HAPPY NEW YEAR

A very happy new year to one and all, I hope you had a good Christmas and managed to celebrate despite the continuing restrictions due to COVID.

Our Christmas Masses were very well attended and Canon Michael was delighted to see so many people braving the weather and the virus!!

The telephone booking system worked well which is good as we will probably have to do something similar for Easter.

Christmas Masses

Christmas Eve St Wilfrid’s 5pm                                      (No places remain, only those who have reserved a space may attend, we now have a waiting list)

Christmas Eve St Joseph’s 5pm                                                   (there are some spaces left but if you haven’t reserved a place you will be asked to wait until those who have, are seated first)

Christmas Day St Joseph’s 10am                                        (there are a few spaces left, if your name isn’t on the list you will be asked to wait until all those who have reserved a space have been seated)

PHONE 07856943705 to reserve one of the few remaining places, line closes on Tuesday at midday                                                                                                     If you have reserved a place and find you can no longer attend Mass please phone to cancel your space in order that we may allocate it to someone else

                                                                                                

The Mary of Your Christmas Cards

I am the Mary of your Christmas cards, I listen calmly while the Angel brings me news that will shake my life beyond all measures, I accept what has been ordained for me. I am young and dressed in blue.

I am the Mary of your Christmas cards, despite riding almost 100 miles on a donkey across a dessert, and giving birth in a stable, I am immaculately clean and tidy, cradling my infant son, unperturbed by my surroundings. I am still young and dressed in blue.

I am the Mary of your Christmas cards, welcoming shepherds from the nearby fields, and strangers from afar, I look as if I am a person who treats such events as if they happen every day, calmly pondering on them in my heart. I am still young and dressed in blue.

But is this really me? Do you have any picture of me beyond that of Christmas cards?

Where is your picture of me in the Temple as Simeon tells me how a sword will pierce my soul? Do you see the terror in my eyes as I hear these words and fear what is to come?

Perhaps you have a picture of me twelve years later as I frantically search for my lost son, have I aged? Do I still look calm and serene?

Do you have a picture of me thirty years after that first image of me cradling my newborn son? Am I still dressed in blue? Are there lines on my face or grey in my hair?

Do you see me at the wedding feast, recognizing deep within that His time was coming and He would soon be no longer mine?

Do you see me hurt by His rejection when He declared that all the world was His mother and His brother and His sister? I knew that He had a greater purpose, but do not imagine that there was no pain in this for me.

How I aged in those three years, but am I still young in your picture of me? Was I not grey-haired as I stood at the foot of the cross? Do you know what it takes to watch your son being crucified? As they pierced His side, my heart too was pierced. Do you have a picture of me – in tears, distraught at the anguish of my son? Or am I still the Mary of your Christmas cards?

They laid Him in a tomb, it seemed so final, – it seemed I had lost Him forever. Where was the angel now to tell me not to be afraid? My fellow countrywomen kept vigil; I was not alone in mourning. But you, who know what happened next, do you allow me to grieve for the end I thought He’d reached?

You know the end, you know the triumph of His resurrection, the kingdom without end, and knowing this affects your picture of me. I remain always young and dressed in blue, calm and serene, humble and willing, – never allowed to show pain or fear, hurt, anguish, anger or grief.

For many I will always remain the Mary of Christmas cards, but if I am to be called Blessed, please remember ALL that I stand for. As you receive your Christmas cards this Christmas please look at me and remember – This is just the beginning!!

Kate Baker, from Hay and Stardust

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The 8th December is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the day we remember and celebrate the fact that Our Lady was born without sin.

As the Franciscans, William of Ware and Blessed John Duns Scotus, pointed out, Mary’s Immaculate Conception enhances Jesus’ redemptive work. Other members of the human race are cleansed from original sin after birth. In Mary, Jesus’ work was so powerful as to prevent original sin at the outset. (Franciscan media.org)

Having been born without sin does not take away from her humanity, Our Lady grew up knowing she felt close to God, she had been presented in the Temple at aged three, her parents raised her to love and serve God, just as they had. She was in all ways fully human with every emotion that brings. Mary’s motherhood was filled with all the same senses as every mothers, the day to day complexities of emotions born with each child: Love, compassion, fear, anxiety, worry, joy and pain.

She nurtured her son through infancy, childhood and early manhood, just as every woman mothers her children, always hoping for the best, shouldering the pains, living the happiness and sorrows, suffering alongside her son until the end.

Christmas Mass

Reserve your place. Spaces are limited and are filling up quickly. You cannot just assume, because you are a regular Sunday mass attender, that your place is guaranteed. Only those who have names recorded on the lists held by the ushers will have a guaranteed place, anyone just turning up will have a long wait and may be turned away!

If we fill all spaces and people are still wanting to reserve a place, then Canon Michael will consider the need for an extra Mass.

Over half the spaces are now filled at the 5pm Christmas Eve Mass at St Wilfrid’s, and at the 10am Latin Mass on Christmas morning at St Joseph’s.

Mass Returns!

Hurrah, after the latest lockdown Mass returns on Saturday, beginning with Latin Mass at 11am, at St Joseph’s, followed by 5pm English Mass at St Wilfrid’s, Sunday 10am at St Joseph’s and Latin at Mid-Day.

We are delighted to welcome back the very popular Tuesday 12.05 Mass beginning on the 8th December, a very appropriate day to resume week-day Mass in time to celebrate the Feast of The Immaculate Conception.

There are still restrictions upon the number of people we can have in church and the COVID guidelines – social distancing, wearing a mask, sanitising hands – remain in place.

First Sunday of Advent

Many shops and houses begin to look festive long before the beginning of Advent, people, it seems are impatient to begin the festivities of Christmas, and who can blame them? Especially this year, we all need cheering up, we all want to see a light at the end of this long dark year, we are desperate for hope and cheer.

Advent is not Christmas though, it is a time of preparation, a time to ready our homes and hearts for the arrival of Love personified in the form of a baby. Strange then that many Christians go through Advent as if it were a time to be restrained and sorrowful. Surely we ought to be recognisable as Christians by the joy we share and spread amongst our communities, the joy of looking forward to His coming.

It isn’t too soon to put up the Christmas tree or decorate your home with holly and tinsel, indeed the First Advent candle lit today is the candle of hope. One of the traditions of Advent is called ‘greening’, this is where green plants are brought into the house and used as decoration, they are a sign of hope, that out of the cold, dark, deadness of winter, new life will come and just as the leaves of the holly and the ivy are evergreen, so too is the new life that Jesus brings.

Filling Up Fast

The dedicated Mass booking line has been very busy today with many people eager to reserve a space for one of our Christmas Masses. So far I have not had to add any names to a reserve list and everyone who has called has been able to reserve a space at their first choice Mass, I cannot guarantee this will continue to be the case.

5pm Christmas Eve at St Wilfrid’s and the 10am Latin Mass at St Joseph’s are both now half full, so if these are your preferred times please phone 07856943705 as soon as possible in order not to be disappointed.

Christmas Mass

Tomorrow morning, at 10am, the dedicated telephone line, (07856943705), for booking your place at one of our Christmas Masses will open.

Mass, in the Ordinary Form, is to be said on Christmas Eve at 5pm in both St Wilfrid’s and St Joseph’s, and in the Extraordinary Form at 10am on Christmas Morning at St Joseph’s.

You must reserve a space as they are limited due to government restrictions. I expect the phone line to be busy especially in the first few hours, please be patient and keep trying if you don’t manage to get through straight away. I will need your name, a contact number, the Mass you wish to attend, and the number of people coming with you in your ‘family bubble’.

The Feast of Christ the King

The last Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent is the Feast of Christ the King, in the Ordinary Form, this year that day falls on the 22nd November, but it can be as late as the 27th.

In putting together the weekly Newsletter I often source two very different sermons, one for the OF Mass readings, and one for the EF Mass reading as usually the themes of the Gospels are very different, so the tone of the two sermons doesn’t always strike me as odd.

This week, however, both Mass forms have very similar themes and therefore both sermons address the subject of the Last Judgement, and in doing my research for the sermons I have found it quite disturbing to read almost a contrast of teachings regarding the end of time.

The Ordinary Form, for the most part, teaches that our attitudes to social justice, poverty, illness and outcasts will be the rule of thumb on which we are judged. Whereas the Extraordinary Form tends to lean heavily towards the keeping of the Sacraments as being the only sure way to reach the Kingdom of God.

I guess the best way is to pay heed to the social injustices of the world, and to keep the Sacraments if we want to be more certain of entering paradise. However, that excludes all those good people throughout time who have not had the privilege of knowing or understanding the Sacraments, or who, for numerous reasons, leave the Catholic church, surely we cannot believe they have no hope of salvation?

I suppose of course it is not up to us to ask, or presume to know God’s mind, each one of us must just live our lives with love in our hearts and inspire love and joy in others, and hope that when we approach those pearly gates God will shower us with His love and mercy!

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