PRIEST:      As we draw near the end of this strangest of years we gather as a family of families, recognising there has been much grief, fear amd anxiety in the story of our families this year, and it is not yet over. Nevertheless, we gather around the simplicity and poverty, the love and the faith of the Holy Family of Bethlehem and Nazareth.  Theirs was very far from a trouble-free family life: homeless, fleeing for their lives into exile because of the fears of the powerful, destined to be refugees for years.  Yet we celebrate the wonder of God’s great confidence in us and in our families, entrusting His own Son to a family like ours, for Jesus to grow and develop into the power of love that He became.  In the midst of so many diverse forms of family life among us, let us rededicate ourselves to the task of loving and caring, supporting and understanding one another, as we recognise that our failures are forgiven…

READER:                    The family is the school of love:
                                         that we may replace harshness with forgiveness,
                                         criticism with encouragement, deafness with sensitive listening

                                                                      LORD HAVE MERCY …

The family is called to be a healing community:
                                          that we may care rather than judge, accept rather than reject,
cherish rather than take for granted

                                                                      CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

The family is called to be a place of prayer:
                                          that Christ may be the centre of our homes, not on the edge,
                                          that parents may be the first and best of teachers of their children
                                                            in the ways of faith,
                                          that love may set all free to search and develop,
                                          not criticism  to stifle and limit

                                                                      LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:        May our God who is family, Father, Son and Spirit,
                          bring mercy to our failures, fire to our love grown cold,
                          healing peace to our hurting hearts,
                         and renewed hope to the challenge of love and growth
                         bringing us all humanity to everlasting life…       


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