OCTAVE OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY: In spite of the fact that this year there will be no special Unity Service in our area, nor any exchange of pulpits, I think it is important that we continue to pray fervently for Christian unity. We will offer a special bidding prayer during the Octave leading up to the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul on the 25 January.
ZIMBABWE: Bro Benjamin, whose project we have so generously supported, has written a warm letter of gratitude, which we will make available next weekend. There is enough going on this weekend to keep us going! Nevertheless, please note that the Pig Race to support the mission in Zimbabwe will be next Saturday, 20 January. Hopefully, there will be some heating in the hall by then!
THE EPIPHANY: Today we celebrate this wonderful Feast which speaks to us of how the child Jesus came to make God manifest to the whole world. The Wise Men represent all men and women of all time: a further reminder to us to be busy all the time as peacemakers and reconcilers, uniting a divided world.
A FURTHER HUGE ‘THANK YOU’ to you all for the messages of good will, the cards, gifts and your generous contributions to the community in the Christmas collection. I hope to have a definitive total for the latter next weekend. Please note in your diaries the Parish Helpers’ Social evening: Friday, 12 January: 7.00pm to 10.00pm.
THE CHRISTMAS SEASON ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord this Monday (January 8). However, we will continue the continental custom of keeping the crib until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on 2 February. Hopefully that will help to brighten the dark days of January, whenever you visit the church!
Ordinary Time in the liturgical cycle begins on Tuesday. Remember we are now using the readings of Year B on Sundays and Year 2 on weekdays.
A CHRISTMAS GREETING:
With Fr Rector, Andrew Burns, and all the Redemptorists, I wish you a very happy Christmas and the joy and peace that God offers us in the gift of Jesus. The excitement and sense of wonder in the children has brought home to me this year that the message of Christmas is ever new. It is a message that the world in every age needs to hear again and again. Everyone who was able to join us last Monday for the carols and readings commented on the wonderful atmosphere that is generated as we reflect on everything that is going on in our community, represented by the baubles which we place on the tree. Someone said to me afterwards: “You must be very proud of what is going on.” Well, I am very proud of and thankful for you, because so many new initiatives are being taken and are clearly bearing fruit. May the Lord continue to bless all our efforts.
A very happy Christmas to you all… Tim Buckley, C.Ss.R
Please note the Parish Carol Service on Monday evening at 7.00pm and the Traditional Carol Service on Saturday at 2.30pm.
There will be opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation after the Masses this week and as usual between 4.00pm and 5.00pm on Saturday.
CHRISTMAS TIMETABLE: Please take careful note of the timetable next weekend. Everything is as usual until Sunday evening (Christmas Eve), when there will be no 6pm Mass. We will have the usual Family Mass at 7.00pm and the Midnight Mass at 11.30pm, preceded by carols and readings from 11.00pm. On Christmas Day there will be the usual morning Masses, but no evening Mass!
To help cope with the crowds, I suggest that at the 7.00pm Mass on Christmas Eve the older children (Year 4 and upwards) may wish to bring cushions and sit on the sanctuary. We will need a few catechists to be with them please. This Mass is always very popular and it would help if those without children could go to an alternate Mass.
ADVENT: I have written a short piece in this month’s BE Alive, which I hope sets the scene for our Christmas preparations this year. I hope that both the school and parish events will provide us all with ample opportunity to prepare well. In the midst of everything I hope we will be able to find those quiet moments which will enable us to approach the feast calmly and experience the peace it offers. To this end I will be away from Tuesday to Thursday this week.
Safeguarding: I know that the renewal of DBS forms has required an enormous amount of work in recent weeks. It reflects well on both our parishes that we have so many people involved and I want to thank you all for ensuring that this necessary process to protect our children and vulnerable adults is successfully completed. If anyone still needs to contact Kris Reeds, please email the parish office without delay to indicate if you are still in a voluntary role and giving alternative times to come in. Please note Kris is away this coming week.
Our Young People: This weekend we are asked to remember in a special way our young people. Yesterday the Embrace event took place in the Cathedral and we were well represented. Natasha and Anita had a stall to promote their work.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who are working so hard to ensure that our young people have every opportunity to deepen their faith in our Lord and become active members of our parish community. I was thrilled when I visited the Junior Justice and Peace Group last week and saw their enthusiasm and commitment. And I am grateful that Natasha and Anita are finding ways of linking in their work among the young adults with youngsters still at school.
Once again the young adults in partnership with Hope Catholic Society were out on the streets last Tuesday night, bringing comfort to the homeless.
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