OCTAVE OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY:
We pray during these days, until the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul this coming Friday, that the Lord’s prayer that “we may all be one” will one day be realised. It seems to me that we might usefully extend our prayer this year to include the needs of our country and the rest of Europe as we watch in dismay the interminable wrangling over Brexit and the disunity that accompanies it. I also ask you to pray for the people of Zimbabwe and our Redemptorist mission there as we hear reports of increasing unrest and violence
The Redemptorist Provincial Chapter has successfully concluded its business in Perth.
There is little change in the make-up of our Provincial Councils except to say that Fr Andrew will have even more work as the Second Consultor and we congratulate Fr Charles on his election to the team.
Discussions will take place in the coming weeks about how to organise the Province over the next four years, after which we will be part of a larger Province across Northern Europe.
It was a blessed and positive meeting and we return re-energised and confident that God's Spirit will continue to give us all the wisdom to discern what is the will of God. Thank you for your prayers.
THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY:
We celebrate this wonderful Feast of the visit of the Magi and give thanks again for the birth of the Christ-child, who came for all men and women of all time in every corner of the world. This is the over-riding message of today’s feast.
Over Christmas, I was doing some pondering over the kind of messages that are becoming the political sound-bites of today and what the gospel responses would be. I offer you a couple of examples:
“America (or wherever for that matter) first!”
Gospel response: “If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9.36)
“Migrant workers flooding into the Country.”
Gospel response: A lawyer was anxious to justify his questioning of Jesus about how to inherit eternal life and asked Jesus: “And who is my neighbour?” Jesus told him the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’. The key to the story: the Samaritan was a foreigner! (Luke 10.25ff)
Pope Francis has appealed to us all to be among those who build bridges to unite rather than walls to divide. It seems to me that there are plenty of examples that this is happening in both our parishes. May we go from strength to strength in 2019.
Redemptorist Provincial Chapter:
Fathers Andrew, Charles and Tim, and Brother Michael will be in Perth during the coming week, leaving a skeleton community in the monastery. Accordingly, there will simply be a noon Mass each day at Bishop Eton, while Deacon Bernard and our ministers will organise liturgies in St Mary’s. From next Saturday, we will resume the usual weekday timetables.
A NEW YEAR GREETING FROM FR TIM
This is the weekend which provides me with the opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you. The Feast of Christmas inspires us to reach out and realise what might just be possible when we seek to live out the message of “Peace on earth”. Your generosity this year seemed to me to break all previous bounds; so thank you for all the good wishes and expressions of gratitude to our Redemptorist family and for another remarkable Christmas collection. As a child, I always faithfully wrote all my ‘thank you’ letters after Christmas. I hope this will suffice for you; otherwise I will be burning the midnight oil for a few days!
Please remember that we invite all of you who are involved in any way in keeping the show on the road to a Parish Reception on Friday 11 January 2019 between 7.00pm and 10.00pm. Please do come: it is always a relaxed and happy occasion.
I anticipate that the coming year will be quite momentous. Building on all that has taken place this year I hope that we will continue to seize the opportunities that the Lord presents us to grow together and thereby fulfill our vocation as ministers of his love and compassion.
FR ANDREW (OUR RECTOR) AND
ALL THE REDEMPTORIST COMMUNITY
JOIN ME IN WISHING YOU ALL
A VERY HAPPY AND BLESSED NEW YEAR
TIMETABLES FOR THE COMING WEEKS
During the coming week, we will stay with our holiday timetable and there will be a noon Mass each day. The following week is providing us with a challenge. Four of us will be away from the community for the Redemptorist Provincial Chapter in Perth, so I anticipate that we will have to continue without the 7.00am Mass until Monday, 14 January.
'''' A CHRISTMAS GREETING FROM FR TIM ''''
Christmas is undoubtedly the most accessible of all the great feasts. Our focus is a vulnerable new-born baby. As long as we avoid sentimentalising the story, the Christ-Child will evoke from us an abundance of gratitude and generosity. The spirit of Christmas is God’s Spirit, calling us to an ever deeper union with God and one another.
This leads me once again to express my gratitude for all you do to build up our communities of faith in Bishop Eton and St Mary’s and your kindness to our Redemptorist family. I will not try to itemise all the complementary ministries. The baubles on the new Christmas tree (itself a gift from one of our families) remind us of the rich variety of gifts you share. For me, the Resettlement Programme for our newly arrived Syrian family with their charming parents and the lovely children has been the most remarkable demonstration of this love and generosity. Seventy of you have pooled your resources and shared your skills and the rest of the community has supported you at every step of the way. In return the family’s gratitude and gracious courtesy towards us continue to energise us to ensure that they are able to settle happily after all the traumas they have had to face.
May 2019 bring us ever closer in the love and service of the Lord and one another.
Fr Andrew (our Rector) and all the Redemptorist Community join me in wishing you all a very happy, blessed and peaceful Christmas
We all owe a debt of gratitude to our three candidates, who generously offered to be considered and all of you who felt able to vote. 252 votes were cast. Each candidate received substantial support and we congratulate Andy Finch who has been chosen to represent the parish at the Synod.
He will share some thoughts at the Sunday Masses in the New Year.
At the same time, Elisabeth and Elizabeth will undoubtedly play their part in the preliminary meetings, as I hope will many of you
I pray that we may all have a blessed experience of this holy season and prepare well for Christmas. Once again it is short with only three weeks to fit everything in, but at least this year the Fourth Sunday does not coincide with Christmas Eve.
I look forward to attending as many of the special events as possible.
I remind you that we will have our usual Reconciliation Services and they will be at the beginning of next week: Monday 10 December, at St Mary’s and Tuesday 11 December, at Bishop Eton, both at 7.30pm.
ELECTION OF SYNOD MEMBER:
I am grateful to Andrew Finch, Elisabeth Neefs and Elizabeth Parsons for agreeing to be nominated. We will carry out the election efficiently this weekend. Please listen for instructions at the end of Mass. Details of each candidate are available, as are voting papers. I also have the names of some generous people willing to be co-opted to fill the other eight representatives of the Pastoral Area and we will be in touch with you when we have determined how we are to proceed on that front. Thank you all for your support for the Synod process.
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