Newsletter for 4th Sunday of Advent 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters
The Collect for today at Mass you will recognise as the same prayer we use when, together, we say the Angelus before, or after, mass. In this prayer the mystery of the Incarnation is balanced with the mystery of Easter. It is saying, in a prayerful way that the wonder of the incarnation – or as the Gospel says today – of ‘God-with-us,’ only finds its complete fulfilment and sense if the God who is ‘with us’ also experiences the profound injustices and cruelty of our human lives and does not flinch, in so doing, from remaining God-with-us. It is one thing to talk of the vulnerability of God becoming a little child in difficult circumstances and quite another to keep talking of the same God unflinchingly remaining with us as His love is rejected and crushed by human wickedness. So we see that God’s incarnation in Jesus is the fullness of his love. It moves us through the whole gamut of human experience and emotion and proves to us that the Christ is committed to us. We can trust him not to waiver when the going gets tough and the bullets start to fly and all around crumbles.
It is a kind of tradition to remember those who are having, or are about to have, a baby and to recognise God’s closeness to this mystery of new human life. The Collect today reminds us that Jesus is not just there in the warmth of milky babies but also in Aleppo, or wherever human beings are experiencing pain and suffering.
Strangely, this may not be the ‘God with us’ that we would sometimes desire. We would often be far more impressed with a super-hero and in some personal sense, I suppose, that would seem to be more effective in my own tragedies and difficulties but love is a mysterious force that is the more effective the more it is true to itself. In the Constitution on Divine Revelation from the Second Vatican Council it is described thus “(God) sent his Son, the eternal Word who enlightens all men, to dwell among men and to tell them about the inner life of God. That’s what God shows at Christmas – his inner life of love.
With my love.
There will be a second collection THIS WEEKEND for the local charity Number Five which is Guildford’s night shelter for homeless men and women. Last year the Parish raised a generous donation of £945.00 that was greatly appreciated.
All of the monies raised goes straight to residents to receive vouchers for both the local Odeon cinema to see a film of their choice and also a shopping centre voucher to spend on whatever they wish. It also goes towards buying everyone a takeaway of their choice as a treat on New Year’s Eve. The remaining money is kept for funds throughout the year that allows for any emergency monies that are needed for residents over the next twelve months.
The Christmas Crib collection will support the Friends of the Holy Land at the Bishop’s request. The Christian people of the Holy Land have been under increasing economic and political pressure in the past seventy-five years, and during that time the Christian population there has fallen steadily. Friends of the Holy Land (FHL) was established in 2009 to help and encourage Christians to flourish in the land of their birth, to ensure a secure presence where Christianity began. objectives are raising awareness of the challenges facing the Christians of the Holy Land, encouraging prayers for their intentions, generating and channelling financial resources to give them a sustainable future and encouraging visits to the Holy Land to meet local Christians.
Please give generously. See posters and cards around the Church.
Please note the Parish Office will be closed from Friday 23rd December and will reopen on Wednesday 4th January 2017.
The 300 club applications are coming in and there is still time to pop your entry into the Parish Office.
Congratulations to the Christmas winners who are D Rescorla, K Cole and M Searle.
The Parish Raffle will be drawn in Cranleigh after Mass on 18th December
This Sunday after 11am Mass please join your fellow parishioners in the Cranleigh Parish Meeting Room for a Christmas coffee. The Parish Raffle prizes will be drawn and Matthew Emms will be selling his “pots of joy” filled with bulbs for early spring. Profits will go to the church room fund. They make great Christmas party presents. £12.50 each, two for £25, 3 for £37.50. All made with love by the Emms girls. Thank you.
The Christmas Clean is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 17 December, after the 10.00am Mass (from around 10.30am onwards). So do join us if you can!
This year we are holding Midnight Mass at St Thomas More for a change. The usual attendance will fit in there very nicely and make for a very atmospheric service. The 6pm Cranleigh Mass is the most popular and is intended for families with young children and those who cannot attend Mass on Christmas Day. Jesus Christ the Redeemer of Mankind cannot seat more than 280 people by law and it would be a shame to have to turn people away. We have tried a ticket system before which was not popular and have suggested early arrival and this year we leave it to your common sense. Please consider coming to Midnight Mass or join family and friends on Christmas Day.
Following guidance from Bishop Richard the governors of St Cuthbert Mayne Catholic primary school propose to make changes to the Admission Policy and Supplementary Information Form for 2018-2019. These changes can be viewed on the school website www.stcuthbertmayne.co.uk.
The proposed changes do not affect Admissions for 2017 -2018.
PRAYER GROUP – Informal and moved by the Spirit – Meet every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month 9.15am-10.30am in Cranleigh Parish room. All welcome.
CAROL SERVICE St Thomas More, Bramley, on Sunday 18th December at 6.30pm. Everyone welcome. Bring all your friends. Bring your children to sing: Away in a Manger. Mulled Wine and mince pies in the Parish Room afterwards.
Bidding Prayers Rota Sunday Prayers of the Faithful.
We currently have a small team of people who compose the Bidding Prayers, or Intercessions, for Sunday Mass. This means that they are not just left to the clergy to compose but reflect what the people wish to pray for at various times. Another name for the prayers at that point in the Mass is “The Prayer of the Faithful” as they are the prayers of us all.
If you would like to join the team, (it amounts to composing them every seven weeks or so and guidance will be given) do please let Tracy know in the Parish Office soon.
I mentioned last week that I would report again when Fr Sean McGovern told me how he would use the £2,000 included for him in the recent transfer of £5,000 to Fr David Conway at Barpello Mission. Here is Fr Sean’s report.
“Food Relief. It is always a priority here. You will remember that one of your Year of Mercy projects was £2,500 – Ksh 322,500- for use where I saw the greatest need. The repair of our water project was paid from that and the balance of Ksh 105,951 was transferred to Food Relief. That project is again in need of funds So I will put £1,000 into it.
School Fees and Education. This project is of the greatest importance here. Unlike in the rest of Kenya, and indeed the rest of Pokot, education in this most remote area is at a very low state.
Few enough children are allowed to go to school and far too often the teachers don’t come either. Those children that do come are mostly there for the Pound a Week Group’s breakfast. I have no problem with that as they get a bit of education with the sweet porridge and camel milk! But education here comes in the list of priorities after herding goats and camels and fetching water and fire wood and other chores for the family. Again I can’t argue against that. Only yesterday the chief was here and said to me “Next year I will arrest anyone who refuses to send their children to school “! He means well. But that won’t work and he probably won’t do it anyway. Watch this space.”
Fr Sean also uses his Education Project to help students of poor families whom he has been in contact with. As funds allow, he will make a contribution to their school or university fees, expecting the family to help as well and take an active interest in their children’s education. Recently he also used the Project to make a donation to a fellow Holy Ghost father who was raising funds to build a girl’s dormitory at his Tangulbie Mission school in Pokot.
For more information about the Pound a Week Group’s support for the Pokot missions, please contact me on 01483-893379 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Eugene McGivern
TEENAGE RETREAT FOR YEARS 7-9 – INSPIRE @ WORTH ABBEY – FEBRUARY 10-12TH
This February there will be another retreat at Worth Abbey for young people in school years 7-9. INSPIRE is part of the youth retreat programme at The Open Cloister, which has been running successfully for a number of years. The retreats are run by an experienced team, with the support of the monastic community at Worth, and the Diocese. They give young people a brilliant chance to meet other young Catholics and to explore their faith in the beautiful atmosphere of Worth Abbey. There are also games, sports, social activities and much more. The weekend costs £84, but bursaries are available. For more information, or to book, Email email@example.com – bookings close February 3rd, or when the retreat is full. If you have any questions, you are also free to contact the Diocesan Youth Officer, Jack Regan – Jack.Regan@dabnet.org