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 THE EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

                                        ‘Give us that bread always!’

They asked for bread … and He gave them Himself! They asked for a bread that would feed them in this life … and He gave them a food that united this life with eternity! ‘Give us this bread’ they asked … and He told them to become God’s Bread for the world – give, feed, nurture, love and you become Bread in God’s hands, given that others might truly live!
They wanted to eat … He wanted to be devoured! They wanted their hungers satisfied … He wanted to fill every person with hope and life!  So He invites us to give ourselves like Him to feed and fulfil others!
Do we come to receive Communion, or to become Communion? Do we come to eat and drink, or to become such love in the world that we surrender to be eaten up by the world’s pain and need, become a spring of peace from which others drink their fill?

FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD

                                                Glory! Humanity or God?

What is this Light that shines through Jesus upon the mountain? Is it the glory of God, for He is the son of God? Yet God’s glory is experienced more the in the dark cloud that overshadows them as they are plunged into the dark mystery of god whose Light blinds us in its radiance! Is it not rather the glory of God-touched humanity – the New Humanity that Jesus comes to bring into the world to transform the course of history? That same glory that we have within ourselves, that is within every human person. This strange and awesome event on the Mountain of Divine Presence reveals to us that we are indeed glorious creations of God. But we are to listen to Him! He is the New Moses who brings us a Law beyond all law – the ‘law’ of limitless love. He is the New Elijah, the prophet of justice, of freedom, of the Poor – the Prophet of God in whose Kingdom the poor and broken have first place. And this Glory is a work – to touch every human person with this same Glory!

POPE FRANCIS ON NUCLER WEAPONS Pope Francis stated the following last November: ‘Now is the time to affirm not only the immorality of the use of nuclear weapons, but the immorality of their possession…  genuinely concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian effects of any employment of nuclear devices and the risk of accidental detonation as a result of any kind of error, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned. They exist in the service of a mentality of fear.’

PARISH  PASTORAL COUNCIL DECISIONS CONCERNING COVID PROCEDURES
The PPC have received advice from our parishioners (Dr) Diarmuid and Liz (infection control nurse at BRI), as well as (later) guidance from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. We remain with a duty of care towards all who come to Mass (or otherwise use our premises) and a responsibility to ensure all Health and safety measures are in place. The guidance stresses we need to take into account local levels of Covid infection and members of our community who might be at rick of infection (eg low immunity).
The infection levels in Bristol are very high and therefore the PPC has decided unanimously that face masks should be worn, safe distancing observed and track and trace continue along with hand-sanitising. Both sets of toilets can now be used, but after use please sanitise hands. The choir only can sing but the congregation can ‘hum along’ if wearing face masks. We will resume the taking of the collection (and bringing food to the altar for the foodbank) at the offertory. We are not yet able to socialise inside (eg coffee after Mass). However the PPC will monitor the situation and relax further as we are advised by our health-care advisers.
I ask all parishioners to understand that these measures are to maximise the safety of others and the whole community, not just ourselves. They will be regularly reviewed.  

POPE FRANCIS CALLING US TO PRAYER AND SOCIAL FRIENDSHIP

‘The Bible says that whoever finds a friend has found a treasure. I would like to invite everyone to go beyond their groups of friends and build social friendship, which is so necessary for living together well.
We especially need to have a renewed encounter with the most impoverished and vulnerable, those on the peripheries. And we need to distance ourselves from populisms that exploit the anguish of the people without providing solutions, proposing a mystique that solves nothing.
We must flee from social enmity which only destroys, and leave “polarization” behind.
And this isn’t always easy, especially today when part of our politics, society and media are bent on creating enemies so as to defeat them in a game of power.
Dialogue is the path to seeing reality in a new way, so we can live with passion the challenges we face in constructing the common good.
Let us pray that, in social, economic, and political situations of conflict, we may be courageous and passionate architects of dialogue and friendship, men and women who always hold out a helping hand, and may no spaces of enmity and war remain.’ Pope Francis

ASSISI REFURBISHMENT COMPLETED          We have begun to re-occupy the Assisi Centre, beginning with the Sacristy. During the week we will move back into the Parish Office next to the new entrance; get the new expanded kitchen up and running; kit out the Romero room with furniture and TV’s screens (for teaching purposes) and the Children’s Liturgy room will return to its original purpose. The old presbytery (Blue) door is now permanently out of operation and two new toilets are operational. Thank you all for your patience and understanding. Entry to the Church is now once again possible from Lawford’s Gate, walking past the Food Bank.

BAPTISMAL PREPARATION FOR PARENTS
If you wish your child to be baptised at st Nicks, please contact Eustace (07860876640) or Richard as soon as possible to enrol in the parents preparation. There are two Baptismal Sundays scheduled (in addition to the Baptismal Sunday with Spanish translations also scheduled) please see all dates below. Spanish speaking preparation Sessions notified next Sunday.
13th August: Parents Baptismal Preparation Session One at 6.30pm  (Assisi Centre)
20th August: Parents Baptismal Preparation Session Two at 6.30pm  (Assisi Centre)
Rite of Child Catechumen 15th August; Baptisms 29th August – both at 10am Mass
With Spanish Translation: Rite of Child Catechumen 1st Aug; Baptisms 8th Aug 10am 

ROOT AND BRANCH INCLUSIVE SYNOD IN BRISTOL Inspired by Pope Francis’s synodal vision, some lay Catholics from across the UK invite you to embrace and advance renewal, reform and healing in the Catholic Church. Already taking place twice-monthly on Zoom, Root and Branch Inclusive Synod will reach its conclusions on issues of equality, inclusion and governance in online workshops from 5 – 8 September 2021.  The Synod will culminate with a conference on 10 – 12 September 2021, earthed in the State of the Art, conference centre of St Michael’s Church, Stoke Gifford, beside Bristol Parkway Station. The conference will start with the presence of Rt. Revd. Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, and a recorded welcome from Bishop Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton. Noted speakers (like Mary McAleese, former President of the Irish Republic and a campaigner for the reform of the Church) will encourage a process in the words of St John Henry Newman of “Heart speaks unto heart”, with laity, religious and clergy meeting as equals.“Do not be afraid” says Jesus – and yet so often we are. We have been frightened to speak to one another with real honesty about issues which affect us deeply in our Church today. That needs to change. The “Heart to Heart” conversation is long overdue. As people come together, giving each other the confidence to speak up and to really listen, Root and Branch Inclusive Synod is shining a healing light into dark places.For further information about Root and Branch Inclusive Synod; how to Zoom with us and – coming shortly – details of how to book for the virtual and actual Synod (rooms reserved two Holiday Inns for those who need them), please visit:     https://www.rootandbranchsynod.org

SAFEGUARDING TRAINING FOR ALL VOLUNTEERS The Safeguarding Team will be delivering safeguarding awareness sessions to volunteers on the following dates and times.  The training will be delivered via Microsoft Teams therefore, if you would like to attend, please contact Beci Monks on rebecca.monks@cliftondiocese.com Beci will send you a link to the training a little nearer the time.
Thursday 15th July 2021 – 6.30pm – 8.00pm  or Saturday 25th September 9.30am – 11.00am
Many thanks and best wishes         The Diocesan Safeguarding Office

SCRIPTURE SHARING GROUP Each week on Thursdays at 5.30pm come & share reflections, questions, insights on the Scripture Readings used at Mass on the following Sunday: ideal for all of us, but especially for Lay Readers Ministers of the Eucharist, and Catechists. Contact John Flannery (email: j.flannery@btinternet.com) or Richard (email above)  for the Zoom link.

LOV VERBUM DEI – A LECTIO DIVINA ON ZOOM   This prayer initiative has grown up in Bristol and reached Catholics all around the world since the pandemic began. The group is open to anyone (clergy, lay, religious, non-religious) – and now has members throughout the UK and in many other countries around the world.  LOV Verbum Dei family began in Bristol at the start of the pandemic in 2020, bringing together Catholics worldwide for daily scripture, podcasts and weekly online prayer gatherings. Through intercessory prayer, meditations, and sacred music, we strive to fulfil our founding principle of the meaning of LOV: To read-To pray-To live daily the Word of God in our lives. To know more and get involved in this very special ministry please use this link: https://linktr.ee/lov_verbumdei

MEN AND WOMEN EQUAL IN MINISTRY   There are many charisms and ministries in the Body of Christ – each one of us, young and old, male and female, lay and clergy, and whatever our gender identity – all of us are ‘beloved children of the Father’, each of us is gifted by the Holy Spirit to serve, to proclaim, to build the missionary Body of the Christ and to transform the world. In our parish we are moving towards a parish community led and served by predominantly lay ministry, served and supported by the ordained ministry of deacons and a part-time (non-resident) priest. We are committed as a parish to promote, empower and train many different forms of ministry. The ministry of women and men are equally valued, the ministry of lay people and ordained deacons and priest are equally valued. All of us over 40 years old have almost certainly grown up in a church that has neglected and minimised the ministries of lay people. We are still in a clergy (and therefore male) dominated church and this has caused major problems while being unfaithful to the New Testament. Some ministries are denied to women (and not just ordained ministries) … therefore there is an urgent need to enable voices of women to be heard, their gifts to be recognised and their ministries to be released, for the good of the whole Church and its Mission and witness.  This is to correct the imbalance and injustice that has been the norm for centuries. Please do not interpret this as diminishing or demeaning the ministries of our brothers. We are all called to work together for the Kingdom as equal partners in the Lord’s work.

YEAR OF ST JOSEPH         150 years ago Pope Pius IX declared St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church (St Nicholas of Tolentino was regarded in this role for many centuries before). Pope Francis, to celebrate the anniversary, has appointed 2021 as the Year of St Joseph. Francis highlights Joseph as a role model as ‘a beloved, tender father … one who welcomes the will of God … a creatively, courageous father, example of love … a father who teaches the value, dignity and joy of work .. a father “in the shadows” centred on Mary and Jesus … a man of prayer.’ Highlights of Pope Francis’s teaching on St Joseph (together with the Litany of St Joseph and Pope Francis’s prayer) are available after Mass with the Newsletter or can be downloaded from the parish Website (Home Page).

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN HOSPITAL:     Can I remind everyone that when a Catholic goes into hospital, the patient or their family MUST request a visit from the Catholic Chaplain – data protection and confidentiality rules in hospitals prohibit the passing on of information to chaplaincies otherwise. The Chaplain will not know of your presence in hospital and cannot visit a patient without the patient’s prior request and permission.

TALKING AND LISTENING GROUP – the group runs every Tuesday from 4pm to 5.30pm and offers a safe place for people to come and talk about the issues which are effecting them and listen to others. The group supports those with low mood, lack of self-esteem and anxiety as well as those struggling with, for example, bereavement, isolation, guilt, serious illness and relationship issues. One to one sessions over the phone or social media are available. Confidentiality is assured. For more information contact Robert on 07767 706 163 or robertvh@hotmail.co.uk. Or, just come along.

CLIFTON DIOCESAN NEWSLETTER   Sign-up for this useful round-up of news, views, events and other information from around our diocese.  It is easy to do, just go to our website www.cliftondiocese.com, click on the newsletter icon and register your email address.

WHAT IS THE COVENANT WITH THE POOR?    In preparation for the great Millenium of year 2000 the Bishops of England and Wales asked every parish to draw up and make a ‘Covenant with the Poor’. As part of our parish’s Covenant we pledged to pray regularly for Justice & Peace, to serve the homeless and poor who come in increasing numbers to  our extensive Food Bank and the Wild Goose Café and to encourage parishioners to volunteer time and energy to work in the Food Bank and the Wild Goose Café; and also to give non-perishable food (especially rice, pasta, tinned fruit and tomatoes, tinned fish and meat etc) and/or money (in special envelopes) to be used for the poor. This food and money goes to support our ministry among the poor of our area. During Lockdown this as greatly expanded and very many people inn Bristol are supporting us, in addition to our parishioners. We also founded and developed our Borderlands Charity (‘from exclusion to belonging’) to serve our asylum & refugee community that has remained serving throughout the periods of Lockdown. In normal times, the Offertory Procession at Mass regularly sees gifts to be shared with the poor and vulnerable, carried to the Altar (restoring the ancient meaning of the Offertory Procession). So the Covenant with the Poor that we renew solemnly at each Patronal Feast of St Nicholas of Tolentino (early September) has continued to grow and develop and as such has shaped the life, mission and witness of our parish community. The development of the ministry of the Parish Office has enabled us to develop our ‘Option for the Poor’ in obedience to the Gospel Let us praise God for such rich grace and love poured out upon our community, and though our community to many in their need.

LOVE THE CHRIST OF THE POOR – WORDS OF ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM   “Would you honour the Body of Christ? Do not despise His nakedness; do not honour him here in church clothed in silk vestments and then pass him by unclothed and frozen outside. Remember that He who said ‘This is my Body’ also said ‘You saw me hungry and gave me no food’. I am insisting that nothing can take the place of care for the poor. What use is it to adorn the altar with gold cloths and deny Christ a coat for his back? He would be outraged!”

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE GRATEFUL TO ALL THOSE WHO HAVE ALREADY MADE STANDING ORDERS IN FAVOUR OF THE PARISH – WE ARE NOT ABLE YET TO NOTIFY YOU IN OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER OF THE SUM GIVEN AS OFFERTORY BUT WILL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Please find ways of continuing to support our parish with your offerings (perhaps by making a Standing Order, GiftAided if possible – details from Robert at the Parish Office) – we are supporting so many people as those unemployment are increasing in at this time. THANK TO ALL WHO HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING OUR FOOD BANK WITH DONATIONS OF FOOD OR MONEY.

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.