Today is the Second Sunday of Advent, when we meet John the Baptist in the liturgy; the ‘voice crying in the wilderness’. The wilderness of today’s world also needs to hear clear voices of faith, awakening memories of goodness and holiness, that will open the doors of hope. Today at Mass we hear the opening words of the Gospel according to Mark (Mk 1:1-8). Mark’s Gospel does not begin with the stories about Bethlehem and Nazareth, or about angels and shepherds. It begins when Jesus is already an adult, at the start of his challenging and life-changing mission by the bank of the River Jordan. These words at the start of the Gospel are an extraordinarily message about the coming of the one who will baptise his people with the Holy Spirit—words that have resounded throughout the centuries, opening doors of hope to those who have come to believe.

To help us prepare spiritually during Advent, Father David and Father Andrew will each give an Advent talk from church which parishioners can watch online, on the usual live-feed. This week, it will be Fr David on Thursday evening at 7pm. Next week, Fr Andrew will speak on Tuesday 15th December at 7pm. We will have them recorded so you can watch at other times afterwards.

Thank you to those who have already brought donations for the Barnet Food Bank. You can continue to leave items in the box at the back of church. Thank you.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is celebrated in church each Saturday afternoon at 2pm. There will also be extra confessions before Christmas on Monday 21st December 10am-11.30am when the priests will be available in the confessionals in church (NB this will not be a service but individual confessions).

The online Carol Service featuring Our Lady of Lourdes Church, St Paul’s CoE Church, and the two corresponding primary schools will be available online next Sunday on YouTube. In due course, we will advise how you can watch it.

In normal times about 2500+ people would pass through our doors for Christmas Mass. The feast of the Lord’s Nativity is so special to all his faithful people. This year, we will have nowhere near the capacity to cope with that number. Our maximum limit will be just short of 800. Additionally, it would be irresponsible of us to allow or turn a blind eye to large gatherings of people in the car park or parish centre. This means we all have to think carefully about how to celebrate Christmas spiritually and safely, in a way that also allows others to have opportunities too. Christmas is normally a holy day but the obligation remains removed. Christmas is also an ‘octave’. Perhaps if you’re unable to come to Christmas Day Mass, it will be possible to come on another day in the octave—to hear Mass and visit the crib. For Christmas Eve and Day the Masses will be ticketed. Sadly, if you don’t have a ticket you won’t be able to come into the car park or church. This also means that this will be particularly taxing for our wonderful volunteers and stewards who have worked so hard. We also need more help during Christmas—can you help us? The Christmas Mass times are:

Christmas Eve Masses     4pm, 6pm, 8pm—tickets needed
Christmas Day Masses     8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm—tickets needed
Boxing Day        (No morning Mass); Masses 4pm & 6pm—no tickets needed

The tickets will be available either from the office or from staff/volunteers at the back of church from Saturday. Please note that if you take a ticket you must use It (unless you’re sick). Please don’t ask for tickets for others. Please bear in mind—we will not be able to please everyone. Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.

This Tuesday we have the final deanery meeting of the year, to review and prepare further procedures for Christmas. Please note there may be slightly different arrangements in different parishes.

The Scouts will be selling Christmas trees this weekend from the church car park.  For further details please call Joe on 07773 808156.

If you need a Certificate of Catholic Practice for Primary School signed please put completed forms in an envelope with stamped self addressed envelope through the Presbytery letter box; we will sign it and send it back to you. Please don’t wait till the last minute.

HANDS - use the hand sanitiser on the way in and out of church (no exceptions)
FACE - always wear the face covering unless exempt
SPACE - maintain social distancing inside and outside church
TEST & TRACE - please sign in using the QR code or email address
Thank you to our volunteers who supervise and clean the church!