Dear Brothers and Sisters
One of the things we seek to do as Church is to draw people’s attention to the things of God – often against their will. Isaiah says in the first reading that a voice cries: “Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord.” And I often think that the word wilderness, in regard to people’s lives, is somewhat apt. They are a wilderness. They have some beautiful things in there but also some wild weeds and worse. Elbow (the rock n roll band) wrote a song which began “A friend of mine grows his very own brambles” of a friend who was making a mess of his life. That’s a bit strong I suppose to use generally but it is sort of true. People do have lots of joy and happiness in their lives but also lots of stress and strains. This can sometimes be seen towards the end of the office Christmas party when someone becomes tearful and sad – a situation exacerbated by drink which is often used to cover over our problems or at least numb them.
The “message” of Christmas which we are preparing for is that God has come to console us in our difficulties and also to lead us (by example) along different pathways and options to the fullness of life. To enjoy the fullness of life we will most probably have to own up to what is wrong in us and face it. That’s why this season has a strong element of the penitential in it – if not in quite the same way as Lent. The Psalm tells us that the Lord’s voice “speaks of peace” and “his help is near.” Indeed his help is near – as is he – in him mercy and faithfulness have met and justice and peace embraced. He will not abandon us, nor forget us in our trials and he will also encourage us in our doubts and strengthen us for goodness.
You see we are called, as a people, to be heralds of the Good News. The Good News is about, and is Jesus. He is, as St Paul says the “yes” of God. Yes to you, and yes to me. It can only be a yes if he is prepared to overlook our faults. He does that and more. Because in our lives he is an abiding presence, strengthening, consoling, healing and forgiving.
Speaking of brambles. Don’t forget that it was he who wore them as a faux crown. We don’t need to grow our own. He bears those wounds for us.
With my love and prayers. Fr David
New to the Parish or just keen to meet everyone You will be made welcome at the evening reception following the 6pm Mass in Cranleigh on January 20th. If you have recently become involved in Cranleigh or Bramley, for whatever reason, or know of someone who would like to be included, please sign up on the Parish Events page of the website.
The Parish are going to be selling Tombola Tickets after the next few weeks Masses in order to raise funds for the Parish Hall which is still an ongoing concern. The prizes include nice bath sets, books, booze, candles, chocolates, and odds are good to win something. Please support this venture.
Christmas Lunch – Please join us for friendship and fellowship the annual Parish Christmas Lunch is on Tuesday 19th December in the Bramley Parish Room after the 11h30 Mass. It’s a traditional 3 course Christmas dinner with trimmings and wine – great value at £6! Numbers are limited to 24, so please contact Bev (892712 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dinah (271241) to book a space.
CTC Community Christmas Day Lunch will be hosted by St Nicolas Church. To book your place please contact Sheila Smith 274376 by Friday 15th December. Please see the poster in the porch.
TIME CHANGE TO 3PM – The Parish Reconciliation Service will take place on Sunday 17th December in Cranleigh from 3pm. Our First Holy Communion children (30+ of them!) will be receiving their First Reconciliation. All members of the parish are encouraged to attend. You might like to come to the service even if you intend to make your confession the following weekend and use the penitential service as a helpful and joyful examination of conscience to help prepare yourself.
The collections from both of our churches achieved the grand total of £554.73 for World Mission Sunday October 22nd. And £1032.25 for No5 Footsteps Homeless Charity Thank you to all those who gave so generously to these worthy causes.
“LO HE COMES” – We are invited to join our friends at St Nicolas on Wednesday evenings in the Parish Church. 13th Dec – “The Light is Coming”, 20th Dec – “The Child is Coming”. Please see the poster in the porch.
Great Pokot News
Earlier this week we transferred the magnificent sum of £13,450 to Pokot. All of this wonderful sum came from Pound a Week Group donations since July and related Gift Aid tax refunds. Some £6,611 was to pay the 2017/18 university fees of fifteen former students at the Mission school; another £3,252 was for next year’s school fees for some of the fourteen boys and girls currently being sponsored by Group members; £1,000 was for Fr Conway to spend where he sees the greatest need; and a balance of £587 was for him to buy a gift (perhaps a milking camel or a cow) for the impoverished family of the boy Robert, a student at the school, who tragically died recently of appendicitis. The remaining £2,000 was for Fr Sean McGovern to use at the Rotu Mission as he thinks best. He has now told me “The kind donation of £2,000 I will use for the Nursery pre-primary school which is still very much in the development stage. It will be a big help in paying the teacher and getting more books. A thousand thanks to the Pound a Week Group.” Fr Conway has also reported that he has used his £1,000 to help pay the cost (£1,500) of an operation for 60-year-old Tikol to remove a virulent cancer in his inner ear.
I will report further when Fr Conway decides on how best to help Robert’s family. Eugene McGivern at email@example.com or on 01483-893379.
Win Bracking is still collecting STAMPS. There is an envelope in the porch. Many thanks.
Do you support Catholic schools and the right of Catholics to send their children to them? Then we need you to make your voice heard.
The Government is making a critical decision on whether to overturn the admissions cap which prevents Catholic schools from allowing all Catholic pupils to attend. They have acknowledged that this policy discriminates against Catholics and promised to abandon it, now we need you to tell them not to u-turn on their promise to Catholics.
Visit http://catholicnews.org.uk/education-cap or search for ‘Catholic Education’ in your search engine to write to the Government and urge them to drop their policy which bans new Catholic schools.
Over 50 Coffee Mornings – the next few dates for the successful over 50’s coffee morning are Tuesdays 12th December and then in the New Year 9th and 23rd January and 6th and 20th February from 10pm in the Cranleigh Parish Meeting Room. All are welcome.
POWER TO BE
World-wide, one in six people do not have access to electricity. This has a serious impact on their lives and especially on children’s education – they need power to be who they can be. The most efficient and effective way to provide electricity is through small-scale, local, renewable energy generation and distribution networks. The World Bank funds energy projects for the poorest communities, including money from the UK, but less than 3% of this supports sustainable energy. CAFOD is campaigning to change this. If you have not already done so, please sign the on-line petition to Melanie Robinson, the UK’s representative at the World Bank. Go to:
The campaign closes at the end of December, so please take this simple but important action in the next few days. Many thanks.
Two Advent Events at Chilworth Abbey
You are warmly invited to prepare for Christmas in the best possible way by going to confession, and receiving absolution for your sins. The Service is at 7.15 pm on Friday 15th of December. Priests, whom do not know and who does not know you, will be available to hear individual confessions. The Blessed sacrament will be Exposed for Adoration and concludes with Night Prayer with the Monastic Community at 8.30 pm.
Please come also to our Monastic Advent Carol Service, at 3pm on Sunday the 17th of December to begin celebrating Christmas with heart-warming Carols, beautiful sung plainchant by the Monks, inspiring readings, followed by a convivial sharing of mulled wine and mince pies in the Assisi room. Bring a friend if you can, to share our joy at the birth of the Saviour of us all, Jesus Christ, the Lord.
If you would like to send Christmas greetings to Christians in the Holy Land, Liverpool Diocese has prepared a web page with all the information you need http://www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk/cardcampaign
‘Please join us for an EXTRA day of prayer and fasting, on Monday the 11th December, the vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, please pray and fast for the end of abortion and euthanasia in this Country. Your prayer and fasting is urgently needed, and it really does save lives. Please also pray especially that politicians and councillors won’t hinder the pro-life presence outside abortion clinics and that buffer zones won’t be introduced. For information on the days of Prayer and Fasting see: www.GoodCounselNetwork.com
PACT Call for Support: As you may know, we currently have over 500 volunteers across England and Wales, but we need more in certain areas to support ex-prisoners, prisoners’ children and families, and also prisoners themselves. We have a number of volunteering opportunities now for Catholics in these areas.
We are needing volunteers for HMP Downview, HMP Coldingley and HMP Send. The roles will range from welcoming families into the Visitors center, supporting the children in the play area as well as working in the Tea bar area. If you are interested in learning more please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 07712 306940. Or apply online at www.prisonadvice.org.uk. There is training commencing in the New Year.