LITURGY OF DEDICATION TO THE MISSION OF CHRIST THIS NEW YEAR
Priest This past year has been extraordinary, calling us to dig deep into our spiritual reserves as we were deprived of the Eucharist and gathering together as community in Christ, while at the same time summoned to find new ways of service and presence here in the inner city of Bristol. We are filled with hope that this New Year will bring healing to our Covid-stricken world. As we embrace this New Year, we accept the challenge to be prophets of justice and unity in a divided world, to be a light of faith, a vision of hope and a heart of love for the poor, the broken and the excluded of our city and our Earth. We know that we cannot serve God’s Option for the Poor and proclaim the Gospel of Joy, we cannot bring healing and live as sisters and brothers with all creatures and our ‘Common Home’ without a deep communion with our God Who is Love, an unbreakable communion with the Universal Church and a close communion with each other in our parish family.
Lay Leader In this Year of St Joseph, the Guardian and Protector of the vulnerable we recognise with sorrow that too often the Church we love has failed to protect and keep safe our children and vulnerable adults; we have also failed to be a ‘Living Parable of Communion’: too often we have not welcomed with a warm and open heart those different from us; too often we have wanted to remain cosy in our own small religious world, while God was calling us to engage compassionately and with the courage of prophets, with the real world of pain and hope, of despair and joy. So we acknowledge that we, the Church in this place, have failed our God, our city and our world.
Priest As we are about to set foot upon this Year of Our Lord, 2021, we come to affirm our faith in the Living God, Creator, Redeemer, Life-Giver; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nourished as we are by God’s Word and guided by God’s Spirit, we dedicate ourselves anew to the work of the Kingdom, to fill this Year with the Mercy, Compassion and Love of Christ and His Holy Spirit.
So now I ask you, my brothers and sisters,
Will you affirm your faith in the Father, the Creator, the Life-giver?
PEOPLE I affirm with joy that I and every human person is a child of God, created in the Divine image, called and gifted to continue God’s creation of our Universe.
Lay Leader Will you affirm your faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God, Brother and Redeemer, who gives Himself to you in Word and Eucharist?
PEOPLE I affirm with gratitude that Jesus is my Saving Brother, speaking Divine Truth to my mind and heart by His Word, and nourishing His Love in me by the great gift of the Eucharist; calling me to a life of prayer and contemplation so that I may live as brother and sister with all people; challenging me to strive for peace and justice in a broken world, urging me to proclaim the Good News of Mercy and Healing by my action, life-style and words.
Priest Will you affirm your faith in the Holy Spirit, Breath and Flame of God?
PEOPLE I affirm with profound openness of heart that the Holy Spirit is the breath of God’s Life and the Fire of God’s Love within me: bidding me to welcome and use the Spirit’s Power for deep prayer, radical action and loving community and so to be part of God’s Renewal of the Face of the Earth.
Lay Leader Will you, as we set out together on this New Year, affirm your faith in the Church of God as a living Bread of Christ in God’s Hands to be broken and given for the life of the world?
PEOPLE I affirm with deep love that, despite its many failures and profound inadequacies, the Church will always remain God’s gift proclaiming the Gospel down the centuries, calling me to prayer, challenging me to live community with love, to heal every disunity, to share my gifts and insights, to foster Christian freedom and mission and to be Bread in God’s Hands broken to give life to the world.
Priest At the turning of the Year may this affirmation deepen our faith, envision our hope and enlarge our love; as this Year of our Lord 2021 begins may the Holy Trinity continue always to empower our Mission of Mercy & Healing to our torn world.
PEOPLE AMEN! AMEN! ALLELUIA!
Renewal of our Allegiance to Jesus Christ [each one is invited to approach to approach the altar to be anointed with Blessed Oil for the Mission of Christ in this New Year]