Third Sunday of Advent (Year B)

Gaudete Sunday and Sea Sunday

Sunday 13 December 2020

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Message from Canon Kristian

Dear Parishioners

We are now passed the halfway point in our Advent preparation for the celebration of Christmas and this Sunday is traditionally called “Gaudete Sunday”.  The name comes from the Entrance Antiphon in the Missal for the Third Sunday of Advent: “Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico. Gaudete. Dominus enim prope est!”.  This is taken from the words of St Paul in his Letter to Philemon, a leader in the Colossian church: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice.  Indeed, the Lord is near!”.  It is often difficult, especially in these days when life is restricted and so many people have suffered as a result of the pandemic, to be people of joy.  However, we are called not to rejoice by ignoring the difficulties and the suffering but by living these times with the conviction the Lord is living through them with us, always at our side.  It is the nearness of the Lord – sharpening our awareness of the many ways that the Lord comes to us each and every day – that is our focus in Advent and which reaches is climax at Christmas, the celebration of “God-WITH- us” and “God-WITHIN-us”, which makes us people of joy.  The Holy Father reminded us right at the start of his time as Pope that we are called to be people inspired with the “joy of the Gospel”, the basic message of which is “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you” (Evangelii Gaudium, art 164).  This is the cause of our joy and the message of Christmas everyone to hear.

Another cause of great joy for the parish this week is that today, 12 December, 25 – yes, 25! – of our children celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time in preparation for their First Holy Communion in January.  What a blessing for our parish that we have such a large number of children preparing for the Sacraments amongst us.  Please keep them and their families in your prayers.  These families have had to cope with interruptions and times of unknowing over the last year, but have continued to support their children in order to bring them to the celebration today and will continue to do so until First Communion and afterwards.  They deserve our gratitude and our support. This is also a good time to remind those parents who have children who should be preparing for First Communion in 2021 and young people preparing to be confirmed that we need the application forms in by the end of December at the latest.  The forms can be found on the parish website or send an email to and a form can be sent to you.

Along with the Newsletter Monika Manser has prepared her weekly reflection on the Sunday Gospel to help with a reflective reading on the First Reading of Sunday’s Mass from the Prophet Isaiah and the December Campaign Update from CAFOD.  I know many different causes are asking for your help at this time and that it is not possible to respond to all of them but it is important in the Season when we celebrate the abundant and generous love of God for the world in the birth of Christ that mirror some of that generosity towards those in greater need that we are.

I hope that during these last weeks of Advent, amid all the other preparations that need to be done, that you will find some space to prepare spiritually for a fruitful celebration of Christmas.

Please remember the sick of the parish in your prayers too.

With every blessing

Canon Kristian

Coming to Mass

We are still limited in terms of numbers for each Mass due to social distancing regulations.  Therefore, please contact Rosie at the Parish Office, either by telephone (the office hours are Mon-Thurs: 10am-1pm; Fri: 10am-2pm) or by email if you would like to come to a particular Mass, so that she can ensure that there is a space for you, especially at the weekend Masses.

Both St James and St Boniface have their own QR code for use with the NHS App and these are posted at the entrance and exit of each church.  We have been asked to continue to take people’s details manually as well.  Thank you for your co-operation and to our stewards for their great commitment.

Sea Sunday

Today is Sea Sunday, when the Church prays for all those who live and work at sea.  Without them, we would not have most of the items that we buy in the shops.  Today’s second collection is for Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea), the Catholic Church’s official maritime welfare agency.  It supports seafarers both practically and spiritually.  This collection is vital to enable Stella Maris to continue its important work.  It is dependent on voluntary donations, so please give generously.

For an appeal from Bishop Paul Mason and a video showing some of what Stella Maris does, please visit Some Gift Aid envelopes are available for cash donations, alternatively you can give using our contactless facility, online or text “SEA” to 70460 to donate £5.

Another way to support our seafarers is to knit woolly hats.  These are distributed when ships are in our local ports by our port chaplains and are always greatly appreciated.  Have a word with Sheelagh Bourdon or Paula Mardo if you need further information about this initiative.

Christmas Masses – “Sorry, no room at the inn!”

You will recall that, due to the restrictions on places at Mass due to Covid social-distancing, our Bishops are emphasising the fact that, for Catholics, Christmas Day lasts for eight days liturgically, from 25 December-1 January, a period we call the Christmas Octave.  The Bishops are encouraging those who come to Mass regularly to choose a Mass on one of the Octave Days other than 24/25 December as their Christmas Mass, so as to leave space for those who only come to Mass infrequently and who will be unaware of the need to book places.  Although this was clearly stated in the Christmas Card from the Parish Clergy, all the places for Christmas Eve Mass at St James and the Christmas Day Mass at St Boniface are already full, which means that there is now no space left for those who might arrive unexpectedly.

If this act of Christian generosity is not offered in these exceptional times by those who attend Mass regularly, then we will be left with no option but to turn away those who might turn up without booking a space, which would be an awful message to give to people on the day when we remember that Our Lord Himself was turned away because there was no room at the inn.  The chances are that these brothers and sisters of ours, who might only come to us at Christmas, instead of being encouraged to feel that they still belong, may understandably decide not to darken our doors again next year, which would be a tragedy for all concerned. So please consider if you could offer your place.

Tiverton Virtual Advent Calendar

Some of the local churches have got together to produce a Tiverton Online Advent Calendar that anyone and everyone can access. It features short 2-3 minute videos about different aspects of Christmas. Each day a different numbered door will be posted online so that anyone of any age can enjoy and anticipate the festive season. For a bit of puzzle fun, each day’s door has

Sacramental Preparation 2021

Parents who would like their children (aged 7 and over) to make their First Holy Communion in 2021 are asked to fill out the Application Form and to return it to the Parish Office as soon as possible. If you are 12 or older – or have a young person of this age – and would like to be confirmed by the Bishop in July 2021, please complete the Application Form and return it to the Parish Office as soon as possible.

200 Club

The draws for November and December will be drawn by Canon Kristian after 6.00pm Mass on 12 December.  Anyone wishing to join the Club should contact Simon Coombs or Sheelagh Bourdon at St James or Teresa Cummings at St Boniface.

Supporting CAFOD

What do you give to the person who more than enough “things”?  Maybe you want to give a present which will have a life-changing impact a person living in dire poverty in another part of our world?  Look no further than CAFOD World Gifts.  The 2020-21 Catalogue contains an amazing variety of possibilities from something as small as a Queen Bee to a Water Supply for a whole community! Paper copies of the Catalogue are available at church for those who would like one.  The December CAFOD Campaign Update is also available to download and read..

Supporting CHAT

Christine Pickford has kindly offered to make bespoke face coverings in “Christmassy” fabrics, £2.50 each. Samples of the materials can be found at the entrance to St James, together with an envelope for your order. Proceeds to CHAT. You can also donate to the CHAT Christmas Foodbank appeal and take part in their Reverse Advent Calendar.

The December CHAT Newsletter giving an update on how services are being provided to those most in need and giving information on how everyone can help is now available. There is an increased demand for the services at this time and CHAT is becoming aware of people who may need help who have not approached them before.

Parish Fund-raising

 Easyfundraising is an easy way of raising funds for the parish when buying from some of the most frequently used online sales websites.  All you need to do is to sign up. Why not take a look and join other parishioners who donate while they shop?

Some Christmas Novelties are on sale at St James. Orders for these can also be emailed to the Parish Office and Margaret Found will put them together for you ready to pick up at church. Payment can be made by cash, cheque or card via our contactless facility. There are also some Christmas Wreathes made by Babs Jones and some Christmas Candle Melts made by Andrea Teiermayer.

Holy Mass this week

Saturday 12 December – Advent Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 6pm (Vigil Mass) Pro Populo

Sunday 13 December – Third Sunday of Advent (B)

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am, Lucy Gorlo’s Intentions (Birthday)
  • Holy Mass at 11.30am (St Boniface) Charlotte Thomas RIP (Anniv)

Tuesday 15 December – Advent Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am

Wednesday 16 December – Advent Weekday

  • Service of the Word at 12noon (St Boniface)

Thursday 17December – Advent Weekday (O Sapientia)

  • Holy Mass at 6.30pm

Friday 18 December – Advent Weekday (O Adonai)

  • Holy Mass at 12noon

Saturday 19 December – Advent Weekday (O Radix Iesse)

  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)