Dear friends in Christ
Earlier this year, Pope Francis announced an extraordinary Holy Year, a Jubilee of Mercy beginning on 8th December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and ending on Christ the King, 20th November 2016. The aim of the Holy Year is to proclaim and to receive the loving-mercy of God, Who is dives in misericordia, ‘rich in mercy’. God has created every single person and He longs to enter into a transforming relationship with them as their loving Father. In the fullness of time, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, Who by His life, death and resurrection conquered sin and evil, sickness, suffering and death. Jesus continues to offer this Good News of salvation to anyone in need, to the poor, captives, the blind and downtrodden. This is why He calls sinners, you and me, to be disciples within His Body, the Church. He wants us to change. He wants to free us from the misery of sin and to help us fulfil our potential. He wants to make us holy and to bring us one day to Heaven.
Our Bishop will celebrate Mass this Tuesday evening in Brentwood Cathedral at 7pm to signal the start of the Holy Year; we are all invited to that Mass. In our own Parish we will begin the celebration of the Immaculate Conception on Monday evening with Marian Devotions and Benediction at 8pm. It is a Day each year in the Parish on which we consecrate the entire Parish Family - individuals, families, schools and institutions - to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Beginning next Sunday (13th) we shall be praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy each afternoon in church at 3pm - the Hour of Mercy - and we ask for a volunteer each day to lead this prayer before the image of Jesus as Divine Mercy which will be venerated in the church throughout the coming Year. Please volunteer for this by signing the rota being kept in the Sacristy. Prayers cards with the Devotion will be available for everyone, so it can be used also at home and in school. I have assigned a specific Prayer Intention for each month which I ask you to bring to the Chaplet, the Holy Rosary and will be included in Bidding Prayers at Mass; you will find these intentions elsewhere in the Newsletter. It is an inclusive list but not exhaustive! Above all, let us enter this Holy Year with faith and trust in the Mercy of our God who comes into our world to bring order to the chaos of life. God bless you!
Msgr Kevin Hale