Takehomenews Sunday 19 December 2021
4th Sunday of advent (C)
Today’s Gospel is the account of Mary’s Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth who also is with child. The passage stops short of Mary’s joyful acclamation, the Magnificat, and so focusses on Elizabeth’s reaction. One of the most dramatic aspects of this is when the child leapt in Elizabeth’s womb. This was the indication that the promised one, the one who had been expected for a long time, has now arrived. Some of the reaction of Elizabeth is said each time we say the Holy Mary – blessed art thou among women. Elizabeth recognises Mary as being the mother of the Lord. This time last year our visitations to relations were limited. This year may be easier and so we can rejoice together with family and friends at the birth of our Saviour.
The Church is blessed with 4 different Masses for Christmas. The readings for the Vigil Mass (which we celebrate at 4pm and 6.30pm) focus on how Jesus Christ came to be born and how he is given the name Emmanuel which means ‘God is with us’.
At the Night Mass (10.pm) we hear from the prophet Isaiah titles that the new—born child will receive: ‘Wonder Counsellor’. ‘Eternal Father’, ‘Prince of Peace’. The Gospel relates the story of Jesus' birth and how the shepherds were the first to hear about this.
At the Dawn Mass (9.0), more titles are given but this time to those who acknowledge the birth of the Saviour: ‘The Holy People’, ‘The Lord’s Redeemed’. Mary was one of these. She treasured what had happened in her heart.
At the Day Mass (10.30 and 12 noon), we join in the chorus ‘All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God’. The Gospel is the prologue of St John, tracing the Word of God in the beginning to the Word becoming flesh.
COVID GUIDANCE FOR CHURCHES
The wearing of face masks is now mandatory in places of worship. However, those who are reading are not required to do so. Similarly, choirs and soloists are not required to wear masks while they are singing. But the congregation is required to keep their mask on while singing.
Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID 19 should stay at home and not travel to church to participate in person.
Please sanitise your hands on entering and leaving the church.
The church should be well ventilated so windows are left open and people are encouraged to wrap up well in the cold weather.
There is now very strong evidence that the main mode of viral transmission is through the air, and the risk from surface and touch transmissions is very small indeed. So, it is now not necessary for stewards to sanitise surfaces but the church will continue to be fogged after each use. This also means that hymn books and Mass sheets can be re-used for the next congregation. Some weeks we have run out of Mass sheets by the final Mass. You can leave yours behind in the basket after Mass.
We are encouraged to make sure we have been vaccinated and have had the booster jab. Those who visit the housebound, sick and vulnerable should take regular lateral flow tests to ensure they are safe to do so.
The Bishops have reflected on the current situation in England and Wales and recognise that the effects of the pandemic are still present to such a degree that the absolute duty for all to freely attend the Sunday Eucharistic Celebrations cannot yet be fulfilled.
Lord Jesus you are the light of the world COME LORD JESUS
You are the light in our darkness COME LORD JESUS
Son of God, save us from our sins COME LORD JESUS
Bring hope into the lives of all people COME LORD JESUS
Give your peace to all nations COME LORD JESUS
Be the joy of all who love you COME LORD JESUS
Bless us as we gather here in your name COME LORD JESUS
Lord Jesus, stay with us. COME LORD JESUS
The priests will be available for confession after Masses this week, Monday to Thursday and Friday morning.
We will be joining parishioners from St Alphege Church to go carol singing around the neighbourhood this evening (Sunday). Please gather in the Canon Smyth Parish Centre at 6.30pm. We will return later for refreshments.
Throughout the pandemic the Catholic Children’s Society (CCS) has provided mental health services and family support for thousands of vulnerable children and families. Through their Crisis Fund they have also provided immediate practical help for local families facing real hardship. Recently CCS helped a family with two young children when their father sadly died. The family were already struggling and paying the funeral costs pushed them to the brink, with no money left for food or essentials. CCS provided a one-off grant to help them get through this challenging time. The mother said:
“When my husband died, I was completely lost. You gave me the breathing space I needed to sort out my finances. You took away the pressure so I could grieve and care for my children. Thank you.”
There are more families in need of support and our parish will be donating our Crib Offering to support this important work. You can donate at the Crib or via the CCS website www.cathchild.org.uk/crib
If you did not do so last week, please take a card giving the times of all the services over the Christmas period. This doubles up as our Christmas card to you.
Next week’s newsletter will cover two weeks.
The next session for parents who wish to have their baby baptised will be on Sunday 16th January at 4.pm in the Church.
Weddings in 2022
Couples who wish to be married in this church next year or require us to prepare them for their marriage elsewhere, please get in touch with Fr Colin or Fr David.
WESTMINSTER YEAR BOOK 2022
The 2022 edition of the Westminster Year Book is available in the porch priced £4.50. It gives useful information about parishes, priests, schools and organisations in the Westminster Diocese together with a liturgical calendar for the year.
CONFIRMATION PROGRAMME 2022
Applications are now complete for the Confirmation Programme. There will be a meeting for the parents of the candidates on Wednesday 26th January at 7.30pm in the Canon Smyth Parish Centre. The first session for the candidates will be on Wednesday 2nd February at 7.00pm, also in the Parish Centre. Bishop John Sherrington will minister the Sacrament of Confirmation on Thursday 12th May at 7pm.
FIRST COMMUNION PROGRAMME 2022
Applications are now complete for the First Holy Communion Programme. There will be a meeting for the parents of candidates on Tuesday 11th January at 7.45pm in the Canon Smyth Parish Centre. The first of seven sessions for the children will be on Sunday 16th January at 9am, also in the Parish Centre. The dates of the First Communions will be Saturdays 11th and 18th June at 2pm and 3.30pm. The allocation of these dates will be revealed at the first parents meeting on 11th January.
There will be a meeting for all Mass Readers on Thursday 13th January at 7.30pm in the church. Anybody who would like to become a Mass Reader is invited along as well. Sunday 23rd January is the Day of the Word when Readers will be commissioned or re-commissioned.
THE CATHOLIC POST
It was sad when the Universe, a major Catholic newspaper, had to cease publication because few people were buying it in church. This became particularly evident when the churches were closed for a time last year. A new Catholic newspaper has now been produced called The Catholic Post. At the moment we don’t know how frequently it will be produced. Please take a copy and see what you think. There are plenty.
WORLD MISSION SUNDAY 2021
Thank you very much for the gift of £487.94 from your parish. You and your parishioners are helping to create a vibrant Catholic Church for the future through your prayers and financial support. For more information about Missio, please visit missio.org.uk