We live in a country where the weather changes rapidly and often.
Many years ago I had an experience in India. I was working there in our seminary. I was involved in the organisation of one of the large feast days, where 6-8 thousand people would attend. It was the beginning of the rainy season and the planning meeting was scheduled for 5pm. At 4pm on the dot, the rain came down. Wow. It was torrential. The streets were like free flowing streams – a bit like in the many flooding scenes we have seen over the last months. Un-deterred, I headed of to the house of the Schoenstatt Sisters, where the meeting was to be held. I arrived around 4.55pm. I knocked on the door and a sister opened with a surprised look on her face. “Why are you here?” She asked. “I’ve come for the planning meeting”, I replied. Her answer has stayed with me until today. “But it is raining.”
For us, if we were to cancel meetings every time it rained – we would not get very much done.
There are many storms at the moment. We just need to switch on the news to see wildfires and floods. In the Church and in politics, there are so many cracks and issues, it can become overwhelming. Add on to that the heavy toll of the pandemic, and there is a danger that we will not find the energy to look for God’s plan as we move forward in our life as a community.
I am asking everyone to use a portion of the energy to be creative about our Parish life. To invest in it. To get involved and to bring ideas. So many things have changed and there is a longing to get back to normal. I want us too, long not for the past – but for a better future. Not only long for it, but, make it happen.
As we celebrate the feast of the Assumption – let’s ask Our Lady to raise our eyes to heaven, to raise our eyes to God and to have the courage and conviction to ask him where he wants us to go.
The big challenge for me at this minute is to remain calm in the midst of the perceived great insecurity. TV experts debate ad nausium about each aspect of the changes coming. You have to be careful not to be completely sucked in to the eternal debates and discussion.
The 19th July will mark a significant milestone on our journey through this pandemic. Although we have not received any direction from the diocese as yet, the key factors are clear for us moving forward.
We still have the same mission we had before, during and after the pandemic.
Rules on social distancing and other restrictions will change.
We will respond as a caring community.
We have planned through to the end of July. There will be stewards in place for all masses, so we can calmly manage the transition. Our rhythm of public masses on Wednesday and Friday – the others online only – will continue.
The suggested changes are:
We will remove the ropes to make all benches available and so be able to fit more people in.
We will keep mass as it is now – people going to communion when called by stewards at the end and leaving immediately. There will be no singing.
We want to keep the need to wear a mask to offer a sense of security to all.
It would be great if you could get in touch and let me know what you think…
Report on our Annual General Meeting in October 2019
This year we tried something new….
In past years we have had our meeting around the feast of St Vincent de Paul. The meeting has been on a Thursday evening – it was always useful. There was great feedback and those who took part could take away a greater knowledge of what was happening and who was involved in the various activities and responsibilities.
The issue was – attendance was very low.
How do we reach a great number of people and so include more parishioners in the stewardship of the parish community. It is about being informed, but more – it is also about having a voice and becoming involved.
In the Parish Pastoral Council we decided to anchor the meeting to our Sunday masses (a captive audience :-)). There were challenges of course. How long? What form? Getting people to join in…..
A feedback form was sent out 3 weeks before the meeting. We had 18 responses and looked at what was there and how we could respond.
We wanted the meeting to make visible the members of the council and showcase important themes and the way ahead.
So it was decided.
As we could not talk on all subjects we would present an annual report. As far as possible all members of the council would take part. This meant that we did not need and “open mic” – we had the feedback forms and in case of clarifications people would be encouraged to speak with he appropriate person and seek clarification.
Included in the report is the 5 year plan – our planning to develop both our buildings and our spirit over the coming years.
As well as a report we would also publish a calendar of events for the coming year. Together with this I laid out the 3 priorities for moving forward. The priorities come from our ongoing work as a council and stem from our away day at the Schoenstatt Shrine in August.
The priorities are:
Being a welcoming parish
Looking for and engaging the missing young adult section of our community
Developing our channels of communication
There was a bit of tense apprehension as we began these meetings. But the response was very positive. In a very short period of time we passed on a lot of information. More importantly we demonstrated by our actions how much we want to involve as many as possible in the development and challenges of our parish community.
Many thanks to all council members and parishioners involved in the many activities and responsibilities involved in helping a parish community to grow and develop. I would like to especially thank Jackie Solomon – the Parish Council Secretary for her work in collating our annual report (amongst other things!).
Now it is time to get on with he work….
These documents are available for you to download:
The Parish Council will be meeting today- one of our bimonthly meetings to look ahead and make sure we are making progress in the areas we wanted to grow….
First Holy Commonion
It is fantastic each year to celebrate the “Source and Summit” of our life as Catholic’s – the Eucharist. Five children this year will celebrate their deepest encounter with Christ. As a community it is good that we come together with them to celebrate and mark the occasion. To that end – a new initiative. After mass on Sunday there will be a little “Garden Party” with something to eat, something to drink and lots of things for the children to do – do celebrate with us – the sacred and the familial…
Come along and celebrate with us
Pray for all children receiveing their First Holy Communion
This year we started streaming the mass on Friday (for the sick) and on Sunday on Youtbue. This found a lot of resonance – especially with those restricted to their homes due to age or health – but also with some who were on holiday and could not get to a Church. We were simply broadcasting from a phone at this point. Unfortunately, YouTube changed their user policies and we can no longer stream live directly from a phone until we have 1000 subscribers – so we are going to have to adapt.
Am hoping for the gift of a computer in the coming weeks – but there will be a need to purchase some equipment – we can stream through a browser or browsing program….
Will keep you up to date ast to where we are going with this…
Could you sponsor some of the equipment we need.
Am looking for people to operate the equipment on a Sunday….
Fish and Chip Friday
There are a number of events coming up from our Social and Fundraising Team. The first of which is our Fish and Chip Fridays. We are going to go one step further this year and we will be having entertainment after the meal – the first week – Bingo…..
Look out for the tickets on sale shortly….
We are looking for sponsors so we can keep the price down….
There is lots more ongoing and coming up. Will be trying to blog every two weeks – you can find info on our website www.stvincentsbolton.org – follow us on Facebook – and look out for our “Live at Five” program every other week….A
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.
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
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