WOW, WHAT A YEAR…

Every year is different – none as different as this one…

Wanted to write a few words of thanks and of hope at the outset of our celebration of Christmas. In one sense everything is different – but so much is the same in different clothing. Our focus at this time of year is the presence of the new life of Christ born again in our midst. If you think about it – that is the focus of the whole life as a Church all of the time – keeping Christ present in our lives, our homes, our Church and our world. On the journey of the past year we have been asked to learn a lot.
 
What does it mean to be community.  We have never been so separated “physically” from one another – and yet community has been ever more important. Not just our Sunday community – but our whole life of Caritas, receiving people into the Church, first Holy Communion of our children, our social life…. and so much more.  I believe we have grown stronger as a community.

How do we communicate with one another.  We are so used to meeting together physically and sorting things out in passing. There was so much to learn about keeping people up to date – more than that – the challenge of involving people when they are separated from us physically.  We were in a good position as we were already up and running with live  streaming – but a lot of work was done to improve and develop that side of our parish life and not enough can be said about each individual phone call that passed from one to another. It was amazing to see how many people took the plunge and became involved in social media for the first time… This also brought with it a virtual parish community – an additional group of people who had no access to their own Churches and found a home in ours…. We are one Church…

Not everyone is online. How do we keep those who do not have these tech possibilities in the loop. A new beginning for a parish SVP  (that’s my understanding) was a great answer and response – lets see where that exciting development takes us.

There has been a great sense of perseverance. The world has changed and we are still there for one another and God is there for us all. So much of what was taken away has only emphasised the great gift that our faith and our Church is – but also challenged us to be open of the Spirit of Change – God’s Spirit….

What is the meaning of Eucharist for me and for you.
We have grown in so many ways… Our Online presence and possibilities have taken on a new life. These once peripheral tools have become integral parts of our life and open up great new exciting opportunities…. We are a different community now – but one made up of the same people (with a few added and a few sadly who are no longer with us on our earthly journey). This external event has forced us, but freed us up to find and embrace new ways of doing things – an attitude and skill that will be of great help going forward. A crucial theme for me is how Eucharist and community belong together… This is a powerful truth that motivates me moving forward.

I enter this Christmas celebration with a great sense of gratitude for the new life in us and with great hope as we move forward as God’s family…. 

 Apart from that I am shattered….

Have a blessed Christmas and may God  continue to guide us in the New Year.


God Bless

Fr Andrew

Getting Ready – Advent and Christmas

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, BoltonClick 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

Events

Christmas Fayre

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…

Facebook

@stvincentsbolton

https://www.facebook.com/stvincentsbolton/

Youtube

St Vincent de Paul, Bolton