Fourth Sunday of Advent – 19th December 2021

Fourth Sunday of Advent – 19th December 2021

By In Newsletter Blog On December 17, 2021


CHRISTMAS MESSAGE from Fr Alistair

Jesus said to them, “Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.”  (Matthew 13:52)

Christmas, too, is both new and old.  Yes, we know what Christmas is about.  Yes, we know what it means.  We like the familiarity of annual traditions but occasionally it is good to be disturbed or discomforted, to consider things afresh.  What did, what does, the truth of the Incarnation mean for the whole of creation, not just for men and women?

For example, we know the words of many of the traditional carols so well, perhaps even by heart, that the words pass our lips almost without a thought of what it is, who it is, we are singing about.

We could, for a change, sing ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ to the original melody composed in 1868 by Lewis H. Redner.  ‘Away in a Manger’ can be sung to very many different melodies, the most familiar of which may be those by William J. Kirkpatrick (1895) and James R. Murray (1887).  Expecting to sing one thing and hearing something else instead can shock us into the present, stop us from presuming or taking things for granted.  Familiar words to different, even unfamiliar melodies make us think again, rediscovering the words, relishing the truth of God-with-us, God-made-man, Emmanuel.

Christmas during a time of pandemic is of necessity different: Christmas 2020 certainly was and, I dare say, Christmas this year will be too.

Screenshot 2021-12-17 at 09.53.36.pngA friend of mine sent me a picture of the Holy Family nativity scene which points up our contemporary circumstances and the differences we may experience.  Whilst also clever and amusing the picture points to the ongoing reality of the COVID pandemic – people are still becoming sick, still going into hospital, still dying, both in our own country and in countries across the world.

Spare a moment in the midst of your festivities to remember all who have died; pray in thanksgiving for those working on the medical frontline, not forgetting all those in the various armed services and emergency services who will be working over the Christmas holiday period, often away from home and family, to keep us safe and protected; seek the blessing of the Christ-child for yourselves and your families, for people throughout the world, and for creation itself.

May the blessings of the Feast of the Nativity and the Christmas season be yours in abundance.  A Happy Christmas to one and all.

PLEASE PRAY FOR…

… all the sick and/or housebound of the Parish including Roger Morton

… all who have died recently, and all whose anniversaries occur about this time:

Diary-dates.jpg

17th December – Please note the Parish Office will be closed Friday 17th December and will reopen on Wednesday 5th January.  Messages can be left via email or voicemail and will be read and dealt with if necessary, during this time.

 19th December – Cranleigh Village Carol Service This traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols is an ecumenical event and takes place at St. Nicolas Church, 6.30 pm on Sunday 19th December. All welcome.

25th December – Community Christmas Day Lunch organised by Churches Together in Cranleigh and open to everyone,1-4.30 pm in St. Nicolas Church Rooms. TO BOOK YOUR PLACE please contact St. Nicolas Church Office 01483 273620 or Sheila Smith 274376 by 20th December – at the latest.  Transport can be provided if needed. See poster in porch.

2nd January – There will be a special Mass for those families who have received the sacrament of Baptism in the past few years.

Screenshot 2021-12-09 at 09.33.07.pngSYNOD DISCUSSION GROUPS

A two-year ‘synodal’ process is taking place across the Catholic Church. This is an important moment in the life of the world Church, with Pope Francis calling us all to reflect on the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.” There will be two small groups running in the Parish to form a discussion group.  If you are interested in joining one of the groups please register your rsvp with office@cpcb.org.uk

Wednesday 5th January – Jane Harding will host the from 10.30 in the Cranleigh Parish Meeting Room, following dates are 12th and 19th January.

Monday 10th January – Eugene McGivern will host from 7pm in the Bramley Parish Meeting Room, following dates are 17th and 24th January.

ADVANCE NOTICES

3753883_1_O.jpg300 Club –To enter simply complete the form on the parish website www.cpcb.org.uk: Entries to be received by 30th January 2022.

6th January 2022 – The Epiphany of the Lord – Holy Day of Obligation:

10am Mass [Cranleigh] the Parish will be joined by St Cuthbert Mayne school.

7.30pm Mass [Bramley]

GENERAL NOTICES

 The Cranleigh Church Christmas Tree If you would like to make a donation towards the cost of the tree in Cranleigh please leave in an envelope marked ‘tree’ in the letterbox of the Presbytery.

 STAMPS I am collecting stamps for The Bible Society so please save them from your Christmas mail. There is a box to receive them at Cranleigh JCROM.  Win Bracking

 Christmas Gift  – If you do wish to leave a Christmas gift for Fr Alistair please use the special Christmas collection envelopes available in the church porches.  If you are a Gift Aid supporter, please put your Gift Aid number on the envelope.  Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year, Patrick Bergin, Chair of the Finance Committee

Mass Intentions – if you would like a Mass offered for a particular intention, complete one of the brown envelopes and return it to The Presbytery. For Anniversary Masses with a particular date, please give at least eight weeks’ notice as intentions are assigned on a first served basis. Mass stipends/offerings form part of the priest’s personal income. If you request a Mass Intention, then it is usual to offer a donation as a Mass stipend.. This is at your discretion and there is no fixed amount although a minimum of £10 is suggested if you can afford it. Cash for Mass stipends can be put in the Mass Intention envelopes.

dec-logo--neon-red.pngCAFOD is combining efforts with the DEC to launch the Afghanistan Crisis Appeal.  In Afghanistan, 8 million people are on the brink of famine because of drought, collapsing economy, food shortages, conflict, and COVID. CAFOD is supporting sister Caritas agencies to reach communities most in need with food, clean water, and fuel. During Advent, when we open ourselves to the needs of others, let’s do all that we can to save lives. You can donate on the CAFOD: cafod.org.uk/AfghanistanAppeal and please pray for the people of Afghanistan.

16342921544933.jpgCHRISTMAS, CREATION and COP26

COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, ran from 31 October to 13 November.  Was it really only six weeks ago?

The Church very much takes its steer and vision from the Encyclical Letter Laudato si’ (24 May 2015) of Pope Francis with its powerful subtitle “On Care for our Common Home”.  Strange and disturbing then, to see again the other weekend (4/5 December) in the Catholic press details of events in the German Diocese of Aachen around the town of Keyenberg where three more churches have been deconsecrated prior to their demolition to make way for continuing expansion of the RWE Garzweiler II opencast lignite (“brown coal”) mine.

(I say “again” and “three more” because you may perhaps remember reading associated news articles about the demolition of several other churches since the millennium: the church of St. Simon and Judas Thaddäus (Jude Thaddeus) in Alt-Otzenrath following deconsecration in 2006 and demolition in 2007; St Lambertus Church in Immerath following deconsecration in 2013, the resettlement of village residents in 2006 and the subsequent protracted court cases; the Church of St Martin in Borschemich, deconsecrated in 2014 and demolished in 2016.)

The lignite is used for power generation at nearby power plants such as Neurath and Niederaußem.  What the effect the national plan to phase out all coal-fired power plants in Germany by 2038 will have on the Garzweiler lignite mine system remains to be seen but communities, villages, churches, and landscape have already been sacrificed to this voracious mining behemoth.  The three churches demolished on 28 November 2021 lie within different administrative areas of the Rhineland town of Erkelenz which is itself in the municipality of Heinsburg (North Rhine-Westphalia): the Helig Kreuz (Church of the Holy Cross), Keyenberg; the Herz-Jesu-Kirche (Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), Kuckum; and the St. Josef Chapel, Berverath.  Each of the churches was deconsecrated on 28 November 2021.  Demolition of these churches had originally been planned to take place in 2025/26.

The Catholic Church and her officials (the Diocese of Aachen, Bishop Helmut Dieser and his predecessor Bishop Emeritus Heinrich Mussinghoff, and the Archdiocese of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Woelki and his predecessor Cardinal Joachim Meisner) have been repeatedly criticized for its stance on the Garzweiler II open-cast lignite mine; various protest groups and alliances called on the dioceses several times not to sell any land or church to the RWE Group but all in vain.

Pokot News

I am delighted to report that following the recent appeals and as a result of your great generosity, we sent  the magnificent sum of £9,100 to the Pokot Missions last Wednesday.  Of this, £2,480 was to pay for a new borehole pump for the Barpello Mission school; £1,250 was for school and university fees for sponsored students; £300 bought eight  goats for two poor families; and a magnificent £2,535 each went to Fr Sean at the Rotu Mission and Fr Paul at the Mission school for emergency food during the present drought and Christmas meals. They have asked me to convey to you all their most sincere thanks for our continuing and most generous support. They added that it was indeed wonderful to have us as partners in their Pokot mission. I can also report that we have sufficient funds on hand to create a scholarship worth £2,200 to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Pound a Week Group in September 1996. It will be awarded next April to one of three young girls from Fr Sean’s primary school at Rotu who are expected to qualify for secondary education in their national exams. It will pay upfront all the girl’s fees and extras for her four years at the Barpello School. You may remember from earlier reports that when Fr Sean opened his one room primary school at the Mission in 2012, not a single person in the entire area had been to school. He has achieved so much and against considerable odds in such a relatively short period of time as young boys and girls are traditionally part of the family workforce, herding the animals, gathering firewood and wild fruits in the bush and it took great perseverance to persuade families that an education was the better option for their children’s future.

If anyone would like to know more about the Pound a Week Group, please contact me on 01483-893379 or at emcgivern@btinternet.com


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