Highlights of the Week

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.

THOUGHT FOR THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT   
THE GOD WHO WAITS UPON OUR ‘YES’

The Almighty God waits! God does not demand obedience, but rather invites a loving response, a ‘Yes’ from the depth of Mary’s being. Sure, God had prepared her from her conception for this moment, enabled her to taste of divine love. But Mary had to be free!
If her response was not free, then there could be no salvation flowing from this meeting of the Divine Spirit and the human heart. Only love can yield to love; only love can give birth to Love made Flesh; only love’s freedom could bring forth the One Who would set all peoples free with the Freedom of the Children of God.
So God waited … waited for her ‘Yes’ … waited for human freedom to embrace lovingly the Divine Will so that human will and Divine Will be one. Nothing could be forced, all had to be free and so God waits - it is Love’s waiting. Love is so often a matter of doing - but most often it is a matter of waiting. And with God, all creation waits upon this young girl’s answer - YES!

REFLECTION FOR THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
           
REJOICING IN THE LIGHT!

The light of the Advent wreath is growing, the pink candle is lit and we touch joy! The incomparable joy of walking as Children of the Light, giving witness to the Light of the World that is Jesus Christ.
We are called not to curse the darkness, however much of it there is - economic crisis around the world, violence in the Congo and Syria, wars and global warming: yes, there is plenty to make us curse. But instead we are ‘witnesses to the light’, to break the power of darkness by holding aloft the candle flame of divine love that is in our hearts, by singing a New Song of Joyful Love that will bring healing to our world.
We have much to be joyful about, for we are re-born in the Light, we carry the flame of undying love within us and we have the joy of walking with all humanity in their griefs and hopes, their joys and sorrows, in Jesus’Name!

JOURNEY OF FAITH 
  Our next meeting is on Friday 22nd December at 6.30pm. Who will you encourage to come and see what being a Catholic Christian means? A renewal of faith? Seeking Baptism/Confirmation. The theme: ‘What on earth is the Church for?’

SR NARK' GOSPELl: It is the earliest of the Gospel narratives, completed before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in 70AD. The author is thought to have been St Peter’s disciples, John Mark, and the text to have originated in the Christian community in Rome over which Peter presided. It conveys to us a most human Jesus, expressing his emotions of joy and anger. It is also a Jesus who challenges the sacred institutions of His time - Temple, priesthood, sacrifices and their leadership. Jesus provokes conflict throughout Mark’s Gospel, because these sacred places and people were hiding the face of God, rather than revealing the Divine. So it is a study of conflict and the prophetic call of our baptism to be in conflict with institutions that dehumanise and diminish the wonder and beauty of the human person: for when the human person is not reverenced, God is not found or worshipped despite all our rituals! 

RISE THEATRE BACK IN BRISTOL  for the Rise and Shine Christmas Show
Rise Theatre came and performed the acclaimed play ‘Romero - Heartbeat of El Salvador’. All of us who witnessed it were profoundly moved by the whole performance and so impressed by the theatre company. They are back in Bristol to perform this ‘Family Sketch show putting Christ at the heart of Christmas. Suitable for children aged 7/8 + Wednesday 13th December at 6.30pm at St Bernadette’s Church, 729 Wells Road, BS14 9HU - Adults £5, Children £3 tickets by email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (or phone 01275 833699)

NEW YEAR HEALING MASS - FRIDAY 5th JANUARY
    Start the New Year by seeking the healing of Christ for yourself and your world at this Healing Mass on Friday January 5th at 7.30pm at St Nicks. A New Year marks a New Beginning - let us allow Jesus, Word and Wisdom made Flesh, to be our Emmanuel God and Universal Brother, touching our wounds so that we do not take our or the world’s pain, anger and hurt into this New Year.

SUPPORT OUR PARISH BY BUYING A 2018 CALENDAR    Thank you to Tosin and Kamila for working so hard to produce our own Parish calendar. At £5.00 each it makes a lovely and personal Christmas present, as well as something fr your own home. There is a short ‘meditation’ beneath each photo every month. Please support the parish in this way.

COME AND CELEBRATE THE NEW YEAR TOGETHER!
As for the past few years, there will be a New Year ‘Watch Night Mass’ at 10.30pm on Sunday 31st December, praying the New Year in. Following the Mass and greeting the New Year in the name of Christ, there will be a bit of a party in the Hall - you are invited to bring some food of our cultures to share. I do hope many will come.

A MASS WITH BISHOP DECLAN TO CELEBRATE MARRIAGE    On Saturday 3rd February at 12 noon, Bishop Declan is inviting the diocese and especially all married couples to come together in this Year of the Synod on the Family for this special Mass of Thanksgiving. If you are celebrating significant anniversaries in 2015 - silver (25), pearl (30), ruby (40), sapphire (45), golden (50), emerald (55), or diamond (60)….or beyond - then please contact me as the Bishop wishes to invite you personally. But everyone is invited and it is a good opportunity to pray for all married couples and the witness of Christian marriage.


 

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!"


PRAY FOR THE CHRISTIANS OF IRAQ, SYRIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST

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