First Sunday of Advent – 28th November 2021
As the Synodal Pathway of listening and discerning unfolds, we the bishops of England and Wales, are paying particular attention to the hopes and fears, the joys and anxieties of all who are sharing their thoughts and feelings with us.
Longing for our Lord – We are attentive to the experience of the last year or so, when we have lived our faith through the limitations of the pandemic. We have heard of the longing which some express as a “homesickness.” We want to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. We yearn to celebrate the sacraments together, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We desire to be nourished by our Lord in Holy Communion. The live streaming of the Mass and the remarkable response of our Catholic communities to those in need, have provided comfort, sustenance and resilience.
The Eucharist, source and summit – The Eucharist is the source and summit of our spiritual and pastoral life. Many people have said to us that they have appreciated the noble simplicity of the Mass at this time, which has allowed the mystery and majesty of our Lord’s sacrificial love to shine through.
The central appeal of the Mass, its beauty and its transcendence, raises our minds and hearts to God in an unambiguous and compelling manner. Our Lord Jesus invites us to receive anew the gift of Sunday as the preeminent day, the day of the Resurrection, when the Church gathers to celebrate the Eucharist. Here we stand together before our heavenly Father, offering our thanksgiving and prayer, through our Saviour in the Holy Spirit. Here we receive Christ in his Word. Here we are nourished by Christ in his precious Body and Blood. This is our primary joy, for which there is no substitute, and from which we draw our strength.
The Gift of the Sunday Eucharist – The Sunday Eucharist is a gift; as God’s holy people we are called to praise and thank God in the most sublime way possible. When the Church speaks of the Sunday obligation, it reminds us that attending Mass is a personal response to the selfless offering of Christ’s love.
At this time, we recognise that for some people there may be certain factors which hinder attendance at Sunday Mass. The pandemic is clearly not over. The risk of infection is still
present. For some, there is legitimate fear in gathering. As your bishops, we recognise that these prevailing circumstances suggest that not everyone is yet in the position to fulfil the absolute duty to attend freely Sunday Mass.
Responding to the Gift – We now encourage all Catholics to look again at the patterns which they have formed in recent months about going to Mass on Sundays. This would include consideration and reflection about what we might do on Sundays, such as sports or shopping, or other leisure and social activities. This review, and the decisions which arise from it, fall to every Catholic and we trust this will be done with honesty, motivated by a real love for the Lord whom we encounter in the Mass.
The Sunday Mass is the very heartbeat of the Church and of our personal life of faith. We gather on the “first day of the week,” and devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42). The Eucharist sustains us and spurs us on, renewing our gratitude and our hope. When we say “Amen” to Christ in receiving his Body and Blood, we express the love of God which is deep within us, and at the end of Mass, when we are sent forth, we express our love for our neighbour, especially those in need. These two dimensions reveal the full meaning of our faith. We are gathered together and sent out, we pray and are fed, we worship and we adore; these are intrinsic to our lives as those baptised into Christ.
Approved at the Plenary Assembly of Bishops in Leeds Thursday 18th November 2021
PLEASE PRAY FOR…
… all the sick and/or housebound of the Parish:
… all who have died recently, and all whose anniversaries occur about this time:
This Sunday (28 November) is ADVENT SUNDAY, the start of the new Church/liturgical year and we will follow Year C, the Gospel according to Luke, for Sunday readings, and Cycle 2 for weekday readings.
THE CYCLE OF PRAYER – Advent/Christmas: Openness to the Word of God (especially on Bible Sunday, 2nd in Advent); Migrants and Refugees(especially on Migrants’ Day, 3rd December); Expectant Mothers (especially on the 4th Sunday in Advent); Peace on Earth (especially on the World Day of Prayer for Peace, 16thJanuary)
Sunday 5 December – is BIBLE SUNDAY. As part of our celebration at all Masses this weekend, those who currently exercise the liturgical ministry of reading in our parish, and wish to continue to do so, will be invited to make a formal renewal of their commitment to service of the liturgy of the Word. All readers are invited, please, to attend their usual Mass; if you know you will be absent, please offer your apologies to the Parish Office. There will be a “catch up” opportunity for those who miss Bible Sunday to renew their commitment on Sunday of the Word of God (Sunday 23 January 2022) instead.
On 12 December, the third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday), we will be following the tradition of BAMBINELLI SUNDAY as popularised by Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. You are invited to bring your figures of the Baby Jesus / Christ-child (bambini) and/or your cribs (presepi) to have them blessed during Mass.
4th, 11th and 18th December – Fr Alistair will be available for Confessions from 10.30 until 12noon alongside Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at Jesus Christ Redeemer of Mankind in Cranleigh.
Saturday 18th December – there will be an opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation within the Guildford Deanery as part of our Advent preparation: 11am to 1pm, 1pm to 3pm at St Joseph’s Church, Guildford. Several the Deanery priests will be available as confessors.
300 Club – We look forward to the re-launch of our successful 300 Club which has been run in the Parish for more than 30 years. Every year people get the small thrill of winning a cash sum – a small bit of sunshine in our everyday lives. It is part of the fabric of our parish life which knits us all together. This may be as important than the pounds which are raised to support the parish. To enter simply complete the form on the parish website www.cpcb.org.uk: Entries to be received by 30th January 2022.
Thank you for supporting the 300 Club – I hope to see your name as one of the lucky winners in 2022. I trust you remain safe and well. Best wishes Skip Koblintz
CAFOD “Like many women around the world, Garmah in Liberia had no legal rights to her home when her husband died. CAFOD worked with local experts to help her and now Garmah and her children live rightfully and happily together in their family home. “I feel safe, my children have a place to rest their head and I can make a garden to feed them and myself. God sent redeemers to fight for my land rights. I am overfilled with joy.” Thank you for your support which enables hundreds of women like Garmah remain in their homes during times of struggle. Other examples of our work can be found in our World Gift catalogues or website worldgifts.cafod.org.uk. Have a wonderful Christmas.
It is clear from Fr Sean’s and Fr Paul’s recent reports that the drought continues in East Pokot and with the failure of the people’s plant and vegetable gardens, there is a continuing need for food relief. I therefore propose that all donations over the next couple of weeks should be used for that purpose. I will send the funds to both Missions by the middle of December specifically for their emergency food programmes, with perhaps a little extra for Christmas celebrations. If you would like to donate towards that and are able to do so, please make an online transfer as before or pop a donation into one of the orange Pound a Week Group envelopes and leave it in the collection box in church. Alternatively, you can send a cheque to me at the address below made out to Cranleigh and Bramley Parish.
Thank you all for your support for our many Pokot projects.
Eugene McGivern, Lavender Cottage, Guildford Road, Shamley Green, Guildford, GU5 0RS.
December 2nd is the United Nations International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. Modern slavery is an international trade in human misery. Could you offer 1 minute of silent prayer on the 2nd for the estimated 40 million slaves in the world today, for the 136,000 of those slaves in the United Kingdom, and for the end of Modern Slavery?
Justice & Peace Assembly with Bishop Richard: ‘To a Safer Shore?’ Focussing on the challenges faced by people compelled to leave their homes and seek refuge in other countries. Why must and how can we respond to their needs, especially in light of Fratelli Tutti? Taking place on Saturday 15th January, at St Francis School, Southgate Drive, Crawley, RH10 6RP. Speakers, stalls, refreshments. Doors open 9.30 am.
Event runs from 10 am until 1 pm. Please wear a mask, dress warmly, and bring your own mug or flask. Seating spaced out, therefore places limited. Book here for Justice & Peace Assembly or E: Tessa.firstname.lastname@example.org