4th. Sunday of Advent 2013. Cycle A. 22nd. December 2013

18/12/2013

There is a small (Everton) blue ring bound book at the back of the church and this is for parishioners to write down any message for Fr Frank or any memories of the times we have spent together- we will leave it there for a few weeks. Day trips, holidays, pilgrimages, we have done the lot! Just one memory-on one of our trips to Ellesmere the coach broke down and Carmel Smyth did her best to keep the kids occupied in the growing darkness- we could hardly see her as she whizzed down the playground slide!

St John the Evangelist

New Ferry, in the Diocese of Shrewsbury, Reg. Charity 234025

Fr. Frank Rice (PP for the last time)

Fr Emeka (in residence)

Revd. Philip White; Revd. Michael Daly

phone: 0151 645 3314

email: stjohntheevangelist

websites: www.stjohnevang.co.uk www.lpa24.org
4th. Sunday of Advent 2013. Cycle A. 22nd. December 2013

FAITH IN FOCUS: FULL OF THEMSELVES

Time and time again in the bible we find that God acts in precisely the opposite way that we would have done. Over and over again God chooses the very person we would think of as most unsuitable. A man with a speech impediment becomes God’s spokesman (Moses), a boy with a sling beats a giant (David), a child thrown down a well goes on to become leader (Joseph), and a woman succeeds in slaying a mighty warrior king (Judith).

So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to see that when God makes the cosmic decision to come down onto earth, it is to two unlikely characters that he chooses to entrust the birth of his Son. Rather than choose to be born into some noble family where he would be sure of a safe life and an influence among the movers an shakers that would prove useful in preaching the gospel, Jesus allowed himself to be born of a young virgin girl and her carpenter boyfriend, to a common couple in a backyard stable.

The last thing you could say about Mary and Joseph is that they were full of themselves. Quite the reverse. But because they were not full of themselves they left room for God, and God has a flair for filling voids. It seems that God has a weakness for the poor, the humble and those with no one to stand up for them.

And what of us? Are we so full of our Christmas preparations, of what we are going to do, what we are going to buy, that we have lost sight of the Advent message of humble expectation? We cannot force God to come; we cannot fabricate Christmas joy. God can only come to us when we are aware of our void and of our need for him.

The best gift God could give us this Christmas would be to fill our lives as he filled the lives of Mary and Joseph. In order to make this happen, we have to be sure that we are not full of ourselves. At Christmas, only the poor, the hungry, and those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone. That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Without poverty of spirit, there can be no abundance of God.

WORD OF GOD

The maiden is with child and will give birth to a son whom she will call Emmanuel, a name which means “God-is-with-us”.

(Isaiah 7: 14)

WORD FOR TODAY

The spotlight now turns on the birth of Jesus as Mary and Joseph find that their child will be Emmanuel, God with us. In this final week of Advent we seek to see the face of Christ in those whom we meet, to let Christ be born in our own lives.

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. (Helen Keller)

Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them. (Abraham Lincoln)

The unique personality which is the real life in me, I cannot gain unless I search for the real life, the spiritual quality, in others. I am myself spiritually dead unless I reach out to the fine quality dormant in others. For it is only with the god enthroned in the innermost shrine of the other, that the god hidden in me, will consent to appear. (Felix Adler)

Looking back over the past year or more, the number of requests for Mass intentions has dropped dramatically. Currently, you can have your pick of any date- the only thing that may disrupt proceedings is if we have to plan a funeral Mass when that will take precedence. Any offerings received go into St John’s parish account.

4th.Sunday

Advent

22nd. 5.30pm

10am

7.30pm

Parishioners

Safe Journeys

Prayer meeting

Mon 23rd. 9.15 Deceased rels & friends of John Corrigan
Tues 24th 4pm

8pm (MN)

Crib Service

Fr. Pat O’Brien

Wed

Nativity of the Lord.

25th. 10am. Parishioners
Thurs.

St. Stephen’s Day

26th. 10am. The Guild of St Stephen
Fri

Patronal Feast

27th. 10am. Parishioners
Feast of the Holy Family 29th. 5.30pm.

10am.

7.30pm.

Les- RIP

Parishioners

Prayer Meeting

Please pray for our sick and those who care for them

Angela Dimelow,Colette Howes, Barbara Gillespie, Doreen Wrigg, Frances Heslin, Liam Halpen, Teresa McLean, Josie Cohen, Peter Williamson, Kathy Smith, Marjorie Hoey, Esther Roche, Fay Challoner, Sheila Stockley, Joan & Charles Reynolds, Kath Holland, Mary Bryden, Josie Toohey, Helen Worth, Christopher Hadfield, Christopher & Raymond McNally. Remember also those in the parish who do not wish their illness to be made public but who also need our prayers.

Please note that Morning Prayer is celebrated 15 minutes before the start of each weekday mass

Money- thank you for your generosity

Offertory: £805 22p

Peter’s Dance Money (Hall) £111

Boiler: £0

Christmas Fair £925 25p- thanks everyone!

There is a list in the porch of lucky raffle prize winners

120 Club Winners No. 23 P. Dobbie £20

Last chance to sign the big Christmas card. Only£1 to support our SVP.

Colette Reavey has sadly died after much suffering. Because of Fr Frank’s departure, the funeral will be held at St Anne’s on Monday 23rd. at 12md.We commend her to the Lord and ask consolation for her grieving family.

EXPECTANT MOTHERS

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent we hear the gospel story of how Mary and Joseph became the parents of Jesus. The Church invites us on this day to remember all women who are awaiting the birth of their child:

All-loving God, you created the human family as a reflection of your own divine life so that your creation might share in your happiness.

Hear our prayer for your daughters who await the birth of their children. They have co-operated with you in giving life. Assist them now as they prepare to give birth to the child in their womb. May Mary be their guide and support, calming their fears and strengthening their love.

May your daughters be filled with your peace and blessings that they may bring their children into this world safely and in good health to the praise and glory of your name.

Last Sunday’s celebration of my time here left me with a full heart. I have been shown so much love and generosity. The beautiful sentiments expressed in so many cards and gifts have had a great emotional impact. All I can do is to thank you over and over again for everything. My life ahead is a new one, full of mysteries- which can be difficult to solve at my great age and I do ask most sincerely, that you continue to pray for me as I will for all of you.

I am hoping for visitors and of course I will be joining you at the Lion King next summer, God willing!

Last Christmas message from Fr. Frank

Dear Friends

This year is different for all of us.

The decision to retire was not an easy one but there was a growing realisation that the support I needed to continue as parish priest here was increasing inexorably and I was getting more tired. You deserve better than a weary forgetful pastor!

Of course I am very sad to leave St John’s, my home for sixteen years and after what has been my longest period as a parish priest in any of the parishes where I have served. The generous support and encouragement you have always shown me has been very much appreciated and you have certainly helped me on my own pilgrimage as I hope I have helped you. The laity has always been the main focus of my ministry. I trust that I will have a steady stream of visitors to my door once I have settled into my new home! I will never forget the warmth and kindness of the people of New Ferry. I pray that the parish will continue to thrive and grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord.

I am grateful that I am to have a lovely flat and will be well looked after by the diocese whatever happens to me, realising that not all the people in Britain have the luxury of such security. The savage economic and welfare cuts have probably left few people unscathed whether employed or not. It is easy to become disheartened in the prevailing circumstances.

But in the midst of the gloominess of winter we once again gladly celebrate the birth of the one who became man to save us. Once again we greet the infant King who grew up to spread his message of love and forgiveness, of peace, joy, and hope.

I hope God will bless you all this Christmas, especially the sick and those who face their first Christmas without a loved one. May you know His consolation and peace.

Let us all continue to look forward with hope.

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