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 SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

                       Where do we belong? World? Jesus? or both?

Each of us is made for relationship – we cannot survive with friends, without someone or something to belong to. And belonging means we find a home in the heart of the other.
Jesus prays that we will belong to Him, find our home in His Heart, His Word, His Kingdom – that He will be the place of our belonging. Does that mean that we ‘do not belong to the world’? Yet He sends us into the world, does not want to remove us from the world. And when He took flesh in the womb of Mary, He embraced belonging to the world. So what does He mean?
Well, there is the ‘world’ that is the dwelling place of the God who has created all things out of Love and all is Good. God is alive in every atom of creation, including ourselves! There is also the ‘world’ of injustice, dishonesty, self-centredness, war and oppression – the world Jesus is ‘in’ but not ‘of’!
He consecrates us in the truth to belong to the divine heart of the world – and to transform the dark heart of the world!

FEAST OF THE ASCENSION             Descending and Ascending – the God of Love!

‘Jesus did not cling to His equality with God but emptied himself becoming human, a slave, dying on the Cross .. And therefore God raised Him higher than the Angels’. Jesus is the Flesh of God’s loving, descending to the lowest place, in poverty, the victim of injustice and summarily executed through the cries of the manipulated crowds – and all for us! The Sinless One made Sin for us! He shares the darkness to redeem us all into the Light; He is wounded to make us Whole!
And now He ascends – to Glory, to the throne of God. But not just Jesus: in His ascended Flesh and Humanity you and I and all the world are gathered forever into the Glory,  into the inner life of God. We are ‘divinised’! We now sit at the right hand of the Father – our humanity is enthroned above the angels. Humanity is forever changed, transformed.
And so He sends us to the very creation itself both to proclaim and to be the Good News that there is a new reality – a new World. Let us live it and speak it!

LAUDATO SI’ WEEK – 16-24th MAY 2021 Just imagine if 1.3 billion Catholics from six continents come together to celebrate the great progress we have made and prepare for the future of our ‘common home’, Planet Earth, with HOPE! From 16-24th May (part of the Novena to the Holy Spirit leading to Pentecost) Catholics all over the world will reflect on and prayer for the success of Pope Francis great Encyclical on Global Warming, Climate Change and Justice for the Poor of the Earth. We will seek renewed inspiration of the Holy Spirit for our next steps on our Ecological Conversion Journey. Resources will be posted on our Parish Website and will be incorporated into the Prayer and reflection of our parish community between Ascension Day and Pentecost – ‘Come Holy Spirit, renew the face of the Earth – through us!’ – as Pope Francis says ‘We know things can change!’
Special Events for Laudato Is Week
[1] Monday May 17th 7.00-7.45pm – a Zoom meeting on ‘How climate change affects women around the world’ (contact Caroline Price or Jackie Chenier for Zoom link)
[2] Wednesday 19th May at 5.00pm – A Zoom meeting to pray for the healing of Creation in  our time (contact Caroline Price or Jackie Chenier for Zoom link)
[3] Friday 21st May – children and young people invited to share positive actions to restore creation our ‘Common Home’ through drawing, p[ainting, poetry, dance, song etc. Then take photos or record videos and share them on the Parish WhatsApp Chat

CHILD HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT – A LIVE ‘WEBINAR’   Bristol Inner City Primary Care Network are holding a ‘Webinar’ featuring Dr Tom Allport, Community Consultant Children’s doctor, who will be talking about child developmental issues (eg delayed speech, learning difficulties and Autism. This will be held on May 26th 1.45-2.45pm. If you would like to be part of this live ‘Webinar’, please contact lucy.taylor63@nhs.net for the internet link and if you want to ask any questions of Dr Allport.

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.

FIRST EUCHARIST PROGRAMME – PARENTS MEETINGS   The special sessions for the parents are also very important and an essential part of the Preparation programme:
Spanish-speaking parents in the church alternate Saturdays at 2.30-4.15pm
English-speaking parents on Zoom alternate Fridays at 6.30-7.30pm.
THESE PARENTS MEETINGS ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE PR0GRAMME OF PREPARATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES JOURNEYING TO FIRST EUCHARIST.

SCRIPTURE SHARING GROUP – CHANGE OF DAY AND TIME 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    

REFURBISHMENT OF THE ASSISI CENTRE (Ground Floor) BEGINS The work has begun and now contractors are on site and will continue for at least 14 weeks. It will mean some disruption. The Parish office has temporarily moved to the ‘New Room’ where normally we have the Children’s liturgy of the Word (next to the main Lawfords Gate entrance); the Sacristy has moved temporarily to first ‘side room’ off the church where the ‘Reconciliation Room’ (or Confessional) is sited. FOR THE DURATION OF THE WORK ENTRANCE TO THE CHURCH IS NOW ONLY FROM PENNYWELL ROAD – NO ACCESS FROM LAWFORDS GATE. 

YEAR OF ST JOSEPH – FEAST 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.

FORCED ABORTION FOR UYGHUR MUSLIM WOMEN IN CHINA – PROTEST!
Ask your MP to support an amendment to help stop forced abortion in Xinjiang, China
There is extensive evidence that many women in the Uyghur Muslim community in Xinjiang, China are being subjected to forced abortions. Lord Alton is currently championing an amendment to the Trade Bill which would give British courts a role in determining whether a country is committing genocide. This would help with putting international pressure on the Chinese Communist Party to stop the practice of forcing abortions on the Uyghur Muslim community along with the wider human rights abuses that evidence shows is being perpetuated against this community.If you would like to email your MP asking them to support the amendment, you can do this easily using a tool which has been set up on the Genocide Response campaign website which can be accessed by visiting the link below:
https://genocideresponse.org/

NEEDS OF OUR FOODBANK We are urgently appealing for the following food for our food bank: Tins of Tuna, Sardines and Mackerel, Tinned Vegetables, Tinned Meat Tinned Fruit and Rice Pudding, Pasta Sauces – We also always need more UHT milk. Please drop them off at the Parish Office between 9am to 1.30pm or by arrangement at the office or presbytery. Many thanks for your invaluable support. Poverty levels are increasing dramatically and we must respond in the name and love of Christ. We are also having to store some supplies in the church and the parish hall. The Church is for the ‘breaking of bread’ and not always at the altar!

POST-PANDEMIC CHALLENGES It is clear that so many are struggling with physical and emotional exhaustion because of the Lockdown and especially serving the sick and vulnerable during this Public Health Crisis. Enforced isolation has worsened the mental health of so many people. How can we respond as a Healing community to this situation? how can we develop our parish as ‘God’s Field Hospital’, creating safe spaces for people to recover their inner well-being and self-confidence? Can our parish’s mental health workers advise?

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!”

CONFIRMATION AND THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT  Our God, Abba our loving Father, loves to pour Divine Gifts upon us whom He loves.  He poured the Holy Spirit into our hearts at our conception so that we could be human – made in the Divine Image and Likeness. In Baptism He pours the Spirit again so that we can experience Him as the love that fulfils our lives and draws us into profound intimacy with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In the  The Sacrament of Confirmation, the final step in ‘Initiation’ into the Body of Christ, God pours His Spirit into our being to gift us for Mission and Ministry, gifts us so that we can be gift to the Church and to the world. Holy Spirit comes to empower the Christian for ministry in the Body of Christ and mission to the world in the name of Christ. It is an essential part of our growing into Christ that we not only experience His love but become His Love for others. So the Holy Spirit comes with charisms and gifts to equip us as co-workers with Jesus Christ in the immense task of building up God’s Church, proclaiming the Gospel, the Good News, bringing healing and hope to the broken and oppressed, and ultimately ‘renewing the face of the earth’!

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.’

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.