This coming Thursday is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, patroness of our parish, church and primary school.  11th February marks the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to St Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858.  We send you all our best wishes for this important feast. Today is the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Already the meaning and message of Lent is reaching out to us, calling us to prepare for the great journey of renewal. There is some further information below about the parish feast day and the start of Lent.  Best wishes and every blessing to you all for the coming week.

Tuesday is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the final end of the celebration of the Christmas mysteries in the liturgy. This feast is also known as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Candlemas Day. The feast is a special day of prayer for everyone in consecrated and religious life. In the mystery of the Word-Made-Flesh, God's light has unexpectedly entered our darkness and illumined the whole of time and history. God's light of revelation also illumines our own lives and struggles. We pray at this time especially for the light of heaven to enlighten our own perspective on the current situation, confident that God really is: God-with-us.

Today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, which has been designated by Pope Francis as a special day to reflect of the Word of God. In these days after Christmas and Epiphany we are continually invited through the liturgy to reflect on the mystery of Christ, the Word-made-Flesh, who has lived among us. Pope John Paul II, at the start of his pontificate, implored humanity, 'to let Christ speak to man'. Christ, who is God's living Word among us, speaks to us and reveals to us his Father. His words of the Gospel, which are always new and life-giving, continue to form us and show us the way of life. Perhaps today there may be an opportunity for each one of us to reflect on these truths and spend some time praying with the readings we have heard at Mass.

150 years ago, St Joseph was declared Patron of the Universal Church by Bl. Pope Pius IX. To mark this anniversary, Pope Francis has declared 2021 to be a special 'Year of St Joseph'. As we know, Joseph was the guardian and protector of the Holy Family, just as now he has a special care for the family of God which is the Church. Perhaps during these months we can renew our devotion to St Joseph as we seek his heavenly protection at this difficult time. St Joseph: pray for us!

Today is the Feast of the Lord's Baptism. This event at the River Jordan is a kind of Epiphany when there was a revelation of God's love at the beginning of Jesus' ministry. The voice of Father is heard and the Spirit is seen when Jesus is anointed as the Christ of God. God is love and his overwhelming love for each of us is revealed in the mystery of Christ, the Word-made-flesh and the Saviour of the world.

A big thank you to all who made Christmas go smoothly and successfully here at Our Lady of Lourdes—especially those who manned the carpark and church doors, and to those who cleaned and decorated the church and altar. Special thanks to the children in Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School who made the decorations for the Christmas tree—it looks fantastic! Thank you for the many kind messages, cards and gifts that we have received. We hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year. We’re exhausted but enjoyed being with you either in person or in prayer over the Christmas liturgies. God bless you all and have a happy New Year.
Fr David, Fr Andrew, Fr Johnson, Deacon Ian, and the parish office team.

Today is the Fourth Sunday in our Advent journey. Since 17th December we entered the inner heart of the Advent season, which really prepares us to celebrate the great feast of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.  This week was also the end of term for children and staff in our schools. We send them all our thanks and best wishes after a very challenging school term, and every blessing for the Christmas holidays.

Today is Gaudete Sunday—a day of rejoicing and gladness in the heart of the Advent journey. Today we light the third, rose-coloured candle on the Advent wreath.

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.

Today is the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new cycle in the Church’s calendar. Advent is a season of hope and of preparation for the coming of Christ. It is also a time when we prepare for the liturgical celebration of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem at Christmas.

This week the lockdown ends at 12.01am on Wednesday 2nd December. That means the faithful will be able to come to public Masses, the first being Wednesday lunchtime 12 noon. The system we had in place until 5th November will recommence. Saturday Mass 4pm & 6pm; Sundays 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm; Monday-Friday 12pm & 6pm. We will hear Confessions on Saturday afternoons at 2pm. The same procedures apply to the church as before: limit on numbers, face covering, hand sanitiser, shorter Mass. Please note there are no toilet facilities available.

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Monday-Friday 12 noon; Saturdays 6pm; Sundays 10am