Pope Francis has called on the whole Church throughout the world to enter into a very special journey—a global Synod. “Synod” is a Greek word, meaning “on the road together”, and the Holy Father wants all Catholics to consider what the Holy Spirit might be saying to the Church in our age about how we should be fulfilling the Divine Mission entrusted to us all. The Synodal journey will culminate in the 2023 Synod of Bishops in Rome, but in order to involve the whole Church (and, indeed, the lapsed, the distant, those from other churches or communities or religions) the process begins now. In October Pope Francis launched the “Diocesan Synodal Journey” in Rome, and this weekend, as Bishop John announces in his Pastoral Letter, we are formally launching the process in our Diocese. The first period of Synod is consultation—everyone can take part in this, whether Catholic or not, church-goer or not. It is not, however, an “opinion survey”: we are being asked to pray, so that the Spirit of God may guide our thinking and our responses. We will contribute not simply by offering our opinion, but what we think the Holy Spirit is asking of us all. This part of the process will last until at least March 2022, so there is no hurry! There will be a variety of ways for people to contribute to the Diocesan Synodal Journey, which will be made available to you over the next few weeks. For now, please begin with prayer: Pope Francis has asked that we all frequently use the “Adsumus” Prayer, which began all the sessions of the Second Vatican Council:
“We stand before You, Holy Spirit, as we gather together in Your name. With You alone to guide us, make Yourself at home in our hearts; Teach us the way we must go and how we are to pursue it. We are weak and sinful; do not let us promote disorder. Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path nor partiality influence our actions. Let us find in You our unity so that we may journey together to eternal life and not stray from the way of truth and what is right. All this we ask of You, who are at work in every place and time, in the communion of the Father and the Son, forever and ever. Amen.”
HELP FOR THE HOMELESS
Please contact Jackie Heatley or Jennie Curran on 01706 517202 for enquiries
OUT OF AFRICA JEWELLERY
Looking for Christmas gifts that make a difference to the most needy in our world? Check out “Out of Africa Jewellery.” There is a wide selection of fairly-traded, ethically sourced jewellery, handmade by twelve small scale producers in Nairobi, Kenya and from Congo at www.facebook.com/outofafricajewellery. Ideal for gifts, Christmas presents and stocking-fillers, or as a treat for yourself. Your purchases help to support these producers, and this year 20% of all sales will be donated to CAFOD. If you have any difficulties purchasing items through Facebook, or have any queries, please contact Bernie Slater at firstname.lastname@example.org Hope you enjoy looking and shopping—and making a difference!
EPIPHANY BLESSING OF HOMES
There is an ancient tradition of blessing homes on Epiphany, using the following service. Chalks will be blessed at the end of Mass today, for you to take home and use with these prayers, as you mark above your doorway the Blessing of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar) to show that Christ is at home with us!
All make the Sign of the Cross.
Head of Household: "Peace be to this house and to all who dwell here, in the name of the Lord.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Reader: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3.14)
Using the chalk, then write on the outside of your house, above or next to a doorway:
Each letter could be written by a different member of the household. Then say:
All: Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness and the keeping of your law. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our love for each other may go out to all. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SO JUST WHEN DOES CHRISTMAS END?
Some people will be sticking to the tradition of removing Christmas decorations before Twelfth Night—6th January: we will be following this by removing our Christmas Trees and outside lights by the evening of Thursday the 6th. If anyone can help with dismantling the trees in Church, this will be happening straight after 9.30 a.m. Mass on Thursday: plus, if anyone can lend us a big tarpaulin or groundsheet to aid in the needle-free removal of trees, please let me know! The Liturgical Season continues until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord next Sunday. An old tradition (still observed in Eastern Europe) keeps the Christmas season until February 2nd, the Presentation of the Lord: we will be remembering this by keeping the crib in Church, and using the Marian Anthem “Alma Redemptoris Mater” at weekday Masses until 2nd February. But as to when Christmas ends, the answer is NEVER! Jesus is always the baby born for us, as well as the crucified and risen Lord: so to quote an overused Christmas song, it can indeed be “Christmas every day”!
CRIB OFFERINGS THIS CHRISTMAS
Christmas time brings to mind the needs of our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. “Friends of the Holy Land” (FHL) help the most deprived Christian families, especially those living around Bethlehem, in Gaza, Israel and Jordan, and this year our crib offerings will go to help them. There is a box by the crib in Church for your donations.