Many thanks to everyone who came to celebrate our parish feast day last Tuesday - it was a truly memorable evening. I would also like to thank everyone who supported it and contributed towards our celebration in any way. It was also lovely to award the Benemerenti medal, on behalf of Pope Francis, to Dorothy Landi in recognition of her seventy years of service to the parish and particularly our choir. As I mentioned in my homily, we are looking towards the centenary of the parish in 2023 and there will be much to think and pray about as we approach that important anniversary.

In our Gospel this Sunday Jesus tells us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  In other words to bring others into that relationship with Jesus that we enjoy.  The thing about salt and light is that they do not draw attention to themselves.  Salt, when used well, isn’t noticed, it just brings out the flavour of the food.  Light is only noticed in the way that it makes the things on which it falls glow.  This week our parish celebrates it’s patronal feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  May Our Lady by the example of her ‘yes’ to God and by her prayers and maternal care help each and every one of us to be salt of the earth and light of the world.

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord—also known as ‘Candlemas’. This is the fortieth day since Christmas and marks the day when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to be presented in the Temple. They met the prophets Simeon and Anna who had wisdom to recognise the light of God which had entered into the night time of human history. Today at the 9.45am Mass we will hold the traditional blessing of candles associated with this feast. Candlemas is also the World Day for Consecrated Life. Let us keep all consecrated men and women in our prayers, and we pray especially for the religious in our own parish, deanery and diocese.

Today is the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - now also known as the Sunday of the Word of God. If you remembered to bring a bible from home or school, these will be blessed during every Sunday Mass as we mark this new feast celebrated during the Year of the Word. Next Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, known as 'Candlemas'. This feast marks the day when Mary and Joseph presented the baby Jesus in the Temple - it is a celebration of the light entering our darkness. The solemn Mass will be at 9.45am when we will bless the candles to be used in the coming year.

We will celebrate our patronal feast on Tuesday 11th February. We are holding a special Mass in the church at 7.30pm, followed by a parish party in the hall afterwards. I do hope as many of you as possible can be there to celebrate our parish feast. (There will be no 10am Mass because we are holding our deanery conference in the morning).

Now we return to the Season of Ordinary Time, although the mysteries of the Nativity and Epiphany continue to shine until the Feast of the Lord's Presentation (Candlemas) on 2nd February. Next weekend sees a brand new feast in the Church's calendar: the Sunday of the Word of God. Last year, in his Apostolic Constitution 'Aperuit illis,'  Pope Francis established the new celebration. This is particularly appropriate for us in England given that we are celebrating our 'Year of the Word'.  Next weekend, everyone is invited to bring your Bibles from home to be blessed at Mass—please don’t forget!

A very Happy New Year to you all.  The turning of the year is a wonderful opportunity to take stock of our lives and to look to the future with renewed hope and enthusiasm.  Very many of you came to church on the 1st of January to dedicate the new year to Almighty God through the intercession of Mary the Mother of God.  That is a great way to begin!  This Sunday we celebrate the great feast of the Epiphany of the Lord.  Let us resolve as a parish community to put the Word of God made flesh at the centre so our lives may reveal his love to the world.

Tuesday 24th December - Christmas Eve

8am Mass

10am NO MASS

6.30pm Family Vigil Mass (Carols from 6pm)

11pm Mass in the Holy Night (Carols from 10.30pm)

Wednesday 25th December - Christmas Day

8.30am, 9.45am (Family Mass with music), 11.15am, 12.30pm

Thursday 26th December - Boxing Day

12 noon Mass and Altar Servers' Festival

Weekdays between Christmas and New Year

10 am Masses only

Saturday/Sunday 28th-29th December - Holy Family

All Masses as usual except there is no Sunday 6.30pm Mass

Wednesday 1st January - New Year’s Day

12 noon Mass


Today, on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, our attention turns to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and St Joseph. The Angel Gabriel brings a message to Joseph in his dream to become the husband of Mary, the guardian of the baby Jesus and the protector of the Holy Family. Let us thank God for the love that ties us together this Christmas, and remember in our prayers those who are lost or struggling. Please take one of the cards with the Christmas Mass times, or see the note opposite. Please remember that if you are coming to ‘Midnight’ Mass it begins with carols at 10.30pm and Mass at 11pm.

We send our Christmas best wishes to you all—from Fr David, Fr Andrew, Fr Johnson, our Deacons Ian and David, and everyone in the Parish Office. God bless you all.

Today is Gaudete Sunday - a day of rejoicing for the coming of the Lord and the midpoint in our Advent journey. We've had a busy week again in the parish and I thank everyone for their efforts and generosity. I especially mention those of you who came to support our Advent soup lunch on Thursday in aid of CAFOD and all those who kindly helped with it. Life in our schools is busy at the moment too but the end of term is in sight! This coming Wednesday at 5pm we have Our Lady of Lourdes juniors' Carol Service in church. I send my best wishes to all our children, young people and parents throughout the parish as we head into the Christmas holidays, and every blessing to all our parishioners for this joyful Gaudete Sunday.

Please take a Christmas card from the back of church which details the times of Masses and celebrations over the Christmas and New Year period. Thank you to everyone who came to our parish party on Friday evening—it was a special opportunity for us to say thank you for the generosity shown by our volunteers and parishioners. Thanks also go to everyone who came to or helped with the Bernadette Club Christmas dinner on Thursday afternoon, and the refreshments served after our Sacrament of the Sick Mass yesterday (Saturday). This weekend you are invited to sign our CAFOD Climate Change Petition—see the note opposite. I hope that you can continue to savour the Advent season in all its richness as we prepare to celebrate the feast of the Lord’s nativity.

Welcome, everyone, to the new liturgical year and welcome to the season of Advent! Today (Sunday) we have Vespers and Benediction in church at 5pm to mark the start of Advent. Today we also begin our journey through Matthew's Gospel and the start of this special 'Year of the Word'. Matthew's Gospel is a remarkable text from the first century and is the first book in our New Testament. It was written for Greek speaking Jewish-Christians. This Gospel has many themes but in a special way focuses on the mystery of the Church, the New Israel, of which we are all called to be part. Let us travel through Advent and 2020 with Matthew as our guide, as he introduces us once again to the Saviour of the world. Finally, please see our special sheet which outlines dates and activities in the parish this Advent. May God bless you all!