Online Parish Newsletter – The Holy Season of Advent

WELCOME TO OUR PARISH WEBSITE: Our Parish serves the whole of Bletchley as well as its outlying villages, Newton Leys, parts of Emerson Valley and Furzton. As we learning to steer a course through the necessary restrictions brought about by the pandemic we are finding news ways to reach out, stay connected and share our faith.

BISHOP DAVID’s PASTORAL LETTER FOR THE BEGINNING OF ADVENT

JOIN US AT MASS FROM HOME: Live Stream via Facebook
Holy Mass will be live streamed each day in the Parish. Sunday at 11am, Monday to Friday at 10am and Saturday at 9:30am. If you are unable to connect for the live broadcast it will remain available for 24 hours and so can be viewed later on. We will post a link around 10 to 15 minutes before each broadcast which will appear below:

SATURDAY 5th DECEMBER Advent Feria 9:30am Mass from St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.

PUBLIC MASSES RESUME
ON WEDNESDAY 2nd DECEMBER however…

NO STEWARDS = NO MASS!

As you may be aware it is a legal requirement that to keep our Churches COVID SECURE we need a team of stewards at each Mass to ensure social distancing is maintained and that the correct sanitising procedures are followed. We have been blessed with a small but dedicated team of Stewards since we reopened in July but for a number of reasons are volunteers are now depleated. The bottom line is that we WILL NOT be able to maintain TWO Sunday Masses at ALL SAINTS CHURCH without people volunteering to steward. We need your help. Please email me at: staq@uwclub.net if this is something you can do to ensure we can stay open.

THIS WEEK’S LITURGIES

Sunday 29th November FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT (Year B)
10:00am Mass – Livestream Only
11:00am-11:45am (AS) Church Open for Private Prayer.

Monday 30th November Feast, St Andrew the Apostle
10:00am – 10:45am (STA) Church Open for Private Prayer
11:00am Mass – Livestream Only

Tuesday 1st December Advent Feria
10:00am – 10:45am (AS) Church Open for Private Prayer
11:00am Mass – Livestream Only

Wednesday 2nd December Advent Feria
9:30am (STA) Holy Rosary
10:00am (STA) MASS

Thursday 3rd December Memoria, St Francis Xavier
9:30am (AS) Holy Rosary
10:00am (AS) MASS

Friday 4th December Advent Feria
9:30am (STA) Holy Rosary
10:00am (STA) MASS

Saturday 5th December Advent Feria
9:30am (STA) MASS followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Devotions
10:00am – 10:30am (STA) Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

Sunday 6th Decemeber Second Sunday of Advent (Year B)
6:00pm (STA) [Saturday] Vigil MASS of Sunday
9:00am (AS) MASS
11:00am (AS) MASS

STA: St Thomas Aquinas Church, Sycamore Avenue, MK2 2JE
AS: All Saints Church, Shenley Road, MK3 6HG

THE ADVENT SEASON: Advent — from the Latin ad venio, “to come” — is the liturgical season anticipating the Adventus Domini, the “coming of the Lord.” While the days grow shorter and colder, we prepare for the “Sun of Justice” who comes to kindle our hearts with his light and his love.

The Eternal Word, who is outside of time, became Incarnate in time, thereby making all time sacred. In the season of Advent, we await the coming of Christ on all the levels which we experience time: in the past — as a babe in the stable of Bethlehem; in the present — as grace in our souls; and in the future — as the Judge at the end of time.

The Advent season is filled with preparation and expectation. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas — shopping and decorating, baking and cleaning. Too often, however, we are so busy with the material preparations that we lose sight of the real reason for our activity: the Word made flesh coming to dwell among us. Christians are urged to preserve the spiritual focus of Christmas amidst the prevailingly secular and consumer-driven society.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, let us strive to keep Advent a season of waiting and longing, of conversion and hope, meditating often on the incredible love and humility of our God in taking on flesh of the Virgin Mary. In our shopping and baking, let us remember to purchase and prepare something for the poor. When we clean our homes, let us distribute some of our possessions to those who lack many necessities. While we are decking the halls of our homes, let us not forget to prepare a peaceful place in our hearts wherein our Savior may come to dwell.

There are always four Sundays in Advent, though not necessarily four full weeks. The liturgical color of the season is violet or purple, except on the Third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday, when optional rose vestments may be worn. The Gloria is not recited during Advent liturgies, but the Alleluia is retained. The prophecies of Isaiah are read often during the Advent season, but all of the readings of Advent focus on the key figures of the Old and New Testaments who were prepared and chosen by God to make the Incarnation possible: the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph, Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah. The expectancy heightens from December 17 to December 24 when the Liturgy resounds with the seven magnificent Messianic titles of the O Antiphons.

The Advent season also has a Marian and pro-life focus. We meditate on this wonderful mystery of the Word Made Flesh with as much eagerness as his Mother, Mary prepared and awaited the birth of her son. In Advent we celebrate the special feasts of the Immaculate Conception, on December 8 and Our Lady of Guadalupe, protectress of the unborn, on December 12. Other saints’ days traditionally associated in with our Advent preparations also include St. Nicholas, patron saint of children whose feast falls on December 6, and the saint of light, St. Lucy on December 13.

Original Text (JGM) by Jennifer Gregory Miller, © Copyright 2003-2020 by Jennifer Gregory Miller

“WALK WITH ME” A Journey of Prayer for Advent 2020
Available at the back of church. Price – £1.

ADVENT: MISSIO ADVENT SERIES
An online series for Advent – Christmas from the Mill Hill Missionaries, whom we support with our Red Box collections:
At 10.30am each Friday between the 25th November – 25th December there will be an online series led by Missio in order to prepare for Advent and Christmas.

Lasting about 20 minutes, with a reflection on the Gospel of the upcoming Sunday and Christmas Day. Each reflection will remain available afterwards on YouTube and on Missio social media.

To register, or for more information, please email redbox@missio.org.uk or call 020 7821 9755 to receive the Zoom link for all 5 sessions

PRAYING WITH THE POPE: Each year, the Holy Father asks for our prayers for a specific intention each month. You are invited to answer the Holy Father’s request and to join with many people worldwide in praying for this intention each month.

THE HOLY FATHER’s INTENTION FOR DECEMBER: For a Life of Prayer – We pray that our personal relationship with Jesus Christ be nourished by the Word of God and a life of prayer.

CONGRATULATIONS AND PRAYERS
We pray for our children in St Thomas Aquinas School (currently in year 4) who received Holy Communion for the first time at All Saints Church on Saturday.

It was a wonderful and sacred celebration, and we thank God for the faith and dedication of all our young people.

ROSARY GATHERING on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Tuesday 8th December, 6:00pm
Meeting Outside Christ the Cornerstone, 300 Saxon Gate West, Milton Keynes MK9 2ES. Face Coverings must be worn and social distancing procedures adhered too.

THE SENIORS’ CHRISTMAS PARTY
For the safety of both our volunteers and vulnerable members of our community we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Seniors’ Christmas Party which was scheduled to take place in early January. Sorry for any disappointment this may cause. We pray you will have a happy and joyful celebration of Christmas at home and that we all stay safe and well.

KEEPING UPDATED ON COVID IN MILTON KEYNES: As we have a Parishioner who is a volunteer Covid Champion, we will be receiving regular updates and information about the Covid 19 situation in Milton Keynes, which we hope you will find useful.

TThis week’s update has a lot of information: support for those seeking work, information on vaccination; information about Vitamin D supplements; guidance for the Christmas period and a summary of the present Covid 19 situation in Milton Keynes.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKMK/bulletins/2ae50c2

You do not need to book or obtain a ticket to attend Mass but it is requested that the parish participate in the UK Government’s Test and Trace System. If you are attending a public Mass in our Parish we invite you to email:

staq.register@gmail.com

Please write: your name, contact telephone number and the date and time of the Mass you are attending. Your participation in this scheme is strongly encourageded but remains optional. Your details will be held securely by the Parish for 21 days after which they will be permanently deleted in accordance with GDPR. Your details will only be used for the test and trace system. A full copy of the Parish Privacy Notice can be found on this website or at the back of each Church on the Notice board.

Alternatively if you are attending Mass at St Thomas Aquinas Church please scan the QR Code below on the same day you attend using the NHS COVID-19 App.

Or if you are attending Mass at All Saints Church please scan the QR Code below on the same day you attend using the NHS COVID-19 App.

Posters with the QR Codes are also displayed in both Churches.

CAFOD WORLD GIFTS: CAFOD World Gifts this Christmas – reading opens up so many doors: education, work, pleasure, self-improvement and more. This fabulous, life-changing charity gift can fund literacy classes for vulnerable people.


Go to worldgifts.cafod.org.uk to order and for more ideas on how you can support our brothers and sisters in developing countries.

Job Opportunity
VACANCY: SITE MANAGER – St Monica’s Catholic Primary School, Neath Hill. Required to start as soon as possible 37 hours per week. (7:00am – 9:30am & 1:15pm – 6:15pm) Hours negotiable. Pay Scale E £22,183 – £24,491 per annum. Visits to the school are welcomed and encouraged. The closing date for applications is 6.00pm on Friday, 11th December 2020.

Interviews will be held in the week beginning Monday, 14th December 2020. For more details, please call the school on 01908 606966 or email us at stmonicas@st-monicas.co.uk

Catholic Newspaper Subscription
If you would like to subscribe to “The Universe” please go to http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com or call them on 0161 820 5722 SPECIAL OFFER 3 MONTHS :-£22.00 or 12 Months:- £80.00

DO YOU WANT TO SERVE YOUR PARISH COMMUNITY?


Have you got skills in finance and buildings? Have you considered being a Foundation Governor for the Bletchley Catholic Schools Federation?
We are looking to fill two vacancies for Foundation Governors to serve our Parish Schools. Please consider if God might be calling you to serve the Church and Catholic Education in this important role. Please contact Fr Christopher for more details.

PRAYER TO ST MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

MARRIAGE SUPPORT AND ENRICHMENT
Retrouvaille is the name of a programme designed to help heal and renew marriages. The word “Retrouvaille” simply means “rediscovery”.

The programme offers the chance to rediscover yourself, your partner, and a loving relationship in your marriage.
For more details, please click on the image above or the link below.

https://www.retrouvaille.org.uk/

IICSA REPORT
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has published its report relating to the institutional response of the Church in its duty of care to protect children and vulnerable people from sexual abuse and exploitation.

Below you will find a link to a full copy of the report and a message from Cardinal Vincent Nichols exploring some of the comments from the report. If you have any concerns about safeguarding issues, either current or from the past, please do not hesitate to contact our Diocesan Safeguarding Office at: safeguarding@northamptondiocese.com
01604 723514
07833 050628

Click icon to view report

PARISH OFFERTORY GIVING
The suspension of pubilc Masses during the lockdown has had a huge effect on our Parish income and we still have bills to pay. As a means of mitigating against this loss we would like to encourage those parishioners who do not currently give by Standing Order to donate online. This can be done at:
https://northamptondiocese.org/donate/
Please ensure that you type the parish name and area i.e. “St Thomas Aquinas and All Saints, Bletchley” in the NOTES SECTION of the donate page.

Or.., by Standing Order via your own bank:
You can also set up a standing order for donations to the parish using either your on line bank account or in branch. The information required to make the donation is as follows.
Bank: NatWest
Sort Code: 60-06-11
Account Name; 46898093
Account Name: NRCD Trust
Payment Ref: STAQ Bletchley

Alternatively CHEQUES made payable to “St Thomas Aquinas Church” can be posted to:
The Presbytery, 1 Sycamore Avenue, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK2 2JE.

GIVE US A CALL TO DONATE OVER THE PHONE: Every Tuesday between 10am – 4pm, a member of the Diocesan Finance Team will be available by phone for you to donate to our Parish community over the telephone. To donate simply call 01604 712065 with your debit or credit card details.

HOW WE CAN HELP OUR PERSECUTED CHRISTIAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS:

Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic pastoral aid organization, which yearly offers financial support to more than 5,000 projects worldwide. It aims to help Christians in need wherever they are repressed or persecuted and therefore prevented from living according to their faith. Please sign up for the newsletter at www.acnuk.org./newsletter. Donations are urgently needed to help provide legal aid for victims of persecution; support Catechists and to help provide Covid 19 emergency aid for the poor. Please call 0345 6460110 to donate.

School Admissions: September 2021
As a result of the closure of our Churches during the time of pandemic if you were issued with a 2020 Parish Diary for a Certificate of Catholic Practice for School Admissions in September 2021 then you will now automatically be given a reference by Fr Christopher irrespective of the number of stamps. The Diary does not need to be handed in. Fr Christopher will contact the School informing them you have been granted a Certificate of Catholic Practice.

PRAYING THE HOLY ROSARY TOGETHER

PRAYING THE CHAPLET OF DIVINE MERCY TOGETHER

LITANY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Every blessing to you all.
Fr Christopher & Fr Emmanuel

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