The Gospel today encourages to “stay awake” - not to allow ourselves to become complacent in our Christian lives. Advent is a penitential season when the Church invites us to prepare for the many ways in which Our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us. We can be assisted in remaining vigilant through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, that’s why these disciplines are recommended in this season. Like the “doorkeeper” in Mark’s Gospel, Christians have to remain ever watchful and be attentive to what the Lord wants to reveal to us in all the circumstances of our everyday lives. I hope that you are all keeping well under these trying and frustrating circumstances and that you are coping with the new lockdown. You continue to be in my prayers daily as I offer the Mass. I will continue to post a weekly Spiritual Communion and reflection on the parish website so that we can still pray together. It has been encouraging to see the generous response to the call for volunteers needed to celebrate Mass. Once again I have cause to be impressed and grateful for your selfless dedication and for the love of Christ and his Church which this shows. Archbishop Bernard has also recognised the diligence and devotion of the volunteers and has asked me to pass on his gratitude and appreciation.
Making a Spiritual Communion *
29th November 2020
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
People of the Parish
Create a prayerful setting through the placing of a crucifix, Bible, statues, icons, etc Then follow this order of service:
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Read the Entrance Antiphon
To you I lift up my soul, O my God.
In you, I have trusted; let me not be put to shame.
Nor let my enemies exult over me;
and none that hope in you be put to shame.
In silent prayer call to mind your sins then make the following penitential act:
You were sent to heal the contrite of heart: Lord have mercy
You came to call sinners: Christ have mercy
You are seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us:
Lord have mercy
Pray the Collect (the Opening Prayer of the Mass of the day)
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
First Reading: From the prophet Isaiah, 63: 16-17; 64: 1, 3-8
R. God of hosts, bring us back;
let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hear us, shine forth from your cherubim throne.
O Lord, rouse up your might, O Lord, come to our help. R.
God of hosts, turn again, we implore, look down from heaven and see.
Visit this vine and protect it, the vine your right hand has planted. R.
May your hand be on the man you have chosen, the man you have given your strength.
And we shall never forsake you again: give us life that we may call upon your name. R.
Second Reading: From the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 1, verses: 3-9
Gospel: A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he come unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’
The Gospel of the Lord.
Today is the first Sunday in Advent and the central theme of Advent is the coming to us of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is, of course, already present to us, he is at hand, in our midst, within us, but the grace of Advent
allows us a more concentrated, vivid and renewed awareness of his presence among us.
During this liturgical season Christ makes himself known to us, in a special way, as the One who is God yet who wants to be with us for he is the God who wants us to know him and love him. He is the God who comes to us, in Christ, and makes himself one with us, in order that he might wed himself to us in love so that the two become one. Never has there been such a love story to compare with that of the love of God in Christ for us. No wonder the Psalmists praises God by saying: ‘Your loving kindness is better than life’
and elsewhere: ‘I will sing forever of your love O Lord!’
And that’s why Christian prayer during this season of Advent might be summed up in those words which close the last book of the Bible: ‘Amen - so be it - Come to us Lord Jesus.’ And he does come to us, to reveal the otherwise hidden mystery of the Godhead to us. So that we might know God and love him forever. It for this we were made. God made us for himself. We are the beloved bride whom he comes to win in Christ. Mere creatures, yes, but through divine grace to be made one with God through that same Spirit of love working in us which binds the persons of the Holy Trinity in unity. That is why Christ prayed for us saying: “May they all be one, as you Father are in me and I in you, that they may be in us.’
And out of his great love for us, Christ comes to us in many ways every moment of our lives and the season of Advent reminds us to stay awake
so that we don’t miss him. He stands at the door of our lives and knocks
and he graciously waits for us to let him in but if we are distracted with other things, - if our will is divided and our desires dispersed - if our lives are too cluttered and filled with other things - if there is no time for the God who comes to us - if there is no room for him then he will not impose himself on us. He is humble and gentle of heart. He will enter and make his home with us only when he is invited as our chief love and desire and as he is the
supreme being, infinitely surpassing all others in excellence, it is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation that he should have the first place in our hearts. His loving perfection is such that it is right and just that he is not prepared to be treated as second best, that he refuses to be an afterthought,
- a life-style accessory, - a comfort blanket, - a God of the gaps. When he is number one in our lives - when we desire him above all else
then he will enter and sup with us, become one with us and we with him.
Staying awake is therefore also about being aware of all that prevents Christ from entering into our lives, - being aware of all that prevents us from recognising not only Christ’s presence in the sacrament of the altar but prevents us from recognising him as he comes to us in the sacrament of every present moment.
So, through our wholehearted observance and celebration of Advent,
may we learn to stay awake in order that our desire for the God who comes to us in Christ may increase and so drive away all those things in our lives
which are incompatible with our knowing God and loving him forever.
Amen, so be it,
Come to us Lord Jesus.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us
Immaculate Heart of Mary, have mercy on us
Saints Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, pray for us
St Andrew, pray for us
St Edmund Campion, pray for us
St Francis Xavier, pray for us
St Birinus, pray for us
Blessed Robert Grissold, pray for us
Pray the Creed
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
was crucified, died and was buried;
He descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen
Offer up Prayers of Intercession for the Church, for the world, for our community, for the sick and for those who have died - and offer up your own intentions.
A Prayer in time of sickness and disease:
All powerful and merciful God,
our refuge and our shield,
bring healing to all those suffering as a result of sickness and disease.
Guard and protect us from all harm
and assist those whose skill and art can put an end to this affliction.
Through Christ our Lord.
Ask for Our Lady’s prayers, saying the Hail Mary…
Pray the Lord’s Prayer: Our Father…
Pray the Agnus Dei:
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
Make a Spiritual Communion* - asking Our Lord Jesus Christ to come into your heart and feed you with heavenly grace so that you might be one with Him. You can use the following prayer of St Alphonsus Liguori:
My Jesus, I believe that You are truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as being already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
Ask for God’s blessing and protection:
May the Lord bless us and keep us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen
Make the sign of the Cross saying:
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Finish with the Prayer to St Michael:
Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our defence against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust down into hell Satan and all other evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls. Amen
* A Spiritual Communion can be made if one has a deep desire to receive Our Lord and to be one with him - even if one cannot, for whatever reason, receive him sacramentally. Spiritual Communion is an act of love and desire to be united with Christ and is a means of drawing on the life of the Holy Spirit dwelling within our souls.
The Church teaches us that we can receive Our Lord Jesus Christ in spiritual communion if we have a great desire to receive him and to feed on him, the spiritual heavenly bread, through our longing for the Blessed Sacrament. In spiritual communion we invite Our Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts.
In this way we can receive the graces and blessings of the Blessed Sacrament even in those circumstances where we are unable to receive Christ in Holy Communion. And the good news is that we can make a spiritual communion several times a day. Indeed, St Maximillian Kolbe endeavoured to make a spiritual communion - asking Our Eucharistic Lord - to come to him every fifteen minutes - every time his clock chimed.
St Teresa said: “Spiritual Communion is very profitable, therefore do not omit it for by it the Lord learns how much you love him.”
I will post the Sunday Collects, and Readings week by week on the parish website.
I hope this has proved helpful. Please don’t feel bound by these suggestions
- if you have your own better way of staying in prayerful and close spiritual communion with Our Lord then, of course, follow it.
Be assured of my prayers - please keep me in yours. Remember that the Rosary is a most powerful means of prayer.
With all good wishes and every blessing
Weekday Spiritual Communion
You can use the format for Sunday’s Spiritual Communion for daily worship and prayer. The Sunday Collect and scripture readings can be used throughout the week but if you prefer you might like to use the Gospel of the day - I will supply the scripture references for these. Also, please don’t forget the supreme value of praying the Rosary daily.
Gospel readings for the First Week of Advent
Mon 30 Nov Feast of St Andrew
Matthew 4: 18-22
Phoebe Stevens (Birthday)
Tues 1 Dec Feast of St Edmund Campion
Luke 9: 23-26
Wed 2 Luke 10: 21-24
Thurs 3 Memorial of St Francis Xavier
Matthew 7: 21, 24-27
Fri 4 Matthew 9: 27-31
Sat 5 Feast of St Birinius
Matthew 9: 35-37
Sun 6 SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Bethany Food Bank Appeal
Please find below information about an appeal from G&T SVP. Can you please bring it to the attention of all the parishioners you are in contact with, and if they can donate any food etc it would great. It can be delivered to Lesley Murtagh at 36 Arden Close Balsall Common. If they can't get there if they let Joe Martin know he will go and collect it and take it around. There is also a collection box in Tesco in the Village. Please help us to help disadvantaged families in the area.
The Bethany Food Bank Appeal has produced a weekly newsletter showing their progress. You can find there below:
|30.11.-1||Lent Breakfasts & Talks||The breakfast talks continue throughout Lent at the Methodist church hosted by local churches. This week (29th) the speaker is Rev Dr Stuart Jennings "The Godliness of the Puritans". Saturday 7th March at 8.30am, Blessed Robert Grissold is hosting the Lenten breakfast at the Methodist church. Cost £2.00 and consists of cereals, croissants, and toast followed by the Lenten talk. The theme this year is "Moving forward by looking back". New visions for the future of Christianity. Speaker Mr Peter Larkin "The drama of Catholicism". All welcome.|
|09.07.2016||Church Consecration||This is a very special year in the life of our parish, as our church will be consecrated on 9th July by Archbishop Bernard Longley. Preparations are already underway, both for the consecration service itself, and for various fund-raising activities. Updates on our progress so far are published in our Easter newsletter available online (along with our weekly Sunday bulletin) on this website For more details of how you can be involved, please speak to Joe Martin or Ian Clarke, or email email@example.com.|
|10.07.2016||Candle of Dedication||The dedication for this week is Francis Clements|
|10.07.2016||Prayer Life||The meditations and instruction on prayer in the Christian spiritual life continue on Wednesday during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament|
|10.07.2016||Ethiopia Appeal and Collection||There is a serious food crisis in Ethiopia. Extreme weather shifts, part of the El Nino effect, mean severe drought has left millions of people in need of emergency food aid. 400,000 children are already suffering from malnutrition and we need to act now to prevent a far more terrible crisis. Please give to the collection today for CAFOD's emergency humanitarian response. And please pray for those who are suffering.|
|10.07.2016||Consecration||A huge thank you to all those who worked to make the Consecration of our church such a blessed occasion yesterday. There will be a more in depth write up of the mass and celebrations soon!|
|10.07.2016||Consecration Pictures||Pictures of the consecration celebration are now available by clinking on the link or accessing the Parish Archive via the menu.|
|12.07.2016||Mass time change for this week||Please note that this week's Tuesday Mass is earlier than usual and will be at 9.30 am to allow Fr Frank to attend the monthly Deanery Meeting of clergy|
|17.07.2016||Candle of Dedication||The dedication for this week is Richard Brennan|
|17.07.2016||Car Park||Thank you to Paul Ryan for his generous donation of time and materials in repairing the gulley in the car park. If anyone would like to talk to Paul about driveways, paving or landscaping please call him on 07831 386621|
|24.07.2016||Candle of Dedication||The dedication for this week is for Jo Nijst|
|24.07.2016||Consecration candles||We would like to thank those who donated the four consecration candles put up in the church. These are in memory of the following. Bridge and Perry family, Cotterill family, McLean family, Daniel Mark Lester and Amy Pullen|
|24.07.2016||Fr Frank on holiday||Father Frank is on holiday this week. There will be a Eucharistic Service at 10.00am on Tuesdays while he is away. There will be no Mass with the Anointing of the Sick in July and no First Friday Mass in August.|
|24.07.2016||Baptism of Eve Elizabeth Ryder||We pray for Eve and for her family, godparents and friends as they gather, after Mass today, for her Baptism.CAFOD Collection|
|24.07.2016||CAFOD Collection||Thank you so much for the generous CAFOD donations collected in the last two weeks. An exceptional total of £382 was raised and that is without the Gift Aid extra reimbursement which will make the final total well in excess of £400. Thank you especially to all who took the time to fill in their details|
|31.07.2016||Fr Martin Newell CP||We look forward to welcoming Fr Martin who will celebrate Mass here next Sunday.|
|31.07.2016||Candle of Dedication||The dedication for this week is for Jo Nijst|
|31.07.2016||Fr Frank on holiday Please Note||Whilst Fr. Frank is away the only celebration through the week will be a Eucharistic Service at 10.00am on Tuesday. Normal service will be resumed on Wednesday 10th August with Mass, followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and meditations until 8.00pm. There will be no First Friday Mass in August|
|03.08.2016||Get-together||This Wednesday 3 August. We are off to Harvington Hall on a coach trip. Leaving BRG at 10 o'clock sharp!|
|07.08.2016||Father Ed||A warm welcome to Father Ed O'Connell, a Columban Father, who will be presiding at the Mass today. Father Ed will also talk to us about the work he is doing with the poor in Lima, Peru. Our Parish have been helping Fr. Ed for 16 years with our Breakfasts and money from our Bottle.|
Our annual giving tree has to take a different form this year. Rather than buying and wrapping gifts for different age groups, Fr Hudson’s society has asked that we donate cash or store vouchers instead. COVID has hit us all this year but, as with any crisis, the people who were already disadvantaged will have been most affected. We are therefore asking the parish to come together, in a safely socially distanced way, to make a Christmas offering for this. We will be collecting cash, cheques, or store vouchers (please include a receipt with these) outside the church between 9.00am and 9.30am on Sunday 6th and 13th December. There will be an additional collection in the car park on Saturday 12th December 10.00am-11.00am. Some of the funds collected will be used to send Christmas cheer to members of the parish who are unable to come to church during the pandemic. If you would like to help with distributing a local gift please leave your contact details for Kathryn Driffield at one of the collections
The Finance committee would like to let any parishioners who wish to catch up with their normal weekly offering know that this can be done safely and easily by dropping a cheque payable to Blessed Robert Grissold Church to Bob Jones at 58 Balsall Street East or give it to one the Finance team who will pass it on. Bob will always ensure that you have a receipt. If you prefer to provide cash that is no problem.
As I am sure you now realise with the latest government announcement, we will not be holding Mass for at least the next four weeks. We would like to thank all members of the parish for offering to help with the cleaning and opening the church for mass for the last two Sundays which went very well. We had over 20 helpers and considering the size of our congregation we so lucky to have so much help thank you. We will keep you all informed what is happening as soon as more information becomes available. A weekly Spiritual Communion will be available on this website if you wish to use it.
Please be aware of the following service available in Balsall Common. Please use the phone number or email address if you need any support.
Notification of virtual open mornings at St George and St Teresa Catholic Primary School in Bentley Heath, Solihull. You can find out more at www.stgandt.solihull.sch.uk
Due to the ongoing Covid19 situation, we have reluctantly decided not to open the Midland Charities Association Christmas card shop in Balsall Common or Allesley Park libraries this year. We are hoping to be able to sell cards from home for a limited number of charities as well as some sundry items such as wrapping paper, gift tags, money wallets etc. In order to do this, we would need to take orders in advance. If you would be interested in buying your cards in this way, please speak to Janice or Bob on 01676 534407 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I would like to thank both volunteers and customers for all your support over the years. We will make every effort to open the shops as normal in 2021 if the situation allows. Best wishes, Janice
John McLellan and Chris Burleigh have just done a Zoom draw for the 100 Club, the results of the 3rd 100 Club draw for 2020, conducted using a random generator on a Zoom call with John McLellan, as follows: 1st 19 Tracey McAtammney (£75), 2nd 78 Kathy Jones (£45), 3rd 82 Judith Gibbs (£30). Congratulations to the winners!
On Thursday at 10:00 am we celebrate the Feast of a very great saint of the Church: St Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Mass will be followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 11:00am.
Please make every effort to read about the changes that the Diocese have asked us to make in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. You can click the link to the left or use the one at the top of this page.
Thank you to all who have renewed or taken out a subscription this year. The first draw of 2020 will take place after Mass today. Prizes are £75, £45 and £30.
Please pray for Eleanor Rose Orme who is to be baptised here today, for her parents and godparents, her friends and family - that together with them we will grow ever more faithful to our baptismal promises.
There will be a Mass at 10:00am on Tuesday 17 Mar morning (Feast of St. Patrick) followed by Stations of the Cross.
There is a parish meeting next Thursday 12th March in the parish room after Mass to plan events for the coming year. All are very welcome to attend
Meeting in the parish room on Wednesday 11th March at 4.30pm for parents who would like their children to make their First Holy Communion this year. Contact Chris Mitchell if any queries - 07742288722
Please pray for Brian Bernard Stokes who is to be baptised here today, for his parents and godparents, his friends and family - that together with them we will grow ever more faithful to our baptismal promises
Our visitors from Solihull Cooperative Funeral Care were overwhelmed by the welcome and support which they received here last Sunday and by your generosity. With your help they raised £165.00 for Dementia UK. They have asked me to pass on their thanks.
Father Frank would like to thank those who are responsible for cleaning the church.
Women's World Day of Prayer on Friday 6th March at 10.30am, St Swithin's Church, Barston. Prepared by the Christian Women of Zimbabwe. All welcome, please contact Louise Perry if you can take part in the service.
Get-together on Wednesday 4th March at 11.30am in the parish room for soup and dessert. All welcome.
Following a recent incident in the church, a risk assessment and inspection of the kneelers has been carried out (by the Parish Maintenance Committee). While the kneelers are in good condition and did not require repairs, the inspection concluded that keeping the kneelers in the 'down' position is more hazardous than in the upright position. The Committee would like to remind everyone to take care when entering and exiting the pews.