Third Sunday of Advent
Joy is the underlying theme of the Third Sunday of Advent as we continue to prepare to celebrate our Saviour’s birth.
Despite the introduction of further safety measures by the Government last week to protect our health and well-being, our joy need not be tempered if it is rooted in the simplicity of the manger where hope for the world dawned.
A life rooted in Jesus’ message to love one another can be lived out, in this present moment in human history, by the way we care for each other. Often all the razzmatazz surrounding Christmas can be a positive distraction to the joy that lies at the heart of the Christmas message.
We are not being told what do for the sake of it, the restrictions are to keep us safe and have perhaps become necessary as a result of us not responding positively to the freedom we were given in July, when mandated restrictions gave way to an invitation “to keep an eye out for each other.”
We have lived through a lot since the pandemic started so let us be kind and respect one another in these days leading up to Christmas.
Be aware of personal space and personal choice. Some people might not be ready to hug, kiss, shake hands or reduce social distancing. Don’t assume what people are comfortable with. Instead, ask them and respect their personal choices.
There is much to celebrate. Let us do it responsibly, so that we may all be safe and well.
“Christmas isn’t Christmas until it happens in your heart.
It is somewhere deep inside you where Christmas really starts.”
Bishop Robert recently reviewed the Covid protection measures for the churches in our Diocese and has asked us to keep them in place due to the high rate of transmission of the coronavirus in our region. He will review the situation in February. It is important to realise that he has not taken this decision lightly, but out of consideration for all the people who attend our churches and for the clergy, many of whom are still deemed to be clinically vulnerable despite the vaccination programme.
We will continue to do all we can to ensure St. Patrick’s Church is both welcoming and as Covid safe as we can make it for you. Sanitising your hands, social distancing, the wearing of face coverings and cleaning the church after each celebration are still in place. As we must continue to clean the church after each celebration, the rear of the church will remain closed to reduce the demands on our stewards who sanitise the benches after you leave. Limited toilet facilities are available in case of necessity. The steward at the rear of the church will assist you. If you have Covid-19 symptoms or feel unwell, if you have a cough or are sneezing, if someone in your household has been poorly recently, please do not take any risks with your health or the health of others at Church and stay at home until you feel better.
I renew my thanks to our volunteer stewards who are prepared to continue in their roles enabling us to celebrate Mass on Tuesdays at 10am and on Sundays at 10.30am. There is no longer a need for you to book a place in advance. We are encouraged by the Government to collect test and trace details – your name and a contact telephone number – so please bring them along in an envelope and place it in the box at the front of the church or use the QR code if you have a smartphone.
Please do all you can to be cautious in your everyday life choices which not only affect you, but impact on others too, including the NHS on which we all rely at times and pray for one another. May God bless you and your families in this season of Advent.
Mass to view online
Mass is live streamed from our Cathedral on Sunday at 11.30 am.
Alternatively, you may like to follow Mass from the Holy Name, Jesmond celebrated live at 10am on Sunday and most weekdays and Saturday at 4pm. These Masses may also be viewed later.
Mass Intentions for the coming week
With the exception of Sunday and Tuesday, Fr. Patterson will celebrate Mass privately during the week remembering the following Intentions. Bishop Robert asks that Face coverings should still be worn in our churches.
- Monday – Joan and Eddie McAtominey
- Tuesday: 10am in St. Patrick’s Church – Dennis Rogan
- Wednesday – Hughes. Knock and Kelly Families
- Thursday -The sick, their families, NHS staff & Care Workers
- Friday – Funeral Service for Celia Anderson – by invitation – Covid restrictions apply
- Saturday – Fr. Patterson’s intentions
- Sunday: 10.30am in St. Patrick’s Church – For the intentions of all our parishioners
When you are unable to celebrate Mass with us 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 are 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
- all those near and dear to us whose memories we cherish at this time especially Ellen Farrell, Kathleen Hughes, Joan McAtominey, and Dennis Rogan and,
- and Fr. Kevin Daly and Celia Anderson who have died. “Receive Lord into tranquillity and peace the souls of your servants whom you have called from this life. May they be taken up into glory with your Son in whose great mystery of love we are all united.”
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.
A time to pray
Please join together in prayer for the 146,255 people who have died in our country from the coronavirus. (Friday’s figure).
Gracious God, as we remember before you the thousands who have died from the coronavirus, surround us and all who mourn with your compassion. Be gentle with us in our grief, protect us from despair and give us grace to persevere and face the future with hope. We make this prayer in Jesus Christ our risen Lord. Amen.
A prayer for those who are afraid
God of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear:
Fear of Covid-19, fear for loved ones, fear of what the future holds.
May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace. Amen
Resources to help you make the most of Advent
Diocesan Resources – The Vicariate for Faith and Mission has produced a set of Seasonal reflections, one for each week of Advent.
For those who do not have internet access you may find the following reflection of value:
“What should we do?” (Luke 3: 10-18)
The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages. Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people.
What conversion of mind, heart, and life is the Lord asking of me?
“Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” How can I be kinder and more honest in my speech? How do envy and greed disrupt my relationship with material goods?
Now the people were filled with expectation. For what do I hope? How does my faith in God fulfill my longings?
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn. What sinful parts of my life need to be winnowed away? What spiritual gifts do I treasure the most?
The celebration of Christmas
Sadly it is still not possible to celebrate Mass in St. Alban’s Church at present as we are unable to make it Covid secure and we do not have the necessary level of help required.
Mass will be celebrated in St. Patrick’s Church, in keeping with Bishop Robert’s protection guidelines and the latest Government restrictions, to which everyone is invited. There is no need to book a place in advance.
- Christmas Eve Mass 5.30pm
- Christmas morning at 9.45am
On both occasions the Church will open 20 minutes before Mass is due to begin. Access is by the entrance off Church Street only. You are welcome to use the main Church car park, accessing the Church via the external stone steps at the side of the Church.
You will be invited to sanitise your hands as you enter and leave the Church and to wear a face covering. To prevent you having to book a place, social distancing will be one metre between households and bubbles, in keeping with Bishop Robert’s update and you will be guided to your place by one of our stewards. We are encouraged to collect track and trace details – your name and a contact telephone number – so please bring them along in an envelope and place it in the box at the front of the church or use the QR code if you have a smartphone.
In a Statement issued on Thursday, 18th November, 2021, the Bishops of England and Wales issued a statement to the effect that while the obligation to attend Mass on a Sunday would remain suspended, we should think about how we honour Sunday as a special day in our week. It reminds us that attending Mass is a personal response to the selfless offering of Christ’s love.
A Christmas Appeal from our Diocesan Justice and Peace Refugee Project
When doing your own shopping for Christmas, please spare a thought for the above project. It supports on average 300 clients each week, who all receive a bag of food. 102 of them are destitute and also receive a supermarket voucher.
If you are able to bring donations of rice, sugar, biscuits and toiletries as well as tinned fish in oil and tins of tomatoes and chick peas to St. Patrick’s Church before Mass on Tuesdays or Sundays, they may be left on the table to your right as you enter the Church. Please note: baked beans and tinned meat are not required.
Respect for one another – Be aware of personal space and personal choice.
Please respect the Government’s mandated guidelines which have come into effect in the past few days especially in regard to wearing a face covering on public transport and in a variety of other settings including churches. It is not a lot to ask to help keep each other safe so that we might all have a peaceful and happy Christmas.
The Government also urges us to be vaccinated, so it is important for us to respond in a positive way and to do all we can to encourage people we know to consider being vaccinated if they haven’t already done so. Pope Francis urges us to do so. Please accept your invitation for a “Booster jab” when you receive it and do consider having a flu jab too.
Your ongoing financial support is welcomed and needed
Fr. Patterson continues to be grateful for your offerings during these difficult times and is especially grateful to those parishioners who regularly contribute to parish funds by standing order helping us meet the regular financial commitments of our churches.
You may bring your envelopes to Mass on Tuesdays or Sundays or drop them through the presbytery letterbox. For security reason, envelopes should not be put through the letterbox of St. Alban’s Presbytery.
The parish is still able to reclaim the tax from Gift Aided offertory contributions made by bank transfer. It would be helpful to enter your name and Gift Aid envelope number as the reference when making the transfer.
The details for bank transfers/standing orders 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 wishes to express his thanks for the following acts of generosity by way of donations to St. Patrick’s parish funds:
A bequest from the estate of the late Connie Stout in the sum of £500.00. May she rest in the peace of Christ.
A most generous donation from the Women’s’ Guild, who despite the constraints of Covid-19, raised £600.00.
A generous donation of £40.00 towards the cost of the boundary wall.
ZOE Covid weekly update and some interesting information on Omicron
This week, in his weekly update, Professor Tim Spector speaks of how cases could soar if Omicron “takes over” as the dominant virus strain in our country. He illustrates this by citing an example of a 60th birthday party with 18 guests, all of whom had taken lateral flow tests prior to the gathering. A few days later, one guest tested positive after which a further 15 also tested positive with Omicron, all were double or triple vaccinated. It illustrates how easily one person can effect many others in a close situation.
In a separate blog, Tim shares some information on why it is important to get your booster jab.
He continues to remind us, in the blog, “Do I have Covid or a cold?” that as well as the “classic symptoms” of Covid, (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell), there are more symptoms emerging, namely a headache accompanied by a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and a cough. It may just be a summer cold, but check it out by taking a Lateral Flow Test are available from the local chemist, are free of charge and simple to use.
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 email Fr. Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be added to our contact list.