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 THIRTIETH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

                                                       ‘MASTER, LET ME SEE AGAIN!’

Jesus sets out on the road to Jerusalem for the last time, to face suffering and death. As He sets out with frightened disciples, He stops to work His final healing – giving sight to a blind beggar. All humanity cries out in this man: heal our blindness, let us see the world in truth, not illusion. Let us no longer remain blind to the suffering we inflict on the innocent, the poor, the outcast, the powerless, the child.
Jesus, let us see the world in its beauty and behold you at the centre of everything!  Open our eyes to see the beauty of Your Presence in beggar at the door, the addict in our streets, the stranger in our midst. Open the eyes of our hearts that we might gaze with insightful eyes of love and bring healing to a world locked into structures of selfishness and greed that dispossess the poor of the world form their rightful share in the world’s resources and the world’s hope! Master, give us the courage to see! Really to see! And to change!

 

POPE FRANCIS BEGINS THE TWO YEAR GLOBAL ‘SYNOD’ This weekend marks one of the most important moments in the history of the Modern Church, as Pope Francis inaugurates the Two Year Global Synod to serve the renewal and the reform of the church in our time. For the first time since the early Church, all God’s People are called to speak their voice and help shape decisions that will affect the whole Church and its future development. That this takes place on the Feast of St John Henry Newman is significant, for with prophetic vision and open mind and heart he wrote famously ‘On Consulting the Laity on Matters of Doctrine’.  WE ARE ALL CALLED TO BE INVOLVED AND HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO SPEAK OUR VOICES. 

POPE FRANCIS WRITES: “Breakthrough comes about as a gift of dialogue, when people trust each other and humbly seek the good together, and are willing to learn from each another in a mutual exchange of gifts. This is an ‘overflow’ of love, breaking the banks that confined our thinking and causes to p[our forth answers that formerly we could not see. As Pope I want to encourage such ‘overflows’ by reinvigorating the ancient practice of ‘Synod’. The term comes from Greek and means ‘walking together’ and its goal is to recognise, honour, and reconcile differences on a higher plane where the best of each can be retained: differences are expressed and polished until you reach, if not consensus, a harmony that holds all together. Therein lies its beauty: the harmony that results can be complex, rich and unexpected. In the Church the One who brings about harmony is the Holy Spirit.”

PARISH AND DIOCESAN PARTICIPATION IN THE GLOBAL SYNOD BEGINS: For information Sessions about the Global Synod, especially our diocesan participation:
[1] Bristol Briefing at Emmaus House, Whitchurch on Saturday 13th November 10am to 12noon – for ticket please see Richard
[2] On-line sessions (via Microsoft Teams) on 8th and 9th November at 7.00pm – apply for link to email synod@cliftondiocese.com
More information about the Synod on the parish website. The Parish Pastoral Council will  gather a group to engage us all in listening to all voices so as to bring our issues and hopes for the Church to the Diocese by February, as well as sending them directly to Rome.
Please use our Parish Prayer for the Global Synod  published on our Reflections page .

JOURNEY OF FAITH    2021/2022    Journey of Faith meets each Friday at 6.00pm in the Assisi Centre. This is for all who want to discover more about the Catholic Faith we share, or who may be thinking of becoming Catholic Christians. Suitable for those who want to renew their faith or have been away from Mass for a long period, and for Catholic adults who have never been Confirmed. Who will you encourage to come and discover more about  Christ Jesus and the joy and beauty of Faith?

NOVEMBER MEMORIAL REQUIEM MASS for who died during the Pandemic   There will be this special November Mass on 13th November at 11.00am – all bereaved families will be invited – many of who  were not able to mark their beloved death as they wished due to Covid Restrictions. All our community are warmly invited to come, remember and prayer!  

POPE FRANCIS ON HEALING THE PLANET  Laudato si’, o mi Signore’ (Praise be to you, my Lord). In the words of this beautiful canticle, St Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us : ‘Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs’. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of all with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most maltreated of our poor; she ‘groans in travail’

COP26’ CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE This international Conference must be become one of the greatest turning points in human history as we make decisive political, social, economic and personal commitments and actions to halt climate change. IF WE DO NOT THEN WE CONDEMN FUTURE GENERATIONS TO A HOSTILE AND UNSUSTAINABLE PLANET AND WE CONTINUE TO ABUSE AND WOUND OUR ‘MOTHER EARTH’. What will you do in response to this call of the Spirit – what will we do as a parish community in response to this call of the Spirit?
Please use the COP26 prayer published on our Reflections page

PARENTS BAPTISM PREPARATION COURSE   Seeking the baptism of your children? please inform Eustace Tameh or Christopher & Epiphania Chipato or Richard. Next Baptismal Sunday will be 21st November 2021 – at our 10am Parish Mass.
Rite of Child Catechumen (or Welcoming): date to be announced
Parents Preparation Sessions: dates to be announced (Assisi Centre)
Baptism celebrated: Sunday 21st November at 10.00am Mass
After this the next Baptismal Sunday with be Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Sunday 9th January 2022

JOURNEY OF FAITH    We will begin this 2021/2022 Journey of Faith on Thursday 14th October at 6.00pm with a ‘Come and See Meeting’.  This is for all who want to discover more about the Catholic Faith we share, or who may be thinking of becoming Catholic Christians. Suitable for those who want to renew their faith or have been away from Mass for years, and for Catholic adults who have never been Confirmed. Who will you encourage to come and discover more about Christ Jesus?

CHURCHES WINTER NIGHT SHELTER AND ST NICKS    We are asking for volunteers to take part in the Bristol Night Shelter project: we will be taking part in phase 1 of the project running each Thursday from Thursday 4th November to Thursday 9th December – Thursdays 4th Nov, 11th Nov, 18th Nov, 25th Nov, 2nd Dec & 9th Dec   This year again the project used a B&B in Bristol to house homeless people where each person was given their own room to use 24 hours from January 2021 until March 2021, the project will be running for longer this year starting in November 2021 running until March 2022        Volunteers are needed to share 2 shifts: 2x volunteers for Thursday lunch time from 12pm – 2pm 2x volunteers for Thursday evening from 6pm – 10pm 4x volunteers in reserve to act as cover
Training sessions (on Zoom) are essential for all volunteers: New Volunteers  Tuesday 12th October 7pm-9pm and Monday 25th October 7pm-9pm; Returning Volunteers Thursday 14th October 7pm-8pm and Monday 18th October 7pm-8pm
If you are unable to volunteer in person and would still like to help, I am looking for volunteers to help make packed lunch sandwiches and cook the evening meals.
10 single sandwiches – 8 meat & 12 vegetarian 10 evening meals – 8 meat & 12 vegetarian
All consumables such as sandwich bags, plastic tubs etc… will be provided. FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO VOLUNTEER PLEASE CONTACT ASHLEY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, EMAIL- stnicks.bcwns@gmail.com

CAFOD RESPONDING TO MULTIPLE CRISES ACROSS THE WORLD
CAFOD is responding to significant crises across the world this week. We are working with local Church organisations in Haiti to deliver emergency aid to people affected by the catastrophic earthquake and tropical storm. In the tragic situation in Afghanistan, we are working to ensure the safety of our local partners and their communities. We are supporting local aid workers to deliver urgent food and water supplies to hundreds of thousands of people facing extreme hunger in Tigray in Ethiopia, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria. You can read more about how we can all express solidarity with our sisters and brothers affected by these emergencies on the CAFOD website: https://cafod.org.uk/News/Emergencies-news. Your compassion, generosity and prayers have helped us to stand together and enable us to continue to support communities in these difficult times. Thank you.

CAFOD UPDATE: 10 Year of Conflict conflict – how you have helped the Syrian people
Thanks to your donations, CAFOD has been helping people in Syria since the crisis began 10 years ago. Over 12 million people have left their homes, 5.6 million are refugees in neighbouring countries and within Syria, 13 million people need help. At the beginning, our focus was on delivering food and blankets through our local church partners. Then we started providing education, health and legal services, and helping people earn a living. Our latest projects are supporting children, lonely elderly people, helping women learn to read, and helping people restart their small businesses. We’ve always planned for the long term, standing alongside people who lost everything. None of this work would have been possible without your support of CAFOD. Thank you.

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.’

URGENT APPEAL FOR BAME BLOOD DONORS The NHS has issued an urgent call for more Black people to give blood to meet increasing demand for Black African, Black Caribbean or mixed ethnicity donors. Some 16,000 new donors from these ethnic groups must be recruited this year as demand rises for life-saving transfusions for people with sickle cell disease, according to the health service. Sickle cell is the fastest growing genetic disorder in the UK, affecting 15,000 people with around 300 babies born with the blood disorder each year; the illness can cause organ failure, stroke or loss of vision, sometimes even leading to death. The disorder is more common in Black people and, as such, people from this ethnic group are more likely to have the rare blood sub-group Ro that many Black sickle cell patients need. The Church strongly encourages blood donation as a life-saving gift to others. PLEASE CONSIDER BECOMING A BLOOD DONOR – ONE PINT OF BLOOD CAN SAFE UP TO THREE LIVES! To become a blood donor today, register today and book and appointment by visiting www.blood.co.uk, downloading the GiveBloodNHS app or calling 0300 123 23 23.

POPE FRANCIS ON HEALING THE PLANET  ‘Laudato si, o’ mi Signore’ (Praise be to you, my Lord). In the words of this beautiful canticle, St Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us : ‘Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs’.
This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of all with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she ‘groans in travail’

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

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 now runs every Thursday 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.