Sunday is Gaudete Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Advent – asking us to rejoice that Christmas is close by. It’s traditional colour is rose (i.e. pink) – if you mix penitential purple with festive white you end up with something very bright in between – and as usual on this Sunday social media will be full of people showing off the contents of their sacristy cupboards. Perish the thought I would do the same…
St Andrew’s Reliquary
If you look closely you will notice the reliquary on top of the High Altar, containing bits of the body and the cross of our patron saint St Andrew. These relics have been a gift to St Andrew’s from Fr Matthew Duckett, one of the leading authorities on relics in England.
For centuries Christians worshipped near or on top of the graves of their forebears and we built our churches on top of the graves of the saints. Relics are a reminder of the connection between the fighting church on earth and the triumphant church in heaven. The analogy is that relics are like having an autograph of a pop star or possibly owning the trainers of a football star – with the striking difference that celebrities point to themselves – whereas saints point with their lives to God – hence relics are pointers towards heaven.
I needed a container to place the relics on the altar, and as I didn’t want to pay postage and import tax I used this as an excuse to take Richard to Rome for a few days – and I found just the right thing…
Sodality of Mary
Some of you know I am part of a religious community of priests – hence the words SMMS behind my name. http://sodalityofmary.co.uk
We are a dispersed community (as in we do not live together) but we spend time together, pray together and for each other and generally support each other to a great extent. For the first time a small group of us met in St Andrew’s last week and I thought I share the picture.
Statue for St John’s Chapel
As some of you know (because I have written about it before) it has been annoying me for quite a while that St Andrew’s statue is in St John’s Chapel and no St John can be found anywhere near it. I wrote a very subtle email to Fr David – who luckily got my subtle hint and is enjoying the challenge of carving a statue for the space (so he says). I am hugely grateful he is taking on this rather demanding project and last week he presented some intriguing initial drawings to our steering group. Do ask him about it!
Get our building ready for Baby Jesus!
Twice a month we meet for 2 hours on a Saturday from 9.15am to 11.15am to look after our building and make sure it is ready for worship. We are always powered by cake, tea, coffee and form a rather joyful group which gets stuff done.
We shall meet again Saturday 17th December at the usual time of 9.15 to 11.15, and with hopefully a bigger crowd for an extraordinary meeting on Thursday 22nd December at 4pm to decorate the church for Christmas.
EVENTS & SERVICES
De Montfort University Carol Service, Tuesday 13th December, 4pm
I am delighted this returns to St Andrew’s this year – please join the Vice Chancellor, students and staff for this traditional Carol Service.
Advent Meditation with music and readings, Saturday, 17th December, 4pm
Come along for an hour of music, poetry and scripture readings celebrating Advent and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of St Andrew’s – followed by a drink and a mince pie.
Carols, Beer & Christmas Cheer!
Wednesday 21st December, 7.30pm in the Sir Robert Peel Pub
Join us for your favourite carols with a drink around the piano in the Sir Robert Peel on Jarrom Street. Christmas jumpers and hats are particularly welcome!
Let’s decorate the church! Thursday 22nd December, 4pm to 7pm
Please give us a hand to decorate the tree and the rest of the church and get everything ready for Christmas! Obviously some serious work needs doing, but this is an occasion for all the family. I can also promise an abundance of cake and mince pies for this one!
Christmas Service Schedule:
Christmas Eve, Saturday 24th December, 6pm: 1st Mass of Christmas with Choir
This is a full choral Mass for Christmas, not a service specifically designed for children. Nevertheless, it’s sufficiently short and varied to be suitable for all the family. The service should be over by around 7pm and is followed by a glass of celebratory Prosecco (or alcohol-free Nosecco).
Midnight Mass @ St Mary de Castro, Castle View, Leicester LE1 5WH, 11.30pm
You are most welcome to join St Mary’s congregation for their Midnight Mass with choir. They are keen for people able to support their choir for the night – please have a word with me if you would like to sing!
Christmas Day, Sunday 25th December, 10.30am: Mass of Christmas Day
Please join us for the Solemn High Mass of Christmas Day. As everybody wants to open their presents there won’t be any hospitality offered after Mass.
New Years Day, 1st January, 2023, 10.30am: Mass of Mary, Mother of God
The days following Christmas are crowded with feasts and celebrations – as a parish with a particular devotion to Our Lady we keep the feast of the Θεοτόκος – the Mother of God or the God-bearer.