LATEST NEWS - December 2014:

PLEASE TAKE TIME TO READ THE IMPORTANT LETTER BELOW ..... you can open it by clicking on this link

SUNDAY THOUGHT: Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year B)
21st December 2014

Christmas is almost here.
For the final time this Advent our Sunday Mass bids us make ready for the coming of the Lord. We like to be in control of every sphere of our lives. We build our own comfortable safe-haven and our independence to show that we are better than others; just like King David did. There can be times when we consciously do things for God. It might be a major life-decision or a small act of kindness or self-sacrifice. Mixed up in our selfishness and dedication can be a little of what David felt: a certain self-conscious pride in what we do, perhaps a desire to be noticed and admired by others, or at least to make ourselves seem worthy in our own eyes, a feeling that we are giving God something over and above what might be expected. It is as if, somehow, we can make God grateful to us, perhaps even get God to realise that he owes us something.
The Lord's reply to David should snap us out of such self-delusion. He reminds David of how utterly dependent he is on God's graciousness - not just in the present and in the past, but also stretching right out into the future. Yes indeed everything is a gift from God - what we have, who we are, the circumstances in which we are living. This is a salutary reminder to us of just how much we depend on God's goodness - that we can never give anything to God which he has not first given to us. We cannot earn or deserve, let alone coerce his love. Anything we do for God is always a response - and a very inadequate one - to the greatness of God's love for us in the first place.
There is a marked distinction between David and Mary. Mary is under no illusions about her own importance. Far from having David's brash confidence in approaching God, Mary is disturbed, confused; she needs to be reassured that there is no need to fear. In saying she is a virgin; Mary is acknowledging her own emptiness, her inability to do what God is asking of her on her own. It is only by the power of God himself that Mary is able to allow God to achieve his purposes. Mary's humble acquiescence is in stark contrast to David's proud self-confidence.
It is through Mary that God finally builds himself a home, a dwelling-place among his people. He lives not in a house of wood or stone, but in a womb of flesh and blood, a heart full of love.
We see how Mary consented to become the mother of the Redeemer because she was a humble person and wanted to do the will of God. But when she said ‘Yes’ to God did she realise the full implications of what she was agreeing to. Trusting God needs our constant ‘yes’ in what we do and offer to loving Father. Without Mary's obedience to God we would not have a Redeemer.
Let us offer our thanksgiving this week for Mary and Jesus, for our salvation and live eternal. Like Mary, we too can say: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let what you have said be done unto me.”
Fr Joe Gruszkiewicz
Pope Francis@Pontifex: Let us learn from the Virgin Mary how to be bolder in obeying the word of God.
Dates for your diary:
FIRST FRIDAY DEVOTIONS 2nd January 9am – 12 noon in Sacred Heart, Fareham

FIRST SATURDAY DEVOTIONS 3rd January 9.30am – 1pm in St Mary’s, Gosport
ADVENT ANCHOR - Did you collect a copy of the Advent Anchor last weekend?
It contains an important letter…. Please ask for your copy or download it from the website:
"Come Follow Me" is a catechetical programme for children ages 7-11. Sr Hyacinthe, a Dominican Sister at Sway, has been involved in translating the programme from French into English, and will lead a study day for catechists at St Mary's, Alton on 17th January, 9.30am-4.30pm. The day is aimed at those leading Children's Liturgy on Sundays, although anyone is welcome to learn more about this catechetical resource. Refreshments provided & soup for lunch. Please bring some sandwiches. The essential input will be provided in the morning - more general information will be offered in the afternoon. Mass will also be celebrated. The cost of the day is £5 per person. To book your place, email:stmarysalton@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk
CHAPLAINCY DAY - 10th January 2015
10am to 1pm, followed by buffet lunch and networking in the Discovery Centre,
St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth.
Are you a chaplain (lay or clergy) working in any capacity?
Hospital, pastoral care, police, prison, ethnic chaplaincies?
Are you interested in volunteering for any one of the Chaplaincy Teams?
The Chaplaincy Department of the Diocese of Portsmouth would like to invite you to a morning to: hear Bishop Philip Egan speak on his vision for chaplaincy in the context of the new evangelisation; understand how the Framework for Collaboration will promote and support chaplaincy services in the diocese; meet the chaplaincy teams and hear about their activities. We will also be seeking your views on the development of chaplaincy services in the diocese.
Please RSVP to cvirgo@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk
St Jude’s School 50th Anniversary
St Jude’s School opened on 4th May 1965. Below are some of the events planned to mark the occasion. Parishioners (especially past pupils and staff) will be most welcome.
Occasions like this need to be marked in a tangible way so we are hoping to raise funds to provide a Stained Glass Window for the library, designed by the current children that will give them a memento of their own. If you have good memories of St Jude’s and would like to help - we have set up an account:-
St. Jude’s Catholic Primary School Governor’s Fund Sort: 40-52-40
A/C no:00083345 Ref: St Jude’s 50th
Alternatively cheque/cash can be sent to school All donations will be appreciated.
Many thanks, St Jude’s Governors 50th Committee

Our Facebook page: ‘St Jude’s Catholic Primary School 50th Anniversary’ gives more information about planned events
School Open Day Tuesday 5th May 2015 1.30pm- 6pm
St John’s Cathedral Mass Friday 22nd May 2015 11am
Hog Roast & Dinner Dance*: Marquee at St Jude’s 7.30pm 22nd May 2015 (18+)

*Tickets on sale now - available from: St Jude’s School; Sacred Heart Office; St Anthony’s School; St Margaret Mary Office and Immaculate Conception Office.
The charities involved in this scheme save and change lives every single day. Whether helping people who are homeless, seafarers, prisoners, children with disabilities and low income families here in the UK or providing practical survival solutions and sharing God’s love with communities around the world. Find out more via 020 7095 5367 or yourcatholiclegacy.org.uk
 Fr John Cooke is planning to lead a 12-Day Pilgrimage to the Holy Land [Travelling Sun 14th- Thurs 25th Feb 2016]
Information regarding this awesome experience can be obtained from: St Margaret Mary’s Church, Middle Rd. Park Gate, SO31 7GH (01489 572797 or email: office@stmm.org.uk)
Did you know you could receive this Newsletter by email? Ask your local Parish Office to set this up… or use the contact form on the Parish website
(see address below).
Sign up for Portsmouth Diocese E-News
Keep up to date with what’s happening in the diocese. The diocesan e-news comes out once a week: latest events, photos, videos. www.portsmouthdiocese.org.uk
Framework for Collaboration - Formation for Mission Team
This Diocesan Team, led by Fr. David O Sullivan, is responsible for advising, training and developing catechetical resources in the Diocese.
Why is this important? We are all concerned with the transmission of our faith to the next generation, as parents, grandparents and as church members. Good catechesis does really help this process.
We have parish catechists. There are many wonderful and committed parish catechists all over the Diocese. However, they are not usually experts in catechesis and rely on published programs. In addition, there are rarely resources within the parish for monitoring of and training in the delivery of programs. The Formation for Mission Team will be able to fill this gap.
The Formation for Mission Team needs the input of parish catechists. We need 5 parish volunteers to form each of the following central teams: children’s liturgy, baptism preparation, first communion preparation, confirmation preparation, RCIA, Courses & events (30 volunteers in total). We need people who can use their experience at parish level to help and encourage others to develop excellent catechetical programs at all levels.
Time Commitment? About 6 Saturday meetings a year, with a few hours individual work in between. Some may choose to offer more time.
Welcome to the Catholic Parish
of Our Lady Star of the Sea,
Fareham & Gosport.

Extending from the River Hamble in the west to Portsmouth Harbour in the east, and including the former Parishes of Fareham & Portchester, Gosport & Bridgemary, Lee-on-the-Solent & Stubbington, and Park Gate, the Parish is part of the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth.

The Parish has 9 Church Communities: St Mary's, Gosport; St Columba's, Bridgemary; St John the Evangelist, Lee-on-the-Solent; Immaculate Conception, Stubbington; Sacred Heart, Fareham; St Philip Howard, Fareham; St Mary's Anglican Church, Portchester; St Margaret Mary, Park Gate; and the Chapel of St Thomas More, Park Place, Wickham.
The aims of the new Parish are to work collectively, sharing talents for the good of the individual church communities and to develop the Church’s mission in the Solent area and reaching out in particular to those who are disaffected. It is still early days, but there are positive signs that the original four communities are learning how to work together more effectively. Good communication, as well as a positive attitude will be crucial to the success of this evolving process.

A message from the Chair of the PPC

The Parish of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Fareham and Gosport (which was named to reflect the area’s close association with the sea) covers the Boroughs of Fareham and Gosport. It officially came into being on 1st November 2010. Father John Humphreys was inducted as Parish Priest by the Episcopal Vicar on 7th December 2010 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Stubbington.

Following the formation of the Parish, a new structure was needed to oversee and develop a working relationship between the four 'Areas' and their Chuch-going communities. A new Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) was formed by inviting lay representatives from across the Parish to work with the members of the clergy. The role of the PPC is to advise the Parish Priest and is primarily concerned with matters spiritual, communal and social so as to help the Parish grow together as a community.
A new Parish Finance Council advises on the management, property and administration of the Parish.

At a local level there are four Pastoral Teams working with their Associate Parish Priests and dealing with day-to-day matters within each church-going community.
Michael Ricketts,
Chair of the PPC

Minutes from the latest PPC Meeting available below:

Weekly Mass Times

Details of regular Mass times and the availability of various Sacraments (as well as other useful information) is published in the Parish Contact Booklet. The latest copy can be downloaded here.
Contact Booklet
click to download