Sunday 27 December 2020

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Message from Canon Kristian

Dear Parishioners

It was really good to be able to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with many of you at Mass both at St James and at St Boniface, despite the continuing restrictions on numbers.  It was especially great to see a number of our familes present with their young people and their children.  Thank you for all those who have put such great effort into preparing our churches for Christmas – the flower arrangers, those who put up the Cribs and Christmas decorations and those who decorated the Christmas tree.  A special thanks goes to the musicians and singers at both churches who devised innovative ways to ensure that our Masses were accompanied by some well-loved Christmas carols:  at St James, where Bridget Tosh together with a socially-distanced gathering of the choir, and with the technical assistance of Noah Bodley-Scott, recorded some beautifully sung carols, responsorial psalms and gospel acclamations; and at St Boniface, where parishioners were greeted on arrival in the church carpark, and when they came out of church, by a band of musicians – including a recorder, a guitar, a trombone and a violin amongst other instruments – playing Christmas carols!

The Christmas Octave runs until the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, on 1  January, so I look forward to seeing some of you at the Masses over this time.  Please note that there will not be a Mass on Thursday 31 December.

The Sunday which falls within the Christmas Octave is always dedicated to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  It is a day when we ask for God’s blessing on all our families within the parish, and I have included in the newsletter some of Pope Francis’ words from his Christmas Blessing “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city of Rome and to the whole world”) yesterday, in which he makes special reference to the importance of families.

For us the Christmas Season lasts until Sunday 10 January, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, with the important celebration of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord on Wednesday 6 January.  Unlike most of the commercial and non-Catholic world around us, let us try and resist the temptation to remove all traces of Christmas from our homes until the end of the Season.  Indeed, the Christmas Season is short – from 25 December to 10 January, so let’s honour it in our homes and prayer life as best we can.  Unfortunately, because for many in our society Christmas starts as early as the beginning of November, by 26 December they have had enough of it and all traces are eradicated by the end of December! As in an increasing number of areas of political, social and moral life in our country, we are being called to be “counter-cultural” and it is never easy to swim against the tide!

Along with the newsletter, Monika Manser’s helpful guide for “lectio divina” on the Gospel Reading for the Feast of the Holy Family is again available on the parish website (go to Resources> Reflections in the site menu).

May God bless you all as we continue to celebration the Nativity of Christ and as we enter into the New Year 2021.

Canon Kristian

Coming to Mass

We are limited in terms of numbers at Mass due to social distancing regulations.  Therefore, if you wish to attend Mass at the weekends, please contact the Parish Office, either by telephone on weekdays between 10.00am-1.00pm, or by email, so that we can ensure that there is a space for you.

As there are always spaces available, it is no longer necessary to book a place for at a weekday Mass.  However, on arrival at church, please remember to fill in a track and trace slip or to give your details to one of the stewards.

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.

Thanks from Canon Kristian

“A heartfelt thank you to all those who sent Christmas Greetings and for the many Christmas gifts.  Your prayers, support and generosity are greatly appreciated and mean so much to me, especially in the difficult times we are living through.”

From the Holy Father’s Christmas “Urbi et Orbi” Blessing

“Jesus was born in a stable, but was embraced by the love of the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. By his birth in the flesh, the Son of God consecrated familial love. My thoughts at this moment turn to families: to those who cannot come together today and to those forced to remain at home. May Christmas be an opportunity for all of us to rediscover the family as a cradle of life and faith, a place of acceptance and love, dialogue, forgiveness, fraternal solidarity and shared joy, a source of peace for all humanity.”

Year of St Joseph 2020-2021

On 8 December Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter, Patris corde (“With a father’s heart”), to mark the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.  To celebrate that anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph”, which began on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception this year and extends to 8 December 2021.  The Letter is well worth a read!

The Holy Father wrote his Letter against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic which, he says, helped us to see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day.  In this, they resemble St Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily discreet and hidden presence”, who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation”.

First Holy Communion Masses in January 2021

At the 11.30am Mass at St Boniface on each Sunday throughout January, a number of our children will be receiving their First Holy Communion.  This will mean that space for parishioners to attend that Mass will be even more limited than usual, so do please make sure you check with the Parish Office that there is space available for you.

The children who have been preparing for First Communion at St James will be celebrating their First Communion at Mass on 30/31 January.

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.

Reading the Gospel of St Mark

During this Liturgical Year (B), we will be reading from the Gospel of St Mark at many of our Sunday Masses.  As an introduction to St Mark’s Gospel, the Bible Society has produced two colourful and informative posters which are free to download: Fish with Mark which presents the key highlights of the Gospel in a creative and fun way – follow the main narrative of the Gospel through the clouds and then dive in and fish out some of the key stories of Jesus interacting with the people he meets; and, as an aid to help read the Gospel itself,  a Whistlestop Tour which explains when the Gospel was written and for whom, the literary techniques, style and vocabulary, key themes and the disciples’ characters.


Christine Pickford has been busy making us bespoke face coverings in “Christmassy” fabrics, raising a very impressive £250 for CHAT. She will be continuing to make face coverings with a new selection of fabrics which will have the arrival of Spring in mind!

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?

Diocesan Devotion to St Joseph during the Year of St Joseph

Throughout the Year of St Joseph, Bishop Mark is asking all parishes to seek St Joseph’s intercession every Wednesday, the day normally dedicated to him, and on the 19th day of each month. In particular, on those days, he asks that the prayer to St Joseph, given in the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter be said at Mass:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

Holy Mass this week 

Saturday 26 December – St Stephen, Protomartyr

  • Holy Mass in Polish at 2.00pm
  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)

Sunday 27 December – Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am, Pro Populo
  • Holy Mass at 11.30am (St Boniface) Adam Komuda RIP (anniv)

Monday 28 December – The Holy Innocents

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am Martin McKinney (birthday ints)

Tuesday 29 December – St Thomas Beckett, Bishop and Martyr

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am Chrissie Doyle RIP

Wednesday 30 December – Sixth Day of the Christmas Octave

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am (St Boniface)

Thursday 31 December – Seventh Day of the Christmas Octave

  • No Mass Today

Friday 1 January 2021 – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am

Saturday 2 January – St Basil and St Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops

  • Holy Mass at 6.00pm (Vigil Mass)

Blessings for a Holy Christmastide and a Happy New Year!