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CHAPLAIN'S MESSAGE: Gaudete Sunday

thumbnail image Advent is a season of roughly four weeks, containing four Sundays, during which we prepare for Christmas. The scripture readings for Advent encourage us to focus upon the coming of Jesus in three ways; we reflect about his birth, his presence in our lives and his return on the last day. A secondary theme of the Advent readings is the need for penitence so as to prepare for his coming. Gaudete Sunday is the name given to the third Sunday of Advent and its theme is one of joyful anticipation of the Lord’s coming. The readings describe the mission of John the Baptist and the arrival of the Messiah. The name ‘Gaudete Sunday’ is taken from the words of the introit for the day, Gaudete in Domino semper, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” This phrase comes from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians [4: 4-5]: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

In the past, when music and flowers were forbidden during the penitential season of Advent, they were permitted on Gaudete Sunday. Because of the more joyful tone of Gaudete Sunday, rose coloured (pink) vestments may be used instead of the more penitential purple (violet) ones. Also, this is the Sunday when the rose coloured candle is lit on the Advent wreath.

Joy, unlike happiness, does not depend upon events or whether things are going well or not. Joy comes from experiencing the abiding presence of God in one’s life and knowing that you are truly and eternally loved by Him. Joy is acquired by the expectation of something great and wonderful in our lives. Today’s readings are full of hope and joy. Israel is described as a joyful bride ready to meet her bridegroom. Paul writes to the Thessalonians about his hope and joy that they will live in the spirit of Christ. John, in the gospel, describes the mission of John the Baptist, who witnessed to God’s light on earth. Each of these people experienced joy through discovering and carrying out their true mission in life. Isaiah speaks of one anointed and sent to bring the good news to the oppressed. These words were adopted by Jesus to describe his own life’s purpose; they should also be made real in the life of every Christian. Those privileged to share in Jesus’ spiritual life must also share in his concerns and desires. Christ manifests himself this Christmas through each of us.

Fr Michael Donaghy

See also: College of Chaplains

THIS WEEK'S DIARY

thumbnail image Friday 15 December Advent feria
09.30 Hinsley Room Fitness Training and Coffee Morning
14.00 Cathedral Hall Seniors’ Christmas Party
19.00 Cathedral Hall Charismatic Prayer Group

Saturday 16 December Advent feria
10.00 Hinsley Room Centering Prayer Group
19.00 Cathedral Hall Simbang Gabi – Après Mass

Sunday 17 December THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT
Second Collection – Christmas Flowers
12.00 Hinsley Room Grandparents’ Association
13.00 St Patrick’s Chapel Divine Mercy Prayer Group
14.00 Hinsley Room Filipino Club
15.30 Cathedral Parish Christmas Carol Service (replaces Vespers;
refreshments follow in Cathedral Hall)
16.45 Cathedral Organ Recital: Jack Thompson (St Mary’s, Chelsea)
19.45 The Windsor Castle Young Adults’ Group

Monday 18 December
11.30 Hinsley Room Prayer Group
17.30 Cathedral Diocesan Staff Mass: Cardinal Nichols
18.30 Hinsley Room Christian Meditation Group
18.30 Cathedral Guild of the Blessed Sacrament

Tuesday 19 December
Masses at 7, 8, 10.30am in Crypt, 12.30, 1.05 and 5.30pm Masses in Cathedral Hall
19.30 Cathedral Christmas Celebration

Wednesday 20 December
Masses at 7, 8, 10.30am in Crypt, 12.30, 1.05 and 5.30pm Masses in Cathedral Hall
19.30 Cathedral Christmas Celebration

Thursday 21 December
18.30 Clergy House (Rm 2) Legion of Mary

Friday 22 December
19.00 Cathedral Hall Charismatic Prayer Group

Saturday 23 December
10.00 Hinsley Room Centering Prayer Group

Sunday 24 December FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT
12.00 Hinsley Room Nigerian Society
13.00 St Patrick’s Chapel Divine Mercy Prayer Group
14.30 Hinsley Room Oblates Group
15.00 Cathedral Organ Recital: Peter Stevens
16.00 Cathedral First Vespers of Christmas: Cardinal Nichols
18.00 Cathedral First Mass of Christmas
23.15 Cathedral Office of Readings followed by Midnight Mass:
Cardinal Nichols

THE FRIENDS CHRISTMAS RAFFLE WINNERS

thumbnail image The winners of the Christmas Fair Raffle are as follows:
1st Prize - Night at the Goring: Ticket no: 14011 Gancz
2nd prize - Pax Travel Voucher: Ticket no: 13517 Tickell
3rd Prize - Christmas Hamper: Ticket no: 12121 Gore
4th Prize - A White Company Bath Set: Ticket no: 9734 Abundo
5th Prize - A set of crime novels: Ticket no: 11898 Lloyd
6th Prize - A tin of Quality Street: Ticket no: 11105 Scoones
7th Prize - A Baileys Hamper: Ticket no: 9666 Aiden
8th Prize - Tea for 2 at St Ermins Hotel: Ticket no: 11928 Bosacoma
9th Prize - Oil painting of Westminster Cathedral: Ticket no: 13638 Sankey
10th Prize - A Christmas Moose: Ticket no: 1 Scoones
11th Prize - A Christmas Cake: Ticket no: 10032 Nicholls
12th Prize - Tea for 2 at the Rubens Hotel: Ticket no: 13160 Wimbush

Despite really inclement weather, with snowstorms and ice aplenty, the Fair has raised in excess of £7,000. We are still collecting monies and a final figure will be available in the New Year. Thank you to all of you who braved the awful weather and supported the event.

The next Friends event will be the Curry and Quiz on the 6 February 2018. Tickets are £18 with a maximum table size of eight people.

CHRISTMAS TIMINGS ON SUNDAY 24TH DECEMBER

thumbnail image Please note that service times next Sunday are as usual until 1pm. First Vespers of Christmas is solemnly sung at 4pm and the First Mass of Christmas is sung at 6pm. The Cathedral then closes, and re-opens at 10pm in advance of the Midnight Mass.

AN APPEAL FOR CHRISTMAS FLOWERS

thumbnail image Over this weekend, 16/ 17 December, there will be a Second Collection at all Masses for Christmas Flowers. It is right that we do all we can to add to the beauty of our Christmas celebrations, and so the appeal is for your help. Last year there was a considerable shortfall between the cost of the flowers and the amount collected. Please be generous in your contribution to this collection.

CHRISTMAS USHERS AND COLLECTORS

thumbnail image There will be sign- up sheets in the Well by the Lady Chapel for ushers and collectors who can help at the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses.
Please do help if you can.

THE FUTURE OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS - VOICE YOUR SUPPORT

thumbnail image 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. The cap was introduced in 2010 and states that some new Catholic schools may only contain up to 50% Catholic pupils if they are oversubscribed. Visit http://catholicnews.org.uk/ 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.

Related links: Link to Website

CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION - TUESDAY 19TH AND WEDNESDAY 20TH DECEMBER 2017

thumbnail image The ever-popular Cathedral Christmas Celebration returns at 7.30pm on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 December, featuring Readings for Christmas and Music by the Cathedral Choir and Orchestra under the direction of Martin Baker. Tickets are now available from the Cathedral Gift Shop or from Ticketmaster on 0844 844 0444, www.ticketmaster.co.uk

Related links: Link to Ticketmaster

THANK YOU MESSAGE FROM THE SVP

thumbnail image The Sale on Sunday 3 December raised just under £540 towards the SVP’s work in the parish. Thank you to all who supported.

I WAS IN PRISON: A WORK OF MERCY

thumbnail image Would anyone who is interested in writing letters to someone who is currently in prison, who has asked the Cathedral for this support, please contact Fr Martin Plunkett through Clergy House Reception.
Letters would be sent out ‘care of’ the Cathedral as the return address, so private information need not be given.

FILIPINO CLUB SIMBANG GABI (NIGHT MASS) - SATURDAY 16TH DECEMBER

thumbnail image The Filipino Club celebrates its traditional Simbang Gabi (Night Mass) in the Cathedral at the 6 pm Vigil Mass on Saturday 16 December. All are welcome to post-Mass refreshments in Cathedral Hall.

CHILDREN’S LITURGY 2018

thumbnail image Due to a lack of resources our 9am Children's Liturgy is not running this term. However, we are seeking new volunteers for this important ministry in our parish so that we can restart in January 2018. If you are interested in either leading or helping supervise children at the 9am Mass every few weeks, then please contact Fr Julio or Fr Andrew G for more details.

WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL YOUNG ADULTS

thumbnail image The Westminster Cathedral Young Adults group meets every Sunday following the 7.00pm Mass. We gather outside the main doors of the Cathedral after Mass (at the bottom of the steps, on the Piazza) and generally go to The Windsor Castle for a little socialising. We attempt to create a sense of community amongst young Catholic adults who come to London from all parts of the globe. All are welcome. For further details email westminsteryoungadults@gmail.com

Related links: Email Westminster Cathedral Young Adults

AMERICAN FRIENDS

thumbnail image American taxpayers can receive a US income tax deduction for their contributions to support the work and heritage of the Cathedral by directing their contributions to American Friends of Westminster Cathedral, Inc., a non profit 501(c)(3) Organization (EIN # 13-2983174).

They will also enjoy special events and receive newsletters about Cathedral activities. Donations may be made through bequests and charitable trusts.

Contact Ms. Una Chang, President, American Friends of Westminster Cathedral, Inc., P.O. Box 92, New York, New York 10185-0092, e-mail UChang1@aol.com

Related links: Click here for email

EXPOSITION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

thumbnail image This takes place in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel every Monday to Friday following the 1.05pm Mass until 4.45pm.