Our Lady of St Charles Borromeo Newsletter 2nd Sunday of Advent

Parish Priest Fr James E Caulfield Telephone 01945 583466 Email: jamescaulfield@europe.com

Parish Secretary Mrs Veronica Marsden.

Please note Veronica is a volunteer and is only in the office on Monday and Friday mornings. For any general enquiries please email or drop a letter into the rectory.

Email: secretary-catholic-wisbech@outlook.com;

Saturday 3rd December 18:00. The people of the Parish

Sunday 4th December 10:00 Mass. William Caulfield RIP

Thursday 8th December 10:00 Solemnly of the Immaculate Conception

Friday 9th December 12:15 Mass followed by the De Profundis.

Saturday 10th December 18:00.

Sunday 11th December 10:00 Mass

Confessions: No Confessions next Saturday

Tea and Coffee in the St Joseph's Hall after 10: 00 Mass all welcome

Advent and Christmas

The Polish Community will be having Mass every Sunday at 15:30 during Advent.

December 8th 19:00 Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

December 16th 18:30. House Mass. I am grateful to Ian and Evelyn Duffy for agreeing to host a

House Mass on Thursday 15th December More details later.

Carol Service 18:30 Wednesday 21st December followed by Mulled wine and Mince pies.If you would like to read or can offer a musical contribution please contact Fr Caulfield.

Christmas Eve. 24th December 17:30 Children's Nativity Mass, the readings will be replaced by

an interactive Naivety by the children.

20:00 Polish Language Mass

Midnight Midnight Mass for the people of the Parish

Christmas Day 25th December. 10:00 Mass

15:30. Polish Language Mass

Boxing Day 26th December 10:00 Mass Feast of St Stephen

15:30 Polish Language Mass

Wednesday 28th December 10:00 Feast of the Holy Innocents

Thursday. 29th December 10:00. Feast of St Thomas Becket

Friday 30th December 12:15 Feast of the Holy Family

Saturday 31st December 18:00 Mass

Sunday. 1st January 10:00 Mass

Change of Sunday Mass Time

As from the beginning of Advent the Sunday morning Mass time will be 10:00hrs. This was agreed by the parish but due to the change of bishop the final approval has yet to be granted so the new time has not been recorded in the 2023 diocesan yearbook.

Children's Nativity Mass.

If you would like to assist with music or shepherding the Children, or children wishing to take part, at the Children's Nativity Mass at 17:30 on Christmas Eve please contact the parish secretary, Veronica, by the 16th of December.

Carol Service Wednesday 21st December at 18:30

This service will be a relaxed gathering with a few poems, Christmas readings and Carols. I understand that it is in the evening and some may need to have a lift in order to attend. Please chat among yourselves after Mass and don't be afraid to ask one another for help with transport or perhaps to offer help with transport.

If would like to help with the music or if you have a particular reading that you would be willing to read then please contact Fr Caulfield by the 18th December. In particular I am keen to encourage some engagement form the representative of the many cultures that form our parish community and so reflect the universality of our faith. The format will be roughly as follows. An opening Carol and prayer followed by a traditional reading and another traditional carol then ideally I would like to have some multicultural offerings and then have some less formal carols and Christmas poems. Bring friends and family along and when we conclude the formal Carol service we can perhaps sing a few Christmas songs while sharing a glass of mulled wine and a mince pies.


I understand that in the past there was a parish repository where people could buy Mass cards and other devotional items. This had already closed by the time I arrived and the remnants of the stock has been exhausted. The management and costs involved in re-establishing a repository is a matter that we may discuss at the next parish forum but in the meantime here is a link to the Pilgrim Shop at at Walsingham. It offers a wide range of goods which should meet most of your needs.

You can also google the Catholic Truth Society Webpage and that of the Redemptorists Press.


The O’ Antiphons.

Many of you are fond of the Advent Carol, O Come, O Come Emmanuel and some are disappointed that it has not yet been sung. The reason is entwined in the origins of the Hymn which contains the O’Antiphons that are taken from the scripture and sung from the 17th to the 24th of December.

December 17

O Wisdom (O Sapientia) of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!

December 18

O Leader (O Adonai ) of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!

December 19

O Root (O Radix ) of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!

December 20

O Key (O Clavis) David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!

December 21

O Radiant (O Oriens) Dawn, (Or the Morning Star)
splendour of eternal light, sun of justice:come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.

December 22

O King ((O Rex)of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

December 23

O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel ) our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!

For those who like anagrams some ancient scholar worked out that if you take first letter of the Messianic titles: Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—and arrange them in a certain way they spell out Latin words ERO CRAS, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come." What is worth remembering is that these O’Antiphons have been sung since the earliest of times and thus when next Sunday we sing O Come O Come Emmanuel we are participating in a tradition that goes back to the early Christian Communities. Linked to the O Antiphons is the 0’Antiphon House. This was a forerunner of the Advent Calendar where there was a model house with windows for each of the 7 Antiphons plus a window for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Behind each window was a symbol of the Antiphon for the day. In monastic communities it was also customary for monks to provide a special treat. So for example the the Cellarer on the 20th would use his Key and open the cellar offer the monks the finest wines at dinner. The gifts or surprises from the junior monks might have included a passage of scripture carefully illuminated in script and presented as a toke of wisdom. If one wishes to extrapolate from this custom of surprise gifts linked to the O’Antiphons shared at dinner you could arrive at the Christmas Cracker but that would be stretching a point. However there is no reason why in your families you could not create and O’Antiphon House and enhance your Advent Celebrations by assigning a day to family members and ask them to prepare a gift for that day. The thing I want us to remember is that Advent is a season in its own right with its own customs and traditions. It is a sadness that many have been lost and that the commercialisation of Christmas has diluted the true meaning of Advent and Christmas. The 21st of December rejoices in the O’Antiphon O Radiant Dawn, it is not a coincidence that this is also the day of the Winter Solstice and so we should greet the dawn with joy and hope in our hearts. Dawn will be at around 8am here on the 21st December so there may be a dawn service but the Solstice is also a good excuse for the Carol Service to be held on that day. Why should the unbelievers have all the fun when we can adapt and revive our own traditions and celebrate the Coming of Christ as the Radiant Dawn or as some scholars would say, the Morning Star.

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Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia (Registered Charity No 278742)

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