Highlights of the Week

Below are a few interesting news items from the weekly Bulletins for next four weeks.  To download the full version of our latest Bulletin,  please go to our Bulletin pageThank you.


When Jesus called his first disciples, He said, ‘Come and see’ - see my life and discover new Life! Now shortly before His Passion, the people say to Jesus, ‘Come and See’ - not just the tomb of Lazarus, but come and see your coming death, by which we will receive your New Life!
Jesus wept at the grave, wept for the death of his friend, wept with Martha and Mary in their bereavement - and also wept for His own coming suffering and death. We need the courage to help those we love who are dying to weep, to grieve, for their own deaths. Help speak of death for that will help them come to live their death well, to welcome ‘sister death’ with faith and courage, knowing death is the friend who ushers us into the fulness of our life and the final liberation of our love.
Already we live the Resurrection and the Life, already we have ‘died with Christ that we might rise with Him’. That is why we can live with the Holy Spirit’s courage, and die with the same courage and tranquillity. Let us ‘come and see’ behold the Cross and the Tomb that holds the beloved and gaze into the mystery of our eternity, our Life!

“Fast from hurting words and say kind words. Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude. Fast from anger and be filled with patience. Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope. Fast from worries and trust in God. Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity. Fast from pressures and be prayerful. Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy. Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others. Fast from grudges and be reconciled. Fast from words and be silent - so you can listen.”

WHY LENT?     We enter this privileged time of personal and community renewal which we call Lent. We join with Christ Jesus’ 40 Days in the desert to journey with Him through the desert of silence and prayer, of deprivation and hunger, of thirst and yearning. Why? To grow to become more like Jesus in generosity of spirit, openness of heart, deeper communion with God, a readiness to give of ourselves to the Mission of the Gospel. These 40 Days express our communion with all catechumens of the Church journeying to the great moment of Baptism (or reception into Full Communion with the Church; these 40 Days are our journey to the renewal of our Baptism at Easter when we say again our ‘YES’ to being plunged into the Mystery of Christ and become truly Christ People, filled with His Spirit and knowing ourselves to be ‘Beloved of the Father’. Let us embrace these most precious days of renewal.


Two great 20th century Prophets of Justice, Makers of Peace, are to be ‘canonised’ (declared Saints of the Church) in October. Pope Paul VI was the first Pope ever to travel to all the world’s continents to proclaim the Gospel and cry out for the poor (he coined the phrase ‘The new name for Peace is Justice’; he guided the sessions of the Second Vatican Council in the service of the renewal of the Church and saw the early implementation of its vision; he was passionate for Justice and the development of peoples and worked for peace at every opportunity. He appointed  Oscar Romero as Archbishop of San Salvador. Oscar allowed himself to be converted to the liberation of the poor by hearing the Gospel of Christ in the struggles of the poor and oppressed of his nation. His was the Voice of the voiceless - a voice that refused to be silenced by the wealthy and powerful - until he was shot dead on government orders while he was celebrating Mass. Of course his martyrdom meant his Voice became all the louder! Pope Francis is placing these two great (and very different) men and bishops as examples of true shepherds and courageous prophets, to shape the guide disciples of Christ in our own time. How we need today such servants of the poor, Prophets of the Gospel!

MASS FOR THE FEAST OF BL. OSCAR ROMERO - martyred 24th March 1980
  Now that Oscar Romero’s Canonisation (declaration of Sainthood) has been announced in Rome, it is with special joy this year we commemorate the anniversary of the martyrdom of this shepherd who laid down his life for his flock, the poor and oppressed of El Salvador while celebrating Mass on 24th March 1980, the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation. You are invited to come and rededicate yourself to serving the poor of our city, our nation, our world and being nourished by the Gospel of Christ as made flesh in the life, death and resurrection of this great modern Archbishop and Prophet of the Poor. Here at St Nicks on Saturday 24th March at 12noon, followed  by refreshments. Guest speaker at the Mass will be Jacqueline Chenier Golcher, whose international work makes her a frequent visitor to El Salvador and who will speak of the struggles of El Salvador today.

POPE FRANCIS CALLS YOUNG PEOPLE No one left out of  Pre-Synod Meeting 

An estimated 300 young people from around the world will come to the Vatican March 19 - 24 for a week-long conference to prepare for the October meeting of Catholic bishops on issues facing youth today. But other young people can participate in this meeting via Facebook. The October Synod of bishops will be held Oct. 3-28 on the theme: "Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment." Cardinal Baldisseri, who heads the Vatican's synod office, said the March pre-synod event will help the bishops direct their preparations for the later meeting. "We are not speaking only 'about' them but 'with' them: They will speak to us with their own language, their own enthusiasm, their sensibility....In short, even through the new technologies of communication, the pre-synod meeting wants to broaden as much as possible the audience of young people involved so that no one should feel excluded," Cardinal Baldisseri said. "This is a step the Church is making to listen to all youth," said Stella Marilene Nishimwe, a participant in the pre-synod gathering. "It will give us an opportunity to say everything that we think. This is an opportunity that we must really take."

WHAT AND WHY IS THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION?     The Church encourages us to celebrate with particular depth and openness this sacrament of God’s Mercy and Healing (formerly called ‘Confession’)  during these weeks of Lent. Why? Because Lent is a time to let God’s Word of Love call to recognise the ways we have wandered apart from closeness to God. And to ‘come back home’ to the Father’s love, where we will find ourselves again and experience the joy of being true disciples of Jesus His Son, our Brother. Lent is a time to dare to be honest with ourselves - and we can because that honesty is met with the purest love and tenderness. The Church has changed the name of this Sacrament because ‘confession’ speaks of what we do, but ‘Reconciliation’ speaks of God’s action in Christ, reconciling us to God, to each other, to our deepest and real self. Then we are ready to renew our Baptismal commitment at easter, and make 2018 a deeper Year of Discipleship and Mission. If you have been away from this life-giving and healing sacrament for a long time - perhaps many years - then God says to you ‘Do not be afraid - come back to me with all your heart! For Love alone awaits you.

DIOCESAN SERVICE OF RECONCILIATION WITH BISHOP DECLAN   We are all invited to share this Bristol Service of Reconciliation on Thursday 22nd march at 7.00pm at St Teresa’s, Gloucester Road, Filton. Many priests will be available for individual confession. Please make this a priority as part of your Lenten journey. 

RACHEL’S VINEYARD RETREAT - April 6th - 8th     Have you been touched by the trauma of abortion? This is a gentle, healing and liberating retreat weekend of prayer, reflection and sharing for women who have been touched by the trauma of abortion, mother, grandmothers and others. For more information please contact Sona on 07900734207 or see the website:  www.raachelsvineyard.org.uk

Now that President Trump is attempting to wreck the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, leading US to ignore the security of future generations - we very much need to continue to pray that the nations that committed themselves oppose Trump, remain true to their word and bring about the changes needed to be 'merciful' to 'our common home':

 “O God of love, teach us to care for this world our common home. 

Inspire all political leaders and the peoples of all the nations to listen to and heed the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. 

Let us be united in heart and mind in responding and acting courageously.

May we seek the common good and protect the beautiful earthly garden you have created for us, for all our brothers and sisters, for all generations to come. Amen!"


Lord, the plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of the Christians
is heavy and frightening us,
therefore we ask you Lord
to assure our lives, grant us patience and courage
to continue to witness our Christian values with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the base of any life; give us peace and stability
to live with each other without fear, anxiety,
with dignity and joy, glory to you forever.

Archbishop Louis Raphael I Sako,  Chaldean Catholic Patriarch

Lord, send us the gift of peace

Watch over the people of Iraq who have been forced to flee their homes
and face violence and fear.

Lord, send us the gift of peace

Lead them to a place of safety, comfort those who grieve
and bring healing to those in pain.

Lord, send us the gift of peace

Convert the hearts of those who commit violence and wage war.
Turn them away from persecution towards peace.

Lord, send us the gift of peace

Turn hatred to understanding, and anger to compassion.
Through your love, transform horror into hope.

Lord, send us the gift of peace

And fill us all with your Spirit so that with one voice, throughout the world,
we may cry out:

Lord, send us the gift of peace

Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us…              Catherine Gorman/CAFOD