First Sunday of Advent
Live Stream Masses
First Week of Advent
Sunday 29th Nov - 10:45pm
Tuesday 1st Dec - 12:30pm
Thursday 3rd Dec - 12:30pm
Saturday 5th Dec - 12:30pm
One of the effects of the living through the pandemic has been the blurring of time. Normally our lives, as they revolve around family activities, work, school and holidays, are shaped by a natural rhythm, a “flow” of time that we can remember because of distinct “markers”. Social occasions, journeys or changes in our personal circumstances may come to mind as we recall what it was we were doing in any given month. Or perhaps it might be events related to our job or even alterations to our house. With the coming of lock-down, with the many restrictions on our movements, activities and social gatherings, these recognisable markers have largely disappeared. “It’s all been a bit of a blur,” someone said when trying to recall the events of the summer. In a way this loss of markers has also affected our observance of the Christian calendar. To be sure, most of us can remember Holy Week and Easter this year because we were actively engaged in keeping our Catholic faith strong through all the means at our disposal. We might also remember the Pentecost Mass which was live-streamed from Sacred Heart and which brought our First Communion children together in a “zoom”. For our parish life perhaps the most significant marker was the re-opening of the church, first for private prayer and then for Mass. We have now a chance to shape our Christian lives – and the life of our parish community – around another marker. Today is the start of Advent, our preparation for Christmas. It is a season of joyful expectancy. We are bidden in today’s Gospel to stay awake and to be ready. There is hope on the horizon. The news of a vaccine has brought a collective sigh of relief to the world. Christmas itself will still be experienced under Covid conditions but it will be a Christmas we can look forward to. May this be a “season of hope” for us all!
People are beginning to ask about our Christmas Mass schedule at Sacred Heart. It is tempting to imagine that Christmas Mass will be different in some way (memories!) but in fact it will be much like the Masses we are we celebrating now. There will be half an hour in the church, some appropriate background music but no carol singing and a crib which we won't be allowed to approach (!). Also, no socializing outside or in! Since there are no days of obligation at the moment and since we haven’t the resources to do it, I’m not thinking of adding extra Masses. There will be just enough for those who wish to come to church to also have time for family. Next Sunday I hope to have a schedule in place. It might look something like this: Christmas Eve children’s celebration live-streamed from the family homes (no Masses in the church itself), Christmas Day Masses at 9am and 11am (live-streamed). There will be a video of the blessing of the crib plus a video from the Jesuit Community. Your suggestions will be appreciated.
To help us prayerfully through Advent and Christmas (including Epiphany), the Jesuit parishes in Scotland and England have produced short (5 minute) reflections for each Sunday, starting today with our own parishes of Sacred Heart and St Aloysius (CLICK HERE FOR LINK). We hope these “Mid-winter Meditations” will be a helpful spiritual resource for you and we thank Andrew Cassidy and Caitlin Bell here in Edinburgh with Bro Rene do los Reyes SJ in Glasgow for producing them. In addition, there are reflections on the Sunday readings for Advent in the recently produced and distributed Parish Magazine. If you did not get one of these through the post this week it means that I don’t have your mailing address. I’d like to ensure that I can be in touch with those who read this newsletter (if they wish!) and to that end I’m circulating this simple Contact Information form (CLICK HERE FOR LINK). This is for parish office use only but will be a great help to me and Fr Peter (associate priest) and Andrew (pastoral associate) and Bernadette (parish secretary) in serving you and the wider Sacred Heart community. If you have already filled in the Parish Roll/Census (pink sheet) from last autumn there is no need to fill in this form. Thank you!
Remembering the Faithful Departed. For some of us the significant markers of recent months will be the passing of someone very close to us. As we bring the month of remembrance to a close, we continue to hold in our prayers the members of our parish family who are in mourning. And we continue to pray for our loved ones: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen
St Andrew’s Day. The celebration of Scotland’s patron saint (November 30th) falls on a day when there is no Mass at Sacred Heart, but an image of the saint has been erected near the lectern and will be a reminder to pray for our country and its needs and to ask God’s blessing on us through the intercession of his saints. St Andrew, pray for us!
All-occasion cards. We have sold out of the calendars which Rene illustrated to help raise money for Jesuit parishes but we are happy to say that his “wildflowers of Scotland” have a second life in a series of greeting cards (blank inside) available in the foyer. £10 for a pack of 5. Many thanks to Faith for arranging this.
May God bless us and keep us safe!
Sunday Mass Bookings: It is now necessary to book for both the Sunday 10.45am Mass and the 8.00pm Mass. You can book the Sunday Mass you would like to attend by clicking below:
Please remember if you are booking multiple tickets (for someone who doesn't have a computer or a family booking) you must book each person separately.
Parish Advent Magazine: Hopefully you should now have received your Advent Magazine, if you have not please contact Andrew. It contains articles from parishioners on a number of topics such as faith in lockdown, evangelisation, joining the Church during lockdown etc... We also have poetry written by parishioners and a children's section. You will also find an Advent retreat within the magazine focusing on the four Sunday's of Advent to help us journey through Advent as a parish community. If your magazine does not arrive, please contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laudato Si Calendars painted by Br Rene SJ, will be on sale in the Church from this week. Calendars cost £10 and proceeds will go to the Sacred Heart Church.
Livestreaming of Mass: We will livestream our Sunday 10.45am Mass every week. This can be found on the parish Facebook page. We are looking into other platforms for streaming and also hope to increase the number of Masses streamed each week in the near future.
Discovering Catholicism Course - Still Time to Join the Course: Would you like to learn more about your faith? Would you like to delve deeper into the teaching of the Catholic Church? Or would you like to do a refresher course? The next session will be Exploring the Old Testament, 7.30pm on Wednesday 2nd December. The course will now include St Aloysius Church in Glasgow and we shall work in collaboration. For more information please contact Andrew at email@example.com.
Jesuit Refugee Service: As we prepare for a Christmas like no other, JRS UK is pleased to launch JRS Refugee Gifts: virtual charity gifts to delight your loved ones and support destitute refugees in the UK at the same time. There are a wide range of gifts for you to choose from baby essentials to Post Detention Support, all of which will help bring joy this Christmas. Find out more:
Pope Francis: Click here to read an article from the NY Times, it is an opinion piece from Pope Francis on the current Covid situation and how we live our faith.