Monthly Archives: November 2016

How has the Jubilee gone for you? Has it been something that has attracted you (as it seems to have attracted so many in and outside of the Church)? Has it enthused you or motivated you to do something across its twelve months? Has it changed or converted you in some way? Has it prompted your parish community to get its hands dirty in outreach, in care, or in concern? Maybe the Jubilee has allowed you simply to appreciate the gentle rhythm of what is already happening – the way you show generosity and kindness, the way you extend a care, a concern and a welcome to those so easily forgotten or ignored.

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National Youth Sunday is this weekend! It is a great way for the Church to recognise and celebrate the contribution young people make to our communities and to the world.

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In preparation for this Year, schools worked with their pupils to explain some of the themes and concepts of the Jubilee Year. For younger pupils they explored the idea of a Holy Door. Focusing on the Pope’s words that “ The Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope.”

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Downside Abbey are running a Pilgrimage next year for young people. They will be visiting the most important Holy Christian places in Israel and the West Bank, together with some impressive archaeological sites and will also spend a night out in the Negev Desert among the Bedouin, and experience the joy of camel riding! There will be lots of opportunities for exploring places on foot, swimming in the Jordan River, Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee, together with kayaking in the beautiful Banias Nature Reserve.

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Three men were ordained to the diaconate on Saturday, 12 November, by Bishop Declan. Paul Dekkers (Forest of Dean), David Hebbes (Gloucester), and Elias Fernandes (St Mary’s, Swindon) were in the cathedral with the families, their friends, and members of their parish communities. They were supported by a good number of the deacons in our diocese who were there to pray for them and to welcome them into the Order of Deacons.

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For our final event in the calendar, as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, we welcome three distinguished speakers to our diocese who, together, will unfold in conversation the tender, compassionate mercy of God held at the centre of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Pope Francis has that hope that this Jubilee – taking us beyond the confines of the Church – will open up avenues of dialogue in order that we might understand one another better, removing any closed-mindedness and disrespect.

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Bishop Declan will be celebrating Mass at 6pm on Sunday 13 November and will close the Holy Door of the Cathedral during that celebration. Each of our parish communities is invited to be represented. As we close the Door of Mercy it is opportunity for us to pray that, as a diocesan family, we have grown in our appreciation of the tender and merciful love of God so as to be greater signs of that mercy and love to others and to our world.

As part of that celebration we will draw together a visual narrative of how parish and deanery communities have journeyed through this Jubilee Year. Around the Cathedral for the time of the closing of the Jubilee we will display something of the ways that parishes and deaneries have echoed and reflected mercy across these last twelve months.

Do come and join Bishop Declan for this celebration. Come and represent your parish community.

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We have today received the news of the death of Canon Gerry Rodgers. He died in Southmead hospital on 8 November 2016.

Gerry was a very much loved and respected member of the diocesan presbyterate.  There are many people who will be very grateful for the pastoral care and guidance that Gerry gave them through his ministry.  He seemed to know everyone.

Please keep him in your prayers.

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