Epiphany means manifestation, a showing forth, and so today we celebrate the fact that news of the birth of Jesus spread from the little town of Bethlehem to the wider world. Instrumental in that were the three wise men who travelled to Bethlehem to see the new-born king, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. It would take 30 years before Jesus made an official public appearance but in the meantime, word would spread that the Messiah had arrived.
On Monday, we jump those 30 years to the scene of Jesus being baptised in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is really another Epiphany because Jesus is shown to the wider world, marking the start of his public ministry.
Dates for 2018
It is customary on the Feast of the Epiphany to announce the important dates in the calendar for the coming year. The main differences this year are that as Palm Sunday falls on 25th March, the Feast of the Annunciation has been transferred to the Monday of the second week of Easter. The other major change is that the Feast of the Ascension will from now on be celebrated on the Thursday, 40 days after Easter, not on the Sunday afterwards. It is a Holy Day of Obligation:
Ash Wednesday 14th February
Palm Sunday 25th March
Good Friday 30th March
Easter Sunday 1st April
The Annunciation Monday 9th April
The Ascension Thursday 10th May
Pentecost Sunday 20th May
Corpus Christi Sunday 3rd June
St Peter & St Paul Friday 29th June
The Assumption Wednesday 15th August
All Saints Thursday 1st November
Christmas Day Tuesday 25th December
Father Colin and Deacon Ronnie would like to thank everyone for their generous offerings, cards and gifts you gave this Christmas. We wish you all a Happy, Holy and Peaceful 2018.
Finance Committee Meeting
The Finance Committee meet this Thursday at 7.30pm in the Dominic Room.
There will be a session for parents who wish to have their baby baptised on Sunday 28th January at 4pm in the Dominic Room. Application forms are available in the sacristy.
White Flower Appeal
Next weekend we have the Annual White Flower Appeal from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.
First Communion Programme
There will be a meeting for the parents of First Communion children on Tuesday at 7.45pm in the Canon Smyth Parish Centre. The children have a session next Sunday, 14th January at 9.15am.
Our Lady of Lourdes Mass
The annual Mass in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes will take place in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 10th February at 2pm. The Sacrament of the Sick will be administered during the Mass by bishops and priests. If you are attending in a wheelchair, please let Fr Colin know so that a place can be reserved in the Cathedral.
Novena & Holy Hour
The Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help resumes this Tuesday at 7pm. There will be a Holy Hour after the 9am Mass on Wednesday.
The Parish Council meet on Thursday 18th January at 7.45pm in the presbytery.
Westminster Year Book 2018
Copies of the 2018 edition of the Westminster Year Book are available in the porch, price £4.50. It gives useful information about parishes, priests, schools, hospitals and organisations in the Diocese as well as a 2018 Liturgical Calendar.
There will be a meeting for the parents of Confirmation candidates on Wednesday 24th January at 7.30pm in the Canon Smyth Parish Centre. The first session for candidates will be on Wednesday 31st January at 7pm.
First Communion for Older Children
A group of 6 older children who have been preparing over the last few months will receive their First Holy Communion during the 10.30 Mass today.
Westminster Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage Sat 21st - Fri 27th July ‘18, £625 per volunteer
Four:12 is exploring the possibility of taking a group of teenagers and young adults to Lourdes to participate in the Diocese’s annual pilgrimage as volunteers. 2018 will mark the 160th Anniv of the apparitions of Our Lady to Bernadette at the Grotto, as well as the 30th Anniv of the Diocesan Pilgrimage, making it a particularly special year. This opportunity will be open to all those who are currently in Year 10 or above. If anyone would like to find out more and/or obtain an information pack, please speak to a member of the Four:12 Committee or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Sunday is Peace Sunday. Pope Francis has written these words:
“ We believe that Jesus was a refugee, had to flee to save his life, with Saint Joseph and Saint Mary, had to leave for Egypt. He was a refugee. Let us pray to Our Lady who knew the pain of refugees. Let us be close to these people, sharing their fears and their uncertainty for the future and alleviating their pain with concrete measures.
Mary, mother of refugees, pray for us, asking that the Lord sustain those people and institutions who work with generosity to assure a welcome to refugees, recognise their dignity, and give them reasons for hope.”
St Roses Convent
St. Roses Chapel and Prayer Garden, 160, Anson Road, Cricklewood, NW2 6BH.
The Indoor and Outdoor cribs will be open from 8.00am to 6.30pm until the 2nd February for visiting, prayer and reflection. All welcome. Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament and Reflection will resume on Thursday 11th January from 7.00pm to 8pm.”
Aid To The Church In Need
This weekend we will welcome John Ravi, secretary for Aid to the Church in Need for the Diocese of Westminster, who will make an appeal during all Masses. Aid to the Church in need is a Catholic charity which works in 140 countries, helping persecuted and oppressed Christians around the world through prayer, information and action. At the moment, it is involved in the frontline works in Syria and Iraq. In spite of the conflict that has racked the Middle East – your help can continue to make a real difference, enabling ACN’s project partners to provide food, medicine and shelter urgently needed and restore people’s God-given dignity, helping them in their struggle against oppression.If you wish to get involved in the charity, or if you wish to be a parish representative, please contact John on 07727442510, 020 8642 8668 or you can go online www.acnuk.org