On this first Sunday after Christmas Day, we honour the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We entrust our families to their patronage, and pray for all who have been part of our families, those still alive and those whom we hope have joined the great family of God in heaven.
We celebrate today an amazing mystery — God is born in time. The eternal God shares our nature, he has pitched his tent in the midst of humanity. With joy in our hearts, we contemplate the mystery of the Word made flesh.
In the dark of this winter night, we proclaim the new light that has shone on the world: Jesus Christ is born! With the angels, we worship God who saves us — for through the life, death and resurrection of this child Jesus, salvation is ours.
Presider’s Page for 23/24 December (Fourth Sunday of Advent)
Brendan Hoban reflects, in his weekly Western People column, on our expectations of Christmas.
Seamus Ahearne reflects on the reality of pastoral ministry and care in a ‘disadvantaged’ parish;
“more work and different work is essential in a Deis (band 1) parish. Our Church is outside of the building. Our Liturgy has to happen on the hoof. The preparation for the special occasions needs more energy and more imagination. It has to be gentle, real and kindly. The domestic Church is the only church we now have.”
An update, by Mattie Long, on the ongoing story of the ‘new missal’ and the failure by some bishops to have paid it proper attention before they approved it, along with the their willingness to bow to pressure from Rome that “was intent on complete oversight.”
Sean McDonagh writes of an alarming rise in the number of those being murdered for defending their community’s lands, natural resources and wildlife. One of those murdered was Fr. Marcelito Paez. Fr. Paez’s murder took place during a two-day period which saw ten activists shot dead in Luzon and in the southern Philippines on the island of Mindanao.
We’re two thirds of the way through Advent. Traditionally, today is called Gaudete Sunday, which means ‘a day for rejoicing.’ The reason for celebration is that the day of the Lord’s coming is very near.
Over the next days, months, and years there will be much media coverage and comment on the The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
The report is vast, consisting of 17 volumes and an executive summary.
It can be accessed at the commission’s website directly.
The National Catholic Reporter carried an article about the call by Australian Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen for an end to clericalism in the church.
“… the priesthood ‘pedestalized’ is the priesthood dehumanized. It is bound to lead us into the illusion of a messiah complex and an inability to claim our wounded humanity and to minister in partnership. What we need to do is to humanize the priesthood so as best to equip ourselves with relational power for authentic Gospel living and service.” Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen is quoted as saying.
Angela Hanley gives an account of the 19th Annual LGBT Christmas Carol Service that was held in Dublin on Saturday 09 December 2017.
Angela tells of the genuine welcome that was extended to all by the Unitarian Church.; “this welcome is rich, all encompassing and full of the love of God.” She finishes her report by saying “others will just have to learn how to provide the same welcome in their own churches.”
A short note by Tim Hazelwood about the first of the healing Circles
John the Baptist is the focus of the liturgy on the Second Sunday of Advent each year. His challenge to us to ‘prepare a way for the Lord’ is at the heart of the Advent message. We worship the one who will surely come to us.
There is an interesting letter in this week’s The Tablet from the retired bishop of Portsmouth, Crispian Hollis.
It confirms the worst suspicions about the lack of attention that was paid by bishops when the ‘new missal’ was being foisted on us.
In a press release (06 December 2017) the Irish bishops welcomed the letter of Pope Francis ‘The Great Principle” (03 September 2017) which gave responsibility and authority to local conferences of bishops over the translation of liturgical texts.
Joe McVeigh suggests that we need to view the position in which our church finds itself as an opportunity rather than a crisis.
“this is not a crisis for the Church. It is a crisis for a certain model of Church leadership and ministry. The old model was based on the pyramid structure of the Roman Empire. The Second Vatican council moved away from that model – in theory anyway.” ……
“The prophetic role of the priest in Ireland today has been neglected. There has been much discussion about the need to reform the church rather than about how to make the Word of God relate to the lives of people of today.”
Our AGM is still attracting interest with Sarah MacDonald writing in the National Catholic Reporter about the ‘advice card’ for priests that has been published by the ACP and the introduction of “Healing Circles”.
Advent begins today; the season is at its shortest this year. During these first two weeks, the Church focuses on the end of time, when Christ will come in glory. Then, for the last week of Advent, we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Chris McDonnell writes in the Catholic Times about the decision of the bishops conference of England and Wales not to address ongoing problems with the language of the ‘new missal’.
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