Category Archives: advent

Comings and goings for Christmas

Advent means “a coming” and, of course, we celebrate the coming of Jesus into our world. But it was not only Jesus who came. Mary and Joseph travelled from Nazareth, the shepherds came in from the surrounding country, and the Wise Men journeyed from goodness knows where! Later, when Jesus preached and healed they came from all over Israel and beyond, and for two thousand years millions of people have come to Jesus in a myriad of ways.
So, with Jesus it was always two-way – He moved on out and people came on in. Now it is us who must be doing the “going out” part for him. This Advent and Christmas we are making a special effort to reach out, particularly but not only, to our Catholic brothers and sisters who are “non-practicing” or “resting”, and to some of our local community. Last week Archbishop Stack encouraged us in these words: “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.”
Over these two weekends we are distributing special Christmas cards giving the times of all Christmas services across the Northern Arch parishes of Cardiff: our own, St Philip Evans and St Teilo with Our Lady of Lourdes. We ask you to take a couple and simply give one to anyone who you think the Lord may be calling to Come Home for Christmas. If appropriate make a personal invitation – perhaps to come with yourself – to a Christmas Mass. Some may be reluctant to plunge straight into a Mass, so invite them to the Carol Service at St Brigid’s on Tuesday 20 December at 7pm.
Meanwhile, to get more information and background visit this special website
www.comehomeforchristmas.co.uk

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

The Coming

Welcome to the season of Advent, “The Coming”. We celebrate the fact that we believe in God who comes to us. He came at Bethlehem, he will come again at the end of time, and meanwhile he comes to us in Word and Sacrament among other ways. Truly God-who-comes, God who is with us – Emmanuel!

At Nain, years later, the people who had watched Jesus raise the widow’s son proclaimed that God had visited his people. We have this season, then, to prepare for our greatest visitor, Jesus, true God and true Man. The world is ahead of us in its commercial preparation for the secular Christmas. We start today, the beginning of a new Church year, to show the world what it really means to prepare for Christ-mas, the Mass-of-Christ..

1. I invite you to take time to absorb the Word of God this Advent. Take a look at the accounts of the Christmas story in the opening chapters of the Gospels of St Matthew and St Luke, then move on to the first chapter of St John to see his wonderful meditation on those same events. Use the various publications and online resources that are available to help you.

2. Pope Francis has proclaimed a special Year of Mercy to start on 8th December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The next day, Wednesday 9th we in the so-called Northern Arc of parishes, will celebrate an Evening of Mercy. Fr Isaac, Fr Leyshon and myself will be in St Brigid’s to celebrate mercy through the sacrament of Reconciliation from 6.30pm until 7.30pm. We will then concelebrate Mass for the beginning of the Year of Mercy. I will preside and Fr Isaac will preach. This special evening will replace our normal Advent Penitential service.

3. Our 3 Churches Carol Service this year takes place at St Paul’s on Tuesday December 22nd at 7pm. This will be a great opportunity to usher in the Christmas season together, after school events have ended and most of your home preparations are done. Put it in your diary!

4. Our Christmas Masses will be at the same times as last year. Christmas Eve 6pm at all three churches. 10pm at Christ the King and St Brigid’s. Christmas morning 9am St Paul’s, 10am Christ the King, 11am St Brigid’s. There will be Midnight Mass at St Philip Evans.

So take note of these ways of celebrating the Coming this year – and happy Advent!

Fr Matthew

Christmas 2014

Fr Matthew and Fr Tomy wish all our parishioners, friends and readers a very Happy and peaceful Christmas, and a blessed New Year.

Reflection

Lord God, enlarge our hearts with love for you.
Make us capable of saying ‘Yes’ to you, as Mary did.
May we, like Mary,
accept with trust the changes you call upon us to make; embrace with confidence the destiny you place before us, and eagerly walk new paths with your Son.
Give us a readiness to make real the love you have for all, especially those who have forgotten the touch of love in their lives. Touch them, so that they, too,
may welcome you this Christmas time.