4th Sunday of Advent
Although we are celebrating the Fourth Sunday of Advent this weekend, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a Christmas filled with peace, joy and hope.
I urge you to make considered decisions as to how you will celebrate the time with family and friends. Remember the coronavirus does not know it is Christmas and thrives in situations where we get close to others.
When planning your Christmas celebrations please consider Professor Chris Whitty’s advice given on Wednesday at a Downing Street Briefing: “Keep it small, keep it short, keep it local and think of the most vulnerable. The smaller the number of households that meet, the less transmission there will be. The shorter the period that people are together, the less risk there is of transmission. Keep it local because people travelling from high incidence areas to lower incidence areas have the risk of passing on the virus. Nobody has hidden that there is a risk at Christmas but if we do this, we can reduce the risk for everybody.”
These two images remind us of Christmas past when we were able to celebrate Mass together in both of our churches.
Sadly it is not possible to celebrate Mass in St. Alban’s Church at present as we are unable to make it Covid secure and Mass in St. Patrick’s Church will be very different due to the protocols we must have in place to keep you safe and well.
As a result of these restrictions we have had to ask you to reserve a place should you wish to come to Mass on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day as we are limited to 70 people at a Mass in our Church.
Mass on Christmas Eve is fully booked. So please do not come to Mass unless you have reserved a space as we will be unable to welcome you into our Church.
There are still a few places available for Mass on Christmas morning at 9.45 am. You may reserve a place by telephoning:
on Monday, 21st December between 5.30 pm and 7:00pm.
Mass will be celebrated on Boxing Day at 10.00 am for which you do not have to book.
Should you wish to attend Mass on Sunday, 27th December at 10.30 am, you will need to reserve a place if you haven’t already done so, by telephoning
on Monday, 21st December between 5.30 pm and 7.00 pm
Thanks to the generosity of our stewards, as well as Mass at 10.00 am on Tuesday, 29th December, Mass will also be celebrated on New Year’s Day at 10.00 am. You do not need to book for these Masses. Seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
May God bless you and your friends and families at Christmas and in the year ahead and may he keep you safe in his care.
Mass to view on line over the Christmas period
Mass is live streamed from our Cathedral on:
- Sunday at 11.30 am
- weekdays at 12.05 pm
- Christmas Eve at 7.30 pm
- Christmas Day at 11.30 am.
Alternatively, you may like to follow daily Mass from the Holy Name, Jesmond celebrated live at 10.00 am each day. Mass on Christmas Eve will be live streamed at 5.00 pm and on Christmas Morning at 10.00 am. Mass may also be viewed any time later.
- Monday – Margaret Freeman & LDM Foster & Freeman Families
- Tuesday: 10.00 am in Church – Jim Murray & LDM Murray & McCabe Families
- Wednesday – Ellen Farrell
- Christmas Eve: 5.30 pm in Church – For the intentions of all our parishioners – fully booked
- Christmas Day: 9.45 am in Church – The sick, their families, NHS staff & Care Workers and all who have died of Covid-19 – booking is necessary
- Saturday: 10.00 am in Church – Nellie Armstrong
- Sunday: 10.30 am in Church – For the intentions of all our parishioners – booking is necessary
When you are unable to celebrate Mass with me in Church, you may wish to make this act of spiritual communion:
Lord Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
In case you were not aware, a parish priest is obliged to celebrate Mass for the “Intentions of the Parishioners” every Sunday or Holyday, which prevents him from fulfilling personal intentions on those occasions.
Please keep in your prayers this week:
- all our parishioners who are sick, housebound or in hospital
- Fr. Kevin Daly and Fr. Jim Dunne, both of whom are active priests in parishes, but are currently quite poorly and,
- all those near and dear to us whose memories we cherish at this time especially Nellie Armstrong, Ellen Farrell, Margaret Freeman, Pat McDonagh, Jim Murray and Gerry Toberty.
A Prayer for Carers, Nurses and Doctors
Lord Jesus, who healed the sick and gave them new life, be with doctors, nurses and carers, as they act as agents of your healing touch. In desperate times, keep them strong yet loving; and when their work is done, be with them in their weariness and in their tears. Amen.
Fr. Patterson will offer Mass on Christmas morning for all those who are sick, their families, NHS staff & Care Workers and all who have died of Covid-19.
Should I come to church?
If you have been confirmed as clinically extremely vulnerable the government is advising that you do not need to shield at the moment, but if you are in this category, you should still try to keep your overall social interactions low, as outlined in the Government Guidance.
Some people, including those aged 60 and over, are described as being clinically vulnerable, meaning that they are at a higher risk of severe illness from the coronavirus. Individuals who fall within this group are advised to minimise contact with others outside their household.
If you fall into either of these categories, or if you feel unsure about returning to Mass, you need to consider the wisdom of doing so. Please remember, you are not obliged to attend Mass. Sunday obligation is suspended.
You must not come to Church if you are feeling unwell or if you suspect that you have Covid-19, (high temperature, new persistent cough, lack of taste or smell) or if you are living with someone who has or is suspected of having Covid-19. You MUST self-isolate in accordance with HM Government guidance and arrange for testing.
Please note, that while we will attempt to take all appropriate precautions consistent with the advice of public health authorities to ensure our Church is Covid-19 safe, parishioners should understand that they assume the risk of contracting Covid-19 any time they enter a public space, since such precautions do not eliminate the risk of infection.
The celebration of Mass during the coming week
We are all aware that Christmas is going to be very different this year, socially and spiritually. The Tier 3 Restrictions which we must follow, to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus, will impact on us all. What is important is that we continue to adhere to them for the sake of the common good – a message which lies at the heart of our Christian faith.
As our numbers are restricted to 70 people at each Mass, you will need to book a place to be able to attend Mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The following Masses will be celebrated in St. Patrick’s Church during the coming week:
- Sunday, 20th December at 10.30 am – booking is now closed for this Mass
- Tuesday, 22nd December at 10.00 am – no booking is required
- Christmas Eve – fully booked – please do not come to Mass unless you have reserved a space as we will be unable to welcome you into our Church
- Christmas Day at 9.45 am – there are a few places still available – you must reserve a place following the procedure outlined below
- Boxing Day, the Feast of St. Stephen at 10.00 am – no booking is required. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis
- Sunday, 27th December at 10.30 am – booking is required. Please follow the procedure below.
You may reserve a place for Christmas Morning and Sunday, 27th December by telephoning:
on Monday, 21st December between 5.30 pm – 7.00pm.
This number will be unavailable outside of the above booking time.
Bookings cannot be made via the presbytery telephone number nor by email. Text messages cannot be accepted as a method of booking.
You will be asked to provide your name and telephone number to comply with the NHS Test and Trace system and also the number in your family if you are attending as a household. Under Tier 3 Restrictions you must only sit with members of your own household or bubble—the rule of six being the limit in any one bench. On arrival at the church you will be welcomed by a steward and your name will be checked against the booking list.
The Church doors will open 20 minutes before Mass is due to begin. Please do not come any earlier but do allow yourself sufficient time to complete the necessary health and safety protocols. You may have to form a socially distanced queue outside. The attached document “Attending St. Patrick’s Church during Tier 3 Restrictions” will help you.
Whilst we would always wish to welcome families back to Church, due to the Covid-19 Health and Safety requirements, we would suggest that children should only be brought to Mass if they are old enough to be able to adhere to the guidelines and can remain seated in their place at all times
Fr. Patterson wishes to thank our volunteer stewards and cleaners whose presence is necessary for St. Patrick’s Church to be open for the celebration of Mass at any time including the Christmas period. Without their dedication and commitment we would not be able to open the Church for Mass as they ensure all the protocols for your safety and well-being are in place on every occasion. Thank you. Thanks also to our telephone booking operator who gives of her time to ensure we do not breach our limited seating capacity.
Northern Catholic Calendar
Copies of our Diocesan Year Book will be available to collect after Mass on Sunday at a cost of £3.00. Please bring the correct money in an envelope and place it in the box provided.
Message from Bishop Robert
As we approach Christmas, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work for your parish and the diocese in this time of pandemic. To those who have helped to keep our churches open for Mass and those who have reached out to the less fortunate I want to say a big thank you. It is by our faith and unity that we can be a sign to the world of the love Christ showed us in becoming one of us in the holy season. I would like to wish you and your family a happy and peaceful Christmas and a blessed New Year.
Advent Alms 2020
Moira Ashman, the Chief Executive of St Cuthbert’s Care has sent the following note:
“This year, due to the very trying ongoing circumstances, St Cuthbert’s Care has been invited to deliver an online Advent Appeal via the Diocesan website. If you would like to support our charity’s work, the diocesan link can be accessed St Cuthberts Care I am mindful of the financial pressures the pandemic has placed on many, so please, only support us if you feel able to do so. Thank you.”
On leaving the Church – Please be responsible and adhere to the law.
Under Tier 3 Restrictions, you must not mingle outside the Church after Mass. Parishioners are asked to disperse immediately on leaving the Church. Fr. Patterson urges those of you who come to Mass to follow this advice and in doing so set an example for others to follow and, of course, prevent the possible transmission of the coronavirus.
Parish News by Email
If you are aware of parishioners who would like to receive the Newsletter and other news from the parish by email, please ask them to contact Father Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be added to our contact list.
Parish finances and offerings
Fr. Patterson continues to be so grateful to those parishioners who are able to regularly contribute to parish funds, either by bank transfer or by dropping their weekly offering envelopes through the presbytery letterbox. This helps to meet the day to day financial commitments of our churches.
For security reasons, please do not put any envelopes through St. Alban’s Presbytery door. Envelopes for St. Alban’s parish should be posted through St. Patrick’s Presbytery door only.
If you Gift Aid your offertory contributions and choose to make a bank transfer, the parish can still reclaim the tax on your offering. It would be helpful to enter your name and Gift Aid envelope number as the reference when making the transfer.
Alternatively, you might wish to put aside your envelopes each week and bring them along to church when you feel able to come.
The details for bank transfers and cheques are as follows:
St. Alban’s HSBC bank account name: DHN Pelaw St Alban, Sort code: 40-34-18, Account No: 92010984
St. Patrick’s HSBC bank account name: DHN Felling St Patrick, Sort code: 40-34-18, Account No: 52010453
Fr. Patterson is very grateful for a Gift Aided Donation of £100.00 recently received for St. Patrick’s parish funds.
Protect your loved ones
If you have downloaded the NHS App, it may be used to register your track and trace details when coming to Mass in St. Patrick’s Church. Simply scan the QR Code which is displayed in the Church and is specific to St. Patrick’s Church only. Please have your phone ready and the App open before entering the Church so that you do not create a “pinch point” by having to search for your phone in your pocket or bag.
Should you choose to “sign in” using the App, you should leave your phone switched on whilst you are in the Church, but please ensure it is in silent mode! You may of course continue to bring your Test and Trace details in an envelope and place it in the box at the front of the Church. The choice is yours to make.
Those who choose not to download the App or are unable to, should continue to bring their Test and Trace details in the usual way by means of an envelope.