St John the Evangelist

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

Priests: Fr. Bernard Forshaw assisted by Fr. Emeka

Revd. Philip White; Revd. Michael Daly phone: 0151 645 3314

Email: stjohntheevangelist

Websites: www.stjohnevang.co.uk www.lpa24.org

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 21st. December. Cycle B.

FAITH IN FOCUS: THE COMFORT ZONE

Mary could have had a comfortable life. She seems to have been an ordinary girl and could have hoped for a good husband, a few children and a reasonably normal and happy existence in Nazareth.

Then the angel appeared on the scene. She was asked to be the mother of a child, given the boy’s name and told that she didn’t need a husband because the Holy Spirit would be taking care of things. Who on earth would agree to this? Yet she did. Let what you have said be done to me.

Then it all started: the difficulties of the birth in a cold stable while going to Jerusalem to register for the census, the scandal of not being married, the strange goings on with the star, the wise men and the angels, the prophecy by Simeon that she would end up heart-broken, the trouble when Jesus started preaching, his arrest and execution.

She could have stayed in her comfort zone and just said no. But then she would never have become the mother of God and never experienced the challenge of the adventure of her life. It turned out that, far from being a comfort to Mary, God set out to discomfort her.

Advent faith means being prepared to come out of our comfort zones. It means agreeing like Mary to give birth to Jesus. Each of us is called to take steps that will cause us discomfort and trouble. It would be easier if we treated religion as a hobby. We could attend church from time to time and just enjoy the music. Or we could throw ourselves fully into the uncomfortable business of standing up for Jesus in all the circumstances of our lives. We can be couch-Christians or Cross-Christians. But only the latter will lead us to the adventure which is God.

Advent asks us to reflect on how much we are prepared to be disturbed in our profession of faith. Do we want to watch as others do the work of bringing the Good News to our world or do we want to be on the front line? Are we comfortable in the waiting room or do we want to give birth? Do we simply want to carry the plaster statue of the baby in the crib or are we prepared to take on his flesh and bones with all that this entails?

WORD OF GOD

I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let what you have said be done to me. (Luke 1: 38)

WORD FOR TODAY

Every Chri
stian, like Mary, is called to give birth to Jesus. Ours is the responsibility of bearing Christ to a world that God wants to bring to a life that is eternal. Each day is an Annunciation to us: we are to show our faith in Christ by the way that we respond to God’s message and deliver it to those with whom we live and work.

NINE LONG MONTHS

On the fourth Sunday of Advent, as we ponder on the last days before the birth of Jesus, our prayers are requested for those women who themselves are expecting a child:

Father, we thank you for your marvellous gift. You have allowed us to share in your divine parenthood. During this time of waiting, we ask you to protect and nurture these first mysterious stirrings of life. May our child come safely into the light of the world and to the new birth of baptism.

Mother of God, we entrust our child to your loving heart. Amen.

(From the Pope John Paul’s Family Prayer Book)

Christmas is a wonderful time. It’s not true that it’s just about children. It’s about us all. We may consider ourselves very ordinary. But nobody is ordinary any longer, not since Christ came on earth. Yet he did not come to bring us anything. He came to awaken us to what we already are. We are all children of God.

(Flor McCarthy)

4thSunday of Advent

Cycle B

21st. 5.00pm

9.30am

3-4pm

7.30pm

John Kenny

Parishioners

Holy Hour

Prayer Meeting

Mon 22nd. 9.15 Ambrose Walsh
Tues 23rd. 9.15 Paul Reavey
Wed

Christmas Eve

24th. 4pm

8pm

Children’s Crib Service

The poor, sick & needy

Thurs.

Christmas Day

25th. 9.30am. Parishioners
Friday

St. Stephen’s Day

26th. 10am. Thank you to our Altar Servers
Saturday

Feast of St John the Evangelist

27th. 11am. A thank you to St John’s from Fr. Frank
Feast of The Holy Family 28th. 5.00pm

9.30am

7.30 pm

Parishioners

Angela & Arthur Evans

Prayer Meeting

Masses on Christmas Day, The Feast of St. John and on The Feast of The Holy Family will be celebrated in the main church.

Please remember the sick and housebound Parishioners in your prayers this Christmas and if anyone is in need of a visit/Holy Communion please let Fr Bernard or Fr Emeka know…both our priests are only too happy to bring Holy Communion/visit the sick.

On Christmas Eve: Our church will be open from 9.30 until10.30am- an opportunity for some private prayer, to light a candle for a loved one who has died/for a sick person etc. and to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation… a priest will be available for confession.

Money- thank you for your generosity

Offertory: £ 557 25p

Boiler £5.50p

Cards and Books £9

The collection at Christmas Masses is for the support of your parish clergy

The offerings at the crib are for the Catholic Children’s Society

Time is running out for you to sign the big Christmas card and give a donation to a very worthy (local) cause (Minimum £1-no maximum!!) Many of us know someone who has had addiction problems- alcohol or drugs- and the Olive Branch is an organisation which is providing very practical help in keeping people sober and drug free. There is information about The Olive Branch alongside the donation box. Make this the most important card you sign this Christmas

The locks on the parish centre are to be changed. Will users please ensure that they have the correct keys

If you have young children in the family, why not bring them along to the crib service on Christmas Eve at 4pm? They will be the first visitors to our beautiful crib and be able to join in with the carols specially selected for them. A great reminder for them of what the feast is all about.

Many of our wonderful altar servers are enrolled in the Guild of St Stephen, so 26th December is an important day for them when they will say the Guild prayer at Mass and renew their promises. If you are the parent of an altar server please try to get them to come along on 26th -and it would be good if the rest of us could support them by attending alongside them.

We celebrate our Parish Feast next Saturday with a Thanksgiving Mass at 11am (Fr. Frank’s ‘thank you’ to you all for his recent Diamond Jubilee celebrations) this will be preceded by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 10.15am and followed by a little celebration in the presbytery… please do join us if you can.

A limited number of Christmas posters and a lot more”Keep Christ in Christmas” stickers are available on the Traidcraft stall. These are provided free by the Knights of St Columba but a donation to CAFOD would be welcome.

The knights are also grateful to everyone who supported the fundraiser for “Mary’s Meals”. The attendance at the Pig Race was poor but a grant of £250 from St Anne’s Lottery and some generous donations meant Mary’s Meals benefited by

£1230 including gift aid. God bless you all.

St. Theresa speaks: Humility

Humility drew the King from heaven to the womb of the Virgin, and with humility we will draw him to our souls.

Christmas Greetings

Fr. Bernard, Fr Emeka and Fr. Frank thank you for your cards, greetings and gifts –all of which are very much appreciated. Fr Bernrad thanks you for your warm welcome to St. John’s. You , and all your intentions will be remembered in the Masses we celebrate this Christmas… may it be a blessed time for us all and may 2015 bring good health and many blessings to you and your families

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St John the Evangelist

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

Priests: Fr. Bernard Forshaw assisted by Fr. Emeka

Revd. Philip White; Revd. Michael Daly phone: 0151 645 3314

Email: stjohntheevangelist

Websites: www.stjohnevang.co.uk www.lpa24.org

Second Sunday of Advent, 7th December. Cycle B.

FAITH IN FOCUS: OUR GOD WHO COMES

As we look around the world today we can sometimes be forced to the conclusion that things are not as God intended them to be. We are living through a period when terrorism has grabbed the headlines with stories of daily bloodshed. And we are caught up in a seemingly intractable situation of wars in the Middle East, Africa and many other places around the world.

The Jewish people were deported to Iraq about 2,600 years ago. They were forced out of Israel to Babylon, not very far from Baghdad. Even second and third generations longed for their homeland, for their God and for their Temple in Jerusalem.

Today we hear Isaiah trying to bring comfort to these desperate people. He tells them that God will not abandon them in exile forever. A leader will come and take them back home. He quotes God promising them that their time of slavery is over. But they must take action themselves and prepare a straight road for God to travel through as he helps them. They must have a change of heart and mind.

And the same message is repeated to us during this Advent. Isaiah tells us that, whatever our troubles and woes, God will never let us wallow permanently in a cheerless condition. God is not absent even when it is hard to see his presence. And the main thing that God wants us to receive is forgiveness, that collective pardon for our sins as a nation and our faults as individuals.

Advent proclaims the power of God. For those who accept the promises of Jesus it is not a lone uphill struggle. For those who genuinely acknowledge their shortcomings, and do their best to change, God’s Spirit can make all things possible. Advent is an encouragement: our God is with us and comes each day in such a way that we can overcome whatever is thrown in our path.

So the challenge of Advent is twofold. It’s a challenge for us to examine our lives, to make God’s paths straight. And it’s also a challenge to see the presence of God in all the situations of our life and world, both good and bad. John the Baptist was able to see this presence in Jesus, the Lamb of God. Can we see God’s Advent presence? And where are we looking

WORD OF GOD

Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service is ended and her sin is atoned for.

(Isaiah 40: 2)

WORD FOR TODAY

Advent invites us to rely on God’s pardon. It summons us to see God’s presence in our world. It promises us that our God is a permanent feature of our lives and it offers hope of God’s power. Amid all our hymns and prayers do we discern this pardon, presence, permanence and power? And how do we respond?

Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent…If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this Advent time.

(Edward Hays)

There is a time appointed in the history of our world, when that very Jesus who appeared on earth, “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”, shall reappear with all the circumstances of majesty and power as “King of kings and Lord of lords”. We are led to expect a day when Christ shall find a home in the remotest hearts and families, and the earth in all its circumference will be covered with the knowledge and the power of the Lord. (Henry Melvill)

Advent should remind us that the “king who is to come” is more than a charming infant smiling in the straw.

(Thomas Merton)

Scout stamps re on sale at the back of the church, both this weekend and next.

This coming Tuesday 9th St Anne’s 55+ group is to hold a Christmas buffet from two to four thirty in their parish centre. There will be entertainment and of course it wouldn’t be a Catholic ‘do’ without a raffle! Entrance two pounds- those in the age group are all welcome.

Sunday of Advent

Cycle B Psalter Wk 1

7th. 5.00pm

9.30am

3-4pm

7.30pm

James & Catherine Kennedy

Maud Boulton

Holy Hour

Prayer Meeting

Mon Dec. 8th. 7pm. Diamond Jubilee Mass

Fr Frank

Tues 9th. 12md. Elizabeth Sullivan

Funeral Mass

Wed 10th. 9.15am November List
Thurs 11th. 9.15am Deceased members of Moore and McLoughlin Families
Friday 12th. 9.15am

9.45am

McCormick & Kennedy Families

Holy Hour

Saturday 13th.
2nd Sunday of Advent

Bible Sunday

14th. 5.00pm

9.30am

3-4pm

7.30 pm

Parishioners

Simon Kershaw

Holy Hour

Prayer Meeting

Please pray for our sick and those who care for

Peter Carr, Colette Howes, Frances Heslin, Liam Halpen, 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, Rachel Mulrooney, Winifred Sweeney.

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. Rosary commences 5 mins. after Morning Mass (when said)

Money- thank you for your generosity

Offertory: £ 634

Boiler £ 12.80p

Cards and Books £ 17.10p

NB. Christmas Mass times will be 8pm Christmas Eve and 9.30am on Christmas morning

Feast your eyes on our selection of Advent books. There is something there for everyone. The Advent Extra is a mere £1.50p.

Advent is a busy time, so we need a realistic way of keeping prayer going. Every day, Advent Extra provides a short yet meaningful reflection on the Gospel which helps you connect with God in prayer, even if only for a few minutes. This year’s issue looks at the theme of family. Contributors include Catholic newscaster and mother Julie Etchingham, ‘The Railway Man’ screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce and theologian Dr Clare Watkins

It is here at last! This Monday 8th at 7pm Fr Frank will be among us again as we celebrate his Diamond Jubilee. Those of you who have promised food donations to the buffet are requested to bring them to the parish centre which will be open between 10am and 3pm and from 5pm onwards

JOHN OF THE CROSS (December 14th)

John was born at Fontiveros in Spain about 1542. He entered the Carmelites and with the permission of his superiors began to live a stricter life. Later he was persuaded by St. Teresa to begin, together with some others, the Discalced reform within the Carmelite friars; this cost him much hard work and many trials. He died in Ubeda in 1591, outstanding in holiness and wisdom, to which his many spiritual writings give eloquent witness. After his death the reform he introduced within the friars eventually separated from the Carmelite Order to become the Order of Discalced Carmelite Friars.

Lord, you endowed St. John of the Cross with a spirit of self-denial and love of the cross .By following his example may we come to the eternal vision of your glory. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Word became flesh: St Theresa speaks:

What a marvellous thing that He, who would fill a thousand worlds with His grandeur, wanted to enclose Himself in the womb of His most Blessed Mother.

PLEASE sign the big Christmas card and give a donation to a very worthy (local) cause (Minimum £1-no maximum!!) Many of us know someone who has had addiction problems and the Olive Branch is an organisation which is providing very practical help in keeping people sober and drug free. There is information about The Olive Branch alongside the donation box.

There will be a meeting on Monday 5th of January at 7.30 in the Church House We look forward to seeing all past and present helpers and hopefully many new members. If you just want to find out what is entailed please come along and find out- it isn’t rocket science!

Fourth Bebington (St. John’s NF) Scout Group are starting up a new Scout Troop in January and require more adult helpers. If you are interested please contact James Anderson on 07824845936. Meetings will be on Mondays from 7. 30 to 9pm. Any young person aged between 10 ½ and 14 is invited to come and join in the fun and excitement of scouting.

Churches Together Carol Singing will be held on Saturday 13th December at two venues:

Lower Bebington Co-op at 11am. Higher Bebington Co-op at 12 noon. All are welcome to come and lend your voices!

Our LPA Reconciliation service will take place here at St John’s on Thurs 18th December at 7pm