Today’s Mass: THIRD SUNDAY of ADVENT (Year B)

    The first word of the Entrance Antiphon gives this Sunday its popular name: Gaudete (‘rejoice’).

    First Reading: Christians have always taken the ‘me’ here as referring to Jesus Christ, as Jesus Himself did (see Luke 4: 16 - 22).  He is the Anointed One (the Christ).

    What follows is not actually a Psalm, but part of the psalm-like Song or Canticle of Mary we know as the Magnificat (the canticle used each day at Vespers or Evening Prayer).

    Second Reading:  rejoicing (‘being happy’) and constant prayer are, for St Paul, essential elements of being a Christian, a disciple of Jesus.

    Gospel: like Luke in last week’s Gospel, John begins his account of Jesus’ birth with John the Baptist, who is but a witness to the light of the world, ie Jesus Christ Himself.

    Fr. David


    Today the Priests will be ready to hear Confessions before and after Sunday Masses. At St Thomas’s look out for the green light on the Reconciliation Chapel wall. At the Mass Centres ask the priest to hear your Confession (but not within 10 minutes before Mass starts).

    Visiting Priest
    We welcome Monsignor Matthew Dickens to celebrate the Mass at Otford and the 11:15am Mass at St Thomas’s.

    Foodbank mince pie collection
    Please place your mince pies for the Sevenoaks foodbank in the basket provided in St Thomas’s porch.

    This Week

    Late Advent
    From December 17th onwards (which just happens to be today) we move into the second phase of Advent. At Mass and in the Divine Office the readings etc are those for 17th December and following.

    Bereavement Support Group
    All those who have been bereaved are invited to come to this monthly support group, on Monday from 10:30am – 12:00 noon in the Parish Centre. Do come for a cup of tea and a chat.

    St Thomas’ School Carol Service
    On Monday at 7:00pm in St Thomas’s church. Parents and other family members are most welcome to attend.

    St Thomas’ School End of Term Mass
    On Wednesday at 9:30am in church. As usual all parents and family members are welcome to attend.

    Kathleen Smith RIP
    Funeral Mass on Thursday at the 12:00 noon Mass, followed by Interment at the Greatness Cemetery. Kitty Smith lived in Sevenoaks for many years, and was particularly keen on church choirs, so it is hoped that some parishioners who can sing may be able to come to her Funeral Mass.

    Because of crib decorating, flower arranging etc there is no Adoration this Saturday morning.

    Confessions at St Bernadette’s
    Canon John Bailey will be in St Bernadette’s on Saturday between 11:00am and 12:00 noon, for you to make your Confession before the Feast.

    Confessions at St Thomas’s
    Confession times are at the normal times this Saturday at St Thomas’s: 10:00am – 10:30am and 5:15pm – 5:45pm. This will be your last chance before the Feast

    Next weekend

    On Saturday evening and Sunday morning Masses are at the normal times and normal places. Remember that to fulfil the two Obligations for the Sunday and for Christmas, you must attend Mass next Sunday (which includes the Vigil Mass on Saturday evening) and Mass for Christmas (either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day).

    Christmas Offering
    Along with the Easter Offering this is your annual gift to Fr David and Fr Paul for all their work for the parish and for you during the year. Christmas Offering envelopes are available in all four churches. The collection at the Christmas Masses, along with any donations in the Christmas Offering envelopes, will constitute your Christmas Offering to our priests.

    If you wish to make an offering to Canon John Bailey please hand it to him directly.


    Advance Notice of Christmas Masses etc.
    Please see leaflet available in all porches today. Do put these in your diary now, so you don’t get confused!

    St Thomas Crib Service with Readings and Carols
    This year’s Crib Service at St Thomas’ will be at 5.30pm on Christmas Eve, immediately followed by the first Mass of Christmas at 6pm. All our young parishioners in years 6 and up are invited to participate in readings and bidding prayers for the Service and Mass and to sing in our Christmas choir. Children in years 1 to 3 will take costumed roles to enact the Nativity, years 4 and 5 in reading of prayers. Reception children are welcome to arrive in angel/shepherd costumes and sit at the front of the Church to take part in the candlelight procession. Please note that, due to a shortage of adult volunteers, children in year 5 and under MUST be accompanied by an adult during rehearsals. More adult helpers will be warmly welcomed! Rehearsals will take place from 2pm on Christmas Eve. For further details, and to take part, please email as soon as possible, without delay!

    Christmas Flowers & Foliage
    Greenery, particularly holly (with berries if possible), laurel, ivy, evergreens etc. will be needed for decorating the churches. St Thomas: Please leave at outside door to the Day Chapel by 9am on Saturday 23rd December. Holy Trinity, Otford: There will be a collection after Mass on 17th December. If you miss this please use the collecting box in Church. Please leave any greenery at the back of Church by Friday 22nd December.

    St Thomas Christmas Signing up Lists
    Signing up lists are in the Porch for Welcomers, Readers, Ministers of Holy Communion and Church cleaning. Altar Servers List is in the Sacristy for signing.

    Catenian Events
    Hop & Curry Tasting - Friday 22 December
    Please join us at 7:30pm at Oaks Spice on Tubs Hill. £20/head include a large beer & curry. To book this event please contact Tony Capozzi: ALL WELCOME.

    Crib Trail 27th December 1:00 - 4:00pm
    St Thomas’s will be participating in this, details on A wonderful family event.

    Parish Party - Change of Date and Venue
    Our Parish (post) Christmas party will now be held on Sunday January 28 2018, 1-4pm St Lukes Church Hall, Eardley Road. This is a much bigger venue than the  school hall and will enable us to make this a fantastic social occasion.  Held at lunch time with a variety of food and entertainment- live music, DJ, raffle, prizes etc. Can you help with:
    Food and soft drinks: Sandie:;
    Alcohol: Bill:;
    Raffle prizes: Ann O’Sullivan or drop prizes at the Presbytery -
    If you have other ideas to make this a fantastic event contact Ben 271681.

    St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School - Proposed Admission Arrangements for 2019-20

    In accordance with the School Admissions Code, we would like to invite you to take part in our consultation on our Admissions Policy for 2019-2020.Our School has reviewed and updated its Admissions Policy for 2019-2020 for which the consultation period runs from 1 October 2017 to 31 January 2018.

    Proposed change to the oversubscription criteria
    The school is proposing to make changes to its oversubscription criteria by removing ‘Distance from School’ and replacing it with ‘Random Allocation’ which should provide a fairer system for granting places to all children who live in the parishes of Edenbridge, Sevenoaks and Westerham. There will be a change to the Supplementary Information Form in that the Parish Priest confirms which parish the parents/carers home address is in. The full policy can be viewed here –  If you have any queries or comments to make about the proposed admission arrangements, they should be sent to Mrs Emma Elliott, Admissions Officer, at the school address by 4pm on 31st January 2018. Hard copies of this policy are available in the school office.