4th Sunday of Advent
In the gospel read in our churches this weekend, (Matthew 1:18-24), Joseph has his world turned upside down and makes a choice that will go against what he had accepted all his life as the way to behave. It is an extraordinary challenge, but Joseph has both the strength of character and the faith in God to do it. Joseph highlights what comes with responsibility and what comes with love. Above all, he is open to listening to God through a messenger.
We are all influenced by our culture, our past experiences, our expectations. As Joseph was prepared to listen to the angel, are we prepared to listen to “the message of the angel,” as it is revealed to us today? Can we put aside our preconceived ideas, and be open and humble enough to discern what God might be saying and calling us to do?
The Gospel accounts surrounding the birth of Jesus frequently refer to fear. When the angel appears to Mary explaining that she will conceive the Son of God, when angels appear to the shepherds announcing Jesus’ birth, as well as when the angel appears to Joseph, the message is the same: do not be afraid. All of them were shocked by what they saw, and what they were told, but faith in God helped them muster courage to deal with what befell them.
When we are faced with the most tremendous challenges, can we also find the courage to heed the message: do not be afraid?
Weather permitting, we hope to open our Advent Café on Wednesday, at 6pm in St. Patrick’s parish centre offering an opportunity to explore the Advent theme of “Love” – while praying, chatting, drinking coffee and eating cake!
The aim of the evening is to discover ways in which we, as a Catholic family can make the “Love of Advent” a reality for someone, somewhere this Christmas.
All are welcome and admission to a warm, friendly environment is free.
Christmas Mass Times
Mass will be celebrated in St. Patrick’s Church on Christmas Eve at 5.30pm with carols
This will be followed by mulled wine, soft drinks and mince pies in the parish centre.
Mass on Christmas morning will be celebrated in St. Alban’s Church at 9.30am.
Fr. Patterson will celebrate Mass for the following Intentions during the coming week. With the exception of Wednesday and Friday all Masses are open to everyone.
- Monday: No Mass
- Tuesday: 10am in St. Patrick’s parish centre: George Owens
- Wednesday: (Private Mass) Pat Cunningham
- Thursday: 10am in St. Patrick’s parish centre: Brian Grace Snr and Brian Grace Jnr
- Friday: (Private Mass) Private Intention
- Christmas Eve: 5.30pm in St. Patrick’s Church: For the Intentions of all our parishioners
- Christmas Day: 9.30am in St. Alban’s Church: For the Intentions of all our parishioners
Mass to view on line
Mass is live streamed from our Cathedral on a Sunday. Visit the Cathedral website.
Alternatively, you may like to follow Mass from the Holy Name, Jesmond. Visit the website for Mass times this week.
When you are unable to celebrate Mass 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.
Please keep in your prayers:
- all our parishioners who are sick, housebound or in hospital and,
- all those near and dear to us whose memories we cherish at this time especially Nellie Armstrong, Rose Wright and Patrick Wright
An Advent prayer of Love
Lord, thank you for loving us so much that you gave your Son for us, even before we loved you. Thank you for inviting us into your family. Help us to love one another in perfect harmony; to see every person in the same way that you see them and to love them in the way that you love them. Amen.
An Advent prayer of Joy
Heavenly Father, thank you for the joy that entered the world when Jesus was born, when you became God with us. Enrich our lives and enable us to live joyfully in those difficult or busy moments. Help us to recognise your presence among us and fill our hearts with renewed strength, courage, hope and joy. Amen.
An Advent prayer of Peace
Lord, in a season when every heart should be happy and light, many are struggling with the burdens of life. We need your peace, O Lord. Our hearts are too often filled with wondering how the bills will be paid, when the terror will stop, when rest will come. In a world where worry, not peace, prevails, stir up the good news again, make it real in our hearts for we live at a time when we need your peace more than ever. Amen
An Advent prayer of Hope
God of Hope, we seek you. During this holy season of Advent, help us to see you in all whom we encounter. May your hope be a comfort to all who long for justice. May your hope fill our hearts and grace our lips so that we might reflect your hope for all the world. Amen
A Prayer for those who are ill and for those who care for them
Merciful God, we entrust to your loving care those who are ill or in pain. Comfort and heal them, and restore them to full health and strength. Grant perseverance and resilience to all who are caring for the sick, empower them with your Spirit, so that through their care many will be restored to health; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
A Prayer for Ukraine
Loving God, we pray for the people of Ukraine, for all those suffering or afraid, that you will be close to them and protect them. We pray for world leaders, for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices. We pray for the world that in this moment of crisis, we may reach out in solidarity to our brothers and sisters in need. May we walk in your ways so that peace and justice become a reality for the people of Ukraine and for the whole world. Amen
Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermons for Advent
Each week Bishop Barron offers a Sunday sermon.
All are welcome
Everyone is welcome to join us for the celebration of Mass in St. Patrick’s and St. Alban’s churches. In recent times, it has been a joy to welcome people of other faiths or none who have come to join us in worship.
Currently, only baptised Catholic people are able to receive Holy Communion and we ask that when you approach the altar you extend your hands towards the minister who will place the sacred host in your hand which you should then consume immediately before returning to your place.
If you are not a Catholic or are indisposed to receive Holy Communion, you are invited to come forward at the appropriate time and receive a blessing, indicating your desire by folding an arm across your chest.
Refreshments after Mass
Enjoy each others company in a warm and friendly setting with tasty refreshments in St. Patrick’s parish centre after Mass this Sunday.
Are you feeling unwell?
If you are feeling unwell or have any cold, flu or Covid symptons, particularly a persistent cough, you should consider staying at home rather than coming to church.
Mass on Tuesday and Thursday at St. Patrick’s
In an effort to manage our heating costs, Mass on Tuesday and Thursday will be celebrated in St. Patrick’s parish centre at 10am Refreshments will be served after Mass on Tuesday. Entry by the “top door” of the church which will be locked at 9.55am for security purposes or by the parish centre doors. Parking is available in the main church car park.
Fr. Patterson is very grateful for a gift aided donation of £100.00 received last week for St. Patrick’s parish funds.
Why not help to boost St. Alban’s and St. Patrick’s income at no additional cost to yourself!
These are difficult times for everyone as the cost of living and energy costs are starting to impact on us, our parishes included. Fr. Patterson wishes to express his gratitude for your generous weekly contributions to parish funds enabling us to pay our bills.
Please help to boost the income of both of our churches by Gift Aiding your weekly offering if you are a tax payer. It costs you nothing more than you already give to the church, but we are able to claim from HMRC 25p of every £1.00 you are already giving. All that is required is that you sign a simple form providing the Diocese with your name and address and they do the rest for us. You do not have to declare anything about your personal financial situation on the form.
Forms may be obtained from John Gillum who is the parish Gift Aid Organiser for both of our churches. Simply drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you are a tax payer or not, you can help to relieve the pressure on our “Counting Teams” and those who have to bank the monies, by making your weekly contribution by Standing order. The details below will enable you to do so.
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
The Diocesan Vicariate for Faith & Mission have produced a series of reflections on the readings used throughout the Advent season. The reflections have been written by members of the Diocese.
Cafod also offers some Advent reflections.
Gateshead Covid update
You may find this data from the Borough of interest. Figures are as reported on 15th December, 2022.
79 new Covid cases in the seven days up to 10th December which is a increase of 12 from the previous 7 days; 3 people died in the same period, which is the same number as the previous 7 days; 45 patients with Covid were in the QE Hospital on 14th December.
According to the Office for National statistics 1 in 50 people currently have Covid in the UK
During Advent, St Cuthbert’s Care call upon the generosity of the people of our Diocese to help raise funds to purchase a newer minibus for their two nursing homes. Your support will allow them to offer more regular outings throughout the year, ensuring their residents’ lives remain as varied as possible. They appreciate this winter will be difficult for many and urge you only to support them if you are able to do so. Should you wish to support their appeal, place your offering in an envelope marked “Advent Alms” and place it in one of the boxes at the entrance to our churches. Offerings are welcome throughout the four weeks of Advent.
Bishop Robert stands down
I feel sure many of us will be saddened to learn that Bishop Robert has felt a need to resign as our bishop. The following is an extract from his letter published last Monday, 12th December, 2022.
“The Church’s teachings confirm a Diocesan Bishop needs to be as Christ among the people entrusted to him. The office of bishop carries great responsibility to provide spiritual leadership and governance to a diocese.
I have recently had need to discern and reflect upon this question for myself and the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle. Having done so, and with great sorrow and reluctance, I have concluded that the office of the Diocesan Bishop has become too great a burden and I feel I must resign from my position as your Bishop.
My own discernment has caused me to recognise that I now feel unable to continue serving the people of the diocese in the way that I would wish. Having undertaken this discernment process, and with due consultation with others, I indicated my wish to resign to the Holy Father and he has graciously accepted my request.
My resignation having been accepted; I propose to return to my Oratorian Community in Oxford. I ask for your continued prayers and provide you with an assurance of a remembrance in my own prayers.”
The Northern Catholic Calendar
A small number of copies of our Diocesan Year Book “The Northern Catholic Calendar” are on sale this weekend, priced at £3.00
As Christmas approaches are you able to support our Diocesan Justice and Peace Refugee Project?
When doing your own shopping for Christmas, please spare a thought for the above project. It supports over 400 clients each week, who all receive a bag of food. Those who are destitute also receive a supermarket voucher.
Donations of sugar, biscuits, tinned fish in oil, tins of tomatoes and chick peas may be left on the table to your right as you enter the front of St. Patrick’s Church or on any table if you enter by the rear door. A basket is also available in the porch at St. Alban’s Church and in our school. They are particularly in need of toiletries and shampoo. Please note: baked beans and tinned meat are not required.
Our School News : www.stalbansgateshead.org
Year 6 will lead the school family in our final Advent service of prayer on Friday morning at 9.15am in the school hall. School then closes for the Christmas holidays in the afternoon reopening on Tuesday 10th January. We wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas and look forward to seeing you in the New Year.
Our Toddler Group will re-start on Thursday 19th January, 2023 and are extending their hours from 9.30 – 11.30am. Families with pre-school age children are very welcome.