The temple that we are

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, and with it, this year, the 40th anniversary of the opening of the new church in 1978. We welcome our Archbishop George Stack at 11 o’clock Mass.

The word “church” finds its origin in the medieval Greek kurikon = the Lord’s house, while the Latin ecclesiaFrench eglise, Welsh eglwys etc come from the word for an assembly. So the “real” church is not the building first but the People – us – who then gather in the Lord’s house. Therefore, as we celebrate 40 years of the building, let us also remember and celebrate the people who have come together in the church over those 40 years and several years before in what is now the hall. They have been – we are – the living stones of the living Church.

Here is part of Preface 1 from the Mass for the Dedication of a Church. It is very rich in our understanding of the Church, so please let us in all 3 Churches – one Church! – take some time to read and pray over it slowly as part of our celebrations.

In this visible house that you have let us build
 and where you never cease to show favor
to the family on pilgrimage to you in this place,
 you wonderfully manifest and accomplish
the mystery of your communion with us.

Here you build up for yourself the temple that we are
and cause your Church, spread through the world,
to grow ever more and more as the Lord’s own Body,
till she reaches her fullness in the vision of peace,
the heavenly city of Jerusalem.

And so, with the countless ranks of the blessed,
in the temple of your glory we praise you,
we bless you and proclaim your greatness, as we acclaim...

Fr Matthew

Advent is coming

Advent, the season of preparation for Christmas, starts Sunday 2 December.

Let’s make sure we are “prepared for our preparation” in good time.

* Groups are starting during the week beginning Monday 26 November to follow “Journeying towards Jesus” by Fr Denis McBride CSsR. To join a group contact the leader direct – for Monday afternoon tel. Tess Evans on 2075 5528, for Monday evening email Esther Mahoney, for Wednesday afternoon Sheila Roberts and Thursday afternoon Nigel Tuck. (note contact email addresses are shown in the downloadable newsletter pdf)

* And now, something new for us for Advent – “Reverse Calendars”! Instead of marking out the days by taking out of a calendar more chocolate or sweets to guzzle (as if Christmas wasn’t enough), why not instead put insome food each day into a box or bag that can then be brought along and given to the homeless or hungry. We want to run this between the first and third Sundays of Advent – 2nd and 16th December, in order for the proceeds to be distributed in time. More details in the newsletter.

* We will hold a Reconciliation Service at Christ the King on Monday 3 December at 7pm. Several priests will be present to help your spiritual preparedness.

* This year we will bring Carol Singing out into our 3 communities. You are invited to gather at one or more of our 3 Churches at 7pm on the following days. We will then visit surrounding streets singing carols, not to raise money, but purely to help to bring the Christian message of Christmas peace and joy into our neighbourhoods.
On Sunday 9 December we will be at Christ the King, Wednesday 12 December at St Paul’s and Sunday 16 December at St Brigid’s. Come to any or all, whatever is possible for you!

* Closer to Christmas itself we will then have our 3 Churches Carol Service, this year at St Paul’s on Wednesday 19 December. Put this in your diary, and be sure to invite someone along with you – there will be mulled wine and mince pies!

So – plenty to pray, think and do in this lovely season that is fast approaching. How will you mark Advent 2018, and how will our children and grandchildren know it is so important? It’s up to us all…

Fr Matthew

Joining the journey

Have you already begun your preparations for Christmas? How about making some space for that inner aspect of Advent which can so easily get forgotten, the inner journey to Bethlehem… This year in our 3 Churches we have an opportunity for some excellent quality spiritual preparation for our celebration of the Birth of Christ.

During the week starting Monday 26 November we will start a series of groups gathering to follow a book, much like we did earlier in the year with the successful “Do You Love Me?”. This time the resource is called “Journeying towards Jesus” and is written by the very respected Redemptorist priest and scripture scholar Denis McBride CSsR. As before, groups will gather at different times on different days, but this time round we invite you to choose your time and contact the leader direct – their details are below – to find out exact time and location of your chosen group’s gatherings. Friends who followed “Do You Love Me?” might well want to make this journey together too. Each group goes at its own pace, and doesn’t have to finish by 25 December!

The book is very well produced and illustrated, and packed with commentary, reflections, and material for us to think and share about. One group in the parish already has used it and recommends it highly. The title “Journeying towards Jesus” reminds us of the travels of the Shepherds and the Wise Men, but challenges us also to join them and journey closer to Our Lord. Who is this extra special Baby, how close to him really am I, and what does he mean for my life?

Monday afternoon Tess Evans 2075 5528
Monday evening Esther Mahoney
Wednesday afternoon Sheila Roberts
Thursday afternoon Nigel Tuck
+ another one or more, details to follow

I invite you to get involved in this project. You will get so much from it, and, who knows, almost certainly you will be able to give so much to it!

Fr Matthew