In the gospel of this weekend (John 1:6-8,19-28), John the Baptist describes Jesus as 'standing among you, unknown to you'. In John's time, this was because Jesus had not yet begun his ministry, but in our own day, these words have a particular relevance. We live by faith in Jesus the crucified and risen Lord present in our world. In preparing for Christmas, we want to renew our awareness of that presence and to help others be aware of it. In Advent we, like John, are called to be witnesses to the light he brings. In small but important ways, we can bring light into the lives of those around us. Simple acts of kindness, sharing our time, talents or resources with those in need, is the only way Christ's light will shine for many people this Christmas. In our time, through the gift of the Spirit, the Word becomes flesh in us.
Advent is a time of joy – joy in the waiting and this Sunday we light the joyful rose-coloured candle. The messenger in the first reading is the 'joyful messenger', and his joy is that God is near and God is coming. This would be the message of Jesus –that he was the joyful messenger of his Father's love. He would be the shepherd – the one who cares, knows and actively looks after the sheep. John the Baptist is the voice of joy and energy, preaching the new message. Voices of Advent to bring God near - The central message within all the voices of Christmas. God's Christmas voice is 'I love you, you are all brothers and sisters, and nothing except love is final'. Not just a voice... but actively loving in word and deed. One way of touching that love is the Mass. Jesus is not really love from the sky, but food of the Eucharist, that nourishes us and makes a difference. We bring our ordinary concerns to Mass, and let God lighten them and transform them, and enlighten us with his word. The voice of God makes sense of and brings light into the ordinariness of life. God is present in his word, and in his body – we wait in joy for the Word to be made flesh.
Remember this week what makes you joyful about the coming feast of Christmas and be grateful. Lord I believe your word was made flesh and appeared among us.
First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-2,10-11 He has sent me to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 May you all be kept safe for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
Gospel: John 1:6-8,19-28 'There stands among you the one coming after me'
Please join us in wishing a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to Fr Liam on Monday.
Mass is celebrated every day via Zoom - if you would like that we pray especially for an intention, a family, an anniversary or someone who has died, then please get in touch with the parish office and your intention will be included in the parish prayers and offered at Mass.
PRIEST ROTA AND MASS TIMES This week, Monday 14th-21st December, there will be two Mill Hill Missionaries assisting with the celebration of Sacraments. Each day at least one priest will on duty in the Church, from 9am to 11.15am, for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the celebration of Mass at 10am.
Please note, you can always make an appointment with Fr Liam and Fr. Kevin Jones for the Sacrament of Reconciliation outside of these times.
CHRISTMAS COLLECTION The collection at all Masses on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the Feast of the Holy Family (27th December) are designated for Fr. Liam and make up a substantial part of his yearly income. Due to the Lockdown over Easter, Fr. Liam did not receive any collection/income at that time. So for this year, he is only receiving one collection. Cheques payable to the parish please, as these gifts have to go through the parish accounts but will be paid in full to Fr. Liam. On the back of your cheque just write: for Fr Liam. If you are not around at Christmas and you want to share in this, you can bring your gift beforehand to the office. There will be envelopes for this left in the porch and the entrance to the hall.
Alternatively, you can make a donation directly to Fr. Liam by a bank transfer. His details are as follows:
Account name: Liam Cummins
Sort code: 09-01-26
Account: number 80496271
CHRISTMAS MASSES Online sign up for Christmas Masses will be available from 8am on 14th until 6pm on 22nd December. Please, if your plans change, cancel your Mass booking as we expect that all the Masses will be oversubscribed. Sign up for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day here.Sign-up for Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th as usual, after this week's sign-up.
APPEAL FOR STEWARDS Please email Kathryn Alcorn on email@example.com if you can steward for any of the Christmas Masses. We currently do not have enough stewards for all the Masses to go ahead.
“SHIELDING” for those in our community who continue to join at the Eucharist via Zoom or YouTube on a regular basis, but for one reason or another, cannot physically come to the Church, and would like to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, please let Fr. Liam or the parish office know. Fr. Liam will bring the Holy Sacrament to you whilst adhering to social distancing and a safe environment.
ZOOM is now live from 9.30am to 11am every day, for Mass at 10am. This means you can connect for Mass every weekday. Admission for Mass on Zoom will be stopped at 9.55, to allow the hosts to be present in the Mass.
It is greatly appreciated that many of you transferred your ‘church offering’ from cash to direct debit and standing order over the last number of months. Our parish has had its financial income greatly reduced and this has impacted on our church activities, donations to various charities and parish maintenance. From September 1st, there will be an Offertory Collection Basket at the church entrance and exit each day if you wish to make a very welcome donation. There is also a contactless “tap to donate” machine, where you can contribute to the weekly collection.
NB: It would be helpful for the parish if the vast majority of our Weekly Collection could be done via Direct Debit / Standing Order. I ask that you reflect and, if possible, switch your donation from cash to bank. This would be invaluable and would give the Parish Council and Finance Committee more solidity in planning for the months/years ahead. At present, we are a vastly cash—giving parish, and with the dramatic decrease, it is very hard to plan and donate to those most vulnerable and in need, as well as care for our parish community..
Account name: St. Edmund Campion Maidenhead
Sort code: 30-93-04
Account number: 00882551
INDEPENDENT REVIEW FOR SAFEGUARDING The full document of the Independent Review for Safeguarding is available to read and also a statement in response to it from the Bishops Conference. It is attached to the newsletter.
CHRISTMAS PHOTOS Please send your "Preparing for Christmas" snapshots to Di, who will be collating them to show on Zoom. We'd love to see you decorating your tree, making your Christmas pudding, rehearsing for a nativity, or something special that you do to prepare. Please be aware that by sending your photo in, you're agreeing for it to be shared publicly. Please send by email to Di.firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you need help with the photos, send her an email or call 07800 500170.
CHRISTMAS STARS AND CRIB Once again we will be doing our Christmas stars. Last year there were 89 stars which raised an amazing total of £865. The idea is that, instead of sending Christmas cards to all your friends in the parish, you just write a message on a star, or Christmas card, decorate it as you wish, and then we hang them in the church around the crib. Hopefully we can have a wonderful display of bright stars again. Then, think of the money you have saved on cards and stamps, and time and effort writing and delivering them, and give a donation to charity. There will be a drop-off box for your stars and donations in the church porch and school office. Or indeed hand it in directly to Fr. Liam. We will continue with the same charity as of last year W.O.R.K. (Widows and Orphans of Rural Kenya) www.work-kenya.org
Due to the restrictions in place due to Covid 19, we ask that this year, create your own star (or card) and deliver them to the church or school office. Please come and see the lovely crib through the Church window, and the Christmas display outside.
For further clarification on this great event, please contact Barbara McWalter on 07918 144650.
Thank you in advance for your usual generosity for this very worthy cause.
JAM JAR COLLECTION In preparation for our forthcoming fundraising project for Widows and Orphans in Rural Kenya (Work) I would like parishioners and school parents to collect suitable glass jam jars (about 454gm size) and drop them into the school / church porch in the next few weeks where a collection box will be located. Many thanks for your help. Queries to John Lynn 01628 636668.
ADVENT AND RETREATS There are an amazing amount of talks, workshops, retreats and prayer offered on the website of Knock Shrine. Have a look at the courses, retreats and calendar: www.knockshrine.ie/events/2020-11/
TODDLERS GROUP Unfortunately, we can't run Toddler Group as normal. To stay in touch and keep everyone updated, There is a Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/731966510695904) and a WhatsApp group (contact email@example.com to be added).
APPOINTMENTS If you wish to speak to Fr Liam in confidence on any matter, please contact him by phone or e-mail
HOUSEBOUND If you know of anyone who is sick and/or housebound, please let Sarah (Parish Office) or Fr Liam know.
ADMISSION INTO ST EDMUND CAMPION SCHOOL AND NURSERY is based on Mass attendance for some categories. In our parish, we have an attendance card available from the table in the church lobby. Every time you come to Sunday Mass get your card stamped in the parish centre. You will need the Parish Priest's signature on the SIF form, once your attendance in 2020 has been completed. For information on the current Admissions Policy see the school's website, www.st-edmund.org.uk.
Please be aware that attendance cards are available and must be stamped to record attendance from Thursday December 3rd, as Mass is now back 7 days a week.
SIF FORMS Further dates in early January will be announced in due course.