1st Sunday of Advent – 29.11.2020
Please note that restrictions on attending Mass in person will be lifted from the weekend of 5th and 6th December –
Please book into Mass using the online booking system via the Parish website.
Fr David’s Message for the Week
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This Sunday we begin our period of preparation for the coming festival of Christmas. As with Easter, the church has given us an extended time to get our house in order so that we can more fully celebrate the feast with heart and mind made pure. “Getting ready” as any mother who is preparing for, say, a holiday is so much more than choosing a holiday destination and booking a flight or a ferry. There is a variety of clothing to consider, both sunscreen and anoraks to pack, mosquito salve and chocolate (and maybe a bottle of gin for the holiday evenings!). But there is also anticipating what to do whilst on holiday – sights to see, beaches to visit, restaurants to book and so on.
Christmas is no different. If we have our house in perfect order (our physical one that is) with a lovely tree decorated just so – not too many lights nor too few – and choice presents under it to look inviting. Streamers and the by now obligatory LED icicle lights suitably festooned but have forgotten our interior home then the full impact, wonder and mystery of Christmas will be reduced to some hazy memories of a few hours drinking, feasting and partying and will be largely forgotten once the wrapping has been consigned to the overflowing bin.
So how do we prepare for a full spiritual Christmas then?
By using Advent properly to get our interior castle in order. If Christ is to be born anew and afresh in our hearts and minds and souls this year have we made room for him? Is our mind cluttered with unnecessary things? With the guilt of past sins and mistakes? With the business of life and work to an anxious degree? Indeed have we lost sight of the mystery of God-with-us and how the Incarnation changes everything? Am I ready to open the doors of my heart to receive the Lord – who strengthens me, heals me, forgives me, and who is by my side every moment of every day? (Not just at Christmas!)
So, whilst you use the new found liberty of non-lockdown to find some presents – remember it is the thought that counts more than the price ticket. Remember not to be so frazzled by everything that you are a grumpbag over the Christmas season. Remember that Christmas is not a feast of Mammon but a feast of the Lord’s gracious love and desire to be with the children He loves – so spend as much time with yours as you can (without complaining) and make room in your heart for God by using Advent to sweep it clean of whatever gets between you and God – tiredness, weariness at the Church’s failings, despair at “everything falling apart”, the grief of COVID and its effects on this year, a certain disappointment with God that things haven’t turned out quite as you hoped when you were 20 years old from the perspective of middle age, and distractedness with, well, just about everything. Search for God and you will find Him although you will never completely find Him entirely as there is always more to discover – deeper and deeper mysteries of His love.
With my own love for you and your families. Fr David
This year churches in Cranleigh are promoting an initiative to make Cranleigh Shine for Christmas. To do this put a lovely star in your window next to your rainbows for the NHS and switch it on every evening during Advent and Christmas. Personally, I have bought a few IKEA stars as they are rather nice, and I will hang them up in the windows of the church here in Cranleigh (why not do this in Bramley too?). But you can make your own and put a light either inside or behind them to make them shine out. And why not say a little prayer each evening as you switch it on with your family, perhaps let a young person lead the prayer each evening?
Here are a few from CAFOD and elsewhere I thought might be very suitable:
|God of hope
God of hope,
Through the gift of your Son,
Enlightened by your love and wisdom,
|Light up our lives
Christ, come into our world of darkness
Sr Bridgetta Rooney/CAFOD
|Come Lord Jesus
Come Lord Jesus,
so that through our actions
we may be salt for the earth,
a light in people’s sight
and that we might reach out to you
in one another,
especially those in need.
God of hope, who brought love into this world, be the love that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought peace into this world, be the peace that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought joy into this world, be the joy that dwells between us.
God of hope, the rock we stand on, be the foundation of our lives.
Prayer courtesy of faithandworship.co
Prayers for Lighting the Advent Wreath Candles
All-powerful God, increase our strength of will for doing good that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Or if you’d like a short liturgy try this (divide up the tasks between family members so that everyone takes part).
In the Name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
All: God who dispels all darkness,
Come to be with us, in each one of our situations;
Come to live among us, live with us and in us;
Come to reconcile us with You and with one another.
God of Light, open our hearts to the mystery of Your love and the invitation of Your
grace. Let our complacency give way to conversion and our judgments to
compassionate acceptance of others. Turn oppression to justice and transform conflict
to peaceful accord. We ask this in the name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
Lighting of the Advent Star
Leader: As we light the Advent Star, we bring to mind all the people and places in the
world that are in need of God’s light this day. (pause)
*After the Star (or wreath) is lit, readers begin.
Reader 1: We bring to mind those places in the world where families and countries are torn
apart by conflict, violence or war, and ask for the Light of Peace to break through
the darkness. (pause)
Reader 2: We bring to mind all those places in the world where people have been forced from
their homes and are separated from their families and ask for the Light of Hope to
break through. (pause)
Reader 4: We bring to mind all those places in the world where people are suffering from
disease or illness, and ask for the Light of Healing to break through. (pause)
Reader 5: We bring to mind all those places in the world where people are held captive by
` poverty, hunger, slavery, prejudice, and isolation and ask for the Light of Freedom
and Abundant Life to break through. (pause)
Reader 6: We bring to mind all those places in the world where the Earth and her
creatures have not been lovingly cared for and respected and ask for the Light of
Love and Holiness to break through. (pause)
All: May our prayers encircle the world and offer light in places of darkness. May we work as
one body to bring justice for the poor, peace for the afflicted, and healing for our world.
Enkindle hope in our darkened world and announce the dawn of your kingdom once again.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Are you living alone, isolating or shielding? If you would like a parishioner (who has volunteered) to give you a telephone call to support, chat or talk, please contact Jane Harding at the parish office (01483 272075). Jane will liaise with you and a member of the parish.
The Faith Companion parishioner magazine is now online only. Digital copies and subscriptions are available at http://www.thefaithcompanion.co.uk or call 01403 754808. We have now launched Catholic Gifts online selling The Faith Companion candle, rosaries and a gift card for gifts or subscriptions. Please support and pray for our mission to support the Church.”
CAFOD World Gifts
World Gifts, CAFOD’s range of virtual gifts, make a real difference to families living in poverty across the world. While we have the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown here, we can still be good neighbours to our sisters and brothers overseas by giving World Gifts as Christmas presents to family and friends. The Keep Clean Kit gift for £6 and the Vegetable Garden gift for £10 are just two gifts that will help vulnerable families affected by the pandemic to protect and feed themselves. Let’s spread joy and hope around the world this Christmas. Visit cafod.org.uk/worldgifts.
We are offering to order Christmas cards from Traidcraft. As we are not able to meet people at mass due to the restrictions, we are including a weblink: https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/christmas so that people can choose their cards. We will need to know the name of the card you have chosen (underneath each illustration), the number of packs you need, and your name and telephone number. Please then email us your order to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tina on 07957 160393.
We will take orders between now and the evening of Tuesday 25th November (just the weekend to decide!) and we hope then to have the cards by the weekend. We plan to drive to St Thomas Moore car park for an hour on the Sunday 29th, so that people can come and collect their cards. For anyone who is shielding we may be able to purchase stamps. We will collect the money for the orders when you pick up your cards, and please could it be by cheque or cash.
Dear Fr David – Greetings from Sierra Leone! Usually, at this time of year I would be hoping to visit you to thank you for all of your previous support and to encourage you to keep us in your giving plans! Although the virus kept schools closed for some months, we have been extremely busy. We continue to record radio lessons for national broadcast and distribution by WhatsApp and USB stick. We brought our exam classes back in to school in July, worked with them until the exams and have now despatched them to spread the EducAid values wherever they find themselves.
We took one week for intensive training of the whole staff and have restarted the school year with all of the EducAid schools and departments being headed by EducAid alumni for the first time – this feels like a big moment! We continue to do all we can to ensure that our students stay safe from Covid-19 while getting back to their studies. The needs continue to be enormous. We may have been less affected by the virus than some countries but the economy is in free-fall and charities’ income has dropped worldwide by between 50 and 80%. Please visit our website if you are able to help in any way: www.educaid.org.uk
Sending our very best wishes to you and yours from us all here, Miriam & #TeamEducAid
Cranleigh Street Champions are an initiative by the Parish Council providing volunteers to support the Cranleigh community through the pandemic by collecting prescriptions or shopping or making a friendly phone call.
You can ask for help by calling the coronavirus community helpline
0300 200 1008 or emailing email@example.com
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