THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT B. GAUDETE SUNDAY. ROSE VESTMENTS. 14TH DECEMBER 2014.
MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST.
My Dear People,
We celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception last Monday. It was the day of the new Bishop's Installation at Salford Cathedral too.
What a wonderful and dazzling Feast it is, the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The Church throughout the world rejoiced in the great dogma being proclaimed by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854 . Many places built new statues to our Lady crowned with the stars and standing on the moon with the image of Satan crushed and our Lady in the pose of prayer.
It is very fitting that the Immaculate Conception is celebrated in the winter and just before Christmas because this was the first sign of the thaw in mankind's winter, from Adam to John the Baptist.
In the Immaculate Conception of our Mary, The Mother of God is prepared for her unique role and mission to bear the Son of the Living God. In Mary then we have a new beginning. She is the one and only human being exempt from the Original Sin. She is therefore the perfect bodily and spiritual environment for God’s Only Begotten Son.
We now know don’t we how the environment of a mother's womb makes a difference to the gestating babe? There was a woman I read about in the Press who had been aborted by her mother at 8 months but survived the saline solution, meant to bring about her death. She survived and was adopted but she was handicapped and always knew her handicap was a hostile act and not just an accident of nature. She spends her life now promoting the rights of the handicapped child in the womb to have life. Mothers who listen to Corrie or Emmerdale find the child in the womb responds to the theme tune and children get exited in the womb and kick. It stands to reason that if you are a longed for a loved child in the womb you will be safer and happier than one who is not. Pregnant women experience this I am told. Is it as fact?
Now - think of our Lady. Imagine the perfect harmony between her unique babe and her very self. It requires us to be on our knees to enter into this great reality and God's powerful grace in the human person. In Mary we have the perfect reflection of He who is the Light of the World. She tells us all at Cana to "Do whatever He tells you." Those words are inscribed in the stone of the Ambo from where God's Word is proclaimed in St Kentigern's.
This is a great feast. Blessed Pope Pius IX proclaimed this as a Dogma of the Church and four years later in 1858 our Lady appeared to Saint Bernadette in Lourdes and said to Bernadette "I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION." Bernadette was asked by our Lady to go and tell the priests to build her a church there on the spot at the side of the River Gave and to come in Procession and to pray for sinners and to wash in the spring she pointed to. Bernadette did all these things and died as a young nun of TB some years later. By the way, the People of God built THREE churches one on top of the other!!!! Such is the love of the People for their heavenly Mother.
Mary's very existence then showed that the way was prepared for the Lord. When Mary's voice greeted Elizabeth at the Visitation after the Annunciation - John leapt for joy in Elizabeth's womb. So the preparer of the way was himself prepared for the arrival of Christ by Mary's greeting. Such an honour for the Second Eve is an honour for us all. What she gained through Christ's merits before Christ’s decent to this earth we gained through Baptism. Mary is truly the first believer and the first Christian and therefore Mother of us all.. It is no wonder that the first words of the Mass today are "REJOICE, REJOICE". He is so near.
Father Tom Connolly.
NEXT WEEK WE WILL HAVE A PARISH CHRISTMAS CARD WITH ALL THE TIMES OF THE CHRISTMAS MASSES AND MY MESSAGE. PASS IT ON. NO EVENING MASSES ON CHRISTMAS DAY.
WEDDING BELLS FOR JOHN AND SHIRLEY McDONAGH WHO MARRIED HERE IN THE LORD ON WEDNESDAY 10TH DEC. MAY THEY HAVE ALONG AND HAPPY LIFE IN THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE AND BE BLEST WITH CHILDREN.