Dear friends in Christ
This Third Sunday of Advent increases the sense of anticipation of the Birth of Jesus: Gaudete semper in Domino…Rejoice in the Lord always since our Saviour draws near to us. This admonition is repeated in these days by the preaching of St John the Baptist. He calls us to prepare by proclaiming the loving mercy of God. We have begun the Jubilee Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis. Within the Parish we shall mark this by the praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet each day at three o’clock; please sign-up for leading this on the list in the Sacristy. There are small prayer cards beneath the image of Divine Mercy in the Lady Chapel which everyone can take; please encourage the sick and housebound the join in praying this too. Our prayer intention for this month is for the conversion of sinners, that they may return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for Christmas. This is a call to mercy for ALL of us! Over the days leading to Christmas there will be additional opportunities for the Sacrament, including after Sunday Masses. During this Year of Mercy I suggest we alternate the Hail Mary with Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy during the Prayers of the Faithful.
I extend a huge thanks to those who helped arrange our Parish Bazaar last weekend; also, those of you who donated goods and who supported it on the day. As a result we raised £2,604 which we will be sending via Aid to the Church in Need to help relief work with Christian Syrian refugees. In a letter, the Archbishop of Aleppo, Syria, writes of the suffering he and his people face on a daily basis. Here we are, for a fifth year now, celebrating the Feast of the Nativity as bombs are raining down. I do not know how many of you have lived through such a depressing and sad experience, but I can assure you it is painful these beautiful days, so ardently awaited each year, amidst shortages and lack of security, or electricity and, to top things off, cut off from the rest of the world by a strict and very tight boycott. Despite everything, we are continuing on in this most difficult situation ever to brave the storm that is lashing our poor faithful, who are reduced to poverty and I would even say utter misery. We are doing everything we can to sustain them and help them in this adversity that is killing them pitilessly. Thanks to ACN there are over 140 emergency and pastoral projects in Syria and Iraq. Our small contribution will go a long way in relieving the suffering of those who, in the words of St Paul are members of the household of the Faith.
Next weekend at the end of the 5.30pm & 9.30am Masses we have the traditional Blessing of the Crib figures of Baby Jesus; please remind your children to bring them along to Mass in preparation for placing them in the Crib on Christmas Day. God bless you!
Msgr Kevin Hale