Below is a communication from the Catholic Bishop’s Conference, approved at the Plenary Assembly of Bishops in Leeds on Thursday 18th November 202

As the Synodal Pathway of listening and discerning unfolds, we the bishops of England and Wales, are paying particular attention to the hopes and fears, the joys and anxieties of all who are sharing their thoughts and feelings with us. Longing for our Lord We are attentive to the experience of the last year or so, when we have lived our faith through the limitations of the pandemic. We have heard of the longing which some express as a “homesickness.” We want to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. We yearn to celebrate the sacraments together, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We desire to be nourished by our Lord in Holy Communion.

The live streaming of the Mass and the remarkable response of our Catholic communities to those in need, have provided comfort, sustenance and resilience. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our spiritual and pastoral life. Many people have said to us that they have appreciated the noble simplicity of the Mass at this time, which has allowed the mystery and majesty of our Lord’s sacrificial love to shine through. The central appeal of the Mass, its beauty and its transcendence, raises our minds and hearts to God in an unambiguous and
compelling manner. Our Lord Jesus invites us to receive anew the gift of Sunday as the preeminent day, the day of the Resurrection, when the Church gathers to celebrate the Eucharist. Here we stand together before our heavenly Father, offering our thanksgiving and prayer, through our Saviour in the Holy Spirit. Here we receive Christ in his Word. Here we are nourished by Christ in his precious Body and Blood. This is our primary joy, for which there is no substitute, and from which we draw our strength.

The Sunday Eucharist is a gift; as God’s holy people we are called to praise and thank God in the most sublime way possible. When the Church speaks of the Sunday obligation, it reminds us that attending Mass is a personal response to the selfless offering of Christ’s love. At this time, we recognise that for some people there may be certain factors which hinder attendance at Sunday Mass. The pandemic is clearly not over. The risk of infection is still present. For some, there is legitimate fear in gathering together. As your bishops, we recognise that these prevailing circumstances suggest that not everyone is yet in the position to fulfil the absolute duty to attend freely Sunday Mass.

We now encourage all Catholics to look again at the patterns which they have formed in recent
months with regard to going to Mass on Sundays. This would include consideration and reflection about what we might do on Sundays, such as sports or shopping, or other leisure and social activities. This review, and the decisions which arise from it, fall to every Catholic and we trust this will be done with honesty, motivated by a real love for the Lord whom we encounter in the Mass. The Sunday Mass is the very heartbeat of the Church and of our personal life of faith. We gather on the “first day of the week,” and devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42). The Eucharist sustains us and spurs us on, renewing our gratitude and our hope. When we say “Amen” to Christ in receiving his Body and Blood, we express the love of God which is deep within us, and at the end of Mass, when we are sent forth, we express our love for our neighbour, especially those in need. These two dimensions reveal the full meaning of our faith. We are gathered together and sent out, we pray and are fed, we worship and we adore; these are intrinsic to our lives as those baptised into Christ

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vector illustration of basket full of Christmas gift

Our local foodbank – so very well supported in our parish – will be distributing extra Christmas baskets of help to local families in need this year. Please click on the download button below to open up the information sent by Project Manager, Marion Badham. An application form can also be obtained from the parish office.

Please bring this information to anyone you know in the area who may be in need of some help this Christmas.

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SYNOD 2021 – 2023

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Pope Francis and the Synod office in Rome are inviting the whole Church to become Synodal.

We are invited to journey together, listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the lives of the people we meet. 

The whole ‘Synod’ will be a two-year process beginning in every diocese in October 2021 and moving on to a national then international listening exercise.

The Synod prayer, Preparatory document and the Synod Vademecum provide us with an in depth understanding of what the synod entails.

Information sessions to help us with understanding the process in Clifton have been. These will now be followed by parish meetings with specific areas for reflection during the season of Advent. Please see newsletter this week and continue to look at the Clifton website for further updates.

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Catholic communities like ours here at St Joseph’s are invited to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si’ to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”.

An important part of our faith is to care for creation and to develop respect for other people in the world – how can we live out this invitation?

The CAFOD Live Simply Award is one such way; becoming a Live Simply Award parish helps us all go deeper and take action. Come and hear about the Award from local CAFOD staff member for Clifton, Liz Baldwin at an online Zoom meeting on Tuesday November 23rd at 7.00pm. Newly appointed Clifton Diocesan Caritas and Environmental Officer Jason Charewicz will also be at the meeting, to update us on this new role and what it means for Clifton Diocese for both local social action and participating in Climate Change Action.

To join the meeting, see details below:

Topic: CAFOD Live Simply Award meeting-Tues Nov 23 at 7.00pm

Time: Nov 23, 2021 07:00 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 856 6564 8384

Passcode: 107882

This chimes in with our call to join in with the 2021 – 2023 Synod… we are asked to meet and talk and listen in our various parishes. Facilitators will report back to Clifton Diocese in the spring and information and ideas will push up from there to the eventual meeting of Bishops in Rome. Everyone is invited to share their thoughts ideas, hopes and dreams. Please come along once the Synod meetings get started in St Joseph’s to continue and add to the conversation.

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In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.

The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021.

Each time we say Mass we will recite together the prayer to St Joseph which you will find printed in our newsletter most weeks. Please see the display in the Narthex area put together by our Liturgy Team and feel free to add anything relevant to it.

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