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 34th SUNDAY OF YEAR A – Feast of Christ the King

                                  King? or Servant? or Shepherd? or Prophet? 

This is a King without ‘subjects’ for He wants no-one inferior to Him. That is why is comes as a servant, even a slave! That is why He spends His time healing and encouraging. That is why He gently guides and leads as a Good Shepherd and lays down his life for His flock – us! That is why He challenges all in authority to be servants and not dominators, serving the Divine Reign of radical justice, courageous peace and revolutionary love!
So how do we share His Reign? By being like him – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, healing the sick and visiting the prisoner. This is a King who radically redefines Kingship! This is a King who enters the human heart and works a revolution of love in the one place that no ideology and power can ever reach – the still centre-point of our being where we are most God-like!
This King is a shepherd, a servant, a prophet: this King alone is worthy of out total allegiance – that is how we are set forever free!

                             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’!

NOVEMBER – A MONTH TO REMEMBER AND PRAY FOR THE DEAD  We remember not only the dead of the wars that have been the scourge of past 100 years, but in this month all the Faithful Departed, all ‘who have gone before marked with the sign faith’ and indeed all of deceased humanity for all are precious in God’s eyes. Please take a Memorial Sheet today and fill in the names of all whom you want to be prayed for and remembered at every Mass celebrated in the parish this November. They are with the Bulletin this week. Our prayer for them becomes part of God’s loving them into the fulness of their lives!

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!”

SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION PROGRAMMES These Programmes for 2020 were sadly interrupted because of the Covid 19 pandemic and the national lockdown and further restrictions later. Although we wish to complete these programmes before Christmas the new lockdown has meant some have to be postponed:

First Eucharist Programme each Wednesday 4.00pm NB CHANGE  [on Zoom]
First Eucharist Sunday on December 13th [provisional date]
First Reconciliation Programme each Thursday at 4.00pm [postponed because of lockdown]
First Reconciliation Celebrations [postponed because of lockdown]
These are not new Programmes – but completing what was begun in 2020

HEALING MASS IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC    Please join us through live-streaming from the church on the Parish Website for this Mass of Healing for all afflicted by this pandemic: physically, emotionally, suffering from isolation, exhaustion from caring for the sick etc. We will pray in support of God’s healing work through our health care workers and carers, our ambulance and paramedic crews, our researchers and all key workers. So join us in the great prayer of the Mass on Thursday 26th November at 6.00pm (live-streamed on parish website).

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 Fruit Rice Pudding Pasta Sauces – We also always need more long-life 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 – on Friday we had 175 people come to the food bank and during this past week 55 new people were registered. 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’!

CHRISTMAS AND THE PARISH FOOD BANK We would like to give a small Christmas gift to everyone who comes to ‘St Nicholas Bread’ food bank, and with a gift voucher to all the families who come. Will you help us to do this, be part of the giving, by donating, marking your donations ‘Christmas Foodbank’ – thank you.  

JOURNEY OF FAITH 2020-2021 We are supporting those seeking Baptism and Reception into the Church who attend St Mary-on-the-Quay where there is no Journey of Faith course. We are happy to share faith and faith journeys with the four people from there who are interested. The 2020-2021 Journey of Faith is on Zoom at 4.30pm each Tuesday. We invite any adults seeking Baptism, Confirmation or Reception into the Catholic Church to contact myself or Mary Hopper as soon as possible.The Journey of Faith is suitable not only for those seeking full communion with us, but also for catholics seeking to understand their faith more deeply, or those who have not received the Sacrament of Confirmation and wish to complete their ‘sacramental initiation’.

Young People’s Journey of Faith and Confirmation Programme     This new programme (due to begin on Friday 6th November at 5.30pm) has sadly had to be postponed because of the new lockdown. But any young people over the age of 13 year and under 20 years of age are invited to join us who have not received the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Holy Spirit (or additionally have not been baptised but seek to be so) … please see Richard or Mary as soon as possible.

COVID 19 ON THE INCREASE ONCE MORE As we are now once more in lockdown – a more restricted life in order to protect Public Health – we are called to make sacrifices for the sake of those vulnerable to the devastation of this Virus. PLEASE … YOUNG AND OLD, FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS … ACT RESPONSIBLY TO LIMIT TRANSMISSION OF THIS VIRUS … LOOK OUT FOR THE ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE IN YOUR STREET, YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD … OUR MISSION NOW IS TO BE AN EXAMPLE OF CARING AND RESPONSIBILITY, SERVING FOR THE COMMON GOOD: THIS IS THE LOVE OF CHRIST MADE PRACTICAL IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES. THANK YOU!

STARTING SCHOOL?   If you have a child born between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017, then now is the time to apply for a place at a primary school for admission from September 2021 onwards. You must complete an application form that is available from the school admissions team of Bristol City Council (unless you are living in parts of North Bristol covered by S Gloucestershire Council or the Kingswood area covered by Bath and North East Somerset Council). If your child has been baptised and you are applying for a Catholic school, you must also provide a copy of the baptism certificate to the school. Please ensure you apply by the closing date of 15 January 2021.

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.

PRAYER FOR THE CHRISTIANS OF THE MIDDLE EAST, THE HORN OF AFRICA AND INDIAN SUBCONTINENT 

 “Heavenly Father, we pray today for peace in the world, especially in the Middle East.
By your heavenly grace, strengthen the faith and hope of Eastern Christians.
May they be blessed with peace and prosperity in their lands.
And may we be inspired by their devotion and witness to the Gospel,
by their love and compassion for all in their communities,
and by their courage, their endurance and self-sacrifice against oppression.
Through their charity, tolerance and friendship, bring peace and reconciliation
to those troubled lands, where Christianity was born and first spread.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

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.