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Welcome to our Advent edition of 'The Word of the Lord' - an email newsletter brought to you by the Scripture Working Group at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. You can find out more about the work of the group on our webpages here.

Below, you'll find updates of news, events, resources and developments which we hope you'll find beneficial for your continued engagement with the Bible - whether individually, as a family, as a parish community, or to share the Scriptures more broadly.

With every best wish,

Fr Adrian Graffy    
Chair, Scripture Working Group

Advent has been observed since at least the 4th century. Originally, it was a time when converts to Christianity prepared themselves for baptism. During the Middle Ages, it became associated with preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus. In early days it lasted from 11th November, the feast of St Martin, until Christmas Day, and was considered a pre-Christmas 'penitential season' when Christians devoted themselves to prayer, fasting and almsgiving ...

At the moment, we live in an in-between  period - between the two comings - and this waiting is at the heart of Advent. We wait in expectation  since Christ, risen from the dead and now present among us in mystery, will be revealed to everyone on the last day as the glorious Son of our heavenly Father.

Extract from The Promise of Christmas: Reflections for the Advent Season, Fleur Dorrell - BRF Publishers, £4.99.
For Sunday 4th December

From the Scripture Working Group on the theme of "Welcome one another..." (Romans 15:7). Includes Homily notes and reflections for Advent and Christmas; Children's Liturgy ideas, social action challenges, prayers, a new Catholic Bible School resource promotion on Matthew's Gospel and helpful links for exploring the Scriptures in more depth.

If you would like a copy of this free A5 full-colour Booklet please email Fleur on: with the number of copies you require and a postal address.




Star of Bethlehem c.1885–1890
by Sir Edward Byrne Jones
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

This Epiphany why not see the watercolour painting
The Star of Bethlehem by the Pre-Raphaelilte artist,
Edward Byrne Jones. This painting depicts the
Adoration of the Magi with an angel holding the
star of Bethlehem.

Birmingham Museums Trust holds the most
important collection of Pre-Raphaelite art anywhere
in the world, numbering over 3000 paintings, drawings,
prints and examples  of decorative art and design.

INITIATIVE: The Jesse Tree
The Jesse Tree helps us connect the custom of decorating Christmas trees to the events leading to Jesus' birth. It comes from Isaiah 11:1: 'A shoot shall come out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.' Jesse was the father of King David. We adorn a Jesse Tree with ornaments that represent the people, prophesies, and events leading up to the birth of Jesus. The ornaments of the Jesse Tree tell the story of God in the Old Testament, connecting the Advent season with the faithfulness of God across 4,000 years of history.
Read about the4 symbols and meanings of the Jesse Tree at:



God of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany,
you have given us many
promises and prophecies
about your Son Jesus Christ's birth,
and they have been fulfilled.
May we see from the past to the present,
the present to the future,
and know that your loving hand guides all things.

Christmas with Bible Society
Christmas is on its way! Whether with children's booklets, gift-wrap stickers or our interactive digital #AdventChallenge, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Christmas with us this year...


Word of the Lord: An Introduction to the Gospel according to Matthew 

Led by Fr Denis McBride      
Workshops on the Year of Matthew on:
  • Leading Liturgy of the Word with Children
  • Justice and the Gospel according to Matthew
  • Praying with Matthew
  • Imaging the Gospel according to Matthew
Saturday 12th November 2016
10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Tea/coffee & lunch provided.

Cost: £15 pp or £50 for 5 people from same parish/pastoral area.

Holy Rosary Parish Centre, Aintree,
Liverpool L10 2 LG
For more information: Veronica Murphy -
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We hope you've enjoyed this edition of 'The Word of the Lord' newsletter which comes out six times a year.
It is produced by the Scripture Working Group.
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