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Sermon for 23 December 2012
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FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT C + YEAR OF FAITH + 23RD DECEMBER 2012. EXPECTANT MOTHER’S DAY. "O KEY OF DAVID"

MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST. (for today and for CHRISTMAS DAY)

My Dear people,

Today our Holy Mother the Church focuses our eyes and hearts on the mother of the Saviour as she rushes with haste to the waiting cousin, the heavily pregnant Elizabeth to assist her. It is the mystery of the Visitation.

In this meeting of the two expectant mothers we have a paradigm of the entire Catholic Church in all its fullness and beauty. Here the two women (Mary being the new "Eve") greet one another with a holy blessing yet it is the voice of Mary (representing the future Church) which causes the Holy Spirit to fill Elizabeth’s soul in prophesy and praise. She exclaims "why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord for as soon as your greeting reached my ears the child in my womb leapt for joy. Blessed is she for believing all that was promised to her by the Lord would be fulfilled..." There you are folks; I know that off by heart.

It is the encounter of all encounters for it causes our Lord – a little speck of a size a that point in our Lady's womb to do his first apostolic task as the Son of God. His presence in Mary is like his presence in the tabernacle. (Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months – exactly the time the Ark of the Covenant remained in Abinadad's House in King David’s time – hence Mary for St Luke is the new Ark - THE Holy Place - The Holy of Holies in fact.

The Holy Catholic Church, like Mary its Mother its Model and Prototype, is filled with the presence of Christ. And the Church's Motherly and apostolic voice greets new people as they enter into this world and bring about a response in the human heart and soul. The body and soul is filled with the Holy Spirit and we become one with Christ's Mystical Body and Temples of the Holy Spirit as we emerge from the womb we call Baptism. From then on all is new. We cry out in prophesy too in acknowledging the Son of God loudly and clearly in our generation. As the greeting of the Church reaches their ears so many turn and receive the Saviour. Whole nations are often converted in this way in a short time like Mexico for instance. The faith spread of its own dynamism in Europe without any "master Plan" Pope Benedict tells us.. God guided the peoples and the Holy Spirit was present in our midst as he is now to those "who believe that the promise made by the Lord would be fulfilled."

Mary still believed in the Promise even when driven into Egypt by Herod’s murderous intent and design to destroy Jesus newly born and adored by the Magi.

Mary still believed in the Promise when she had to lay the newly born King of Kings in a cattle feeding trough for a make shift cot because there was no room for them in the Inn. May we too follow Mary as her dear children and believe in the Promise. As we kneel and adore the Infant Jesus in front of the Crib we too believe in the Mystery of the Word made Flesh who dwells among us NOW in the Mystery of his Holy Church, in the souls and hearts of believers- US!!

My dear people, our dear children at St Kentigern's and The Divine Mercy have recounted these great accounts in their Nativity Presentations in a most fresh and lively and wonderful manner and I thank the staff for the patient work in bringing the very best out of our young ones and imparting to them the great mystery of our Lord’s Birth. .How blest we are with two great schools and Loreto High too put on a great Advent Meditation at St John’s Church with the feeder schools. Along with the musical delight of the Xavarian College Concert.

A very Happy and Holy Christmas to you all.

Father Tom Connolly

APF "MISSIO" MISSION BOXES. Collectors are their way round; all monies to be in by 9th January. New Box Holders, your Collection will be in March. . Mrs Christine. Booth. Hon Sec.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR THE NEEDY CHILDREN. Carol Whitley needs to be publically thanked for she collected from her fellow RBS staff where she works in town the grand sum of £916.11 and bought therefore 124 toys and wrapped them with the help of friends and even helped to deliver them. Thank you too to all the members of the Parish who contributed so many wrapped gifts for the special children. You were all very kind and I know the organisations are delighted with the whole thing. Some went to our Rescue Society, some to the Homeless Families Units around here, and Battered Wives, and finally, The Rainbow Trust, Hospice.

SENIOR PARISHIONERS PARTY FOR BOTH PARISHES WAS HELD AT ST EDWARD'S PARISH HALL LAST SATURDAY AND A FINE MEAL WAS SERVED WITH THE SHEPHERDS AND ANGELS MEETING THE FOLK AS THEY ARRIVED . AT THE END THEY HAD A WONDERFUL JAZZ SINGER WHO END ED HER GREAT PERFORMANCE WITH SOME CAROLS WHICH WE ALL JOIN IN AND EVERYONE GOT A PRESENT BEFORE LEAVING.. 40 GUESTS SAT DOWN FOR IT FROM BOTH PARISHES AND THAT WAS A NICE TOUCH. THANK YOU TO ANDREW M cMULLIN and his helpers for initiating this and running it so well.

A VISITING PRIEST: Fr Anthony –Capuchin Friar - Franciscan, an Indian priest studying in Rome will be coming to help me from 26th December to 6th January. Fr George will take the opportunity to visit his homeland and family- well earned break.

St Kents children with their teachers visited some of the Housebound with a Bag of Christmas Goodies and a card and sung a carol and so brought joy.

DRIVERS - if I had a rota of drivers for all days except Mondays it would be a great help for me to get around when it is raining and I cannot use the bike!! Fr Connolly

EXPOSITION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT WILL CEASE FOR THE HOLS..SO MONDAY EXPO THEN BUT CHURCH WILL BE OPEN.




Bidding Prayers

Priest: The Lord's coming is at hand, we must have patience for he will come in his own time, in his own way. We bring our needs before him who is the Great intercessor as Head of the human race and the first born from the dead.

Reader: We live in a world weighed down by unbelief - may the Lord increase our faith by the grace of his Incarnation to resist the secularisation of time and culture. Lord in your mercy.

Upon the richness and complexity of man’s thought, theories and philosophies of our world today - come and spread your glorious light O infant of Bethlehem. Lord in your mercy.

Let us love the Church which continues to proclaim and announce to all ages the reality of your coming. Assist all those undergoing instruction in the Faith in our community. Lord hear us.

Be with those expectant mothers at this holy time and bless them with a safe delivery. May the example of Holy Mary be for all a lasting consolation. Lord in your mercy.

For all those who have been bereaved this last year that they may find in the child born in the stable a great consolation and source of true Hope in the future. Dry the tears of all who weep. Lord hear us.

Help our sick ones, raise up our weary ones and console your people O Lord, Console them. We pray for our sick:Anthony Dwyer,, Peter Ramsbottom, Ann Cronin, Micale Nolan, Bill Daranjeo,, Bridie Aher, Odette Heslin, Maura McCormack, Kathleen Burke and Margaret Martin. Lord in your mercy.

The dead longed for life – free them Lord from death and bestow upon them the gift of your glory in eternal life: we pray for , FATHER David McGarry Maureen Burke, Rosella Devlin, Gary Shaw, James Kearney, Maisi Dwyer AND for all those whose anniversaries fall about now: Patrick Dolan, R. Burke, Fr Charles Mulholland, Margorie Garrett, Patrick Garrett, (9am), Kitty Connolly, Dino Mini-archie, Anthony- Tony – Boyle, Peter Puli- Mala- Yil, (11am) , Ellen Collins, Rafffele Chelest-ino, MAY their souls and the souls of all the faithful...

O Mary, conceived without sin. Pray for us who have recourse to thee. Mary is the Gateway to man’s Heaven - through her, we received Christ the Lord - Hail Mary, full of..

Priest: Almighty God, now that the Birthday of Your Son as man is drawing near, we pray that your eternal Word, who took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and came to dwell among us will bestow on us his people his love and mercy. Through the Christ our Lord. Amen.

BIDDING PRAYERS FOR CHRISTMAS DAY.

Priest: God our Father, this morning (day) OR (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 Anthony Dwyer, Marjorie Walsh, Marian Farmer Odette Heslin, Maura McCormack, Mr Azicate, Kathleen Burke, EileenMcCormack and Peter Ramsbottom. Lord in your mercy.

That those who have died recently may see the glory announced by the angels: Rosella Devlin and Masie Dwyer, Gary Shaw and James Kearney AND For all those whose anniversaries fall about this time or the souls of those we want to pray for this Christmas time: Freddie King, Harry King, Joyce Cook, Bill Cook, (VIGIL MASS) and Patrick Dolan (9am) Gerry Doyle, Vincent Corley, Mr and |Mrs Steward, Ned O'Keefe, (11am) Sarah Regan, George Lindley and Brenda and Arthur Strafford.

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.