Today we begin Advent. While the outside world is already celebrating the materialistic version of Christmas, we are beginning this beautiful time which is a season in its own right, with its own distinctive characteristics and dynamics. Let us live these days with intensity and faith, making the most of the opportunity to look for the coming of Christ in our world today. He brings healing, liberation and salvation to our world and to our own hearts too. May God bless us in these days as we prepare for the religious celebration of Christmas, the feast of heavenly light, when ‘the Word was made flesh’ (John 1:14). Fr David

Advent Wreath – Today we will bless and light the Advent Wreath, a symbol of our hope which is ‘ever green’. If you have a wreath at home, please bring it for the priest to bless.

Daily Prayer Booklets – A guide with prayers and reflections for each day of Advent is available in the paper shop, price £1 per copy.

Advent Talk – This coming Tuesday, 5 December, at 7 pm Fr David will give a talk in church about the ‘Spirituality and Liturgy of Advent’. All are welcome. The parents’ First Holy Communion meeting will follow afterwards at 8 pm in the hall, if you would like to come to both.

Mass with the Sacrament of the Sick – This special Mass will be celebrated next Saturday, 9 December, at 3 pm in church followed by refreshments in the Hall. Parishioners are invited to bring sick or elderly parishioners if possible. All are welcome – an opportunity for us to pray with and for all our sick, elderly and housebound friends and neighbours. Everyone is invited to join in the Mass, but please note that the Sacramental Anointing  is a special sacrament for those who are seriously weakened either through sickness or advanced age.

Parish Celebration for Volunteers – Also on Saturday 9 December, at 7.30 pm, we will have our annual party for volunteers. This is a special get-together for everyone who contributes in some way to the life of the parish. There are many ministries and jobs, some small or hidden, which we all appreciate. Please do come along – don’t be shy! Fr David and Fr Gabriel would like to say hello and thank you.
Festival of Lessons and Carols – An ecumenical celebration for Advent and Christmas in St Paul’s Church, Woodland Way, on Sunday 10 December at 6.30 pm. All our parishioners are welcome.

Advent Exposition of the Holy Eucharist – There will be an afternoon of quiet adoration in church on Sunday 17 December, beginning after the 12.30 pm Mass until 6 pm. Please sign up in the paper shop to spend some time in church – each slot must be covered please.

Confessions in Advent – There will be a short Penitential Service with individual confessions in church on Monday 18 December at 1.30 pm for parishioners who are available during the day. There will be a visiting priest to help too. For others, there will be special individual confessions on Saturday 23 December in church, from 10.30-12.00 (also with a visiting priest) and at 5.00-6.00 with our own priests.

Christmas Obligation – The Fourth Sunday of Advent this year is also Christmas Eve. This means the evening Masses on Sunday 24 December are for Christmas Day and satisfy the Christmas obligation, not the Sunday obligation.  For Sunday, we are asked to come to Mass either on the evening of Saturday 23 December or the morning of Christmas Eve. Please also note that on Christmas Eve, there will be no 12.30 pm Mass so we can prepare the church for Christmas.

Christmas – The Mass during the Holy Night (popularly known as ‘Midnight Mass’) will take place here at 11 pm, beginning with carols at 10.30 pm. A full list of Christmas and New Year Masses will be available before the festive season.