(Editor’s Note: This is a “2-week newsletter” as we are away from 08 to 12 December. Any later additions will be added on Monday 13 December. Please also note that this means there are only 2 Repository “shopping days” until Christmas – today, Sunday 05 December, and then Sunday 19 December!
Second and Third Sundays of Advent
The Sunday Gospels introduce us to the figure of John the Baptist, whose ministry climaxes in the Baptism of our Lord, to be celebrated on the second Sunday of January.
The Nativity Gospel of St Luke suggests to us that John was second only to Jesus in the advent of God’s Kingdom: the spiritual revival associated with John gave his followers the will to change their lives, while the visible presence of the Holy Spirit in the Baptism of Jesus shows us a gift of grace from the source of life itself – a divine crown for some of the best efforts of the human will.
(St John the Baptist said: ‘He must grow greater; I must grow smaller’ – Jn 3,30)
During the coming days we’ll be decorating St Benet’s for the festive season; volunteers (individuals / families / groups of friends?) are still needed to contribute wreaths, which can be in your own style, to be placed on the six radiators in the nave. LED candles and oases are available for this from Fr Martin.
There will be a collection for Christmas flowers at the end of Mass, today, Sunday 5th December.
We are asked not to forget the charitable enterprises we’re supporting: – please see below for St Mary’s Hardship Fund, Mary’s Meals, and the Dependent Priests’ Fund .
We hope to clean the brass in St Benet’s on the morning of Monday 20th December (start 10 am); and the ‘big clean and polish’ is planned for the morning of Wednesday 22nd December (from 9 am).
Please contact Sue Boyes (01502 712971) if you are able to help.
This is being planned for 7 pm on Tuesday 21st December (with a slight limitation on the amount of singing, in accordance with Covid guidance).
We have to bear in mind that this event may well have to be cancelled because of the pandemic. Please watch this space, and keep an eye on the situation.
Christmas Eve: Friday 24December
With the known popularity of Christmas Eve Masses, and the limits on our “safe capacity”, it will be necessary to reserve a place for any of the three Masses that are available on Christmas Eve.
The arrangements are:-
3.00 pm at Gillingham – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
5.30 pm at Hipperson’s Boatyard – please email email@example.com (or phone 01502 712 166 on Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, until 17th December) .
8.00 pm in St Benet’s – tickets will be available at the back of the church (one ticket per person) from Terry (10.30 Mass), Linda (6.00 Mass) and Fr Martin during the week.
We confirm that tickets will NOT be required for the Christmas Day Masses at 8:00 am at Gillinham and 10:30 am at St Benet’s – though we continue to be limited to our “safe capacity”.
Note that, as usual, there will be no Evening Mass on Christmas Day.
Terry has posted some of the latest news about the Synodal Pathway on the parish website: https://saintbenetsbeccles.org/synod.
As a first step, we are encouraged to make our individual responses to the Ten Questions by forwarding them to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Responses on paper can be handed to Fr Martin if wished).
Neville hopes to be with us on the weekend of December 12th and Howard Trust, who has kindly agreed to collaborate with us in preparing a collective response from our parish, will speak to us after the 6 pm Mass on Sunday December 19th.
In the New Year, we intend to get together to discuss some of the issues involved in composing the collective response: there will be four ‘Zoom’ meetings on Thursday evenings in January and February to enable us to complete this first phase on time. Before Easter, our collective response should be published to enable us to see where we stand, as a parish, along the ‘synodal path’
A copy of the text of the letter from CBCEW and read on Sunday 28 November 2021 has been posted. Click on the title to view it.
St Benet’s Social Club
Owing to new Covid restrictions – and legitimate anxieties about transmission of the new variant – the next meeting of the social club is postponed until the New Year.
Invitation to Tea, with Fr Martin – Tuesday 14th December
In response to new Covid anxieties, the planned Christmas tea can be ‘moved’ to take place in the parish hall at 3.30 pm on Tuesday 14th December.
However, it’s important to let Fr Martin know if you’d like to attend (please do so within the next few days, if interested).
The new arrangement depends upon school regulations which are liable to change at short notice: it’s important to let Fr Martin know your contact details, in case we need to cancel at the last minute.
St Mary’s Hardship Fund
This exists to support anyone in our parish who finds themselves in desperate need. It is administered in strict confidence by the parish priest.
Support comes from the donations for tea and coffee after 10.30 Mass, but lockdown has reduced this income. Please donate by attaching a tag to the “Twig Tree” at the back of the church and place a donation in the ‘St Mary’s Fund’ wall box.
Why not treat this as a “Special Offering to Fr Martin”, so he has a means to ‘love our neighbours’ on our behalf, and help even more people who are in real need?
Mary’s Meals Christmas Appeal 2021
‘Thank you to everyone who has taken jars to fill with their loose change for our Christmas Appeal. Other ways to donate are by cheque made payable to Mary’s Meals or by bank transfer to 20-16-12 73548996, Marys Meals Collections.
These will be included in our parish total and doubled until 31 January 2022. Thank you for your continued support and generosity’ – Helen Hemming
Dependent Priests’ Fund
The second collection on 12th December is in support of retired clergy many of whom continue to serve their local parishes in various ways.
Remember, in Beccles, our gratitude to Fr Neville and Fr Roger!
Congo School for Peace
We will be having a Christmas stall in the Hall after 10.30 Mass next Sunday (12th December) with a selection of small gifts and decorations.
Website & E-News
As Terry will be away from 08 to 12 Dec, the usual E-News and computer-based services will be missing next weekend. The latest news will be updated on Monday 13 December.
From the above, you will realise that we will not be open on Sunday 12 December, “We will return” – for last minute shopping on Sunday 19 December, then we have a rest!
But note that Mary Ellwood will be present on Sunday 12 December with a grand selection of “goodies and gifts”, in aid of the Congo School for Peace.
Reminders from Earlier Newsletters
Please continue to leave your contributions in St Benet’s porch.
Our offerings are soon to be boosted by those of the Mini Vinnies from the Primary School.
Thanks to you all.
For those unable to attend Mass, offerings for St Benet’s Parish can be made payable to ‘Downside Abbey Missions Trust Beccles’ at Barclays account no 33416046, sort code 20-47-06.
(Contributions to the monthly second collection at Gillingham, for the upkeep of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour can be made to ‘Gillingham Catholic Church’ at Barclays acct no 40518174, sort code 20-92-08).
St Benet’s Repository
Sorry we will not be open on Sunday 12 December – but we will be back on 19 December.
YES!! We have the usual range of religious items – and we still have some goodies for Christmas!
We also have catalogues from our wholesalers and can usually have items delivered for collection the following Sunday.
If there is a special need, perhaps due to illness, please contact TMOB@SAPO.PT and we will do our best to help.