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Sermon for 25 December 2011
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Christmas Message from your Parish Priest.

My Dear People,

One of the great joys of being a priest in the care of a Parish community is the Baptising of the babies born to the community of the Faithful. Each one is unique and responds in a different way to the great occasion. Some smile and gurgle happily all the way through and others have red faces as they give rip to their annoyance at being disturbed. Each one is adopted by the Holy Trinity and becomes a living cell in the Mystical Body of Christ. Indeed the old English word "christened" denotes being made like Christ doesn't it?

We come again to the feast of the Babe of Bethlehem, the Christmas feast for the year 2011 A.D. It will never return. This year has been a unique one in my journey, my pilgrimage, through life. It will have happy and sad memories for all of us. Hopefully the joyful ones outnumber the sad ones but perhaps not. Yet for sure and with utter certainty - the Christ child is born again this Christmas in the Liturgical Actions of our Holy Mother the Church. In the Mass the Saviour will become present on the altar just as real as he became present in Mary's holy womb and as when he was laid in the Manger near the ox and the donkey.

When you come to the Christmas Mass remember that. He still comes to us as the Risen One - bearing life for us all. When you say a prayer at our beautiful crib you will be drawn into the adoring group of Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and the animals. You will draw great strength and comfort to know that in this Nativity scene the Saviour of the world came amongst us "and dwelt with us" for our sake and for our salvation; then everything will take on a new light. Hope will be restored and human hearts will find solace and comfort as the little baby Jesus opens his arms to embrace each and every one of us.

With Father George I wish you all and your loved ones a very happy Christmas.

Father Tom Connolly


CHRISTMAS DAY 2011

MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST

My Dear People,

From Father George and myself - I wish you all a very merry Christmas. May all your family gatherings be happy and joyful and peaceful. Delight in one another's company for it is the human family which establishes us on this earth and it is the family which was made truly holy by the Divine child's birth.

Thank you to loads of people who have worked so hard to make Christmas at St Kentigen's and St Edwards such a profoundly good one. Thank you to the Fraternas at St Edwards who give the community and the diocese so much in dedicated service.

Thank you to the church cleaning teams who spit and polished the church - to the sacristan and the flower arrangers - the servers and music makers and choir and readers and children - the crib builders and the counters - the typists and the printers. All of them have made the celebration a holy one. Thank you to the adults and children and youths who laid on a great Senior's party and Entertainment with Irish and Indian Dancers at St Edwards on Saturday and the students of the University Catholic Chaplaincy who gave a great Christmas Dinner and Entertainment to seniors of the surrounding Parishes on 11th December.

Thank you too for the kindness you have shown to your priests in this period and for so many Greeting Cards.

Thank you to our Director, Kevin Fitzpatrick and all the staff of the St Kentigern's Centre who run such a great service. Thank you to all our teachers and staff at the schools and to Mr Jackson and Mrs Walsh our esteemed Headteachers.

May you be blessed and inspired as you pray in front of the Crib to have great Hope in God in the future. The Pope is his Letter to the Church on Hope has placed before us a most profound meditation on the roots and nature of Christian Hope. May this virtue be bestowed upon each and every one of us as we gaze on the scene of the crib this Christmas.

For you all 2011 will be a year of gladness - perhaps a marriage or the birth of a child; or a sad one with the loss of a close member of the family or an unexpected illness or broken vows. Place the year into the hands of the Christ-child of Bethlehem and allow him, the Baby Jesus to support you from his little manger and may the new year, 2012 bring you peace and happiness and health and wholeness of body and soul.

Father Tom Connolly and Father George.

NEW YEAR'S EVE DANCE IN ST KENTIGERNS PARISH CENTRE. A GREAT TIME WILL BE HAD BY ALL AND THERE WILL BE A GRAND RAFFLE AND MANY LUXURY PRIZES TO BE WON.

DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS TO THE PRIESTHOOD AND CONSECRATED LIFE IN OUR DIOCESE OF SALFORD. WITHOUT PRIESTS IN THE FUTURE WE HAVE HAD IT FOLKS. SO COME AND PRAY ON 31st DECEMBER FOR VOCATIONS. THE CHURCH WILL BE OPEN ALL DAY UP TO THE TIME OF 10PM. THIS DAY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ST KENTIGERN'S BY THE BISHOP'S VOCATIONS DIRECTOR SO IT IS OFFICIAL AS IT WERE.

Christmas Altar




Bidding Prayers

BIDDING PRAYERS FOR CHRISTMAS DAY.

Priest: God our Father, this morning (day) (night) we eagerly greet the Birth of your Son Jesus Christ who is our brother and our Saviour. He is the Daystar from on High, the Bearer of Light who brings the dawn to us who wait patiently for his coming.

Reader: Father, Bless on this holy /NIGHT or DAY the Church throughout the world. May She light afresh in men's hearts the lamp of hope and peace. Lord in your mercy. Response: Hear our prayer.

Your Son has come to us in the fullness of time - let those who wait for him recognise his coming. Lord in your mercy.

His birth bound heaven to earth in harmony and peace - establish that same peace amongst the nations who are at war or are suffering from war - Iraq, Afghanistan and succour all our fellow Christians who are persecuted for bearing the name Christian. Lord in your mercy.

We join the shepherds in adoring you, we kneel before you, Holy Child of Bethlehem - protect our young children from all harm and - watch over them and their families and may the Holy Child and protect their childhood. Lord in your mercy.

For all our sick that the joy of Christ's birth may cheer them and give them Hope we pray for : Maureen Waring. Sister Geraldine Walsh. Lord in your mercy.

That those who have died recently may see the glory announced by the angels: Andrew Sherlock, Lionel Kelly.

For all those whose anniversaries fall about this time or the souls of those we want to pray for this Christmas time :- Paddy Dolan (9am), Freddie King, Harry King, Joyce Cook, Bill Cook (VIGIL MASS). The Boyle Family, Afrim Zair, Teresa Hamilton, Austin and Delia Kelly, Austin and Ann Hopkins, Father Charles Mulholland.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God...

Oh Mary Conceived without sin. R/ Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Mary is the one chosen by God to bring forth the Christ child and show him to the waiting world- may she show us now the blessed fruit of her womb - Jesus. Hail Mary...

Priest: Almighty God, the Incarnate Word fill us with the new light brought to mankind. Let the light of faith in our hearts shine through all that we do or say. Hear and answer our prayers. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.