FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT Liturgical Cycle C. + 29TH NOVEMBER 2015.
MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST.
My Dear People,
Advent has begun. Our Lord is coming soon – the sands of time run low. Oh come Lord Jesus and rescue our fallen and confused world as it races along a path which will take it further away from its Saviour. Advent is a time for re-visiting the certainty of Christ's Return in Glory to Judge the Living and the Dead. We, who belong to Him should have no fear. He comes to vindicate his chosen ones and to set them in heaven by his side.
Jeremiah talks about a city so holy in the life of its inhabitants that the city will be re-named "The Lord is our integrity". Imagine our City being called that now! Our Lord tells us into today’s Gospel to watch it, or our hearts will become coarsened and the coming of Christ will not be a saving act for us to rejoice in, but like a trap that is sprung on us without warning and a terrible thing too. But for Christ's faithful it will be liberation not a trap.
We should live actually with a sense of longing in our hearts for Christ’s kingdom to come. We should mourn for this world for its great and terrible rejection of God and the final judgement awaiting it. We should weep for those who do not weep for their sins and pray for their conversion. "We long to see thee so, to see the newly born" the Advent children's hymn proclaims - and so we should LONG with all our hearts to see Christ coming in great Power and Glory on the clouds of heaven. This vision inspired the martyrs and the saints in every generation. When the whole might of the Roman power weighed in against the Catholic Church in those first 300 years they never despaired or lost hearts at what they suffered. They transformed that civilisation and converted it. So must we. The Vietnam Martyrs whose feast was on Tuesday suffered for their Catholic faith in various persecutions from 1625 to 1886. 130,000 were killed and 117 were canonised by Pope Saint John Paul in 1988: - 8 bishops, 50 priests, 59 lay men and women. Mode of death? 75 were beheaded, 22 strangled, 6 burned alive,, 5 torn to pieces whilst still alive and 9 died of the tortures endured , One of them- St Paul Le-Bao-Tinh describes the prison as an image of everlasting hell: cruel tortures of every kind- shackles, iron chains, manacles- added to hatred, vengeance, calumnies, obscene speech, quarrels, curses, as well as anguish and grief- but I - he says, by the grace of God am full of joy because I am not alone - Jesus Christ is with me and his members share His Victory. Now – does that not demonstrate what I am saying? The West is so shocked and horrified by the Murder and mayhem of the Isis terrorists in Paris. The C of E Archbishop said it made him doubt God!!! So much for his catechesis. The 40 English and Welsh canonised martyrs suffered all kinds of tortures but they never lost their joy in Christ. One executioner said "His heart is in my hand and Jesu is on his lips".
As our Government along with other Western powers sets out to raise new Laws giving grave offence to Almighty God and to undermine the Divine Plan, devaluing the Family of Man and Woman and even obliterating gender and teaching this to 6 year old we must not lose hope or our vision. We must not succumb for Jesus says "Do not be afraid – I have overcome the world".
In the major letter of Pope Francis EVANGELI GAUDIUM : The Holy Father spells out this challenge for the Modern Church. We have to be at the coal face as it were, really interacting with the powers of evil and falsehood and injustice. We cannot sit by in comfort and watch with complacency, Humanity rushing to a bad end can we? The Message of the Catholic Church is joy and salvation and new life and love. It transforms civilisation anew. The Pope says it must do so again. We - those who follow Christ- us Believers - must do it and are commissioned to do it. He is going to renew the Office of the Papacy to lead the Church into this great renewal. The way we are now is not pleasing to God he says.
On 8th December – the beginning of the Year of Mercy our children of St Kentigern's school will be making their First Confession at 7pm. Quite a few visiting priests will be here. What a great way to begin our preparation for the Nativity of our Lord.
Don't forget on Wednesday the 9th December at 7pm we have the Film on Ocean of The Divine Mercy to begin the Year of Mercy – shown in the Marian Room with the Veneration of the Relic afterwards and some Refreshments. Please come. I think it is very important to do this.
Father Tom Connolly
Planned giving Envelopes will be available after the Mass today – your name will be on it. Please take. If you want to start giving by envelope or Standing Order there are Forms at the back to fill in and return. Whatever tax you have paid on your Collection for the Parish will be paid back by the Inland Revenue at the end of each Year. It costs you nothing put a Form to fill in and a way of paying your collection so I can prove that you have paid ...whatever.
POSTERS OF MERCY. I HOPE YOU LIKE THE POSTERS WE HAVE MADE FOR OUR TWO CHURCHES AND TWO SCHOOLS ON THE THEME OF THE YEAR OF MERCY.
Also there are booklets SALFORD DIOCESAN HANDBOOK FOR THE YEAR OF MERCY DECEMBER 8TH 2015 – NOV 8TH 2016 FULL OF PRAYERS AND INFORMATION AND A PRAYER CARD, FREE AT THE PORCH.
ALSO SCRIPTURE REFLECTION FOR EACH DAY OF ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS BOOKLET FOR ONLY £1
BIDDING PRAYERS FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT C
PRIEST: Our Lord tells us to "stay awake and be ready" for he will come to save this world in all his glory, accompanied by the Angels. In our Advent prayer we re-echo that confident hope that Christ the Lord is on his way to complete his mission and gather us all into the kingdom of his Beloved and Eternal father.
Reader: In this time of Advent may we realise more and more our Lord's presence in this world as its history unfolds to wards the Second Coming and the Last Judgement when Christ will be all in All. Lord in your mercy. R/ Hear our Prayer. For those, who, as in Noah's time never think of God and his kingdom or the Truth, that their hearts and minds be enlightened and that they may walk in His Light. Lord in your mercy.
For family life in our community - that it will be blessed in this holy time of preparation for the Lord's birth – by a great surge of love and unity. We pray especially for all preparing for marriage and for all whose marriages have broken down. Lord in your mercy.
Jeremiah talks about honesty and integrity in the Land – we pray that those involved in the terrorist attacks in Paris and other places and we pray that the forces of order and Good government will succeed on the path of peace. Lord in your mercy.
For Pope Francis on his Pastoral Visit to Kenya that his Apostolic witness will strengthen the great faith of the Catholic people of Africa. Lord in your mercy.
For the sick who at his time feel their isolation when everyone is bustling around – we pray for: Christine Booth, Michael Nolan, Denis McLoughlin, Jim Mahon, Riley Moxam, William Mairs. .Lord in your mercy.
For all the dead and those who mourn them: Patrick Mahoney, Tom Curtin, Patrick McGagh, Veronica and Mary Molloy AND For all the souls whose anniversaries fall now: George Halligan (11.30 Sat), Margaret and Michael Cullen, (9am), Christine and Elizabeth Coughlan (6.30pm VIGIL), Bridget Walsh (11am), Frances Swan Elizabeth Cassidy, Doreen Cahill. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed...
O Mary Conceived without sin. R/ Pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Mary is the Gateway to Man's Heaven – the Immaculate One who bore the Light of Light into the darkened word - we pray for her motherly assistance as she was the one who experienced the First Advent. Hail Mary...
Priest: Lord our God – in you there is no shadow of change - helps us to pass through this world with our eyes fixed on Jesus our safe Harbour and our Lasting Peace. Listen to our prayers through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.