Last week’s picture was the image of St. Bede in the triptych which hangs from the choir loft.
In 2020, we will be celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany on Sunday 5th January. Following the 10.00am Mass, we will be blessing chalk, marking the church doors and inviting people to mark their own doors at home.
Last week’s picture was the angels from the picture of the nativity on the altar in the lady chapel.
Thank you to those who prepared the beautiful flower displays this Christmas.
Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to prepare the church for Christmas, cleaning on Christmas Eve, and putting up the tree.
Please sign up on the list in the narthex if you can minister at our Christmas Masses by welcoming, ushering, reading or distributing Holy Communion. We still need lots of volunteers from the Parish and University communities, so please don’t be shy sign up today!
Last week’s picture was a star from the Harry Clarke window. It’s in the bottom left window, above the image of St. Bede.
On Christmas Eve, we will be celebrating the First Mass of Christmas at 10.00pm.
On Christmas morning, Mass will be at 10.00am.
On Friday 20th December we will be showing our festive film, the 1947 classic version of “The Bishop’s Wife” with Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young. Doors to the Parish Room open for pizza and drinks at 6:30pm and the screening begins at 7pm.
Please come along to give the Church a Christmas spruce-up on Christmas Eve between 10:30 and 12:30. Dusting, polishing, vacuuming, washing – there will be plenty to do!
Last week’s picture was a detail of the Stations of the Cross. It’s from the seventh station.
The minutes of September’s meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council and November’s meeting of the Parish Assembly are now available on the website.
On Thursday, 12th December at 6.30pm, there will be a service of scripture, poetry and song, followed by refreshments including mulled wine and mince pies.
Last week’s picture was a detail of the images high on the wall behind the altar.
Last week’s picture was a detail of the Harry Clarke window. It’s the sword held by Blessed Thomas Percy.
This time last year I was reporting on a financially stable year. However, this year has been more challenging with our balances about to be at their lowest level for some years.
We are not in serious trouble and your generosity continues at its usual high level. The issue is that we have had, and continue to have, a year of unusually high expenditure in maintaining the fabric of our beautiful church.
I think it is worth looking at the major items:
- Boundary Wall £25K
- Electrical Repairs £5K
- Passage Lights Upgrade £5k
- Drains Repair £4K
- New Sound system £2K
Within the last few days we have been notified that the cost of upgrading the Presbytery Fire Alarms for multi occupancy will be at least £10K. This upgrade is a mandatory requirement as we want to be able to continue having visiting priests and religious to live in the Presbytery and be part of our community.
This work will take place over the next few weeks.
This gives a total of about £50K and it is this which has depleted our balances to the predicted level of £14K in the current account and £30K in our deposit account. In our experience the age and condition of our church and the possible need for urgent repairs requires that these predicted balances are the minimum acceptable level. The balances I reported a year ago were £22K and £63K respectively – this is a drop of £41K.
In addition we have one big project waiting in the wings. This is the repair to the presbytery stonework, this will be a six-figure sum, a challenge for future years.
In the year ahead we need to rebuild our balances and develop a strategy to raise the £100K for the stonework. I know we can depend on your continued generosity and a special thanks to those of you in the Gift Aid scheme. This raised nearly £10k in the last year. If you are a taxpayer and have not joined the scheme I would encourage you to do so; it is not too bureaucratic and all personal date is protected. Please see Andy Doyle or check our website to see how to join.
In addition, if you have a standing order with the Parish, it may be worthwhile to see if it has been de-valued in any way by inflation over the years.
Also, as you know, under the diocesan development programme, ‘Forward Together in Hope’ we have started to work more closely in partnership with neighbouring parishes. A Partnership Finance Committee continues to operate with an annual budget of £5K for which our contribution will be £950 per year, based on an affordability calculation as specified by the Diocese. As well as giving financial advice to the Partnership, this committee reviews any project above £10k and advises the Diocese as to whether a project fits in the overall needs of the partnership. This is particularly important right now because of the ongoing property review by all members of our Partnership. The year ahead will see these new processes continuing to unfold and become an important part of our Parochial life.
In conclusion, the year ahead will present us with continuing financial challenges and more changes as we work within the new Partnership framework. I feel sure that your continuing generosity will see us through.
Chairman of the Parish Finance Council
Last week’s picture was one of the armorial shields, high on the panelling to the right of the main altar. It’s the arms of the Mostyn family from North Wales (Francis Mostyn was Vicar Apostolic, and died in 1847).
Last week’s picture was the gates of the altar rail in front of the lady chapel.
Last week’s picture was the face of St. Cuthbert, from the triptych which hangs from the choir loft.
Last week’s picture was the crown of Our Lady, in the window in the lady chapel.