The Archdiocese of Birmingham - The Parish of the Immaculate Conception

Saints and Feast Days this week.

Beginning Sunday, 28th November 2021, the First Sunday of Advent.

Lectionary - Sundays Year C, Weekdays Year 1.








Advent (the name means ‘coming’) is the start of the church’s year and runs from the Sunday that falls on or closest to the 30th of November. It ends with the first evening prayer of Christmas. It is a season of reflection and preparation, of hope and anticipation as we wait for the coming of Christ - at Christmas, at the end of our lives and at the end of time. Although the ‘Gloria’ is omitted, Advent is less severe than Lent: flowers can still decorate the church (in moderation), music, although reduced, is allowed and the Gospel acclamation still includes the word ‘alleluia’. “...Advent is a season of devout and joyful expectation.”

There are always four Sundays in Advent regardless of what day of the week Christmas Day falls on. The third is known as Gaudete Sunday and rose vestments may be worn – otherwise the colour is purple.

The origins of Advent go back to the early centuries of the church. In Spain and Gaul (modern France) a period of fast was observed before the Feat of the Epiphany (6th January) the original feast of Christ’s birth and an important date for Baptisms. By the end of the fifth century we have the first written evidence of Advent as a time of preparation. By the middle of the sixth century the beginnings of an Advent liturgy can be seen in Rome. By the time of Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) the four Sundays of Advent are being celebrated. This was not universal and the length of Advent could vary from diocese to diocese – Milan still celebrates Advent with six Sundays. We owe the omission of the Gloria, something of its penitential character and the purple vestments to the influence from Gaul on the Roman liturgy in the twelfth century.

The Gloria, “... is not omitted for the same reason as it is omitted in Lent, but in order that on the night of Christmas the angels’ song may ring out once again in all its newness.”

30th November - Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle. Patron of Scotland.

Andrew the Apostle (Greek: Ἀνδρέας Andreas; Aramaic: ܐܢܕܪܐܘܣ ), also called Saint Andrew, was an apostle of Jesus according to the New Testament. He is the brother of Saint Peter. He is referred to in the Orthodox tradition as the First-Called (Greek: Πρωτόκλητος, Prōtoklētos).

According to Orthodox tradition, the apostolic successor to Saint Andrew is the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Born - AD 5–10, Galilee, Roman Empire

Died - AD 60, Patras, Achaea, Roman Empire

Venerated in - All Christian denominations which venerate saints

Major shrine - St Andrew's Cathedral, Patras, Greece; St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland; the Church of St Andrew and St Albert, Warsaw, Poland; Duomo Cathedral in Amalfi and Sarzana Cathedral in Sarzana, Italy.

Attributes - Old man with long white hair and beard, holding the Gospel Book or scroll, sometimes leaning on a saltire, fishing net

Patronage - Scotland, Barbados, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Patras, Burgundy, San Andrés (Tenerife), Diocese of Parañaque, Candaba, Pampanga, Masinloc, Telhado [pt], Sarzana, Pienza, Amalfi, Luqa (Malta) and Prussia; Diocese of Victoria; fishermen, fishmongers and rope-makers, textile workers, singers, miners, pregnant women, butchers, farm workers, protection against sore throats, protection against convulsions, protection against fever, protection against whooping cough

As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast into the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he called to them, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of people.” And at once they left their nets and followed him.
Matthew 4: 18-19.

Other than Andrew’s appearances in the Gospels little is known about him. It is not certain where he preached or even where he died or (even in St. John Chrysostom’s time) where he was buried. The most ancient written tradition links him with Greece and both Scythia and Epiris claim him as their apostle, while both Patras and Achaia claimed to be the place where he was crucified and preached to the people for two days before he died. According to an ancient tradition Andrew’s relics were translated from Patras to Scotland in the eighth century by St. Rule. He stopped at a place in Fife now called St. Andrews and built a church there which became a place of evangelization and pilgrimage.

Grant, O Lord, that just as the Apostle Andrew was a pastor and preacher for your Church, so may he continue to be a constant intercessor for your people.

New Advent


1st December - Feast of St. Edmund Campion, Priest and Martyr.

Born - 25 January 1540, London, Kingdom of England

Died - 1 December 1581 (aged 41), Tyburn, Kingdom of England

Venerated in - Catholic Church

Beatified - 9 December 1886, Rome by Pope Leo XIII

Canonized - 25 October 1970, Rome by Pope Paul VI

Feast - 1 December

Attributes - Knife in chest, noose around neck

Patronage - United Kingdom

Born in 1540 the son of a London bookseller, Edmund Campion was educated at Christ’s Hospital and at St. John’s College, Oxford where he became a Junior Fellow in 1557. His brilliance won him many friends including the patronage of the Earl of Leicester. When Queen Elizabeth visited Oxford in 1566, Campion was chosen as the orator to welcome her. He was ordained as a deacon in the Church of England in 1569 but was openly uncertain of his religious future. Following a spell at the University of Dublin (later Trinity College) he made his way to the English College at Douai where he was ordained a subdeacon in 1573. The same year he left for Rome to join the Jesuits and was ordained a priest in 1578. He returned to England disguised as a jewel merchant and his eloquence, learning, personality, courage and daring gave new heart to the dispirited English Catholics while his printing press and preaching together disseminated a vigorous and up to date Catholicism that the government could not ignore. Campion was extremely mobile in his mission working in Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Midlands. At Stonor in Oxfordshire he wrote his most famous work Decem Rationes, an open and reasoned challenge to Protestants to debate with him the foundations of Catholicism. He was arrested at Lyford Grange in Berkshire and imprisoned in the Tower where bribes, torture and theological debate all failed to make him conform. Tried on the fabricated charge of plotting rebellion he was hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in 1581. He was canonized as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr Edmund Campion ro overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against all the snares of the enemy.

New Advent


3rd December - Memorial of St. Francis Xavier, Priest.

Born - Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta, 7 April 1506, Javier, Kingdom of Navarre (present-day Spain, France)

Died - 3 December 1552 (aged 46), Shangchuan Island, Chuanshan Archipelago, Taishan, China

Venerated in - Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism

Beatified - 25 October 1619, Rome, Papal States by Pope Paul V

Canonized - 12 March 1622, Rome, Papal States by Pope Gregory XV

Feast - 3 December

Attributes - Cassock, surplice, stole, ferraiolo, and a crucifix

Patronage - African missions; Kottar, India; Agartala, India; Ahmedabad, India; Alexandria, Louisiana; Apostleship of Prayer; Australia; Bengaluru, India; Bombay, India; Borneo; Cape Town, South Africa; China; Dinajpur, Bangladesh; East Indies; Fathers of the Precious Blood; foreign missions; Freising, Germany; Goa, India; Fiji; Green Bay, Wisconsin; India; Indianapolis, Indiana; Japan; Key West, Florida; Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan; University of Saint Francis Xavier, Sucre, Bolivia; Joliet, Illinois; Kabankalan, Philippines; Kollam, India; Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines; Abuyog, Leyte, Philippines; Alegria, Cebu, Philippines; Hong Kong; Macau; Antananarivo, Madagascar; Diocese of Malindi, Kenya; missionaries; Missioners of the Precious Blood; Navarre, Spain; navigators; New Zealand; parish missions; plague epidemics ; Propagation of the Faith; Zagreb, Croatia; Indonesia; Malacca, Malaysia; Brunei; Pakistan; Philippines; Singapore; Sri Lanka

A Jesuit missionary, Francis was born in 1506 in the castle of Xavier in Navarre. He was educated in Paris where he met and eventually joined St. Ignatius of Loyola becoming one of a group of seven who took their vows at Montmatre in 1534 and were ordained into the priesthood in Venice three years later. In 1541 Francis and Simon Rodriguez, at the invitation of King John III, sailed for Goa to evangelize the East Indies fortified by a papal brief nominating him as the apostolic nuncio in the east. The journey took thirteen months. There he introduced reforms amongst the Portuguese Catholics and had a great impact amongst the lower caste Indians by preaching and writing verses on the Christian truths set to popular tunes. For the next seven years he worked among the Paravas of southern India, whom he probably saved from extermination, as well as in Ceylon, Malacca, the Molucca Islands and the Malay Peninsula. In 1549 he went to Japan where he continued his missionary activity returning to Goa in 1552 but was on his missionary journeys, this time to China, within a few months. He died later the same year and was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 and declared Patron of the Foreign Missions by Pope Pius XI in 1927.

O God, the preaching of St. Francis Xavier brought many peoples to know you, grant that the hearts of your faithful may burn with the same zeal for the faith and that your Church may everywhere rejoice in an abundance of new members. Amen.

New Advent


4th December - Optional memorial of St. John Damascene, Priest, Doctor of the Church.

Born - c. 675 or 676, Damascus, Bilad al-Sham, Umayyad Caliphate

Died - December 4, 749, Mar Saba, Jerusalem, Bilad al-Sham, Umayyad Caliphate

Venerated in - Eastern Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Churches - Anglican Communion

Canonized - Pre-congregation

Feast - December 4, March 27 (General Roman Calendar 1890–1969)

Attributes - Severed hand, icon

Patronage - Pharmacists, icon painters, theology students

Philosophy career

Notable work

Philosophical Chapters

An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

Concerning Heresy

Era - Medieval philosophy

Byzantine philosophy

School - Neoplatonism

Main interests - Law, Christian theology, Philosophy, Apologetics, Criticism of Islam, Geometry, Mariology, Arithmetic, Astronomy, and Music

Notable ideas - Icon, Dormition/Assumption of Mary, Theotokos, Perpetual virginity of Mary, Mediatrix

Born in c. 657 John (Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Δαμασκηνός, romanized: Ioánnēs ho Damaskēnós, Latin: Ioannes Damascenus; Arabic: يوحنا الدمشقي‎, romanized: Yūḥannā ad-Dimashqī), spent his whole life under Muslim rule. His father was a wealthy Damascus Christian who held the post of chief of the revenue and the principal representative of the Christians in the city. Well educated by Cosmas, a Sicilian monk, in 716 John himself became a monk and later a priest at he abbot of St. Sabas near Jerusalem. There he wrote many hymns and theological works. The most important of these was ”The Fount of Wisdom”. The last part of this De Fide Orthodoxa had immense influence for centuries in both the Eastern and the Western churches. It is a summary of the teaching of the Greek Fathers on the principal mysteries of the Christian Faith such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her preservation from sin, and the Real Presence in the Eucharist. This brought him into conflict with the iconoclastic Christian emperors who were unable to proceed against him because he lived in Muslim territory. John died in c. 749 and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1890.

Grant, O Lord, that we may be helped by the prayers of Saint John Damascene so that the true faith that he professed may always be out light and our strength.

New Advent