conflict or terrorism. We pray for repose of the souls of all the Fallen this Sunday and pray for the peace of the world. Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord…
SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS is the beautiful celebration of all those who have died and gone to heaven. We believe that all people in heaven are saints. This includes all saints, not just those who are known to us (those canonized by the Church). A saint may be a mother, father aunt, uncle or friend. We, the faithful on earth, celebrate their triumph and seek to learn from their example in what it means to live holy lives. We also ask them to pray for us as we journey through the Christian life. The word, “Halloween” comes from the vigil of All Hallows Day, now known as All Saints Day. On Tuesday, All Souls Day, we remember and pray for those who have died who are in purgatory. Souls in purgatory are being purified in order to enter heaven. On both days we pray for ourselves, that the Lord may help us to become pure of heart now, purified by the trials we endure for Christ now, holy now and saints in the life to come.
PREPARING FOR SYNOD For the first time, the Synod Office in Rome has produced a comprehensive process which encompasses the stated aim of the Holy Father that the Church in today’s world should have a vision of missionary communion orientated to evangelisation. Pope Francis has highlighted the importance of ‘mutual listening’ and this will be at the heart of the synodal process throughout the Church. The process begins in the Local Church and then moves to the level of the Bishops’ Conference. From there, discernment takes place in the Regional Area – for England and Wales, it will be steered by the European Council of Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) – before moving to the Universal Church with the final Synod Gathering of Bishops in 2023, sub et cum Petro. Pope Francis invites us to participate in a world-wide Synod – every person in the Church is invited to respond. So that we can fully understand what Pope Francis is asking the diocese is offering information sessions to give everyone an opportunity to find out more and so be able to fully engage with the process. If you would like to participate in one of the online Teams sessions, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that we can send you an invite. If you plan to attend one of the sessions around the diocese, please also let us know so that we have an idea of numbers. Our local session is on 6th November, 10am -12noon: St John’s Centre, Trowbridge www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/trowbridge-synod-information-sessions-tickets-190920838367