You are invited to our Taste and See Mass in Advent on 3rd Advent Sunday, 11th December at 3.30pm at the Shrine followed by a shared Christmas celebration with the Children. Please bring donations for our Food and warm clothes bank. Look forward to seeing you there. It is ‘Gaudete Sunday” and we are invited to rejoice with the Church for the Lord will soon be here. We will take the chance to sing Advent Carols and anticipate the joy of Christmas.
In the days and weeks before Christmas, many people worry about what they are going to give their relations and friends as a gift. They search through catalogues and magazines, they trek wearily through the shops and stores until they find the right present. Most of the time we are looking for things that cost money, some expensive, some cheaper. What would it be like if we could also give each other a gift for Christmas, that you cannot buy with money? Something special, something truly original – something that brings us hope, joy and peace! I hope and pray that this Christmas story can be a little like such an “unbuyable” gift. It is called “The King with the Empty Hands”. “It happened in large city. A few young people had got together and planned to put on a Nativity Play. Very soon lots of people became involved: Someone wrote the script, others practiced eagerly, scenes and backdrops were made and painted, and a few mothers made the costumes. However, the evening before the first performance, something quite unusual and unfortunate happened – they had all forgotten about the parts of the Three Kings. They couldn’t just leave them out altogether. The Kings simply belong to the Nativity Story. The Director of the play had an idea. He would telephone three people from the neighbourhood and ask them if they wouldn’t mind standing in as one of the Three Kings. They should just bring a personal gift with them for the Child in the Manger – a gift, that means something special to them. (more…)
You are invited to the Advent Covenant Mass on Friday, 18th December at 7.30pm, followed by festive refreshments. The Mass has the Theme of “Hope” and will be lead by the Tiberias Schoenstatt Group. This will be the first Covenant Mass at the Shrine in the Jubilee Year of Mercy and we will have the opportunity to walk through one of the five official “Doors of Mercy”, designated by the Diocese of Salford. Father Duncan will be the main celebrant at this Mass. The Nativity scene was put up and decorated yesterday in the Shrine by Patricia and her efficient team of helpers and is looking beautiful as always. Please come along and bring friends and family! We look forward to celebrating with you the Hope that the Christ Child brings again into our world, our homes and our hearts!
You are invited to our Taste and See Mass falls on 3rd Sunday in Advent , 13th December at 3.30pm at the Shrine, St John Fisher’s Kearsley. This is the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Shrine is one of the five Doors of Mercy in the Diocese of Salford and will be blessed on that day. Pilgrimage to the Shrine during this Holy Year gives each one passing through the Holy Door of Mercy the graces of the Jubilee Year. In a special way we pray for families that they may experience at home the steadfast love of caring compassion which brings healing to lost and wounded dignity and restores the grace of being a child of God. In this Season of Hope we entrust ourselves and all those dear to us into the heart of Mary, the Mother of Mercy and her Son, the Face of the Father’s Mercy. After Mass we will have a family celebration for Advent and Christmas. Please bring your donations for our food bank of winter woolies and food.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.” (Luke 2:8-14)
A old legend tells the story of a hidden bell that is completely silent throughout the year, but when Christmas comes this bell starts to ring out joyfully. Where is this bell hidden? It is hidden in our own hearts. Christmas is the time when many longings and hopes come to the surface again. These yearnings need to be fulfilled. The church bells call us and invite us: Come to Bethlehem and see what has truly happened there! When we set off and make our way to that little place of grace – our parish church, the shrine – what will we find? We will find the Saviour of the world in a manger. Are we free enough to leave everything else behind – our worries, our weaknesses, our troubles and distractions, our dependence on material things – and go to Bethlehem to be a part of this never-ending miracle? What is the miracle of the Holy Night? It is an answer to that continuous, desperate call of the human race since the beginning of time – the yearning for peace. We yearn for peace in our own hearts, because we are all so inwardly divided. We yearn for peace in our families, because there are often conflicts and hurts. We yearn for peace in every nation, in all the world, so that our children can grow up in security and have a future. The bells ring out a call of peace to men and women of good will, because tonight in the town of David, in Bethlehem, a Saviour has been born for us, a Child has been given to us! The Miracle of the Holy Night is the birthday of the Prince of peace in our world. It is also the birthday of the gift of peace itself. The peace that Christmas offers is a unique and lasting kind of peace. As the angels of heaven announced to shepherds in the fields that the Messiah had been born, they sang with one voice: “Glory to God in the Highest and peace to all people of good will!” (Luke 2:14). When will we have true and lasting peace? When we give God the glory, when we place God firmly in the centre of our lives. Whoever places the Lord at the centre, whoever has the freedom to detach himself or herself from everything that holds us back from truly loving God and our neighbour, will receive the gift of peace in their heart. This is the firm promise of Christmas. This is our prayer that we again bring to the Christ-Child in the manger: Give peace to our hearts, peace to our homes, peace to the whole world!
by Fr Duncan McVicar on 23/12/2014
Take some time to find a moment of inner peace, and pray: Blessed Mother Mary, we have given ourselves to you, and you have given yourself to us. We have made a covenant of love with you and you have made a covenant with us. From the depths of our hearts, we ask you: Care that our longing for the Lord will never decrease, and never be held back by slavery to possessions and material things. Break the chains that bind us here on earth. Help us to sing a hymn of love to the Lord, that echoes and re-echoes everywhere in our lives. Amen. (Joseph Kentenich)
by Fr Duncan McVicar on 22/12/2014
If it’s true that each one of us is the “result” of God’s plan, it must also be true that Mary is the “most perfect result”, in fact the “masterpiece” of God’s love, wisdom, and power. In a unique way she is the “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), that St Paul spoke about. She is the Woman who has “the touch of paradise” – redeemed from original sin, full of life. Mary, as the first of the Lord’s disciples, can show us in her life and faith what it means to follow Jesus. What are the experiences in Mary’s life than can give us strength on our journey? What gift could we ask for to help us prepare our hearts for Christmas?