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Sermon for 7 December 2014
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SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT + 7TH DECEMBER 2014.

MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PREIST.

My Dear People,

On Monday the 15th December we begin the Christmas Novena to the Holy Child Jesus. It will be recited after the Gospel until Christmas Eve. How near is Christmas?

THIS SUNDAY AT 4PM WE HAVE OUR children's FIRST CONFESSIONS AND ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE. MANY PRIESTS WILL BE PRESENT SO DO COME FOR YOUR PRE- CHRISTMAS CONFESSION IF YOU CAN.

What wonderful things our Saviour has done for us. The rejoicing in the Scripture readings for this Sunday is present everywhere. Our God is coming – "What marvels the Lord worked for us!" Indeed we are glad.

Our Lord came to us as a result of a long line of promises given by the great prophets of the Old Testament. Isaiah today promises that the exiled people of God would be lead back rejoicing to their land and the Holy City, Jerusalem. On their way back, and to make it easy for them, every mountain will be laid low and the valleys will be levelled - the trees of the forest will provide shade and give a lovely scent so that the people will really experience the "light of God's glory." Even nature helps the people along.

John the Baptist quotes a passage from the Old Testament when he announces the coming of our Blessed Lord, his cousin.. The "making straight" of the paths is a reference to us – to our hearts and souls and minds. We have to smooth the way for our Lord to come to us so that we will see the "salvation of our God."

If we spend Advent well we will hear in the Mass all of these promises made to God's People over the centuries. Advent is a time for looking back and being filled with delight at God's fidelity and to look forward to God's future fidelity to us in continuing to send his Son in the life of His Holy Church. We look to his coming with confidence. He will be the Judge and the Saviour for all Mankind. He will not come again in his glory as a child in the manger but as our Mighty God and the very elements of created nature will respond to it. Have no doubt – we belong to the winning side.

How often the Life of Faith seems snuffed out by harsh and persistent persecution and then we see the emergence into a new spring of the Faith. Think of the millions of Chinese Catholics belonging to the Underground Church – that is the True church in communion with the Pope. All that suffering they underwent in Mao's time and yet here they are now full of faith and spreading it. The Church thinks in eras of history – not the tomorrows of this times we live through. So let us press on to welcome the Christ child and relive that great feast of the original Incarnation - of God in human form in our Lord Jesus Christ. As we come nearer to his birthday – our joy will increase.

God Bless,

Father Tom Connolly.


THE PLIGHT OF OUR FELLOW BELIEVERS IN IRAQ.

On August 6th Isil fighters seized control of the largest Christian City in Iraq They closed in on Qaraqosh with its 50,000 inhabitants and cut off its electricity and water supply and gave them a choice: convert to Islam or be killed. Most simply fled. Beheading and crucifixion is the lot given out to those who remain and refuse to deny Christ.

Kurdistan is where many take refuge. In the city of Erbil 120,000 have taken refuge to add to its population of 1.5 Million.. Many of our fellow Catholic people are living in tents and ruins of flats and car parks. One Catholic Parish acts as a shelter for 3000 families. Before it opened its doors to the refugees the parish had two Priests and 25 volunteers. Now in the Church yard alone 704 people are camped out. The Parish priest Fr Douglas Bazi said "They were destroyed. During the first week, the only thing I could hear was crying." The feeling of sadness is absolute. Everyone has lost a home and lost stability.

I am telling you this because Aid to the Church in Need is the Catholic International charity which reaches out to our brothers and sisters in their suffering and provided real one to one relief through the structures of the Church following the practise in the Church at St Paul's time. Our poor Box will substantially go to Aid to the Church in Need this Advent. Fr Tom.






Bidding Prayers

Bidding Prayers for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

Priest. "Console my people, console them" the Lord announces through Holy Isaiah to all of God's People and in every age. May our Lord's coming in the feast of Christmas console us and give us joy and confidence.

Reader: For all in the Church of God who are called by God to announce the Good News of Christ everywhere and especially for our new Bishop, John Arnold as he begins his ministry as the Eleventh Bishop of Salford. May their words be blest with success and may the proclamation of the word warm the hearts of all the faithful. Lord in your mercy.

Like John the Baptist - many who proclaim the way of virtue are mocked and vilified for not accepting sin for what it is. Give brave hearts to us all who face derision and mockery and misunderstanding for holding and teaching Christian moral beliefs. Lord in your mercy.

We pray for the young ones making their First Confession this weekend that they will never forget the Lord’s power to forgive our sins when we repent. Lord in your mercy.

May your people never forget that You are coming Lord and that a thousand years is like a Day to you. May you find us watching and ready when you call us. Lord, in your mercy.

We commend to Christ the Healer all those we love who are ill: Patrick Snype, Sheila Scannell, Elizabeth Layden, Julie Brady, Sam Murray, Mary Farrelly Stiles, Agnes Halligan, Denis McLoughlin, Lord in your mercy.

For all who have died in the peace of Christ and especially: Ged Vince, Hannah Doonan, Sheila Doonan and Peter Varley Oddy AND For all those we have loved in life and do not forget in death and whose anniversaries occur about this time: Bridgie Walsh (VIGIL), Mary Mullen (Sunday 6.30pm) , Doreen Cahill, (11am), Martin Murray, Margret Nuthall, Veronica Lawson, John Heneghan, Michael McDonagh, Mary Christina Geraghty, Brian Geraghty, John Charles McKenna, Peter Duddy.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed.

Oh Mary Conceived with out sin – pray for us who recourse to thee. In the Immaculate Conception God created human nature anew - may the Immaculate Queen pray for us now: Hail Mary, full of grace...

Priest: Father in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin a new day dawned form on high. Renew in our own day the signs and wonders of all the years and hear and answer our heartfelt prayers. Through Christ our Lord.