|Letter from Fr Mark McManus 29th November|
|Dear Parishioners of St Joseph's & St Charles',|
|I wish you and your families a blessed holy season of Advent as we begin our new liturgical year and prepare to celebrate the birth of our Saviour.
A Message from Joseph's Primary School
Christmas is such a special time – but this year things are going to be a little different for all of us.
Here at school, we are still making sure that our children and staff journey together through Advent. The children will still be performing nativities and carrying out their assemblies as usual. These shall all be filmed and made available to our families and to you.
We are mindful that because of restrictions, we can’t do many of the things we would normally do. We are really keen to reach out to you all at this special time, so we have created our own school Advent Calendar, especially for the parish of St. Josephs. Every day throughout Advent a picture and reflection will appear on the church website and Facebook page.
We really do hope that you enjoy these and that they give you some joy during this time.
We really look forward to seeing you all next year.
Mrs Debra McFarlane, Head Teacher,
Mrs Harrand & all at St Joseph's School
The Nature of Advent
ADVENT begins this Sunday. It is a very evocative religious season because it is interwoven with hope and spiritual expectation: every time the Christian community prepares to commemorate the Redeemer's birth, it feels a quiver of joy which to a certain extent it communicates to the whole of society.
In Advent, Christians relive a dual impulse of the spirit: on the one hand, they raise their eyes towards the final destination of their pilgrimage through history, which is the glorious return of the Lord Jesus; on the other, remembering with emotion his birth in Bethlehem, they kneel before the Crib.
The hope of Christians is turned to the future but remains firmly rooted in an event of the past. In the fullness of time, the Son of God was born of the Virgin Mary: "Born of a woman, born under the law", as the Apostle Paul writes (Gal 4:4).
Today's Gospel invites us to stay on guard as we await the final coming of Christ. "Look around you!", Jesus says. "You do not know when the master of the house is coming" (Mk 13:35). The short parable of the master who went on a journey and the servants responsible for acting in his place highlights how important it is to be ready to welcome the Lord when he suddenly returns.
The Christian community waits anxiously for his "manifestation", and the Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, urges them to trust in God's fidelity and to live so as to be found "blameless" (cf. I Cor 1:7-9) on the day of the Lord. Most appropriately, therefore, the liturgy at the beginning of Advent puts on our lips the Psalm: "Show us, O Lord, your kindness, and grant us your salvation" (cf. Ps 85:8).
We might say that Advent is the season in which Christians must rekindle in their hearts the hope that they will be able with God's help to renew the world.
Indeed, we will find the good fruits of our hard work when Christ delivers to the Father his eternal and universal Kingdom. May Mary Most Holy, Virgin of Advent, obtain that we live this time of grace in a watchful and hardworking way while we await the Lord.
Pope Benedict XVI
Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.
St Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
With my prayers,
Rev. Mark McManus