I am feeling like a big supermarket chain at the moment. It seems too early to be plugging Christmas – we need to get through Advent first. But, as Christmas is all about Christ, it is good that we all look at our preparations — look in advance through all the noise around and about us – not just at the presents and the decorations – but at the interior preparations to welcome Christ into our hearts and homes…. That is what this post is all about. Making conscious choices about what we want to do in the run up to Christmas….
We recently had people from Bethlehem at St Vincent’s selling their olive wood carvings. I got a little statue that is symbolic of the challenge of Advent and Christmas – it is a statue of Mary, Joseph and the donkey – Shelter Seeking… Are our doors open to let them enter and bring Christ into the midst of whatever is happening in our hearts and homes.
What will be happening at St Vincent’s and how can you join in?
Youth Mass – Tree of Jesse
We will be ending the year as always on the feast of Christ the King. Our young parishioners will lead us to worship of the “King of Kings”.
Over the last couple of years we have given our young people an Advent Calendar to prepare for Christmas – this year we will be giving them a calendar with a difference.
There is a tradition in the Church of decorating a “Jesse Tree” in the build up to Christmas. It was a way of the early Church of connecting people decorating their Christmas trees to the prophecies of the Old Testament leading up to the birth of Jesus.
The Jesse Tree depicts the relationship of Jesus with Jesse and other biblical figures who were the ancestors of Jesus. Jesse was the father of King David and is looked upon as the first person in the genealogy of Jesus. With this tree we trace the journey of God who comes to us in the infant Jesus.
In Church we will have a Jesse tree in the sanctuary and watch it grow as week by week as we approach the arrival of the Son of God.
All our children – and any home that wants one – will be given a pack to decorate a Jesse tree at home – as well as watching the development of the one at Church.
Youth Mass – Sunday, 25th November 2018 – 10am
Live on Youtube – St Vincent de Paul, Bolton – Click Here
Advent Meditation – Journey with Jesse – In Church and Online
Each day through advent we will add a symbol of an old testament figure and think about what they have to say to as as we journey together.
For those who would like to go a little deeper (those who attend Mass during the week and those who can’t) there will be a 10 minute special meditation each Friday on the Journey of Jesse.
The Mass on Friday is streamed live on Youtube – we provide this especially for our sick and housebound – it can be watched live or later on demand. This is also a great opportunity if you are busy and are looking for a short meditation to get you in the “real” Christmas spirit.
You can also get inspiration through our Facebook Page. Each day in Advent we will publish a short text from St Vincent de Paul on topics surrounding our Advent and Christmas Preparation.
Join us on Facebook – @stvincentsbolton
All the texts are taken from a lovely book – Advent and Christmas wisdom from St Vincent de Paul – and can be found following the link below…
The book https://amzn.to/2OH8byr
You might also like the “Walk with me” booklets and children’s Advent Calendars at the back of Church
This year’s Christmas Fayre will be held in the Parish Centre on Sunday 2nd December after the 10.00am Mass. Please donate BOTTLES for the Bottle Tombola, FANCY GOODS, RAFFLE PRIZES etc, but NO books or bric-a-brac. Bring or send these to the Church as soon as possible. Come along & enjoy a “bacon butty.” Please support this Parish event, of which, all proceeds will go to support Francis House and Derian House Children’s Hospices
Sunday 2nd December after the 10.00am Mass
Nativity for the Children
Last year for the first time we started a little initiative where we had a free flowing nativity play with our youngest parishioners. A bit of song and we move around the Church enacting the journey to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus in the manger – by this time we have gotten to the altar.
Thursday 13th December 2018 at 6pm
Carols on the Car Park
Each year we gather as an Over Hulton Community with all the Church’s on our Car Park for Carols and lots more…. Put the date in your diary and come along. All Welcome
Monday, 17th December 2018 at 6.30pm
The Diary for Advent and Christmas
See the Events Page of the website or pick up a leaflet in Church.
Connect with us…
St Vincent de Paul, Bolton
Since coming to St Vincent’s I have been touched by a devotion to St Joseph. I think back to the itnroduction of the New Missal and how Pope Francis emphesised
the naming of St Joseph as “spouse of Mary” in the Eucharistic Prayer, so he is present for us each day, understood as an important player in the great “scheme” of things… I think of a young couple I married a while ago, they had an intense relationship to St Joseph…. I think of my own devotion to Mary and a constant inquisitiveness in the man who was her “spouse”
St Joseph is so topical today. The questions of the world and work, the issues of family and society, the question of the centrality of the reality of fatherhood in the wold today, and the issues around human sexuality and our part in “salvation history”.
Convent of Mercy…
In May I was asked to give a reatreat day for the Oldham Walsingham Society at the Convent of Mercy in Werneth. Oldham. I had heard that the convent was about to close. The reatreat day for the Society was held there most years – and this was to be a last vist – quite emotinal for many.
I too had had some contact – not so much with the convent – but with sisters who worked from their. These sisters supported – with Fr Jim Rawson the Parish Priest of Corpus Christi, Oldham – the little Schoenstat Family on its journey at it’s very beginnings. In the convent you see the odd unity corss, or other signs of that connection through the convent still.
As well as the Walsihgham society, some of the sisters took part in the day of recollection – filled with their own sense of a change being afoot.
The topic ot the reatreat day was – Do not let your hearts be troubled.
When I think of the courage of the women who pioneerd these places from which so much learning and healing happened. I think of the many lives touched. It is clear that their intention was not the retention of prpoerty and buildings – but of the spreading and lived example of the messege of the gospel – and that courage is demanded of us today.
There can be many ways that this mission can continue…
The day after the retreat I tentativly – and as sensitively as possible – asked if it owuld be possible to have the statue of St Jospeh from teh chapel… It is a very beautiful depiction
Things wer uncertain then, but the sisters would let me know if and when things wiht the sale of the convent progressed…
As it transpired – the buyer wanted to leave the chapel as it was – something quite wonderful when you think about it – but there were two other statues that I could have a look at…
Finally I visited and chose to give “St Joseph the worker” a chance to find a home in St Vincent’s…
All I can say is – Joseph got straight to work.
If there is one challagene that has nearly beat me – it is the provision of a loo in our Church. Many attempts have geen made – many plans rejected. Things seemed to go backwards and forwards without end…
But on the day we got the statue from the Convent – Friday, 27th August – news came therough from the Dicoes – we can go ahead with the latest scheme we have had planned for a while – let’s see if the council can intervene…
I am so grateful to the Sisters of Mercy – not just for the statue, but for the many years of service to so many people….
I wonder what St Joseph has in store for them and for us next….
From the hights of First Holy commuion to the – not depths – but certainly different – level of the orindary meal.
During the summer months Tiny Footsteps Nursery – a great resource to the local community – and great support for the Parish in the up keep of the Hall – will be on their summer break. During that time we have much wider access to the hall for other activities.
One thing that is a fous for me in this period is the chances for us to gather socially.
To that effet I have “stolen” and idea that runs very succesfully at the Schoenstatt Shrine and Pastoral Centre in Kearsley – Fish Friday’s.
Fish, chips and peas (from Olympus, Bolton), bread & butter, tea & coffee… £6.50
You have to let us know in advance – no tickets on the door….
Contact Fr Andrew
Last week and this we have focused on the children making First Holy Communion. It’s a big moment in their lives – even though it will be hard for them to comprehend. But for us too, it’s a chance to look at our own understanding and, more importantly, relationship to Eucharist.
Can you remember your own First Holy Communion. I told mys story – not what you would expect – and many other storues are the same – not waht you would expect. As we celebrate our children in these days – remember your own preperation – rember the moment you recieved the Body of Christ.
Bread of Life
So ordinary – yet so special. Bread is a commodity today. But , at the time of Jseus it was an imprortant staple. We here lots of biblical stories of the “manner in the desert”, moments of “unleavened bread”, the disciples in Emmaus “recognise” Him in the breaking of bread…
It is so ordinary – yet so special. something hard to comprehend.
Jesus died that “we might have life” and have it in full.
This is our “connection” to God – he comes to us again and again- and we can come to him.
Many thanks to all thaose who have prepared the children for this experience. We think of their paresnts and of our catechisms…
We live in the world of the web. This is one way for us – not only to communicate with one another in our Parish Community – but also to give witness… Let’s hope and pray that we can use these tools well….
This page is still a working progress and will soon feature a regular news blog here.