Our church is open all day from dawn till dusk – a little haven of peace in a busy world!
Standing on the brakes: Most of us have had the experience of absent-mindedly getting into our car and arriving at the destination with no recollection of the journey. That is until, you have a near miss and then you notice everything to the point of paranoia. Some things can become second nature to us, that we become inoculated from reality. We travel on auto-pilot. Advent is meant to be like some great red light in your face. You stand on the brakes and take notice. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas time, with the Christmas shopping, with the Christmas decorating, with the Christmas parties, with the Christmas music specials and the special liturgies, we often travel through the season of Advent without paying much attention to Him whom we are preparing to receive. Why are we getting ready to throw this big party on 25 December? Why are we doing all this stuff? The birth of Jesus Christ. Nothing more, nothing less. With only 14 days to go, there’s still time. Maybe not for all the external things, but for what really counts – people and the person of Jesus Christ. Time enough as well to answer the question asked of John the Baptist: “Who are you? Why are you here? And what are you going to do?”

If you thought Sunday last was bad it got worse as the week went on!
It would appear that the whole damp-proof course in the church has collapsed, due to old age! The whole floor of the church will need replacing, including joists. The brickwork will need injecting all over the place. Can I mention Peter Rawson, Holy Cross ‘gardener and handyman’ for the all the hard work he has put in this past week just to make sure that we could use the church for the funeral on Friday and our weekend Masses. Other help and advice from the two Johns, McNicholas and Gorman, and our architect Micky Coyle have helped ease the burden this week.There were three funerals this week but thankfully only one in church. And then came Wednesday! Could it have gotten any worse? Yes it did! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then there’s no point in my telling you. Suffice to say, not one of our better weeks here at Holy Cross. But we’re still smiling, just!

Christmas Social for the ladies of the parish: Tomorrow, Monday at 7.30 in The Garden Room. There will be games and a light supper. Please bring along a small wrapped present to put under the Christmas tree so that we can give them out during the evening. PS. Sorry to all the gentlemen of the parish, but I’ll be representing you! Aren’t I the lucky one…..?

“No one has the right to take for granted his own advantages over others in health, in talents, in success, in a happy childhood or congenial home conditions. One must pay a price for all these things. What one owes in return is a special responsibility for other lives.” (Albert Schweitzer)

Carol Singing outside the Methodist Church: This annual event will be next Saturday from 11 – 12 noon. It’s always great fun, if sometimes cold. So come along, well wrapped-up. And if you can’t sing, then you can rattle the collection boxes!

Carol Service: St. Mary’s Church here in the village is holding their annual Carol Service next Sunday evening at 6.30p.m. and we have been invited to join them. Hopefully I’ll see some of you there?

Holy Cross Cyber Church:
This website features a cross-section of Christian news and events from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The site features hundreds of pages of news and features of national and regional interest. The site was developed during the last ten years from a newsletter that was set up in 1994 for Hull and East Yorkshire. The mission of the website is to inform, encourage and link denominations by focusing on the bigger picture in the local community and further afield. There are some very interesting articles and features on the site, particularly in the area of interesting initiatives that are in train in parishes in the UK. It is well worth a browse!

Let’s Advent each other: There was a priest who ministered to a small flock of shepherds on a hillside close to the sea. The Church was often seen as a beacon for the tired traveller way out at sea. At six o’clock every Sunday evening a little group of people with their priest, holding lanterns, could be seen winding their way up the steep slopes to the little Church on the hill. As the years went by and the shepherds got older or moved away, the number of lanterns moving upwards got less and less. As the lanterns got less, the light in the Church began to lose its
brightness. One evening, tired and weary, the priest sat in his kitchen musing on the journey ahead. The howling wind on the gable of the house and the plaintive bleating of the sheep on the hillside made him want to stay at home. The lights weaving their way to the Church were just two – old Vinny and Mary. They were on their way as usual. Would he go this evening or would he stay at home? After all, he was now getting older. He had trudged faithfully up those slopes for thirty years. Yet Vinny and Mary were waiting. He took his coat and lantern and made his way out into the howling wind to the Church on the hill. Now way out at sea, in a force nine gale, two fishermen were battling to save their boat and their lives. The compass was broken and the boat was being tossed around. All seemed lost. Suddenly, through the darkness, they saw, away in the distance, the familiar sight of the light in the Church on the hill. The little beacon became their guide to making a safe mooring and bringing them home safely.
Advent, the season of Light, is an invitation to advent each other, to bring the light of Christ into our own lives and into the lives of others. We can do this ion simple ways – through the ways in which we welcome each other and through the ways in which we recognise the pearl in every human heart.

The development of the Feast of The Nativity is a long and convoluted story. We find it hard to imagine that, for the earliest Christians, celebrating the birth of Jesus did not seem to matter that much. In fact they refrained from celebrating birthdays because that was a pagan thing to do, and only pagan emperors bothered with birthdays! Apart from that, early Christians were much more interested in the Second Coming of Jesus than in looking back to his birth. Of the evangelists, only two, Matthew and Luke, mention that Jesus was born, and they give neither time nor date!

Stamps: This is the time of the year when collecting used stamps comes easy. Before you bin that envelope, tear off the stamp and put them in the box in the porch. Everyone of them is money, believe it or not! And thank you to Michelle who collects, sorts and sells them on and gives the money back to the church. Don’t throw away money! (or stamps!).

Birthday Girl: Christine Pike celebrated her *th Birthday on Wednesday and she spent the evening cooking supper for those of us at the Alpha Evening in The Garden Room. Ask her for her recipe with the red cabbage, absolutely scrumptious (and I thought it was beetroot!). We must get it into the next edition of the Parish Cook Book along with Diana’s Summer Fruits Jelly.

“Dear Fr. Pat, after Mass on Sunday I thought about what the lady had said. I thought it was important to assure you that that’s not what everyone thinks. My faith has been strengthened by you and everyone at Holy Cross. With thanks, C.H. aged 16 years.”

“The Gift of Scripture” Study Booklet: If you didn’t get a copy last weekend, please take one today. I’ve started browsing through it and find it fascinating reading and enlightening. And if you know of someone who might like a copy, maybe somebody housebound or a neighbour, feel free to bring them one. Although they’re marked at £3.95 you can have them free because I believe they’re so important.

Parenthood has two stages: when your children ask all the questions, and when they think they know all the answers.

Away with a manger: Cards featuring Brussels sprouts and cows wearing antlers are proving more popular than the baby Jesus this Christmas, a leading card supplier said this week. They said that there was a ‘steady decline’ in the number of religious Christmas cards being sold. This follows complaints from the Rev Robin Harvey in Epsom who surveyed local stationers, supermarkets and charity shops. He found that only 23 card packs out of 2,140 had some kind of religious nature. A spokesperson for Card Aid which supplies cards to over 100charities in the UK including Shelter and Action Breast Cancer said that the two most popular Christmas cards featured a cow with antlers tied on to its head with the word ‘deer’ underneath, and a card featuring a photograph of Brussel sprouts that was launched last year. A picture of mince pies was also proving popular this year. A spokesman for the Royal Mail said that 740 million cards were sent last year, but admitted that the overall volume of seasonal mail had fallen for the first time in 25 years.

“A Catholic Taste – Recipes from Holy Cross Community.”
Not available in the shops! But you can get your copies after Mass today priced at £5. This first edition has over eighty recipes, many of them from the Cookery Course we ran here a while ago. See your name in print (if you contributed a recipe).

Will make a lovely present this Christmas (for your husband!). And a real big thank you to John and Sandra for all the hard work they have put into it. (Their proof readers have missed a few bits, but nothing that would affect the outcome of any of the recipes!).

The Generator: After much discussion and contacts with Star of the Sea Parish, we have decided to increase the size of the generator from a 10 kw to a 25 kw one. The difference in cost is only £3,000 and we think that it is better to err on the big size. So please keep on supporting the various activities that are raising the money to pay for it, around £8,000. We are well over half way there already!

Crib in the library: Mary Dawson who attends the St. Stephen’s Housebound Group and who lives on Cambridge St. off Anlaby Rd. has given us a lovely set of crib figures. Now we already have a set purchased by Fr. Tony so what to do with Mary’s figures? Despite all the glorious Christmas lights here in the village, there are not many religious themes. Looking for a place to put them we approached the library and they are quite happy to display them over the Christmas period. The lady there is called Angela (maybe named after the angels who came down and sang!). So thank you Mary and just maybe they will make people pause and think about just what Christmas is all about. God bless you Mary!

Parish Prayer Circle Intention for Friday: ‘As Our Lady was pregnant at this time of the year, we offer all mothers and those expecting to become mothers, to her powerful prayers.’

Church Decoration for Christmas: On Thursday Dec. 22nd we invite all our younger parishioners to come along and decorate the tree and the church from about 10.00 a.m. There will be ‘goodies’ and singing and generally good fun for all! Please bring along your parents and grandparents too.

Children’s Liturgy Update: We have eight volunteers to help with this, so you would only be involved once a month. The delay is starting is that all the helpers have to be police checked, this is the new world we live in! But hopefully this will be done early in the new year and then we’ll be up and running (or maybe just walking to start with!).

St. Mary’s College Carol Service: As usual this will take place at the Marist Church on Thursday December 15th at 7.00 p.m. It’s always a lovely, Christmassy occasion, with great music from the school orchestra and choirs and lots of opportunities to join in the singing. And it’s free! But with maybe a collection to get out? All in a good cause, I’m sure!

Reconciliation Service at St. Charles’: This will be on Monday next at 7.00 p.m. to help get ready for the great feast of the Nativity.

Clothes Sale: Rosaria’s little mini-market last weekend raised over £110 which will go towards the Generator Fund. And no matter how bad off we appear to be here, we’re living in luxury compared to our twin parishioners in Freetown. Thank you Rosaria and all your helpers and also all who had a look and bought something. Another good deed for Christmas!

Seafarers at Christmas: Patrick Brittain works as Port Chaplain for the Humber and is always very busy at this time of the year. He would be grateful for any toiletries etc. which can be given as gifts to the seafarers over the Christmas period. There is a box in the porch.

Teresa Ulyatt was taken into Hull Royal during the week with a heart attack. I saw her on Friday and she was much improved but we are still waiting to see what the cause was. Please continue to pray for her, Les and the rest of the family.

Marian Hall’s mother Winnie McMillan suffered a severe heart attack at home in Derry on Friday morning and is now in hospital. Things don’t look too good and Marian has flown over to be with her. Again please keep all the family in your prayers. Marian’s father’s anniversary is this Sunday.

Prayers for the Sick: Please continue to pray for Rita Pashby (John Gorman’s sister recently in Castle Hill Hospital), Peter Dyas, Terri Riddiough, Willy Parker, Edna Swindell and Chris Groves (CHH).

Auction of Promises Evening: Friday, March 31st. Have you thought yet about what you could auction? An afternoon’s gardening, cook a meal for someone, offer transport, bring to the pictures, the ideas are endless. There is a box in the porch for your ‘promises’. Please get the ball rolling so that we can have a wonderful evening in March.

Parish Dinner: The dates we are looking at are either May 5 or 12. Hopefully we’ll get a firm idea quite soon.

Anniversaries this coming week:
Saturday – Denis Rowlands (Jean’s husband) and John Andrews.
Sunday – Francis Abel (Anne’s father) and James McMillan (Marian’s father).
Monday – Reginald Staples and Ralph Pike (Chris’s dad).
Tuesday – Elizabeth English (Dorothy’s mother-in-law), Johanna Budd (Dorothy’s mother), Marilyn Ann Hickland (Terry O’Shaughnessy’s daughter) and Neville Dyas (Peter’s brother).
Wednesday – Catherine Wood (Brian’s mother) and Catherine Fowlston (Peter and Lilian’s mother).
Thursday – Stephen Merivale (Ann’s father).
Friday – Annie Bingham (Joan Horbury’s grandmother).
Saturday – Sylvia Lord (Tony’s sister).
Sunday – Maureen Croll (Sheila Levett’s sister) and Margaret Hope.

Mass Intentions for the coming week:
Saturday – 6.30 – Eileen Murphy (RIP)
Sunday – 10.00 – Mary and Freddy Gorman (A)
Monday – 9.00 – Joanna Budd and Elizabeth English
Tuesday – 7.00 – Angus Smith (RIP)
Wednesday – 9.00 – Margaret Littlewood
Thursday – 9.00 – Celia Galloway (RIP)
Friday – 9.00 – Mary Hooten and Family
Saturday – 9.00 – The Parish
Saturday – 6.30 – Bill Kemp
Sunday – Dominick Browne (A)

Rest in Peace: Fr. Tony Barker SM from the Marist Community died in St. Catherine’s on Thursday evening. He had been ill for some time and had recently spent time in Castle Hill Hospital. He is survived by his sister and was a brother of Judge Michael Barker, who died a few years ago. We offer our sympathies to all the Marist community.

Got a lovely book in the post this week from Bishop Michael Evans from the East Anglia Diocese. It was sent to all the priests in the country and called? “Emotional Breakdown of Priests” – A report into the occurrence and causes of emotional breakdown among Catholic priests in England and Wales; with recommendations for prevention and treatment. Just what I needed this past week! By the way, please pray for Bishop Michael, only recently consecrated as Bishop of East Anglia. He is very, very ill with cancer and things aren’t looking too good for him. In his short period in the diocese he has made a huge impact and this illness is a real tragedy.

Rosaria and the Italian Society had a wonderful Christmas meal here on Thursday. I won’t have to eat for weeks! Grazie Rosaria!

Posted by Father Pat at 12:00 AM