First Sunday of Advent (Year C), 28th November 2021


Advent is with us again. Translated from Latin, it means “coming.” It is a time for preparation. Yet long before Advent arrives, the marketing strategies have commenced where retailers rely on the Christmas buying period to boost annual revenue. The business expectation relies on good sales by targeting its audience with attractive offers and the pressures to buy. The expectation of the secular business world is focused on an Advent of profit. Whereas for us as Christians, it’s an Advent of preparation where we give ourselves space to discover the inner hope we share in the Nativity of Christ and the return of Christ at the Second Coming.

The word “expectation” has a richness for us all. As we move into this Advent Season, let us find a special space in the inner depths of our being to find the beauty of God revealing His presence within us.

In the words of Pope Francis in Laudato Si, “in my effort to decipher the sacredness of the world, I explore my own.”

Father Jim


Monday, 29th November : NO MASS

Tuesday, 30th November : St Andrew 12 noon

Wednesday, 1st December : 12 noon

Thursday, 2nd December : 12 noon

Friday, 3rd December : St Francis Xavier (Exposition 11.30) 12 noon

Saturday, 4th December : St John Damascene 11.00 a.m. & 6.15 p.m. (Vigil)

Sunday, 5th December : Second Sunday of Advent 10.30 (SH) & 12 30 (St.A)


St Andrew (Tuesday) : Patron saint of Scotland, the apostle Andrew was a fisherman born at Bethsaida and he introduced his brother Simon to Jesus. Andrew originally was a disciple of John the Baptist before following Jesus. After Pentecost, Andrew zealously preached the Gospel before suffering crucifixion at Patras in Greece.

St Francis Xavier (Friday) : He was born in Pamplona in what is now part of Spain in 1506. He became a follower of St Ignatius Loyola and a founder-member of the Jesuits. He went on to preach the Gospel tirelessly in India, Borneo, Indonesia and Japan. He died of a fever while on his way to China in 1552.

St John Damascene (Saturday) : Born in Damascus, he became a monk in a monastery near Jerusalem. He was a philosopher, a prolific writer of theological works and hymns, and a stout defender of Sacred Art at a critical time in the eighth century. He is regarded as the last Eastern Father of the Church and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1890.

ANNIVERSARIES : Please remember in your prayers all those whose anniversaries occur about this time including : Alan Rebello, Paddy Weir, Bessie Heath, Francis Hegarty, Eileen Lord, Harriet Edwards, Martha Ann Skinner, Gerard Morrissey, Elsie Riley, Sylvia M. Cunniffe, Margaret Walder, Maud Holliday, Teresa Dolan, Josie Peyton, Edward Donnelly, Patrick McGonagle, Margaret Mary Lord. May they rest in peace.

FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS : The two gorgeous floral arrangements in the sanctuary at Sacred Heart are from Bill Hargreaves’ funeral on Friday. They are well worth a closer look. Bill’s consuming passion for vegetables is reflected in the seven different varieties intermingled with the flowers in the design resting on the carpet. Although Advent is now upon us, it was felt that the flowers are just too spectacular to be discarded and therefore they remain in place over the weekend. Any vegetables of choice may be taken home after the Sunday morning mass if desired. Thank you to Fiona and Jacqueline for assembling the Advent wreath. As is traditional, one purple candle only is lit on the first Sunday of Advent.

ADVENT FOODBANK COLLECTION : We are reintroducing the blue-bags collection on behalf of the local foodbank during the run-up to Christmas. We are already being bombarded with advertising urging us to celebrate excessively this Christmas because we missed out last year. In reality, we probably didn’t miss out but just had to adapt and perhaps enjoy a simpler festive season. During all this build-up, there are of course local people who will struggle just to get by, regardless of the season. With the end of the extra £20 Universal Credit and the furlough scheme, alongside the huge rise in energy prices, there are more people than ever forced to rely on foodbanks. In some cases, even those in full-time work are now finding themselves for the first time having to make choices between buying food and paying bills. During the build-up to Christmas the blue bags will be back under the tables at the back of the church and as usual we look forward with confidence to your ever-generous contributions. You can also make one-off donations by cheques made payable to : ‘Blackburn Foodbank’ and send them to Blackburn Foodbank, Oakenhurst Road, Blackburn BB2 1SN.

Urgently needed items include : Tinned tuna or salmon, spaghetti hoops in tomato sauce, instant coffee, shampoo & soap, shower-gel, toothpaste, female sanitary products, deodorant, stock cubes, oil, tinned peas and beans, packets of noodles, chunky soup, biscuits and also vegetarian and vegan foods. Your kind support will be greatly appreciated.

COLLECTIONS : Offertory – £378.70 (Sacred Heart £291.55, St Anne’s £87.15). Ripple of Hope donations – £250.00. Many thanks for your generosity.

300 CLUB : Recruitment of new members and the renewal of annual subscriptions (£12) are now under way and last weekend over £700 was paid in, representing more than 25 per cent of the current membership – a most encouraging start. There are three more weekends in which to renew your membership ahead of the first draw, the pre-Christmas bonus draw, to be made on Sunday, 19th December. If you are not already in the draw or are new to the parish and would like to join, please have a word with anyone from the welcoming team at either church. If you are already in the 300 Club, perhaps you could recruit a family member or friend to take out a share and help boost our numbers. Thank you as always for your support.

PARISH LUNCH : The December lunch will be held on Thursday, 16th and will be the customary pre-Christmas buffet, approx. cost £12.50. The list for names is now on the notice-board. Alternatively, simply ring 580443 to reserve your place(s).