Feast of the Holy Family (A)

flight-into-egypt

Gospel  (Matthew 2: 13-15, 19-23)

After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:  I called my son out of Egypt.

After Herod’s death, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled:  ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’

Thought

 3840-2016_06_02-17_41_42-utc

The picture above is of the beautiful statue of the Holy Family commissioned in 2000 for the refurbishment of the Church of the Holy Family in Boothstown, Worsley.  It was crafted by Butzon & Bercker in Kevelaer, Germany.

What do you notice?

Notice the curves – Mary holding her Son, Jesus, under the protection of Joseph.

Look closer and notice the chisel marks too – symbolising the rough and tumble and sufferings of life.

Notice the youthfulness of the couple – Mary would have only been about 15 years old and, Joseph, not much older.  How many of our Cribs portray Joseph as a balding man in his sixties?

Notice the simplicity of the statue which just adds to its beauty.

Fr Dave

Prayer

Loving God,
guardian of our homes,
when you entrusted your Son
to the care of Mary and Joseph,
you did not spare them the pains
that touch the life of every family.

Teach us to rely on your word,
that in our trials as in our joys
we may be clothed in gentleness and patience
and united in love.

Make us ever-thankful
for the blessings you give us
through Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
in the splendour of eternal light,
one God for ever and ever.

Scripture Passage from ‘The Jerusalem Bible’ © 1966 by Darton Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday and Company Ltd.  Prayer (c) 1998 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

SYNOD 2020

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The audio of the Synod Talk on Young People in the Church by Stephen Davies is now available on the Synod website under ‘News’ www.synod2020.co.uk  This was the third in a series of seven Synod Talks.  The next talk is on Faith in the Family by Dr Dominika Kurek-Chomycz & Prof John Sullivan on Monday 13 January at the LACE Conference Centre beginning at 7.30 pm (Tea and Coffee served from 7.00 pm).


Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

christmas-eve-2019

Sending Greetings to our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land
at the Christmas Vigil Mass

A very happy and peaceful Christmas to you all

Nollaig Shona Dhuit

Feliz Natal

楽しいクリスマスをお過ごしください

Froehliche Weihnachten

Joyeux Noël

Feliz Navidad

愉快的圣诞节

Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia…

Scripture Reading  (Luke 2: 1-14)

Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a census of the whole world to be taken. This census — the first — took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and travelled up to Judaea, to the town of David called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn.

shepherds

In the countryside close by there were shepherds who lived in the fields and took it in turns to watch their flocks during the night. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, “Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly with the angel was a great throng of the heavenly host, praising God and singing: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to all who enjoy his favour”.

Carol

Once in royal David’s city

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT3cfXd3Shk

Thought

In his homily for Midnight Mass, Pope Francis said:

“Tonight the love of God has been revealed to us. In Jesus, the Most High made Himself small, so that we might love Him. In Jesus, God made Himself a Child, so that we might embrace Him.”

“Tonight, in the beauty of God’s love, we also discover our own beauty, for we are beloved of God. In His eyes we are beautiful: not for what we do but for what we are.”

“Dear brother, dear sister, if your hands seem empty, if you think your heart is poor in love, this night is for you. The grace of God has appeared to shine forth in your life. Accept it and the light of Christmas will shine forth in you.”

new-years-eve-2018b

Prayer

Almighty God and Father of light,
a child is born for us and a son is given to us.
Your eternal Word leaped down from heaven
in the silent watches of the night,
and now your Church is filled with wonder
at the nearness of her God.

Open our hearts to receive his life
and increase our vision with the rising of dawn,
that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Scripture Passage from ‘The Jerusalem Bible’ © 1966 by Darton Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday and Company Ltd. Prayer (c) 1973 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

 


4th Sunday of Advent (A)

advent-4

Gospel  (Matthew 1: 18-24)

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son
and they will call him Emmanuel,
a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’

When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.

journey2

We pray to the Lord, who is, who was and who is to come:
R. Come, Lord Jesus.  Maranatha!

That the generosity of Christian people
may bring good news to the poor.  R.

That all the peoples of the earth
may learn to live in peace.  R.

That those whose hearts have been broken
may find joy and healing in the Lord and his love.  R.

That the Word of God may touch our hearts this Christmas
and renew our hope and trust in the Lord.  R.

That those who have died
may rejoice for ever in God’s presence.  R.

night-christmas

CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN
In all the joy of Christmas, there can be sadness too – especially if we’re missing a loved one who has died.  The following poem was penned by a mother, Wanda Bencke, whose young daughter died.  She imagines her daughter saying: 

I see the countless Christmas Trees
Around the world below
With tiny lights, like Heavens stars
Reflecting in the snow.
The sight is so spectacular,
Please wipe away a tear
For I am spending Christmas
With Jesus Christ this year.

I hear many Christmas songs
That people hold so dear,
But the sounds of music can’t compare
With the Christmas Choir up here.
I have no words to tell you,
The joy their voices bring;
For it’s beyond description
To hear an angel sing.

I know how much you miss me
For I feel your breaking heart;
But through our memories, oh so dear
We’re never far apart.
I can’t tell you of the splendour
Or the peace that’s in this place,
Can you just imagine Christmas
With our Saviour face to face?

I’ll ask him to light your spirit
As I tell him of your love;
Then pray for one another
As you lift your eyes above.
So let your heart be joyful
And let your spirit sing
For I am spending Christmas in heaven
And I’m walking with the King.

archbishop

Christmas Message from the Archbishop

‘The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.’  This is St John’s description of the birth of Jesus which is read in churches on Christmas morning.  He also speaks of the nativity as, ‘the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it’.  Jesus is the light of the world, not some artificial light but the true light which can never be overcome by darkness.  He comes into the world for us to bring hope to our lives.

They must have been dark days for Mary and Joseph.  They lived under an occupying power and then Caesar Augustus decreed that there should be a census and everyone, irrespective of their situation or personal difficulties, had to go to their own town to be registered.  So, Mary and Joseph had to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem, a long and difficult journey.  When they eventually arrived, there was no welcome for them.  They were refugees, forced to stay in a stable, but everything was about to change for them.

With the birth of Jesus an angel and a heavenly host appeared to shepherds on a nearby hillside.  Blinding light piercing the darkness and leaving them shaken and afraid.  ‘Fear not!’  ‘Do not be afraid’ said the angel and that is the message of Jesus for us today.  As God chose shepherds to bring ‘news of great joy’ so too he chooses us today to be his messengers and says to us ‘do not be afraid’.

As the feast of Christmas comes near people have many hopes and expectations, there are pressures created by the clamour of modern life; created by a ‘must have’ society, by fear of what the future may hold, or by memories of Christmas past.  Yet in the birth of Jesus there is only simplicity: a child lying in a manger, yet the Son of God among us.

Amid the consumerism of Christmas there are many acts of human kindness, as minds and hearts turn to the needs of others.  We welcome the stranger and the refugee; we buy gifts for people we don’t even know, and we give our time to those who are in need.  In all the uncertainties of life we have hope which is a sign of love – God’s love for us in sending his Son into the world.  Our celebrations too are a sign of God’s love.

2,000 years ago there was a child born for us, a turning point in history which we still rejoice in today, which says that each one of us is loved by God and which takes away fear and gives us hope for the future.  We must open our hearts to the welcome offered by our Saviour and let him bring his peace to our lives and to our world.

May this Christmas be a time of peace for us all so that we may know the love of God in our lives.

Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP
Archbishop of Liverpool

SYNOD 2020

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The audio of the Synod Talk on Young People in the Church by Stephen Davies is now available on the Synod website under ‘News’ www.synod2020.co.uk  This was the third in a series of seven Synod Talks.  The next talk is on Faith in the Family by Dr Dominika Kurek-Chomycz & Prof John Sullivan on Monday 13 January at the LACE Conference Centre beginning at 7.30 pm (Tea and Coffee served from 7.00 pm).


3rd Sunday of Advent (A)

advent-3

Gospel  (Matthew 11: 2-11)

John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’

As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:

‘Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way before you.

‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’

advent3

Thought

Today, the 3rd Sunday of Advent, is known as ‘Gaudete’ Sunday.  ‘Gaudete’ is the Lain word for ‘Rejoice’.  We rejoice because the Lord is very near.  The rose coloured candle on the Advent Wreath stands for joy, so that’s the one we light today.

In today’s 1st Reading, God’s people are in exile.  The prophet encourages them not to lose heart but to hope in God who is coming to save them.  This prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus, as we hear in today’s Gospel: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor.  And so today’s Psalm response is the prayer of Advent, the prayer of people longing for Christ: “Come, Lord, and save us”.

In today’s 2nd Reading, St James counsels us to be patient and not to lose heart as we wait for the Lord to come again.

Fr Dave

Prayer

God of glory and compassion,
at your touch even the wilderness blossoms,
broken lives are made whole,
and fearful hearts grow strong in faith.
Open our eyes to your presence
and awaken our hearts to sing your praise.
To all who long for your Son’s return
grant perseverance and patience.
Come, Lord, and save us.

SYNOD 2020

synod-theme2

Many thanks to those parishioners who were able to attend one of the Pastoral Area meetings exploring the second Synod Theme, ‘Sharing the mission of Jesus’.  You can still submit proposals for this theme via the Synod website:  www.synod2020.co.uk  We will consider the third Synod Theme, ‘How we pray together’, in the new year.


2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

advent-2

Gospel  (Matthew 3: 1-12)

In due course John the Baptist appeared; he preached in the wilderness of Judaea and this was his message: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’ This was the man the prophet Isaiah spoke of when he said:

A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight.

This man John wore a garment made of camel-hair with a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers, who warned you to fly from the retribution that is coming? But if you are repentant, produce the appropriate fruit, and do not presume to tell yourselves, “We have Abraham for our father,” because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones. Even now the axe is laid to the roots of the trees, so that any tree which fails to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire. I baptise you in water for repentance, but the one who follows me is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to carry his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fan is in his hand; he will clear his threshing-floor and gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’

advent-2

Thought

Today’s Gospel introduces us to one of the great characters of Advent – John the Baptist.  He came to ‘prepare a way for the Lord’.

In today’s passage from St Matthew, John says, ‘I baptise you in water for repentance’.  The word ‘repentance’ means to make changes.  As Christians, we are only too aware that we need to keep making changes in our lives to be more like Jesus.  What change do you need to make in your life this Advent to be more like Christ?

St Paul offers a suggestion in today’s 2nd Reading.  He says, ‘treat each other in the same friendly way that Christ treats you’.  It seems to me that this is very good advice for us, not only in the run up to Christmas, but in the run up to Thursday’s General Election as well.

One way of doing this is simply to work at being kind and gentle:  be kind to yourself and to others, be gentle with yourself and others.  If you need a hand, here is a ‘Kindness Calendar’ from the ‘Action for Happiness’ website.

kindness-calendar

Fr Dave

Prayer for the 2019 General Election

God of grace and truth,
send your Spirit to guide us
as we discover your will for our country.
Help us to discuss the issues before us
with courtesy, truth and mutual respect,
and grant that all who stand for parliament
will seek to serve the common good,
through him who came not to be served but to serve,
Jesus Christ, who is Lord for ever and ever.

(c) Church of England

GENERAL ELECTION 2019

The Catholic Bishops’ of England and Wales have issued a statement on the forthcoming General Election.  The statement concentrates on the key issues – not parties or manifestos – offering a series of points that can be put to candidates prior to voting.  You can read the statement here:  http://www.cbcew.org.uk/2019-general-election-statement-and-bishops-plenary/

SYNOD TALK

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Complex Catholicism:
Discovering the Reality of Young Catholics in England & Wales
Monday 9 December – Stephen Davies

Exploring who the younger members of our Church are today, using research from England and Wales:

  • Understanding why we might feel different from them, and them from us.
  • Reflecting together on how we can reach out to young Catholics.
  • As part of the presentation, young people will speak from their own experience.

Liverpool Hope University Chapel – entrance by Chapel or Gateway Building.  Tea and Coffee from 7.00 pm. Talk begins at 7.30 pm. Concludes at 8.45 pm. Optional Night prayer follows at 9.00 pm.  Disabled parking available on the Liverpool Hope campus.

Stephen’s career has stretched across differently aged communities within the Church. He is the fundraising and communication director for the iconic Red Box of Missio and the Mill Hill Missionaries. He started his career in university chaplaincy before helping to establish Animate Youth Ministries in the diocese. For seven years, he led CAFOD’s programme working with young people. He is a co-founding trustee of Million Minutes, and Vice-Chair of the Archbishop Romero Trust.


1st Sunday of Advent (A)

advent-1

Gospel  (Matthew 24: 37-44)

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes. Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.

‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

Thought

Today we begin a new year in the Church’s calendar with the season of Advent – a time of preparation for the great feast of Christmas.  However, our culture is impatient and wants to celebrate Christmas now.

Whenever we have a special celebration (e.g. a birthday meal, a party, etc), we take the time to get ready for it.  So it is with Christmas.  We need to make the time to get ready for the feast.  This is the purpose of Advent – to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ.

The Advent Scriptures help us to do this.  Today’s First Reading calls us once more to learn the ways of the Lord and walk in his paths.  The Second Reading tells us to ‘wake up’ because Christ is near, so ‘let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy’.

Advent is a gift to us at this time of year.  It’s an antidote to all the things that can cause us stress in the run up to Christmas.  So, today, receive the gift of Advent.  Perhaps make a little Advent Wreath to have at home, light the first candle and pray the blessing below.

Fr Dave

Blessing of the Advent Wreath

Lord our God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ;
he is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples;
he is the wisdom that teaches and guides us;
he is the Saviour of every nation.

Lord God, let your blessing come upon us
as we light the candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation.
May he come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

(From the Book of Blessings)

GENERAL ELECTION 2019

The Catholic Bishops’ of England and Wales have issued a statement on the forthcoming General Election.  The statement concentrates on the key issues – not parties or manifestos – offering a series of points that can be put to candidates prior to voting.  You can read the statement here:  http://www.cbcew.org.uk/2019-general-election-statement-and-bishops-plenary/

SYNOD TALK

logo

Complex Catholicism:
Discovering the Reality of Young Catholics in England & Wales
Monday 9 December – Stephen Davies

Exploring who the younger members of our Church are today, using research from England and Wales:

  • Understanding why we might feel different from them, and them from us.
  • Reflecting together on how we can reach out to young Catholics.
  • As part of the presentation, young people will speak from their own experience.

Liverpool Hope University Chapel – entrance by Chapel or Gateway Building.  Tea and Coffee from 7.00 pm. Talk begins at 7.30 pm. Concludes at 8.45 pm. Optional Night prayer follows at 9.00 pm.  Disabled parking available on the Liverpool Hope campus.

Stephen’s career has stretched across differently aged communities within the Church. He is the fundraising and communication director for the iconic Red Box of Missio and the Mill Hill Missionaries. He started his career in university chaplaincy before helping to establish Animate Youth Ministries in the diocese. For seven years, he led CAFOD’s programme working with young people. He is a co-founding trustee of Million Minutes, and Vice-Chair of the Archbishop Romero Trust.


Solemnity of Christ the King (C)

Gospel  (Luke 23: 35-43)

The people stayed there before the cross watching Jesus. As for the leaders, they jeered at him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers mocked him too, and when they approached to offer vinegar they said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ Above him there was an inscription: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’

christ-the-king-c

Thought

Today’s feast is a relatively new addition to the Church’s calendar.  In response to an alarming rise in nationalism, secularism and totalitarianism after the First World War, Pope Pius XI instituted the feast in 1925 to remind humanity that Jesus Christ is King of the universe and our task is to build his Kingdom, not our own – “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace” (Preface for the Solemnity of Christ the King).

96 years later, it seems to me that we’ve never needed this feast more than we do today.

Jesus is our King, but his kingship is quite different to the expectations of the world.  He reigns not from a throne but a cross.  His sceptre is a towel.  Instead of having people bow before him, he kneels down and washes feet.  His might is not in the sword but in mercy.  His friends are the poor, the sinner, the foreigner and the outcast.

Today’s feast perhaps challenges us with a question:  Who is the king in my life, and whose kingdom am I helping to build?

Fr Dave

Prayer

Lord God,
grant that we may walk in the footsteps of your Son,
ready to lay down our lives for others as he did,
in the sure and certain hope
that he will remember us when he comes into his kingdom
and share with us the glory of Paradise.
For he is Lord for ever and ever.
Amen.

SYNOD NEWS

synod-theme2

Between now and 15 December, we are invited to reflect on the second Synod Theme:  Sharing the mission of Jesus.   There are a number of ways we can do this:

1)  There will be a Meeting for all the Parishes in Warrington Pastoral Area on Tuesday 3 December, either at 1.00 pm or at 7.00 pm in Sacred Heart Parish Hall.

2)  There is another Prayer Station in church which will help you to reflect on the theme and suggest proposals for action.

3)  There will be an Evening of Prayer & Reflection, 7.30 – 9.00 pm, on Wednesday 27 November at St Philomena’s, Sparrow Hall Road, Liverpool L9 6BU.

4)  You can visit the Synod Themes and submit a proposal online at:  www.synod2020.co.uk


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 21: 5-19)

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’

sun33c

‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

sun33cii

‘But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’

Thought

As we come to end of the Church’s year, the Scripture readings focus on the end times and the Second Coming of Jesus.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus prophecies that the great Temple in Jerusalem will be destroyed.  This would have been incomprehensible to his listeners.  The Temple was one of the most impressive buildings in the world.  It was huge and built to last.  Yet, just forty years after the resurrection, the Temple lay in ruins.  Today, all that exists is the ‘Wailing Wall’ – the place we sometimes see on TV – where our Jewish sisters and brothers stand and pray.

Jesus says that there will wars and revolutions, earthquakes and famines.  Every generation knows this prophecy to be true.  He says that when these things happen, some will say, ‘The end of the world is nigh’, but Jesus tells that the end will not be so soon.  No one knows when Jesus will come again or when the end of the world will come.

Finally, Jesus warns us that Christians will suffer persecution.  Pope Francis never tires of telling us that “the persecution of Christians today is even greater than in the first centuries of the Church” (Conference on International Religious Liberty and the Global Clash of Values, 2014).  Earlier this year, our own Foreign Office released some shocking statistics:  around 215 million Christians faced persecution in 2018 and an average of 250 Christians were killed every month.

Jesus reassures those who try to follow him.  He says, “not a hair of your head will be lost… Your endurance will win you your lives.”  In other words, Jesus watches over us, gives us what we need, and will one day gather us all together in his heavenly home.

Fr Dave

Prayer

O God,
you call us constantly to renewed faithfulness and trust.
Help us to open our hearts to your presence in our lives;
help us to respond to your gracious love from deep within ourselves.
Spread your wings of blessing over us
and let us know your healing in our lives.
Through Christ our Lord.

SYNOD NEWS

synod-themes

Thank you to those parishioners who were able to come to one of the Pastoral Area Synod Meetings last Tuesday to explore the first Synod Theme, and to the Synod Members who led the meetings.  The Synod Members will now discern which five proposals should go forward from our parish to be voted on at the Synod Meeting next October.  We will let you know which proposals have been put forward once a decision has been made.

If you weren’t able to attend one of the meetings and would like to make a proposal based on the first Synod Theme, “All called and gifted by God”, you can still do so by visiting the Prayer Station in church or by going to the Synod website:  www.synod2020.co.uk

The Second Pastoral Area Meeting will take place on Tuesday 3 December at Sacred Heart Parish Hall.  Again, there will be a choice of times – either a lunchtime meeting at 1.00 pm or an evening meeting at 7.00 pm.  At this meeting, we will explore the second Synod Theme: “Sharing the Mission of Jesus” and generate proposals for action based on the theme.


Remembrance Sunday

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Today, we remember those who died in war or armed conflict.  We also remember those parishioners who died during the last twelve months.

Scripture Reading

We want you to be quite certain, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus:  God will bring them with him.  With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14, 18).

Litany of Remembrance    

In the rising of the sun and its going down.
We remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter.
We remember them.
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring.
We remember them.
In the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer.
We remember them.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn.
We remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends.
We remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength.
We remember them.
When we are lost and sick of heart.
We remember them.
When we have joys and special celebrations we yearn to share.
We remember them.

(c) Jewish Prayer Book

Prayer

Almighty God and Father,
it is our certain faith that your Son,
who died on the cross,
was raised from the dead,
the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep.
Grant that through this mystery
your servants,
who have gone to their rest in Christ,
may share in the joy of his resurrection.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

(c) Order of Christian Funerals. Bishops Conference of England & Wales.

SYNOD 2020

synod-themes

Synod Talk

“Faith & Theology in Later Life” by Dr Ros Stuart-Buttle

  • How can we look at the past, live in the present, and gaze into the future?
  • Being hopeful in changing times.
  • How can we try and navigate faith issues with children and grandchildren?

Monday 11 November at 7.30 pm in Liverpool Hope University Chapel.

Ros Stuart-Buttle is Senior Lecturer in Theology & Education at Liverpool Hope University.  She went to school in Crosby, now lives near Bollington, and has been married for 40 years, with three adult children and five grandchildren.

Synod Meeting

Parishioners across the Pastoral Area are invited to come together to explore the first Synod Theme, ‘All called and gifted by God’, this Tuesday, 12 November, either at 1.00 pm in St Benedict’s or 7.00 pm in St Oswald’s Parish Centre.


31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 19: 1-10)

Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’

zacchaeus

Meditation

I take time to come to stillness in the way that suits me best, trusting that I am in the presence of a loving God who welcomes me exactly as I am…

When I am ready, I turn prayerfully to the text. Perhaps I imagine myself present in the scene as a bystander or as Zacchaeus himself.  What can I see and hear around me? … I take my time.

I allow Jesus to seek my gaze … How does he look at me? … Might he be calling me to him with the same urgency with which he calls Zacchaeus, eager for me to share in his mission … to come to my house?  I ponder … and speak to the Lord about this as I would to a close friend, listening as well as sharing my own thoughts and feelings.

Zacchaeus’s initial curiosity to see Jesus leads to a much deeper encounter that enables him to respond from his heart.  I reflect on this, pondering how Jesus himself might feel as he hears the joyful response of one who had seemed to be lost … In time, I may feel drawn to ask: Is Jesus inviting me to help him show others what God is like, in a deeper, fuller way?

I ask him to guide me, remembering that the Lord is always with me, and I do nothing in my own strength.

When I am ready, I end my prayer with a slow sign of the cross.

(From Prego, St Beuno’s Outreach, Diocese of Wrexham) 

SYNOD 2020

synod-themes

It’s time for action!

Last year, parishioners moved round the Pastoral Area each month for the Novena to Our Lady Untier of Knots.  This year, we invite parishioners to come together four times to explore the four Synod Themes and generate proposals for action which will be voted on at the Synod Day in October 2020.

Here’s the schedule:

I           ALL CALLED AND GIFTED BY GOD

Tuesday 12 November 2019 – 1.00 pm at St Benedict’s Church or 7.00 pm at St Oswald’s Parish Centre

II          SHARING THE MISSION OF JESUS

Tuesday 3 December 2019 – 1.00 pm or 7.00 pm at Sacred Heart Parish Hall

III        HOW WE PRAY TOGETHER

Tuesday 4 February 2020 – 1.00 pm or 7.00 pm at St Stephen’s Church, Orford

IV        BUILDING COMMUNITY, NURTURING BELONGING

Tuesday 3 March 2020 – 1.00 pm or 7.00 pm at St Joseph’s, Penketh

Please note: there is a choice of a lunchtime or evening session for each theme.

You can also visit the Synod Themes and submit a proposal online at:  www.synod2020.co.uk

Prayer & Reflection

There will be an Evening of Prayer & Reflection on the first Synod Theme, “All called and gifted by God”, on Wednesday 6 November, 7.30 – 9.00 pm,  at St Philomena’s, Sparrow Hall Road, Liverpool L9 6BU.

SYNOD TALK

“Faith & Theology in Later Life” by Dr Ros Stuart-Buttle

  • How can we look at the past, live in the present, and gaze into the future?
  • Being hopeful in changing times.
  • How can we try and navigate faith issues with children and grandchildren?

Monday 11 November at 7.30 pm in Liverpool Hope University Chapel.

Ros Stuart-Buttle is Senior Lecturer in Theology & Education at Liverpool Hope University.  She went to school in Crosby, now lives near Bollington, and has been married for 40 years, with three adult children and five grandchildren.