Redemptorist Community: I have good news on many fronts. On Thursday we welcome Fr Charles Randall, who comes to serve in our two parishes. This is a wonderful blessing for us at this time and I know you will make him very welcome as you did when he worked with us as a deacon. Fr Barrie O’Toole is recovering well from his eye operation as well as from a fluey cold, which has been attacking most of the community in recent weeks. I am also happy to report that the domestic team is now up to full strength and two new cooks will begin working with us in a week’s time.
Fr Charles Randall, C.Ss.R.: Fr Charles is at present visiting his family and the Redemptorists with whom he studied in Colombia. On his return to England he will join the Bishop Eton community on 2 February as the new assistant priest for our two parishes. We very much look forward to welcoming him back and will begin by arranging occasions to celebrate his ordination with him.
Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity (18 to 25 January)
This week we enter this important time of prayer with our brothers and sisters from the other Christian traditions. Next Sunday there will be a Unity Service at 4.00pm at St Matthew and St James, Mossley Hill: Matthew and St James, Mossley Hill:please make every effort to join us there. I will be preaching at Dovedale Baptist Church in the morning.
THE EPIPHANY: Albeit the Wise Men are arriving two days late in our calendar this year, the Epiphany is a wonderful feast to celebrate. Indeed, for a number of complicated historical reasons in the Eastern Orthodox Church the Epiphany takes pride of place. Essentially this was because after three centuries of persecution the Church had emerged from the catacombs and it was possible for Christians to celebrate publicly. 6 January was the date on which they celebrated the whole mystery of the incarnation, which incorporated the birth of Christ and his manifestation to the world. We might pray today for those parts of the Church which still need freeing from persecution, recognising that Christ’s message is for all men and women of all time.
NEW YEAR MESSAGE
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are now ready to launch into a new year full of renewed enthusiasm. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Mother of God, so once again let us dedicate our parish to Mary’s protection, especially under the title of Our Mother of Perpetual Succour. Next weekend we celebrate the Epiphany, the great feast which speaks of the manifestation of God, a reminder that as his disciples that is precisely our vocation: to manifest God to the world.
PARISH HELPERS’ SOCIAL
We have set the parish helpers’ social for Friday week (13 January) in the Fisher-More Hall between 7.00pm and 10.00pm. It is a way of saying ‘thank you’ for all that you do to build up the community of faith here in Bishop Eton. I still fear that some of you may not feel worthy of the invitation. Please do come and enjoy one another’s company. This gathering is now very much part of our social calendar. So, whether you help with the altar linen, clean the church, arrange the flowers, help in the sacristy, are a minister of the Eucharist, a Reader, an Altar Server or parents of an altar servant, help with the music, cover the front door of the monastery, are in the SVP or any of the parish societies or involved in one of the thousand and one other ministries you are welcome. And even if you are saying to yourself ‘I must get more involved’, then come along and you surely will!
A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL.
With Fr Andrew (Rector) and Fr Barrie (Assistant) and all the Redemptorists I wish you the joy and peace of Christmas. My hope is that the words of a new Christmas carol, sung by the children, will be the reality in all our families: “Christmas isn’t Christmas ‘till it happens in your heart. Somewhere deep inside you is where Christmas really starts.”
Once again I wish to seize the opportunity of thanking you for all your love and support throughout the year. Your generosity and your outpouring of good will over Christmas is really quite overwhelming and humbling: but thank you.
I also wish to thank again all those who work so hard and in so many different fields to ensure the smooth running of our two parishes. There are so many unsung heroes that it would be invidious to try and name them. It is the same in both parishes and I am sure that those who were able to attend the Bishop Eton parish celebration of carols last Tuesday will agree with me that it is quite stunning to realise the dozens of ministries that are covered when they are named with the placing of baubles on the tree and the lighting of candles.
Invitation to all helpers: Parish helpers’ social evening: Friday 13 January: 7.00pm -10.00pm.
Slight preparation hiccup: I thought I was on track with my preparations for the feast when a dodgy tooth set me back on Thursday. I hadn’t realised how traumatised you feel for a while after an extraction, but happily I seem to be bouncing back and hope to be able to fulfil all my commitments over the weekend, but if I have missed anything or anyone, please forgive me.
A very happy Christmas to you all… Tim Buckley, C.Ss.R .
THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT: It is not often that we have the full four weeks of Advent, and I have found it particularly rewarding this year to have the extra time of preparation for Christmas. The many events involving both the parishes and the schools have been beautifully celebrated and there are many more during the coming week. Please note that this Sunday afternoon in both parishes the children in the First Communion classes are presenting the Christmas story and these events are open to all: Bishop Eton (Nativity) at 3.00pm and St Mary’s (Christingle Service) at 4.00pm.
Please do take note of the times of all the Christmas Masses: this is my sixth Christmas with you and the times have not changed during those years. As far as possible please respect the fact that the Christmas Eve Masses (St Mary’s: 5.30pm & Bishop Eton: 7.00pm) are celebrated to support families with young children.
7.00pm Mass for families with young children, as is the 5.30pm at St Mary's Woolton.
11.00pm Carols followed by Midnight Mass, beginning at 11.30pm.
8.30am, 10.00am, 11.30am—No evening Mass
ADVENT. We are halfway through this wonderful season. Preparations move on apace in the schools and the parishes. Please note all the special opportunities by way of Reconciliation Services, Confession times and Carol Services which are detailed in this bulletin. Above I suggest we all resolve to find some quiet moments each day when, like Mary, we can ponder the mystery of it all.
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