Highlights of the Week

Below are a few interesting news items from this week’s Bulletin.  To download the full version of our latest Bulletin,  please go to our Bulletin pageThank you.

THOUGHT FOR FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

                Why does the Son of God seek Baptism?
Leaving Nazareth in the north, Jesus travels seven days to the Jordan in the south in order to join His cousin John, to be baptised by him. But why?
Jesus was utterly human like us – the mystery of the Incarnation that has baffled every generation! That means his self-understanding is, like ours, limited. While realising He had a unique and special relationship with the God He alone knew with the familiarity of ‘Abba’, Daddy!, He could not yet have known all that this meant. He knew God was calling Him – at first that meant for Him to be the disciple of John, the spiritual hero figure of the day!
But then something amazing happened – the fullness of the Spirit came upon Him, prophecies were fulfilled and He broke through in His humanity to a new depth and awareness of this Abba-Son relationship. The Spirit brought Him to a new knowledge – and Spirit brings us also to a new knowledge – that we too are daughters and sons of Abba! We too are filled to overflowing with the same Spirit – we too are Servants of the Kingdom and daughters and sons of God – ALLELUIA!

THOUGHT FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF YEAR A
                          ON WHOM THE SPIRIT RESTS!

John the Baptist cries out to all the world – ‘Look … See … Welcome …’ Him who comes with the Spirit to transform our world into nothing less than a ‘New Creation’. Jesus is Lamb, the sacrifice that cleanses the world as no other sacrifice could, because he absorbs the pain and heals it, absorbs the brutality and forgives it, absorbs the hatred and transforms it – into Love’s Victory.
How? By the Spirit that rests on Him. The Holy Spirit is the divine energy of His breath, the Fire of His heart, the healing tenderness of His touch. The Spirit is not a momentary experience of exultation and passing enthusiasm (how mistaken those who say ‘God does not love anymore because I cannot feel the Spirit’). The Spirit is the abiding presence of God within, the constant hidden power in all our loving. This faithful Love that is the Spirit within us – once given never taken away! – is the work of the Spirit resting upon our lives too!

SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION PROGRAMMES – CALLING ALL PARENTS!    First Eucharist Programme begins on Wednesday 22nd January 2020; Frst Reconciliation Programme begins on Friday 24th January – both at 4.00pm and at the Assisi Centre. All parents in the Eucharist programme meet on Wednesday 22nd and parents of Reconciliation programme on Friday 24th January – both also at 4.00pm at the Assisi Centre.

COMBATTING HATE CRIME AND HATE SPEECH Twice yearly I attend the meeting of Diocesan Migrant Officers and other Catholic organisations serving migrant communities. On Thursday I was in London for this meeting, which addressed issues of Hate Crime and Hate Speech. It is so easy to use abusive and denigrating language to individuals or about groups of people, but as Christians we are to treat every human person as our sister of brother, with dignity and respect. We know that Holocaust and Genocide begin with hate speech, disparaging and dehumanising language that then escalates into physical violence and ultimately genocide. Whether it is about race, religion, tribe, sexuality, mental illness, disability etc etc – it must not be found in our Catholic communities and everyone of us has the duty to challenge it when we hear it. 

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT LGBT+ ISSUES?   Most of us have been brought up and taught that the Bible and therefore the Church condemns any sexual orientation other than heterosexual. But is this the whole truth? Come and bring your questions and concerns  to this Day Workshop exploring seriously what the Bible says about the LGBT+ issues. Led by the theologian Jayme R Reeves it begins at 9.00 for 9.30am and concludes at 4.00pm on Saturday 1st February here at St Nick’s. Refreshments and lunch will be provided (so registration is essential please!). contact for information or registration email: inclusionforall@cliftondiocese.com or the parish office on 0117-909-0419. 

HIDDEN VOICES BRISTOLTackling Modern Slavery Together          How can our community work together to ensure that slavery practices don’t take root in our area? “Hidden Voices” is an exciting ecumenical and community process which aims to inform and support local communities in taking action on the challenging issue of Modern Slavery within their own communities. “Hidden Voices” will help inform us about how to spot and challenge modern slavery and then join with others in Bristol in tackling the issue.
Our aim is that our communities should be equipped in understanding, detecting, and preventing slavery and trafficking, whilst also enabling those affected. The process takes place over three sessions. Please come even if you cannot manage all three sessions.
Time: 10.00-12.30  Dates:  25th January & 8th February.
Where: St Nicholas of Tolentino Church, Lawfords Gate, Bristol BS5 0RE Parking is available in Church Car Park on Pennywell Road.
To book or for more information and please email: hvbristol@gmail.com
“Hidden Voices Bristol” is part of the growing https://www.theclewerinitiative.org/ Hidden Voices Network

PARISH FORUM MEETS – ALL PARISHIONERS INVITED The next Parish Forum – a meeting for ALL PARISHIONERS AND EVERY COMMUNITY WITHIN OUR PARISH ‘COMMUNITY OF COMMUNITIES’ – will be on Sunday February 9th from 12.45pm to 2.45pm. Please make a a special point of coming and voicing your ideas ad concerns – help us shape the future development of our parish. The Parish Pastoral Council will take up your ideas and use them in growing our parish’s ministry and mission.

OUR PARISH COVENANT WITH THE POOR – OUR FOOD BANK AND ‘CARITAS FUND’ We are a parish to be ‘in covenant with the poor’. This is expressed now very especially the Borderlands Charity and our Caritas Fund and Food Bank helping those being punished by government decreed destitution, and benefit cuts. Our Monthly Covenant with the Poor (First Sunday of the month) helps us be ‘Good News to the Poor’. Thank you. Please continue to support with money (Caritas Fund) and gifts of non-perishable food and appropriate toiletries (Food Bank). At the moment we are in need of :  cereals, tins of meat and fish (esp tuna), tins and packets of soup, tinned vegetables (eg peas, carrots, potatoes etc) and chopped tomatoes, 1 kilo bags of sugar, small/medium jars of coffee and hot chocolate, tea bags, tins of fruit and packets of biscuits and 1 litre bottles of cooking oil etc etc. MANY THANKS! 

OFFERTORY ENVELOPES AND GIFTAID       We would like to encourage all UK tax payers to give their weekly donation to the church in Gift Aid envelopes. For every £1 you give, we can claim an additional 25p from Inland Revenue – your £1 is then worth £1.25 and costing you not a penny more! If every tax payer signed a GiftAid form, the parish would benefit by about £3000 per year! You can also pay by monthly Standing Order from your bank. Again, all you need do is fill in the form. We must increase our income! Please see Debo or Richard for information & forms. REMEMBER … IT COSTS £350 PER DAY TO RUN OUR PARISH AND MISSION!

YOUTH MINISTRY TRAINING COURSE ‘Called to a Noble Adventure’   Would you consider committing yourself to serving our young people in Youth Ministry? We have long wanted to expand our provision for the young people of our parish community (and perhaps beyond to young people in the area). Is God calling you to this much-needed ministry in our parish? Then talk to Richard and register for our Diocesan Youth Ministry Training Course for 10 Thursdays evenings in 2020 from January 11th to July 23rd 7.00-9.00pm at Alexander House, Pennywell Road. More info form Richard.  

SCRIPTURE SHARING GROUP I would like to encourage regular participation in this group so that we can deepen our love for and understanding of the Sacred Scriptures. It would be ideal for all Lay Readers and Lay Ministers of the Eucharist, as well as Children’s Liturgy leaders. In this Year 170 this would be an excellent way of sharing together and deepening our faith, rooted in the Bible. In the Diocesan Year of Prayer – come and discover the Bible as our first and greatest ‘prayer book’! Every Tuesday after 6.00pm Mass.

CALL TO ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
The teenager Greta Thunberg said: “It is still not too late to act. It will take a far-reaching vision, it will take courage, it will take fierce, fierce determination to act now, to lay the foundations where we may not know all the details about how to shape the ceiling. In other words, it will take cathedral thinking. I ask you to please wake up and make change possible.”
David Attenborough said “ We need to fall in love again with the earth”
Pope Francis said “ God of Love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth” and “teach us to care for our common home.”
Our children and young people took to the streets of Bristol to demonstrate and challenge our generation to not just speak, BUT ALSO TO ACT – DECISIVELY – NOW!

ARE YOU STRUGGLING AFTER AN ABORTION EXPERIENCE?  Do you know where to turn – who could help you? I hope as a parish community we are open and caring and healing in a way that you could entrust your pain to us. But also (and very importantly) there is an organisation that could help you – British Victims of Abortion. Call them on their helpline 0845-603-8501 between 7pm and 10pm seven evenings a week.