3rs Sunday of Advent (Year B)

Gaudete Sunday

Sunday 17th December, 2023

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Message from Canon Kristian

Dear Sisters and Brothers
The Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called “Gaudete Sunday” due to the Entrance Antiphon of the Mass: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.  Indeed, the Lord is near” (Phil 4:4-5).  This Sunday speaks of the deep joy which should form the basis of our lived faith experience as Christians because “God-is-with-us”, always and everywhere.  At the start of his Petrine ministry, Pope Francis reminded us of the “joy of the Gospel” which must be the motivation behind all our outreach and spreading of the message of salvation in Christ. Further reflections on this Sunday can be found in the Diocesan Newsletter for this Sunday:
Our Diocese also received another message of great joy on Friday as it was announced that Pope Francis had nominated Canon Christopher Whitehead as the Bishop-Elect of Plymouth.  Canon Christopher is presently the Parish Priest of St John the Evangelist in Bath, Somerset, in the Diocese of Clifton.  Further biographical details and reactions to his nomination can be found in this Newsletter and in a special edition of the Diocesan Newsletter:
In addition to the usual time for confessions, this week there will be two additional opportunities to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation at St James this coming Friday, 6.30-7.30pm and on Saturday, 11.00am-12noon.  If you are not able to access opportunities and would like to celebrate the Sacrament, please contact the Parish Office in order to arrange an alternative time.
Because the Fourth Sunday of Advent is also Christmas Eve, the Mass times might appear confusing.  The Masses for the Fourth Sunday of Advent are at the usual times of Mass:  6.00pm Vigil Mass on Saturday 23 December, 10.00am and 11.30am (St Boniface) on Sunday 24 December.  The Masses for Christmas are 5.00pm Vigil Mass on Sunday 24 December, Mass during the Night at Midnight, preceded by carols, 10.00am and 11.30am (St Boniface) on Christmas Day 25 December.  The Fourth Sunday of Advent and the Celebration of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) are separate celebrations so we are bound to participate at Mass twice over these three days.
The following are winners in the Parish Christmas Draw together with the number of their prize:
266  Fuscia                   278  Christine Pickford
267  April & John Golding      279  Maureen Xavier
268  Siobhan Gilroy            280  Teresa Cummings
269  Val Hancock              281  Paul Kelly
270  Margaret Reynolds        282  Vivienne Brewster
271  Paul McKinney            283  Rosie Croker
272  Cathy & Levi Roach        284  Camilla Lawson
273  Aleksandra Gularek-Szpara 285  Tulita Cross
274  Ron Holmes              286  Catherine Fitton
275  Mandy Paull              287  Ludo
276  Anne-Marie Bisset         288  Alan and Nina Newsome
277  Peter Scurr               289  Przemek Zielinski
In addition to the Newsletter, I attach:
  • the weekly offering from Monika Manser to assist with a prayerful reading of the Sunday Gospel
  • Number 93 of Inspire from Deacon Peter, together with a guide to praying the Joyful Ministries of the Holy Rosary
  • details about a Service of Nine Lessons and Carols which will be held at St Peter’s Anglican Church in Tiverton this Sunday at 6.00pm
  • the latest news for the National Catholic Marian Shrine in Walsingham.
I wish you all a fruitful final week of Advent.
God bless
Canon Kristian
Canon Kristian

Parish Priest

Parish of St James & St Boniface

40 Old Road

Tiverton EX16 4HJ

Habemus Episcopum!

On Friday, after over 18 months since Bishop Mark became the Archbishop of Cardiff and Bishop of Menevia, it was announced that Pope Francis had appointed Canon Christopher Whitehead as the Bishop-Elect for our diocese. This is an important moment of grace for our diocese and most appropriate that it has been announced just prior to Gaudete Sunday – the Sunday of Rejoicing!

The following message and biography of Canon Christopher was issued by Canon Paul Cummins, who has been looking after our diocese as the Diocesan Administrator:

I am pleased to let you know that today Canon Christopher Whitehead has been announced as the Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Plymouth.

I am sure you will want to join with me in wishing him a warm welcome and every success as he takes up this important ministry. Bishop-elect Christopher brings with him nearly 30 years of pastoral experience, most recently serving as parish priest of St John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Bath.

Born in Gloucester in August 1969 to parents Leslie and Christine, Bishop-elect Christopher Whitehead is the oldest of three siblings, with brothers Craig and Anthony. His youngest brother, Anthony, lives in the Diocese of Plymouth. His local parish, St Peter’s, was to lie at the heart of his education and formation. He was baptised, made his first Holy Communion, was confirmed and ordained in St Peter’s Church. Bishop-elect Christopher attended St Peter’s Catholic Infant, Primary and Secondary School before studying for the priesthood at St Mary’s, Oscott, after leaving school in 1987.

  On 30 November 1993, he was ordained deacon at St Peter’s Catholic Church, and then seven months later on 1 July 1994, was ordained priest by Bishop Mervyn Alexander. The Bishop-elect has never forgotten the guiding hand of Bishop Alexander, who he says offered him the opportunity to grow as a man of faith. It was his inspiration, encouragement, and example of gentleness, patience, and love that drew him towards the priesthood.

He was to serve the Diocese of Clifton as a priest for almost three decades, his first post as a curate at St Mary’s, Bath, from 1994-1996. His next appointment was to Holy Family parish in Swindon, before serving at St Mary-on-the-Quay in Bristol from 1996–1998. During this time, he was also chaplain to University Hospital Bristol. Having served at the Cathedral as an assistant priest for two years until 2000, he was appointed to his first parish St George’s in Warminster.

  Bishop-elect Christopher has also served the diocesan curia in a number of important roles: Director of Adult Education (to 2018), Director of Ongoing Formation of Priests (until 2020), Director of Formation for the permanent diaconate (to present).

In 2018, he returned to parish ministry at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Stroud, before moving to his present post as parish priest of St John the Evangelist in Bath, a year later in 2019. He was appointed a member of the Cathedral Chapter in 2020. He has a great love and appreciation for art, and in his spare time enjoys going to the cinema and sharing food with friends and family.

  Bishop-elect Christopher will be ordained and installed as the new Bishop of Plymouth at a Mass to be held at the Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Boniface, Plymouth.  Further details of this ceremony, including the date, will be provided in time.

I know you will give Bishop-elect Christopher the warm welcome our diocese is known for as he takes up this new role of service. I will be sharing more details about the ordination and installation and opportunities to meet our new Bishop over the coming weeks. Please join me in welcoming Bishop-elect Christopher. His prayerful presence among us will surely strengthen and guide our Diocese in the years ahead.”

Bishop-Elect Christopher will be ordained as the 10th Bishop of Plymouth on a date yet to be fixed in February 2024. In the meantime, Canon Paul will continue to lead our Diocese. Let us keep both of them in our prayers.

Advent Faith Formation

Canon Kristian will be leading the last session of adult faith formation based on the Advent Sunday readings this Wednesday, 20 December, starting at 7.00pm in the Hall. All are welcome to come along and take part.

Flowers for Christmas at St James

Some containers will be left in the hall for Parishioners to take home and create flower arrangements for Christmas.  The colour scheme this year is red, gold and white with greenery. Please return arrangements on Saturday 23 or Sunday 24 December. 

Name the Bear”

A Harrods Millenium Bear, which has been generously donated to the parish, needs a new home! For just 50p a go, you can try to guess the bear’s name from a list of possible names. The name has been chosen by Canon Kristian and the winner of the bear will be announced on 2 February.

Masses and Events this week

Sunday 17th December, 2023 – 3rd Sunday of Advent

  • Saturday 16 December – Advent Weekday
    • First Holy Communion Preparation at 10.00am in the Hall
    • Vigil Mass of Sunday at 6.00pm Alice Mullen RIP

    Sunday 17 December – Third Sunday of Advent (B), Gaudete Sunday (O Sapientia – O Wisdom)

    • Holy Mass at 10.00am Kuldip Khosia RIP
    • Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface) Pro Populo

    Monday 18 December – Advent Weekday (O Adonai)

    • Singing to Remember at 2.00pm in the Hall

    Tuesday 19 December – Advent Weekday (O Root of Jesse)

    • Holy Mass at 9.00am
    • Funeral Service for James Clark-Callaghan RIP at 11.00am
    • Monthly Lunch Club, 12noon-2.00pm in the Hall

    Wednesday 20 December – Advent Weekday (O Key of David)

    • Holy Mass at 12noon (at St Boniface)
    • Advent Faith Formation at 7.00pm in the Hall

    Thursday 21 December – Advent Weekday (O Rising Sun)

    • Confessions from 11.00am
    • Holy Mass in Polish at 6.00pm

    Friday 22 December – Advent Weekday (O King of Nations)

    • Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Confessions at 11.30am
    • Holy Mass at 12.00noon
    • Confessions 6.30-7.30pm

    Saturday 23 December – Advent Weekday (O Emmanuel)

    • Confessions 11.00am-12noon
    • Vigil Mass of Sunday at 6.00pm Pam Lydon RIP (anniv)

    Sunday 24 December – Fourth Sunday of Advent (B)

    • Holy Mass at 10.00am Pro Populo
    • Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface)

    Sunday 24 Sunday – Christmas Eve

    • Vigil Mass of the Nativity of the Lord at 5.00pm
    • Carols at Christmas 11.30pm followed by Midnight Mass

    Monday 25 December – Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

    • Holy Mass at 10.00am Pro Populo
    • Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface)