Christmas Greetings

“Congo School for Peace” 

The latest news from Mary – and  a Christmas Message from the Congo – have been added.  Click on the title to view them.

Christmas Message from Bishop Alan

To see the message from our Bishop, please click on the title above.

Christmas Greetings from around the Parish – December 2019

We hope these notes – submitted by some of our volunteers – help all parishioners understand what is needed to make the Parish function – and we note there are still more “unsung heroes” behind the scenes!  

It is very true that while we need you to contribute your “Treasure” to keep the parish financially solvent, it is equally important for everyone to think if – and how –  they could share their “Talents” and devote some “Time” to help build and maintain our Parish community.

Children Liturgy of the Word. Linda, Maria and Aloma would like to thank everyone who has helped and supported the group throughout the year.  A big thank-you to the children who have loyally attended and their enlightening contributions to the meetings. They have been a joy and I know Father Christmas will look kindly upon them. We meet on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays (during school term time) in the hall at 10.25.  Our stories and activities are aimed at children (3yrs to 7yrs) but all children welcome (happy for young children to be accompanied by parents) Merry Christmas to all. 

Happy Christmas from all the members of the Parish Pastoral Council. Over the last year we have supported Fr Martin, bringing to his attention matters that concern the parish and its parishioners.  We then discuss what can be done and what’s not such a good idea! This year’s top topics have been the Parish Renewal programme, the new rules on recording personal information, as well as trying to find a new Authorised Person to conduct the civil part of weddings. We also feedback parishioners’ positive comments and suggestions. We are here to listen. Christmas is the most joyous of feast; let’s do it justice!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.   Linda Last, Chair of PPC

Greetings from Terry our webmaster and repository salesman.  The Parish Website now averages some 3,000 users per year with over 9,000 pages being visited.  Our focus is the weekly information from the Parish Newsletter, supplemented by more in-depth articles on significant events like the Parish Renewal Programme. We also have an on-line copy of the full text of the Parish Handbook, with its insights into “Parish Organisation” and “Living the Catholic Life”.  The Repository – in the Hall after 10:30 Mass – stocks Bibles and Missals, Rosaries and Greetings Cards.  For Christmas there are Nativity sets, gifts and reasonably priced cards.  We provide learning materials for our various classes and make a small profit to help Parish funds.  

On behalf of The Church Cleaning Team:  Many thanks to everyone who comes to help keep the church clean and tidy over the year, both on the major Easter and Christmas cleans and on the weekly rota  It may be a rather thankless task (like one’s own housework) but it would soon be noticed if it wasn’t done!  We are always looking for more help, especially for this month’s major clean on the 18th December.  Come along, you will find a friendly group of people. There is no pressure to do more than you feel comfortable with doing, the more who come, the quicker it’s done and the better it all looks!

Waveney Food Bank Many thanks to all parishioners for their generous donations to the Food Bank over the past year.  We have had many messages of thanks from clients who were at the end of their tether and are extremely grateful to the Food Bank for coming to their rescue.

Christmas hampers have also been distributed to the elderly and others in need.  80 people who would otherwise spend Christmas on their own have been invited to a meal with food supplied by the Food Bank.

It also accepts donations of dog and cat food (tins or dried) as many clients often only have the company of a cat or dog in their lives and will feed their animals rather than themselves. Waveney Food Bank has joined forces with the Hygiene Bank and supplies families with much needed toiletries. These are essential items which add to the weekly shopping bill and are sometimes excluded in favour of food items.

The Food Bank is looking for more volunteers to keep up with their busy time.  They would be required once a month for a couple of hours at St Luke’s Church, Rigbourne Hill to welcome clients and to give out bags of food. Contact: Catherine Roberts on Catherine_rob46@hotmail.com and I will put you in touch with the organisers.

Mary’s Meals On the 1st December we launched this year’s Christmas appeal to help feed the 1,500,000 children in 18 countries for whom Mary’s Meals provides a daily meal enabling these children to receive food and an education which together provide hope for a better future It costs £13.90 to feed a child for a school year. Along with the annual Christmas appeal this year the parish and school together, over the summer months, donated 84 backpacks filled with educational items, toiletries and more for children aged 4 to 12 years.

On behalf of the many children you have helped over the years I would like to thank you all for your continued support and amazing generosity and wish you all a very Happy Christmas and Every Blessing for 2020. Helen Hemming, parish coordinator for Mary’s Meals.

The Flower Guild would like to thank everyone for their support, but we do need more people to help with the church flowers. We wish everyone a Peaceful and Happy Christmas and 2020.

Altar Servers A huge thanks to all the servers, who demonstrate weekly how successful multi-generation teams can work smoothly and efficiently together. This year saw the numbers increase as 4 new altar servers started post their Holy Communion, so a warm welcome to Anna, Elizabeth, Jeremy and Nate. We also said (a temporary we hope) goodbye to the twins as they have both gone to university. They have left big shoes to fill but were instrumental in helping to prepare the new servers for their roles.

Pam Storey would like to thank everyone who has supported the Friday charity stall or donated items during the year and wishes everyone a very Happy Christmas.

St Benet’s Choir would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks and appreciation for the kind comments received from time to time. We wish you all every happiness and joy this Christmas and throughout the coming year.

The Family Choir currently provides music on the 1st Sunday of every month for the Family Mass at St Benet’s at 10.30am, and sometimes on other occasions too. We rehearse on the day from 9.45 and all ages are welcome to join us to sing and/or play instruments. This is a very friendly group and lots of support is given, you don’t need to be able to read music and our musical style is wide ranging.  We include some modern worship tunes, traditional hymns, contemplative and Taizé. If interested, please contact Hilary Harrison on hillyharrison@gmail.com to find out more.

The Prayer Group The Year of the Word begins this Advent and our different parishes (e g Beccles and Bungay) will be observing this in different ways.  Through our Prayer Group we have the opportunity of developing the ancient monastic practice of Lectio Divina – prayerful study of the Bible conducted both individually and in collaboration with one another. During the coming year, we shall be expanding our activities with one or two further events and those of you who’d like to try leading a Lectio session are invited to contact Fr Martin and to come and join us (second Tuesday of the month at 7.30 pm in the Presbytery)

The Sisters of St Joseph and the students at the School for Peace in the DR Congo thank the parishioners for their prayers and financial support and wish you all a Blessed, Peaceful and Happy Christmas, and echoed by the Support Group.

Finally, “Seasons Greetings” from the Parish Newsletter editor who always has the last word!