A witness to speak for the light

In today’s Gospel, the focus is again on John the Baptist. And yet, John does not seek glory for himself. Asked who he is by the messengers from Jerusalem, John’s first response is, “I am not the Christ.” John knows that he has been sent by God to prepare the way for the Christ who is to come. When the Messiah comes, he will bring good news to the poor, heal broken hearts and set prisoners free. Jesus will be the Light, shining into the darkness of our world. The evangelist tells us twice that John the Baptist is “a witness to speak for the light” – sent to make a straight way for the Messiah.

We can use the season of Advent to make a straight way for the Lord by prayer and reflection, preparing our hearts to receive him. And our joy at Christ’s coming should lead us to reach out to those in our own communities who may be poor and marginalised. If we want to be witnesses to the light, we must make sure that there is good news for the poor this Christmas.

Week of Guided Prayer

An Ignatian retreat in daily life, led by a team of trained prayer guides from St Beuno’s, the Jesuit spirituality centre in North Wales. The Week of Guided Prayer is for everyone – students, staff and parishioners. January 21st-26th – see noticeboard for details. If you’re interested in taking part, please give your name to Fr Andrew.

Church Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment

October 2018. Want your voice heard? The Vatican is conducting a worldwide online poll to seek the views of young people aged 16-29, before next year’s Synod of Bishops. The goal of this questionnaire is to provide you with the opportunity to communicate, express and recount who you are and what you want to say about yourself. The page opens in Italian, but you can change it to English. The poll closes on 31 December, so don’t delay! You can find the survey online at: http://www.synod2018.va/content/synod2018/en.html or search for ‘survey synod 2018.’

CHRISTMAS FILM & PIZZA NIGHT

 

On Friday 15th December, we will be showing the ‘3 Godfathers’ starring John Wayne. This 1948 Western retells the story of the Three Wise Men and director John Ford shows how “even men of dissolute character can follow the inner star of Bethlehem to their own redemption.”

Doors open at 6:30pm for a 7:00pm showing. All parishioners and students are very welcome.

FINANCIAL BRIEFING TO THE PARISH, DECEMBER 2017

From John Marsland, chairman of the Parish Finance Council.

I  briefed you in December last year and I am pleased to report that the year since then has been financially stable. We have completed a few projects, notably the reorganising of the Narthex and the refurbishment of the administration office.

Our beautiful, historically important Church requires constant maintenance and updating and two big projects are waiting in the wings. These are the repair of the Chimney stacks in the presbytery at a cost of £14K and the repairs to the boundary wall at a cost of  £19K. In addition we are currently conducting surveys to see the extent of the repairs required to the presbytery stonework, this will be a six figure sum, a challenge for future years.

Fortunately, thanks to your generosity we are able to meet our current commitments as our balances are currently £18K in the current account and £45K in the deposit account with the Diocese. These numbers will be increased by £9K which is due from the Gift Aid scheme. Many thanks again to those who participate in this way.

Also, as you know, under the diocesan development programme, ‘Forward Together in Hope’ we will be starting to work more closely in partnership with neighbouring parishes. In the not too distant future the partnership may be looking at employing staff to do some of the work that has previously been done by clergy, and this will have financial implications.

In this briefing I thought it may be helpful if I mention some of the routine types of expenditure we incur each year. Some examples are Repairs and Renewals £15K, Administration £11K, Wages £12K and Diocesan Levy £9K.

You will all have seen in the press how inflation is on the rise, for example a pound donated in 2007 is now worth only about 80p. This has a detrimental effect on our finances and it is perhaps worthwhile for all of us to consider from time to time the effect of this on our individual donations.

Thank you all for your continuing generosity. It is this which allows us to face our future financial responsibilities with confidence whilst supporting relevant worthy causes at the same time.

In conclusion, thanks to your contributions the Parish continues to have a beautiful Church of which we can be proud  and a Presbytery with Hall which is in constant use.

Again we are on the threshold of yet another well managed but challenging financial year.

Journey in Faith

Our Journey in Faith programme continues on Tuesday 5 December at 7pm in the Parish Room. Although designed primarily for those looking to be baptised, received into the Catholic Church and/or confirmed, all parishioners and students are very welcome to come along and to explore the Catholic faith.

The theme this week will be “Tradition or traditions – the life and teaching of the Church”.

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