Come home for Christmas

Jesus is too good, too healing, too peace-giving to keep to ourselves. This Advent and Christmas we are going to make a new effort to reach out to our Catholic brothers and sisters who are “non-practicing” or “resting”, and to some of our local community in general. We will be distributing cards for you to give to your contacts who you think may be interested. We can give special priority to our 3 Churches Carol Service at St Brigid’s on 20 December. And, of course, we must try to reach all those who swell our congregations on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There will be opportunities for follow-up straight after Christmas.

Meanwhile, visit this special website www.comehomeforchristmas.co.uk and read this message from Archbishop Stack to encourage us –

“Space exploration has taught us that re-entry is one of the most difficult and dangerous manoeuvre of all! Unless the returning space capsule is travelling at a slower speed and the correct angle, it is likely to burn up when re-entering the atmosphere of the earth. I hope that image is not too strong when we think about inviting non-practicing Catholics to re-enter the active life and worship of the Church.

Each one has a unique life to live and a deeply personal story. It is too hard for many to revisit the past. ‘Crossing the Threshold’ may be too big a step to take alone. That is why the invitation, friendship and support of fellow Catholics are such important ways of accompanying these brothers and sisters of ours so that they may experience the communion and fellowship of the members of Christ’s Body.

Amongst the many things we are called to do and to be in our parishes, this is surely the most important of all.

Most Rev George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff

The road to Bethlehem

Welcome to the season of Advent. This weekend we begin our preparation for the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord – Christmas. It is a season of joy and anticipation, of hope and readiness. We light the way with the Advent Candles. It is the Road to Bethlehem.

Here are some signposts on the Road, to help you arrive safely and truly prepared.

* Saturday 3 December Christmas Preparation Retreat – see details inside our newsletter
* Thursday 8 December Feast of the Immaculate Conception: We remember Our Lady’s vital part in the Christmas story. Feast of our diocese and end of its Centenary Year.
* Monday 12 December: The Light Is On: Three priests will be available for Confession at Christ the King 7 – 8pm. Normal Confession times also continue of course.
* Tuesday 20 December: 3 Churches Carol Service at St Brigid’s Church. We approach Bethlehem as we come closer to Christmas Day.
* Saturday 24 December Christmas Eve Masses: There will be 6pm Mass at each of our 3 Churches. There will also be 10pm Mass at St Brigid’s and Christ the King.
* Sunday 25 December Christmas Day Masses: These will be at normal Sunday morning times: 9am at Christ the King and St Paul’s, 11am at St Brigid’s. There will be no Sunday evening Mass.
* “Walk With Me” Why not take time to absorb these daily reflections along your way? Booklets available at all churches.
* Time with Jesus: Take time out amid the pre-Christmas rush. Pop into St Brigid’s or St Paul’s, both open in daylight hours, or Christ the King Friday evening. Even better, come to a daily Mass— timetable on the back page. Or just sit down in your favourite chair at home, and take a moment to think, to reflect, to pray…

Welcome to Advent. Let’s set out together on the Road to Bethlehem, so that we arrive joyfully prepared.

Fr Matthew

Our King is calling

One of my pleasures this year was to ‘discover’ the works of Anglican priest-poet Malcolm Guite. Here he writes on today’s feast from “Sounding the Seasons”, his sequence of 70 sonnets following the course of the Church’s year. Learn more about him at malcolmguite.wordpress.com

Our King is calling from the hungry furrows
Whilst we are cruising through the aisles of plenty, Our hoardings screen us from the man of sorrows, Our soundtracks drown his murmur: “I am thirsty.” He stands in line to sign in as a stranger
And seek a welcome from the world he made,
We see him only as a threat, a danger,
He asks for clothes, we strip-search him instead. And if he should fall sick then we take care
That he does not infect our private health,
We lock him in the prisons of our fear
Lest he unlock the prison of our wealth.
But still on Sunday we shall stand and sing
The praises of our hidden Lord and King.

Malcolm Guite “Sounding the Seasons”, Canterbury Press 2012