Background to the feast (from 1998 ICEL Missal)
The Virgin Mary was already venerated as Mother of God when, in 431, the Council of Ephesus acclaimed her Theotokos (God-bearer). Her role in the mystery of the incarnation was celebrated on this day in Rome in the seventh century but was soon eclipsed by other feasts of Mary. Restored to the liturgical calendar in 1931, and to this day in 1969, the feast celebrates from a Marian perspective the Word made flesh, and so enriches the observance of the octave of Christmas and provides a solemn beginning to the New Year.
Happy New Year! On this first day of the Year of Our Lord 2021, we acclaim Mary as Mother of God and ask her to mind us and those we love during this new year. We pray that the world may be freed from COVID-19 through a global programme of vaccination. And as this is also World Peace Day, we pray for peace.
As we prepare to celebrate this new start, let us acknowledge our sinfulness — and praise God’s unending mercy: (pause)
Lord Jesus, you are mighty God and Prince of Peace: Lord, have mercy
Lord Jesus, you are Son of God and Son of Mary: Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you are Word made flesh and splendour of the Father: Lord, have mercy
Alternative Opening Prayer (1998 ICEL Missal)
Most high God,
you come near to us this Christmas season
in the child born of the Virgin Mary.
In the depths of darkness, she gave birth to light;
in the depths of silence, she brought forth the Word.
Grant that we who ponder these things in our hearts
may recognise in her child
our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
in the splendour of eternal light, God for ever and ever.
Introduction to the Scripture Readings
Numbers 6:22-27 — The ‘Blessing of Aaron’ expresses God’s care for humanity: a suitable New Year wish for all believers…. Galatians 4:4-7 — Because of the birth of Mary’s child, we can all be called children of God…. Luke 2:16-21 — On the eighth day Mary’s child was circumcised and given the name Jesus.
Introduction (by the Presider) God graciously blesses all of humanity, so we can bring forward our needs with confidence:
- That our faith may not fail in this New Year (pause for a moment’s quiet prayer). Lord, hear us.
- That religious people may be tolerant (pause for a moment’s quiet prayer). Lord, hear us.
- That peace may soon come to our world (pause for a moment’s quiet prayer). Lord, hear us.
- That vaccines will free us from Coronavirus (pause for a moment’s quiet prayer). Lord, hear us.
- That those who are sick may get better (pause for a moment’s quiet prayer). Lord, hear us.
- That this New Year will be better for us all (pause for a moment’s quiet prayer). Lord, hear us.
The Presider prays for the dead: That perpetual light may shine on all our dead, especially those taken from us in the last twelve months — whom we remember now… (pause for a moment’s quiet prayer). Lord, hear us.
Conclusion (by the Presider) Gracious God, you bless your people with peace and justice: accept our prayers and give us your help, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS
You, O God, are the beginning of every good
and bring all things to perfection.
On this feast of Mary, the Mother of God,
grant that, as we delight in your first gifts of grace,
we may rejoice one day in their glorious fulfilment.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
PREFACE (The Blessed Virgin Mary I)
It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
almighty Father, ever-living God,
to give you thanks, blessing, and praise
as we celebrate the motherhood of the blessed Virgin Mary.
By the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit
she conceived your only Son,
and, in the glory of her virginity,
she brought forth the eternal light of the world,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him the choirs of angels and all the powers of heaven
worship in awe before your presence.
May our voices blend with theirs
as they sing with joy the hymn of your glory: Holy, holy, holy…..
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER III (from 1998 ICEL Missal, with Christmas interpolation)
Lord, you are holy indeed,
and all creation rightly gives you praise.
All life, all holiness comes from you
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
by the working of the Holy Spirit.
From age to age you gather a people to yourself,
so that from the rising of the sun to its setting
a pure offering may be made
to the glory of your name.
And so, Lord God, on this day
of glory and peace,
we celebrate the birth of your incarnate Word;
and, rejoicing that your loving kindness
has appeared among us,
we humbly pray:
by the power of your Spirit sanctify these gifts
we have brought before you,
that they may become the body + and blood
of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
at whose command we celebrate this eucharist.
On the night he was handed over to death,
he took bread and gave you thanks and praise;
he broke the bread,
gave it to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT IT:
THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.
When supper was ended, he took the cup;
again he gave you thanks and praise,
gave the cup to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT:
THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD,
THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT.
IT WILL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR ALL,
SO THAT SINS MAY BE FORGIVEN.
DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.
The mystery of faith…..
Calling to mind, Lord God
the death your Son endured for our salvation,
his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven,
and eagerly awaiting the day of his return,
we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice.
Look with favour on your Church’s offering
and see the Victim by whose sacrifice
you were pleased to reconcile us to yourself.
Grant that we who are nourished by the body and blood of your Son
may be filled with his Holy Spirit
and become one body, one spirit in Christ.
Let him make us an everlasting gift to you,
that we may share in the inheritance of your saints,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with the apostles, the martyrs,
[Saint N.], and all your saints,
on whose constant intercession we rely for help.
Lord, may this sacrifice
which has made our peace with you
advance the peace and salvation of all the world.
Strengthen in faith and love your pilgrim Church on earth:
your servant Pope Francis, our Bishop N.,
all bishops, priests, and deacons,
all ministers of your Church,
and the entire people your Son has gained for you.
hear the prayers of the family you have gathered here before you,
and unite to yourself all your children
now scattered over the face of the earth.
Welcome into your kingdom our departed brothers and sisters
and all who have left this world in your friendship.
We hope to enjoy with them your everlasting glory,
through Christ our Lord,
through whom you give the world everything that is good.
Through him, with him, in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honour is yours, almighty Father,
for ever and ever.
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
as we joyfully proclaim the Virgin Mary
to be Mother of your Son and Mother of the Church,
we ask that this heavenly sacrament
by which we have been nourished
may bring us to life everlasting.
Grant this in the name of Jesus, the Lord.
SOLEMN BLESSING (Beginning of the New Year)
Bow your heads for God’s blessing.
May God, the source of every blessing,
grant you the fullness of grace
and keep you safe throughout the coming year.
May God safeguard the purity of your faith,
give you an unwavering hope
and a love that patiently endures to the end.
May God order your works and days in peace,
listen to your every prayer,
and lead you safely to eternal life.
Songs at Mass today (suggestions)
Christmas Carols, ‘When Creation Was Begun’, ‘Lord of All Hopefulness’.