The Season of Advent

2nd Sunday of Advent

Mark 1:1-8. Prepare a Way for the Lord

 

This year, Advent is as short as it can be. The season changes in length depending on which day of the week Christmas falls on, and this year, it is just three weeks and one day long – the final Sunday of Advent is Chrismas Eve, so we have a lot to pack into few days

Beginning the Church’s liturgical year, Advent (from, “ad-venire” in Latin or “to come to”) is the season encompassing the four Sundays (and weekdays) leading up to the celebration of Christmas

The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. The final days of Advent, from December 17 to December 24, focus particularly on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas).

Advent devotions including the Advent Wreath  remind us of the meaning of the season.  Advent calendars can help us fully enter in to the season with daily activity and prayer suggestions for the season.

Advent is the first season of the Church’s year. It aims to set the tone for the whole year, not primarily preparing for Christmas, but by inviting us to reassess the place of God in our lives. The liturgy for each Sunday of Advent marks out for us a journey which helps us renew ourselves, and grow closer to God. The Sundays are like ‘milestones’ on our Advent journey.

The themes don’t vary much from year to year.

  

1st Sunday of Advent: Vision, hope. Stay awake. Be ready for the return of the Son of Man. “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’” (From Mark 13:33-37)

2nd Sunday of Advent: Vision of the nearness of God. John the Baptist preparing the Way for the Lord

3rd Sunday of Advent: John the Baptist, this time defining himself, first in terms of who he is NOT, and then in terms of the One for whom he has come to prepare the way

A

4th Sunday of Advent: The prophetic sign that God is with us. Annunciation of the forthcoming birth of Jesus – this year, by the angel Gabriel to Mary.

Low Moss Stations – update

The ‘Low Moss Stations’ Continued!

Tuesday 21 November 2017 – a memorable day for St. Matthew’s Parish when along with members of local churches, some parishioners went to HMP Low Moss for a very moving service of dedication of the Stations of the Cross as depicted by inmates past and present. The Stations had been crafted in Mosaic form during St. Matthew’s 70th anniversary year, and had been in place in the church for some time. Now they are relocated in a prominent and public part of the prison chaplains Revv. Martin Forrest, Deacon Kenny McGeachie, and John Gannon and  worked on the format of the stations,. Inmates, some of whom had worked on the Stations, led a very moving service of dedication which was introduced by Canon Robert Hill of St. Matthew’s, and opened and closed with prayer and blessing by Archbishop Mario Conti, former Archbishop of Glasgow. The occasion was a wonderful and memorable coming together of church and prison communities.

Also on the agenda on that day were the unveiling of the altar and chair, made by Low Moss inmates under the supervision of Officer Vincent Stewart and his colleagues. The altar will be used when we move into the church during the renovation work which will take place in St. Matthew’s, and the church next year. The chair is already in use.

St. Matthew’s Parish Community would like to acknowledge our sincere and deepest gratitude to all at Low Moss for their reaching out to our parish, and to pledge our prayers and good wishes for all at Low Moss.

 

Photo record of the memorable day below, as well as a picture of the Low Moss Chair in form of a Celtic Cross, drawing on the St. Matthew Cross on Iona, outside the Abbey Building.

The Stations on display, and the guys who led the service

 

Hard at work on the altar and the chair

 

The chair in place in St. Matthew’s Church

St. Matthew’s – the Next 70 Years; Fundraising Campaign

Our campaign to raise funds for the re-building of the church is now up and running. We are inviting people – parishioners, past parishioners, friends of St. Matthew’s Parish to make a contribution to this work.

This week, campaign materials are being delivered to every household in the parish. These give details of the  money we need to raise. We have already collected £900,000 over many years from the generosity of the parish community: we now need to raise another £500,000 to complete it. This will require the taking out of a loan, and we therefore need to demonstrate our ability to make the repayments.

To do so, we are embarking on a programme of ‘planned giving’, that is in inviting members of the parish community, former parishioners, friends of St. Matthew’s from all over to consider taking out a pledge, preferably on the basis of a Standing Order over a period of time, and if at all possible, augmented by GIFT AID. 

For those who do not have materials delivered, or who live outwith the parish, the campaign materials can be collected from and returned to the church on any day of the week, preferably after one of the Masses.

In 1946, the Catholic Community in Bishopbriggs made the extraordinary commitment to creating a new parish and building a new church, opened in 1950. Think of their heroism in doing this just after the end of the Second World War! Their foresight, their courage, their determination and in those days their sacrifices gave us a church which for almost 70 years has served the parish – at baptisms, first communions, Christmas and Easter celebrations, Confirmations, weddings and of course sadly, but all too importantly, funerals. We now have the chance to do our own bit in ensuring this church, with the fabric enhanced, facilities improved, accessibility increased, will continue to serve parishioners and their families for many more years to come!

With grateful thanks in anticipation of your positive response,

Canon Robert Hill,

Parish Priest, St. Matthew’s.