Those of you who know me well know that I get the seasons mixed up on a regular basis. When it’s Lent I have the tendency to talk about Advent – when Advent then Lent – Happy Christmas can easily become Happy Easter… On the one hand I am feeling more confused than ever. I really can’t remember having celebrated Easter this year and it seems just days ago since we were together for Christmas.
Thankfully there is a common denominator – Christ. The challenge for us is to focus on him. There is so much to see and learn, so much to change and to improve. These festivals of faith are of course about remembering the person of Christ, his life, death and resurrection – but they are more about the continuation of his mission – the salvation of the world. Focusing on faith and the action that it calls us to is what we want to focus on this week. Moving from back to basics to “belonging” with all the rights and responsibilities that go along with it.
Quick notes and reminders: – Remember to book your Christmas Mass – 07508 831238 – Monday to Friday between 9am- 5.00pm… – You can now get your raffle tickets – CLICK HERE – We are still collecting for Caritas and for our Crib Collection – We have an Advent Service on Wednesday… – We are out of Lockdown and have Masses with congregation on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and Friday…
These last months have been mad – to say the least. Testing certainly! But also a chance to open ourselves to lots of new ways of doing things, of reaching out to each other, of supporting, of praying. Lockdown 2.0 will come to an end on December 2nd. We will return to communal worship from Saturday, 5th December – The Second Sunday of Advent. After that our normal rhythm of Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday Mass being for the public and online. The other days will be online only.
This newsletter brings our Advent and Christmas Program. For me this marks the beginning of a new season. A new chance to open myself to the plan of God. Amidst all the planning take time to step back, give thanks, praise God and embrace the challenge of living the faith today. I know many want to just go crazy this time of year – can we go crazy doing the right things for ourselves and for others. I hope it brings us all great joy…
Please download our Advent and Christmas Flyer – CLICK HERE….
Christmas Masses – Please BOOK – !!!!! Important !!!!! For our Christmas Services, you will need to BOOK by calling the telephone number below from Monday, Nov 30th onwards.
To make a booking – Call 07508 831238 Monday to Friday between 9.00 am-5.00 pm.
Crib Visits As well as the Christmas Masses – Church will be open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of Christmas Week from 2-4 pm. For those who are not yet comfortable coming back to a service – you can come and visit the crib – you can pray quietly – I will also be available in Church to distribute Communion and give a blessing.
I wanted to get that news out front and centre. But I would ask that you don’t forget – it is not Christmas yet – it is Advent – a really special time of the year. Don’t let this time pass by without paying attention to your heart and to God!
We are living through uncertain times. I am certainly feeling it right through to my bones. The difficulty with this is that a lot of things we would like to be “normal” to offer us a sense of control, are also not achievable…. This run up to Christmas will be very different. We are planning as best we can – but we will need to wait for Government guidance on what is possible or not. We continue to stream live – and we will add lots of stuff for Advent and Christmas… We can’t have our Fair – a real shame. But we can continue to help others through our actions…..
Advent and Christmas Action We are collecting in Church and in the Presbytery for three things:
1) Christmas Raffle We are asking for donations for the Christmas Raffle. 5 prizes will be put together from what we gather… 1 A TV…. 2 A food hamper 3 A drinks hamper 4 A smellies hamper 5 Some high street vouchers. Anything we don’t use for prizes will be used for Caritas – locally and on a Diocesan level.
2) Our Caritas Collection We are collecting to support the Diocese of Salford Caritas They need the following items…. • Cereals • Tinned Soups and Stew • Pasta, rice and pasta sauce. • Tinned meat or fish, beans and frozen vegetables and fruit. • Long life milk or natural fruit juices. • Liquid hand soaps, sanitisers and personal hygiene products. We will make sure we make provision for local families before passing on the goods to Caritas.
3) Our Crib Collection We are collecting money donations for three Charities we support every year at this time. Frances House, Derian House and the Mother and Baby Unit close by. This will be a crib collection. You can donate in the collection bucket at the crib, we have envelopes you can use – or you can donate online on our website.
Please give what you can – we will do the rest…… Just dump it on our doorstep…
We are moving into the month of November, traditionally a month where we “remember”.
The month begins with the feast of All Saints. We raise our eyes to heaven and look to the example of those lives that shine a light on the way of life that we are all called too. There is of course the diversion of Halloween – that comes from Hallow or Holy and certainly is to do with more than ghosts.
All Souls is one of the most emotive days of our calendar. We think of the souls in heaven or on their way, our prayer for them and their prayer for us. God places people in our lives, they all mean a great deal and it is good to take stock.
This of course has the twofold call for us to look at how we are living our lives, and a reminder that each day counts.
November also sees us remember the fallen of the wars, Remembrance Sunday. The playing of the Last Post is something that demands reflection and gratitude. That Last Post will not be missing from our celebrations amid all the external restrictions that we are living through right now.
I think November does talk to us in a special way – but it is a reminder to make our conversations count. Life has great meaning. How important is it for us to speak to and support one another on our journey of life. To rise to the challenges and to be reminded that we are not alone.
We have wanted to ensure faith and not fear is the guide for us on our journey through this pandemic. A key to this is to take time away from the noise of the news and turn to activities that can help us deepen and broaden that faith – a faith that can be challenged.
We want to have a conversation with each other and with the Gospels of this month of November. Two great sources for us to find what faith is all about in these times. The Bible and our faith community.
Join us in that conversation – or have that conversation with friends and family….
It certainly does not always feel that way – but we are blessed. It’s really important for us to check our perspective again and again. I don’t know about you, but I certainly get moved off track by the noise of the current situation – but we are blessed. Certainly in our little community there are intentions upon intentions for people in really difficult situations – but we are blessed.
We are blessed that we have this community of sharing and caring. We are blessed that we can practice our faith. We are blessed because we have the resources to reach out and help.
Evening Blessing Am not sure if you are aware, but there is a growing group of people that check in very quickly with each other at 9 pm Tuesday to Sunday. They gather on Facebook and Youtube for a quick evening prayer and blessing. It’s great, especially at the end of the day to wind down and turn once again to God. It’s great at the end of the day to be reminded that no one needs to be alone – even in these most difficult of times.
Join us on Facebook – @stvincentbolton – @schoenstattfamilyengland – @frandrewpastore….
As the tech gets better – so do we. Over the next few weeks I will be inviting other priests to join me and share their blessing with us all….
Adult Formation Each year we have two blocks of evening sessions to deepen our faith. This year we are not going to follow a specific program, we will turn simply to the Sunday Gospel. Each Wednesday from 7-8pm in November, you are invited to join me in a conversion about the Gospel of the coming Sunday. Sharing our impressions and delving deeper into what this Gospel is saying to us today. All welcome.
Prepare for November and send us your November list to remember your loved ones…
The first two days of November set the tone for the month. All Saints and All Souls. Our focus on these darker days shifts to the heavenly home ready to welcome all of us. This comes just before the season we celebrate the New Life that comes into the world for our salvation.
We celebrate the saints that have been marked out for the way of living that led them to heaven and highlights them as examples and as guides for us to live our life to the full. We remember all souls too. We remember those we have know that have “gone before us with the sign of faith”, we rely on their continued love and support. We accompany them in prayer, believing in God’s mercy that he will “gather them all unto himself”. November is known as the month of the dead – but reminds us of the gift and importance of life.
November Lists During the month of November each day at mass, we bring forward the lists of names of those we remember. Our family and friends, parishioners and especially those who have been buried from this Church in the last year. You can send a list into Church to be included in our celebration. If you are able, we would ask that you make a donation to the Parish Community with your mass intentions.
1. Prepare your list – Download our November List – [CLICK HERE] – Just write the names of those you wish to remember on a piece of paper or in an e-mail
2. Put your list in an envelope with your donation
3. Send your list to Fr Andrew, post it through the Presbytery letter box or drop it off at Church – Address – St Vincent’s Presbytery, 40 Newbrook Road, Over Hulton BL5 1ER – E-Mail Fr Andrew: [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Donations We are aware of the challenging times that we find ourselves in. If you are in need of assistance – please do not be afraid to reach out. We are facing the challenge of maintaining our parish and expanding our support for the community at the same time.
Here are ways you can make a contribution.
1. Look out for the initiatives of the Friend’s of St Vincent. All activities are to help develop our community and raise money for the Parish at the same time.
2. You can always drop off cash or cheque donations at Church or through the Presbytery letterbox. Cheques are payable to St Vincent de Paul Over Hulton.
3. Make a bank transfer or set up a standing order: TSDT St Vincent de Paul Over Hulton Account Nr.: 40620122 Sort Code: 20-55-34 SWIFTBIC: BARCGB22 IBAN: GB94 BARC 2055 3440 6201 22
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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