Upcoming Activities & Offerings

IMPORTANT DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

January 3rd 2019   --  Mildenhall: 9:30 am Mass - Karen Cleary RIP 

January 4th 2019   --   Brandon: 8:50 am Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 

Brandon: 9:30 am MassPat Brooks RIP 

January 6th 2019   --  Epiphany of the Lord:  Mildenhall: 9:00 am Mass  - George House RIP 

Brandon: 11:00 am Mass - People of the Parish 

January 6th 2019   --   Epiphany Candlelight Mass, 5 pm, at White House, 21 Upgate, Poringland, Norwich

 

Dates for SECOND COLLECTIONS 

January 6th 2019   --   Building Bridges Day

January 13th 2019   --   Medaille Trust Appeal 

January 20th 2019   --   Pax Christi

BC : AD

This was the moment when Before 

Turned into After, and the future’s 

Uninvented timekeepers presented arms. 


This was the moment when nothing 

Happened. Only dull peace 

Sprawled boringly over the earth. 


This was the moment when even energetic Romans 

Could find nothing better to do 

Than counting heads in remote provinces. 


And this was the moment 

When a few farm workers and three 

Members of an obscure Persian sect 


Walked haphazard by starlight straight 

Into the kingdom of heaven. 

                                             U A Fanthorpe 

Moonless Darkness Stands Between

Moonless darkness stands between. 

Past, O Past, no more be seen! 

But the Bethlehem star may lead me 

To the sight of Him who freed me 

From the self that I have been. 

Make me pure, Lord. Thou art holy; 

Make me meek. Lord, thou wert lowly; 

Now beginning, and alway: 

Now begin, on Christmas day 

                 Gerard Manley Hopkins 

CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS TREES

Why a Christmas Tree in Church anyway? 

Christmas trees have become part of the wider Christian tradition - the evergreen representing the eternal and new life of Christ. Our tree has the added dimension of being a prayer tree. There are cards with ties that can used for your prayer and hung on the tree. The cards will be available at the back of the church, or ask Janet Murphy.


Thank you! 

Thank you to our volunteers who have put trees, cribs and flowers up to decorate our Churches. They look wonderful, well done! 

No More Robins!

GET READY FOR CHRISTMAS NOW was the caption splashed across a photo in a magazine I read recently. The photo was of a mouth-watering dish of roast turkey and vegetables, bathing serenely in a tasty gravy. The rich browns and greens of this depiction of seasonal joy were enhanced by bright pinks, pale blues and purples in confections and presents strewn around the photo’s edges. 


No, this is not going to be a rant about the excessive indulgences of this season. It is simply that all of this HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CHRISTMAS and CHRISTMAS SHOPPING HAS NOTHING To DO WITH ADVENT! Nor do Robins, Dinosaurs, Deer, Tasteless Jokes or any of the other images that festoon so-called Christmas Cards, If any of this is meaningful, it is that it distracts from the purpose of Advent and the reality of the Nativity. 


This is not an argument to desist from eating luscious food on December 25th, for not buying presents and for not sending Christmas Cards. However if our effort and attention is all on these material things we will build walls within which we will imprison our spirit and become blind to the meaning of Christmas. 


If we are to celebrate the real Christmas, we must take care not to imprison ourselves in this way. We simply don’t need to. Advent and Christmas are occasions for joy because Christ is coming again. We can rejoice because he comes with the best presents of all - Himself, salvation and freedom from self-imposed prisons. Alongside these gifts, everything else is rather puny - and we can leave the robins to enjoy the garden that God has created for them. 

Messiah

The story of the Messiah in the Bible is a complicated one. In the earliest biblical texts, the word originally referred to the king of that time. It later came to refer to some future ruler, then eventually a heavenly redeemer along the lines of the archangel Michael before, in the New Testament, Jesus is born and the mantle of Messiah falls firmly on his shoulders. 


What does ‘Messiah’ mean? 


It means “anointed one.” The term was originally used to refer to the king. Over time the word developed the connotation of something in the future—of a time when there is no longer an actual king. To call somebody anointed meant that he had a special role to play, whether or not any anointing oil was used. 


How did the word messiah come to mean a future saviour figure, as we understand Jesus Christ today? 


2 Samuel, Chapter 7 tells the story of God’s promise to David that one of his sons would always sit on the throne in Jerusalem. That promise held good for about 360 years, which maybe is a reasonable approximation of forever. But then the Babylonians came in and put an end to the native kingship in Jerusalem. The people had a record of a divine promise that something would last forever and had to face the fact that this was actually not the case. This is what gives rise to the hope that God will restore the monarchy, which is to say bring a new messiah, a new anointed king. People’s original messianic expectations were the hope for the restoration of the monarchy. 


It should be noted that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah. This was what the crowd called him when he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. After his death, his followers concluded, yes, he is the Messiah, but not the kind of messiah that everybody was expecting - i.e. not a political ruler. Jesus made this quite clear to Pontius Pilate when he explained that his Kingdom was not of this earth. Jesus is a messiah who has to die first and then come back - which is what happened. 


So, as we anticipate the Lord’s birth, let us remember that he comes not to stand in for those who rule (in any sense) but to bring forgiveness, and joy as we journey towards paradise.    TC

Fr Luke writes…

It is significant that the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy family in the Christmas Octave. Bishop Alan has written a pastoral letter for this day and copies of the letter will be available at the back of both our Churches. 


Christmas is a family celebration. Many of us think upon, visit and spend this season with family. Firstly then, the Church is showing us that families are important, crucial in fact. God is all about family, His becoming flesh, required a family to raise Him. God is Trinity, in other words God Himself is family, the Church is family, and our families make up the Church! 


The family is the domestic Church, basically this means it is the first place we learn about God and learn how to pray and learn how to love. It’s not perfect, families can often be wounded and broken, and yet in the mess of it all God is there, with his promise of hope and salvation. God did not dispense with the need for a family, he chose to be born into a family to show us that families are places where God dwells. This is the Christmas message: that God is with us – the sometimes messy and often broken nature of family life included! 

Epiphany Candlelight Mass – Sunday 6th January 5pm

For all young people and their families from across the diocese. Followed by hot dogs, a bonfire, and fireworks. There will be a collection of presents for children who are refugees (please bring wrapped presents and indicate whether suitable for a boy or girl or either, and approximate age) Held at the White House, 21 Upgate, Poringland, Norwich. Organised by the Diocesan Youth Service. 

Brandon: Icons in Church

Throughout Advent and Christmas an icon will be displayed at the back of the Church at Brandon. Icons contribute to the beauty of worship. They are like windows open on the realities of the Kingdom of God, making them present in our prayer on earth. Although icons are images, they are not simply illustrations or decorations. They are symbols of the incarnation, a presence which offers to the eyes the spiritual message that the Word addresses to the ears. Parishioners are encouraged to venerate the icon, by touching or kissing it and in doing so asking for the intercession of the saint depicted. 

Medaille Trust Appeal 13th January

Jacinta Goode from the Madaille Trust will be with us on Sunday 13th January to speak at Masses about the Madaille Trust. 


The Medaille Trust is a charity founded by groups of Religious congregations in 2006 to work against the evils of human trafficking congregations in response to the plight of thousands of people who are being trafficked into the UK each year. 


The primary mission of The Medaille Trust is the empowerment of women, men and children, who have been freed from the human-trafficking and the modern-day slavery industry in the UK, enabling them to regain their dignity and self-worth. They do this by providing safe housing and offering opportunities for physical and psychological healing, rehabilitation and protection to the victims in our care. 


There will be a second collection on the weekend of the 13th Jan to support the work of the Trust. 

Santa Who? Humbug!

On Wednesday, December 19th, we celebrate the memorial of St Nicholas. Like many early saints we know little about St Nicholas. He was born (c. 270) into an affluent Greek family in Myra (now Demre, in Turkey) and, after becoming a priest at an early age, became Bishop of that area, and served there until his death c.343. Over the centuries, many tales have been told about his life and miracles, although there is little evidence to support the claims made for him in most of these. 


The most famous story is about how he rescued three sisters from the threat of becoming prostitutes. He heard about a devout man who had lost all his money; his three daughters had no dowry and no prospects of marriage. Instead, they would be sold into prostitution. Rather than humiliate the man by a display of his generosity, Nicholas visited the man’s house over three nights and, on each occasion, threw a bag of gold coins through an external window. This meant that the girls would each have a dowry and could marry. From this and other tales, he became renowned for his generosity, modesty and discretion. 

 

St Nicholas’ descendant is, of course, Santa Claus, who secretly visits families at Christmas to give them gifts. As the commercial world has kidnapped Santa, Saint Nicholas’ purpose in helping the poor has disappeared under an avalanche of goods. This misses the point: St Nicholas was motivated by two things: first, following Christ in aiding the poor (”Blessed are the merciful’); second, following Christ in respecting the poor. So, as you go about giving presents this year, think like St Nicholas, not ‘Santa’, and seek out someone who needs your gift. This doesn’t have to be money…A CAFOD World Gift given under a relative’s name may be a blessing for a poor person elsewhere and a blessing for the relative. Or again, ten minutes talking to a lonely person may be a bigger, better gift than a box of chocolates. 

St Nicholas

Patron saint of sailors, merchants, repentant thieves, archers, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students 

Red Boxes are not just for Christmas!

Not brought your red box back yet? Please bring it in next Sunday! 

Not got a Red Box? Some spare boxes are at the back of the church. Take one and tell Sue Dean. 

Blessed Sacrament Chapel at Mildenhall

The Tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel has now been changed for a larger one which is more suitable to our needs and has been moved to central position behind the altar. Please do continue to visit this Chapel to pray in the presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle. 

Mildenhall Sacristy: A Polite Notice

In recent weeks the Sacristy at Mildenhall has had various items (bags, boxes, tables etc) left or stored in it that need not be stored there. It’s easy for space to become a bit of a dumping ground when it’s used by multiple users. It is, however, a working sacristy so please could everyone help to keep it tidy and discourage others from storing things in it. Thank you. 

New St Thomas Of Canterbury Books for sale

Gracewing has just published a beautiful little book Devotions to St Thomas Becket by Fr John S. Hogan, a priest of the Diocese of Meath in Ireland, with illustrations by a monk of Silverstream Priory. As well as the Christmas Novena to St Thomas, Fr John's book offers an 'armchair' pilgrimage to Canterbury with the Seven Stations of St Thomas of Canterbury. The book retails at £7.99 St Thomas Becket, a popular little life of the saint, at £6.99 - you can find copies of these books at the back of the Church in Brandon. Please put money in the CTS pamphlet box on the wall. 

Traidcraft

Our stock of Traidcraft Christmas Cards is now available at heavily discounted prices in both churches. 

  • Just Traid, the Fair Trade shop next to St John the Baptist Church, St John’s Street, Bury, has launched an exciting new menu in their café and a wide range of goods in their shop. Well worth a break to rest your legs and your pocket, when Christmas shopping! 
  • Just Traid are also looking for volunteers to help in the shop and the kitchen. For more talk to Gill Caple. 

House Blessing/Visit

Has your house been blessed? Would you like a home visit and a blessing for you home and family? 


If you would like Fr Luke to visit you in your home and invoke God’s blessing upon your home and family, please speak to him after Mass or call the presbytery. 


Even if your home has been blessed in the past we can still pray together and ask for God’s blessing upon our lives. It’s also an excellent way for priest and parish to get to know each other! 

Book of the Dead

November is a traditionally the month when we pray for the dead. In both of our Churches you will find a ‘Book of the Dead’. 


Please put the names of your loved ones who have died in the book and they will be prayed for throughout November. I will also offer Mass for the Holy Souls at various points in November and they shall be remembered in those Masses. 


To add a name, simply find the page which corresponds to the month that they died and write the name in. Any name of any deceased person can be added, they do not need to have died in this last year nor do they need to be a Catholic. All people alive and dead can benefit from our prayers! 

What is the St Edmund Fund?

The Fund deals with emergency grant applications from families or individuals in need. It also considers support for young people wishing to explore a third world project in their gap years or long vacations. 


The fund is administered by Caritas East Anglia. All applications come from the parish or endorsements from professionals working with applicants. 


Over the past year, the Fund has supported families and individuals facing homelessness or job losses resulting in rent arrears. Others helped have been dealing with the sudden onset of terminal illness. 


For more details go to:  https://www.rcdea.org.uk/caritas-east-anglia/ 

Justice & Peace Group

 

Your local J&P Group brings together Brandon, Mildenhall and Newmarket as our two parishes work together to promote practical action in support Catholic Teaching. We: 

  • Arrange exhibitions & displays;
  • Organise peace vigils;
  • Provide resources to celebrate church festivals (from Easter chicks to Peace Poppies);
  • Run campaigns (e.g. “Share the Journey”) to support people in need in the UK and elsewhere round the world;
  • Raise funds for specific projects;
  • Keep people informed about J&P Matters.

We always welcome new members to the group. You don’t have to come to meetings! You can join by using Skype of Face Time or just receive and respond to our monthly Update. 


Talk to Tom or Gill Caple or more information: 01638 716474 

Nonviolence Works

Nonviolence Works is a network of Christian Peace Organisations, including Pax Christi, committed to furthering peace in communities. The network has evidence that there are ways other than violent intervention to resolve differences and bring an end to wars. It publishes cases that show how nonviolent approaches can and do work. We will publish examples from time to time. Here are three: 


Norway 1942 

Teachers refused to co-operate with the pro-Nazi Quisling regime and, although many endured prison, the obligation to teach Nazi doctrines had to be withdrawn. 


Mozambique 1989-92 

The Rome-based Community of Sant” Egidio brokered an agreement between RENAMO and FRELIMO forces, ending ten years of war. 


Guatemala 2007 

Young stilt walkers used circus acts and carnival in the streets to transform the climate of violence spread by brutal youth gangs. 

RCIA - Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

 Interested in becoming a Catholic? Want to know more about the Church? Perhaps you are a Catholic but missed out on making your confirmation as a youngster. If this is you please consider joining our RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) programme. Please fill out a form indicating your expression of interest and return to Fr Luke. 

2019 Catholic Diary

Need a 2019 Catholic Diary? Contact Tom Caple 

Masses & Flowers

Having a mass said or paying for flowers in the church are practical ways supporting the work of the parish. Please give your donations to Fr Luke or Philip Kemp. 

Stole Fees

There is sometimes confusion about what stole fees are and who receives them. 

They are amounts of money given to priests for various services (Baptisms, Marriages, funerals, etc.). In some countries, the priest keeps the fee. In East Anglia, because priests receive a modest stipend (salary) each month, Bishop Peter Smith decreed that fees should be part of the parish income. This is still the situation. 

You too can help our community

Children’s Liturgy

 If you would be willing to help run a children’s liturgy group at Mildenhall or Brandon please speak to Fr Luke. 

Alter Servers

If you have made your first Holy Communion and would like to serve at Mass at either Brandon or Mildenhall, speak to Fr Luke. We need you! 

Lectio Divina

A personal search for dialogue with God

Time set aside for Lectio Divina enables us to discover in our daily life an underlying spiritual rhythm. We discover an increasing ability to offer more of ourselves and our relationships to the Father, and to accept the embrace that God offers us in the person of his son, Jesus Christ. We can attend "with the ear of our hearts", listening for God's presence in our lives. 

How to Practice Lectio Divina as an individual

• Choose a text of the Scriptures that you wish to pray. This could be a reading for that day’s mass, or a particular book from the New Testament. The amount of text covered is in God's hands, not yours. 

• Place yourself in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. This could be a few moments focused on your breathing, or a favourite prayer. Use whatever method is best for you and allow yourself to enjoy silence for a few moments. 

Turn to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savour each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the "still, small voice" of a word or phrase that somehow says, "I am for you today." In Lectio Divina, God is teaching us to listen to him, to seek him in silence. 

• Take the word or phrase into yourself. Slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories, and ideas. Memories or thoughts are simply parts of yourself that, when they rise up during Lectio Divina, are asking to be given to God along with the rest of your inner self. 

• Speak to God. Whether you use words, ideas, or images--or all three--is not important. Interact with God as you would with one you know loves and accepts you. Give to God what you have found within your heart. Experience God by using the word or phrase he has given you as a means of blessing and of transforming the ideas and memories that your reflection on his word has awakened. 

• Rest in God's embrace. And when he invites you to return to your contemplation of his word or to your inner dialogue with him, do so. Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence. 

How to Practice Lectio Divina as a group

 Many prayer groups find it a useful approach to collective study and prayer. 

This form of Lectio Divina works best in a group of between four and eight people. A group leader coordinates the process and facilitates sharing. The same text from the Scriptures is read out three times, followed each time by a period of silence and an opportunity for each member of the group to share the fruit of her or his Lectio. 

• The first reading is for the purpose of hearing a word or passage that touches the heart. When the word or phrase is found, the group's members take it in, gently recite it, and reflect on it during the silence that follows. After the silence, each person shares which word or phrase has touched his or her heart. 

• The second reading (by a member of the opposite sex from the first reader) is for the purpose of "hearing" or "seeing" Christ in the text. Each ponders the word that has touched the heart and asks where the word or phrase touches his or her life that day. Then, after the silence, each member of the group shares what he or she has "heard" or "seen." 

• The third and final reading is for the purpose of experiencing Christ "calling us forth" into doing or being. Members ask themselves what Christ in the text is calling them to do or to become today or this week. After the silence, each shares for the last time, and the exercise concludes with each person praying for the person on the right of him or her. 


Those who regularly practice this method of praying and sharing the Scriptures find it to be an excellent way of developing trust within a group. It also is an excellent way of consecrating projects and hopes to Christ before more-formal group meetings. 

 Based on “How to Practice Lectio Divina” Rev. Luke Dysinger OSB www.beliefnet.com 

Happenings in our Church at Large

Pope Francis ... on Prisoners and Prisons

"I think to myself, 'I, too, could be here.’ That is, none of us can be sure that we would never commit a crime, something for which we'd be put in prison." 


"We all make mistakes in life.  And we all must ask forgiveness and make a journey of rehabilitation so we don't make them again."


“It must be kept in mind that penal sanctions have the aim of rehabilitation, while national laws should consider the possibility of establishing other penalties than incarceration. In this context, I would like once more to appeal to governmental authorities to abolish the death penalty where it is still in force, and to consider the possibility of an amnesty." 


"Losing our freedom is not the same thing as losing our dignity.  That is why we need to reject all those petty clichés that tell us we can't change, that it's not worth trying, that nothing will make a difference."


“Prisoners who are re-entering civic society ought not be punished anew by neglect, indifference or, worse, contempt.” 

Pope Francis ... on our Catholic Church's Mission

 If one’s work as a Catholic is not united to Christ Jesus, it is no longer the “mission” to which the Church is called, Pope Francis told a group of religious brothers on Monday 29tth October. 

“Let us not forget that the condition of every mission in the Church is that we are united to the Risen Christ as branches to the vine. Otherwise what we do is social activism,” the pope said Oct. 29. 

“This is why I repeat to you the exhortation to remain in [Christ],” he continued. “First of all, we need to let ourselves be renewed in faith and hope by Jesus alive in the Word and in the Eucharist, but also in sacramental forgiveness. We need to be with him in silent adoration, in lectio divina, in the Rosary of the Virgin Mary.” 

Pope Saint Paul

On October 14th Pope Francis canonised Pope Paul VI (1963-78). Pope Saint Paul oversaw the Vatican Council, making numerous reforms. 

St Oscar Romero

On October 14th, Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1917 – 1980) was canonised by 

Pope Francis. St Oscar lived almost all of his life in El Salvador. 

On 23 February 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador. Welcomed by the 

government, many priests were disappointed, especially those openly supportive of 

liberation theology. Progressive priests feared that his conservative reputation would 

negatively affect commitment to the poor. 


However, just 17 days after his appointment, something happened which had a profound effect on him. Fr. Rutilio Grande a personal friend who had been creating self-reliance groups among the poor, was assassinated. St Oscar later said: "When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, 'If they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path.' Romero urged the government to investigate, but they ignored his request. Furthermore, the censored press remained silent. 


He devoted the rest of his life to defending the vulnerable against the violence and cruelty of what became a Civil War. His sermons and broadcast speeches created many enemies in a country where assassination was commonplace. In March 1980 he urged soldiers who were Christians to keep to their faith and not follow orders to unjustly persecute and kill. The next day, saying mass at a hospital chapel, he was shot and killed. The revulsion and demands for justice raised by Salvadorans and the International Community have not yet led to the murderers being identified. 


When he was beatified, Pope Francis said of him: "His ministry was distinguished by his particular attention to the most poor and marginalized.” Hailed as a hero by supporters of liberation theology, St Oscar, according to his biographer, Jesus Delgardo, "was not interested in liberation theology" but faithfully adhered to Catholic teachings on liberation and a preferential option for the poor, desiring a social revolution based on interior reform. 


St Oscar agreed with the Catholic – and not the materialist - vision of liberation theology. A journalist once asked him: 'Do you agree with Liberation Theology' And Romero answered: "Yes, of course. However, there are two theologies of liberation. One is that which sees liberation only as material liberation. The other is that of Paul VI. I am with Paul VI… The most profound social revolution is the serious, supernatural, interior reform of a Christian. The liberation of Christ and of His Church is not reduced to the dimension of a purely temporal project. It does not reduce its objectives to … a material well-being or only to initiatives of a political or social, economic or cultural order. Much less can it be a liberation that supports or is supported by violence." 


A Prayer 

St Oscar Romero, pray for us that we too will model our lives on Christ and have the courage to face evil and work for justice. 

First Holy Communion

First Holy Communion in our parish will next be on Sunday June 2nd 2019.  Classes are on-going.

Confirmation

 If you want to be confirmed this academic year (usually in school year 9 and above) please fill out a form expressing your interest and return to Fr Luke.

Job Opportunity

The Diocese is seeking to appoint a Director of Finance and Resources based at Poringland. Full details and an application pack are available on the diocesan website using this link: 

http://www.rcdea.org.uk/director-of-finance-and-resources-vacancy/