SONG TO INVOKE THE SPIRIT Shona Processional Song           No 458 vv 1, 3, 5


Genesis 11: 1-9 Diverse Languages ruin the building of the Tower of Babel: so division hinders the building of the Kingdom. The Pentecost event is the healing of Babel.

Sung Response:         No 936


[1] Exodus 19: 3-8, 16-20   God enters into sacred Covenant with the liberated Hebrew slaves at Mt Sinai and the people see cloud and fire – the Spirit comes to the disciples in the Upper Room in the form of mighty wind and tongues of flame. The Spirit brings the ancient Covenants to fulfilment as our hearts and community are filled with Divine Presence.

Sung Response: No 720


[2] Isaiah 61: 1-3, 6, 8-9 The Spirit anoints God’s People so that they can be servants of a perpetual ‘Jubilee Year’ – announcing Good News to the Poor and freedom to all held captive in oppression.

Sung Response: No 883 vv 1, 2, 5


[3] Ezechiel 37: 1-14 The Spirit blows through our inner deadness – as individuals and as a church – to bring us alive, to renew us, to ‘re-form‘ us as a People filled with the power of the Spirit.

Sung Response: No 302


[4] Joel 3: 1-5 Through the outpouring of the Spirit, we know the Lord is in the midst of us, and then we can dream, be visionary of a world where everyone is alive to the Spirit!

Sung Response: No 295 


GLORIA Glory to God, Glory to God…


The Epistle:  Romans 8: 22-27      The Spirit is at once cosmic in dynamism, drawing all creation to the freedom of the Children of God; and profoundly personal and interior – praying too deep for understanding at the core of our being.

Responsorial Psalm sung

Alleluia, acclaiming the Gospel (African)

THE GOSPEL: John 7: 37-39 Jesus is a the source, or wellspring of the Spirit, for from his heart pierced on the Cross flows streams of ‘Living Water’ into the desert of our hearts and our world, healing and giving life in all its fullness.



Richard Do you believe in the Creator Spirit given by the Father?
PEOPLE    We believe that God breathed the Spirit over the chaos at the dawning of creation; that the Spirit hovered over the dark waters and brought forth Light and creation’s order and beauty.
… And so we will reverence all creation and care for our earth and fragile environment.

Mary Do you believe in the Spirit of Love flowing from the Heart of Christ?
PEOPLE    We believe that God overshadowed Mary so that Jesus’ flesh was conceived in the Holy Spirit; that God anointed Jesus with the Spirit in the Jordan River for a life of Loving Service of the Kingdom – of love in word and action; and that from His broken Heart on the Cross Jesus poured forth the Water of the Spirit upon all humankind.
… And so we will share the Mission of Christ, welcome the Spirit’s Gifts and work with Jesus in the Power of His Spirit for the Kingdom.

Andrew Do you believe in the Spirit that unites us and leads us into all truth?
PEOPLE We believe that from all eternity the Spirit has united the Father and the Son in a Trinity of Love; that the Spirit brought the Church to birth in a ferment of Mission and Praise; that the Spirit challenges the People of God in every age and place to be the One Loving Body of Christ; that the Spirit through the ages guides His People to proclaim the Truth that is Christ with greater courage and deeper insight.
… And so we will seek the new ways of the Spirit for the Church in our time; to unite all God’s People that together we might Proclaim the Gospel with a renewed Power to the world of the Third Millennium.

SONG No 305  


MINISTRY OF PRAYER FOR THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT Chant:  Sing to the Lord, O my soul, and all that is in me proclaim God’s salvation!
Sing to the Lord, O my soul, and remember all of God’s marvellous deeds!

African Song

Spiritus Jesus Christi, Spiritus Caritatis, confirmet cor tuum (X2)
[May the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Love strengthen your heart.]

Lighting a Candle in your home (to be placed in your window at the end of the Service)

The Lord is my Light, my Light and Salvation
In God I trust, in God I trust!


While the Early Church tumbled out of the Upper Room into the Market Place to witness to Christ, we cannot leave our homes at this time, but we want to commit ourselves to the Mission of the Gospel. So we place our lit candle if possible on a window sill or outside our home (garden?).

Blessing and Dismissal No 770


This prayer off offered to all who are unable to receive Holy Communion during this Coronavirus pandemic. May it help us to recognise the Risen Christ, our Emmanuel, God always with us, reaching into the ‘locked rooms’ of our isolation and binding us together in Him, whom we know Risen from the Dead in the Breaking of the Bread

Jesus, my Brother and Lord,
I recognise you  present with me
in the Breaking of the Bread and the sharing of the Cup,
in this most holy Sacrament of Your Body and Blood.
I love you Who come to me in the poverty of this bread and wine
and desire with all my heart to receive you into the core of my being.
It hurts that I cannot at this time eat Your Body and drink Your Blood,
but I truly believe you do come to me in all fulness.
For Your love unites me spiritually with my Eucharistic Community,
with Your whole Body, the Church.
I believe nothing can separate me from Your love.
I thank you with all my being that I am now one with you
and my  sisters and brothers in Your Church
through this Holy Eucharist.
Praise to You, my Food and my Love, my Brother and my Lord!



The ‘Stations of Creation’ are inspired by Str Francis of Assisi and his ‘Canticle of the Creatures, and Pope Francis epoch-making Encyclical Letter of Climate Change and Social Justice. This communal Devotional Prayer is offered to help us all reflect upon the greatest crisis of our time – global warming – and to pray for courage and wisdom for leaders and ourselves in response to ‘the cries of the poor, the cries of the earth’.

Stations of Creation


After the Cross is brought forward for Veneration, we reflect upon how we see Christ crucified in today’s world. As each section is read, a Jerusalem Cross is brought forward and placed near the Altar.

1.   Jesus is being crucified today when families and communities are victims of barrel bombs and gas and chemical attacks; when barbaric war is waged in Syria and Yemen, in Cameroon and Mali; when in the land of His birth Palestinian rights to freedom and a homeland are violently repressed and walls of division are built between between Palestinian and Israeli.

2.   Jesus is being crucified today when we refuse to change our life-style but continue to abuse our beautiful planet, exploiting the earth rather than living in joyful communion with creation; when 20 million people are on the verge of famine because of climate change, war and corruption and 67 million sisters and brothers are forced to flee their homeland and live as refugees.

3.   Jesus is being crucified today as thousands die of the Coronavirus, when poor countries with inadequate health systems can do little to care for the sick or combat the pandemic; when millions are locked in their homes and fear being infected; when selfishness ignores the need to isolate in order to protect the whole community. 

4. Jesus is being crucified today when our young people have no hope, no jobs and turn to drugs and alcohol; when addiction drives young and old into the dark world of crime and violence; when the poor of our nation have to pay for the excesses of the rich, as benefits are cut for the poorest and most vulnerable, essential social services are reduced, and health care diminished, while we spend £100 billion on nuclear weapons. 

5.   Jesus is being crucified today when, like Jesus, women and men are wrongfully imprisoned; when others are tortured for their religious beliefs or political aspirations; and when developed nations like the United States and China keep thousands on death-row awaiting execution, and when our own nation imprisons in our Detention Centres the innocent and vulnerable who seek safe asylum among us.

6.  Jesus is being crucified today whenever survivors are haunted by memories of the Holocaust and Genocides in Rwanda, the Darfur, Serbia, the Congo, Cambodia or Myanmar, knowing this evil continues today; and minds and hearts are scarred as well as their bodies; when millions die unnoticed in the Congo because we want their minerals for our computers, when both Moslems and Christians live in fear of murder and abduction by extremist groups.

7.   Jesus is being crucified today when children and the vulnerable are hurt or abused, especially by members of the Church; when children are deprived of the love they need to grow whole and happy; when adults do not act to protect them from all harm; when people live for decades with inner pain because of past abuse.

8.  Jesus is being crucified today when children are raised in a culture of violence, learning to be violent and aggressive to each other; when children and young people are perpetrators and victims of knife crime on our streets; when they are used in ‘County Lines’ or as cheap labour or child soldiers, or for sexual exploitation; when the rights of child refugees are not recognised and respected.

9.   Jesus is being crucified today when LBGT+ people are not embraced with love by the Church or are discriminated against and their lives threatened around the world – and blasphemously in the name of God!

10.   Jesus is being crucified today when women and men are abused, trafficked and used for sex or slave labour; when women are refused equality and dignity,  whether in marriage,  in society or in the Church.

11.  Jesus is being crucified today when parents grieve the loss of their child, when children die in the womb for whatever reason, when hopes for the future lie shattered through separation or bereavement; when in a wealthy country like ours we cannot value and care adequately for our elderly, and the homeless are given no hope of proper shelter and housing in which to build their lives and raise their families with dignity.

12.    Jesus is crucified today when peaceful change is violently repressed by brutal regimes using terror and massacre, and when refugees and asylum-seekers are harshly treated by host countries like our own, detained without trial while innocent of any crime,  or perish in the waters of the Mediterranean and crossing mountain ranges or locked out of freedom by razor-wire border fences; when nations build walls of hostility rather than bridges of welcome; when racism goes unchallenged and the victims of racial violence go unheeded.


After the priest renews his promises of Ordination before the his own community, there follows a Community Commitment to be the ‘Community of the Eucharist’

PRIEST: We are the Community of the Bread:

ALL: And so we commit ourselves to the Ministry of Friendship,  building a community that welcomes,
encourages and values one another.

PRIEST: We are the Community of the Cup:  

ALL: And so we commit ourselves to sharing one another’s joys and sorrows in ever-deepening love.

PRIEST: We are the Community of the Water and the Towel:  

ALL: And so we commit ourselves to serve together the people among whom we live,  embracing the challenge of Christ’s Mission.

PRIEST: We are the Community of Ministry:  

ALL: And so we commit ourselves to accept the Gifts of the Spirit using them in partnership for the nurturing of our Community in Mission for  the Renewal of the Church and for the Healing of the World.

PRIEST: We are the Community of the Eucharist:  

ALL: And so we commit ourselves to Love made practical in compassion and passion, in strong justice and gentle caring. We gladly accept to be shaped by the Eucharist we celebrate,  and give ourselves to the work of Christ now and forever … Amen!


This took place after the Homily of the Mass, an alternative ‘Litany of the Saints’

SUMMONING THE MARTYRS       Oscar and other names of El Salvadoran martyrs  are called, all respond ‘Presente!’ 

Not long before his death, Oscar Romero said:
‘My Life has been threatened many times. I have to confess that, as a Christian, I don’t believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I will rise again in the People of El Salvador. If they carry out their threats, I want you to know that I now offer my blood to God for justice and the resurrection of El Salvador. Martyrdom is a grace of God I do not feel worthy of. But if God accepts the sacrifice of my life, my hope is that my blood will be like a seed of liberty and a sign that our hopes will soon be a reality.’

It is our firm belief as Christians that those who have died in Christ are now fully alive in the Risen Lord, and that they are present with us in the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ that spurs us on to serve the Kingdom even at the cost of our own lives. Let us now, in a manner traditional in Latin America, recognise the living and life-giving presence of the martyrs for Justice in El Salvador and elsewhere in Latin America.

St Oscar Romero Archbishop of San Salvador, Saint of the Americas     PRESENTE

Bishop Juan Gerardi of Guatemala, killed for telling the truth     PRESENTE

Dom Helder Camara of Brazil, who lived for the Poor     PRESENTE

Fr Rutilio Grande, whose death challenged Oscar with reality     PRESENTE

Sr Maura Clarke and Sr Ita Ford, Maryknoll Missionaries in El Salvador         PRESENTE

Jean Donovan and Sr Dorothy Kazel, who loved the Roses in December         PRESENTE

Fr Alfonso Navarro, Fr Rafael Palacios, Fr Alirio Macias and Fr Manuel Reyes, 

who were buried by Oscar Romero and the prepared the way for him       PRESENTE

The Jesuit Martyrs of the University of Central America, who died because they unmasked the lies:

Fr Ignatio Ellacuria and Fr Segundo Montes     PRESENTE

Fr Ignatio Martin-Baro and Fr Amando Lopez     PRESENTE

Fr Juan Ramon Moreno and Fr Joaquin Lopez y Lopez     PRESENTE

Their co-workers Elba and Celina Ramos, beloved daughters of God            PRESENTE

And the 80,000 other men, women and children killed by the politics of terror and the servants of death     PRESENTE

ACT OF COMMITMENT      Pledge of our Commitment

On this 40th Anniversary of the martyrdom of St Oscar Arnulfo Romero, we stand alongside the people of El Salvador in their rejoicing and their sorrow; we stand alongside the oppressed and impoverished people through Latin America; we stand alongside everyone scattered over the face of our beautiful but unjust world who are dehumanised by injustice, oppression, violence and discrimination; we stand alongside our refugee and sanctuary-seeking sisters and brothers; and we stand alongside Pope Francis as he calls us to be ‘a Church of the Poor, a Church for the Poor’, a ‘field hospital’ for the oppressed.

And as we stand alongside them in this sacred moment of remembering, of solidarity and communion, we wish to renew our commitment to the Gospel as Good News to the Poor, and to humanity clothed in divine dignity.

ALL: We believe in a God who has created all the world and its resources to be shared by all the world’s people…

Therefore we commit ourselves to a life-style that seeks to share more than possess and to struggle for a more just distribution of the world’s resources and wealth.

 We believe in a God who has made every human person in the divine image and likeness, worthy of an infinite dignity and reverence…

Therefore we commit ourselves to working for justice and challenging everything that dehumanises and brutalises our brothers and sisters.

We believe that human beings are capable  of living together in peace and sharing together with equality and justice…

Therefore we commit ourselves to challenging the violence and naming the evil that is war and the arms trade, to live in peace with all people and our creation, and to seek peaceful ways of resolving every conflict.

Inspired by St Oscar Romero and the multitude of unnamed prophets for Justice who have given their lives in the struggle, we commit ourselves to walk the same path of the Kingdom, to live out our lives in solidarity with the poor, in communion with our planet and to build always the ‘civilisation of love’ for all the world’s children.

New Year’s Eve Watchnight Mass

[NB Hymn numbers refer to the ‘Laudate’ Hymnal]



GLORIA ‘Glory to God…’ (Peruvian Gloria)

            First Reading Acts of the Apostles 2: 42-47
           Responsorial Song No 948
           Second Reading Philippians c2: vv1-11
           Gospel Acclamation African ‘Alleluia!’
           Gospel Luke 4: 16-22


Priest: Last year we concluded our celebration of 170 years of mission, service and presence here in the inner city of Bristol. We gave thanks for the riches of faith and love handed on to us by those who have gone before and are present with us still in the Communion of Saints.  As we accept the challenge to continue into a new decade and beyond, 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 world we know that we cannot serve God’s Option for the Poor and proclaim the Gospel of Joy 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. 

Deacon:  In this Diocesan Year of Communion we confess with sorrow that too often we have 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, 2020 (and with it a new decade), 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 am a child of God created in the Divine image,
                          called and gifted to continue God’s creation of our Universe.

Deacon:    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.

Deacon:    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 2020 and this New Decade begins
may the Holy Trinity continue always to empower
                   our Mission of Mercy and Healing to our torn world.


Renewal of our Allegiance to Jesus Christ No 777 & Song of Africa
[each one is invited to approach the Baptismal Water, bless themselves and then be anointed with Blessed Oil for the Mission of Christ in this New Year]

Bidding Prayers        People’s Response ‘Renew the Face of the Earth’

           Offertory Hymn No 858
           Eucharistic Acclamations
                   Sanctus No 553
                   Memorial No 761 [v1]
Our Father said
Peace ‘Let there be love…’
Communion Hymn No 633 (Eat this Bread)
No 932
 Recessional No 854    [Final Blessing and Hymn after all have processed outside the church to greet the New Year in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ]

ASSEMBLING OFTHE CRIB (during Midnight Mass)

[PRIEST]      We come to bless our crib … by that we mean to ask God to bless everyone who will come to pray, with wonder, awe and love, before this visual image of the poverty and simplicity of our Saviour’s birth. St Francis of Assisi, who lived over 800 years ago, was the first to make a crib … then he used live animals and people: today we use figures to help us celebrate and ponder the mystery of God’s love appearing in human form.

[READER    the Ox]     For the People of God the Ox was a symbol of strength, ruggedness and power, all of which is to be harnessed to the service of humankind and the Kingdom of God.

[CONGREGATION]    Lord God, help us to harness our power and gifts to Your Service.

[READER     the Donkey] The Donkey’s wandering is a symbol of freedom and choice. It is also a reminder that our   forebears, the People of Israel, wandered aimlessly away from God and His Covenant.  An uncommon animal in Israel, and ritually unclean, yet it was good enough to carry Mary to Bethlehem, and later to carry Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to face His Passion.

[CONGREGATION]   Lord God, never let us wander away from You, but help us use our freedom to carry your love to the world.

[READER     the Shepherds]  Shepherds, especially the night  watch, were among the lowest paid workers of the time. Despised, placed on the margins of society and religion, without power or influence, these men of poverty were the first to hear the Good News that ‘Today a Saviour has been born to you’.

[CONGREGATION]   Lord God, give us the love and the insight to welcome the poor into our hearts and homes and then discover that we have welcomed Christ Jesus.

[READER -Joseph]   Joseph, the man of dreams, and strong gentle man of faith: silent in the background, but ready to do whatever God might ask of him.

[CONGREGATION]    Lord God, come and gentle our strength; deepen in each of us the strong faith and  tender love of Joseph that we may dream Your Kingdom, and serve its Coming.

[READER     Mary]    Behold the handmaid of the Lord…the one who bore Jesus in her heart’s love before ever in her body’s womb.  Blessed is she who believed the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.

[CONGREGATION]   Lord God, fill us with grace that we may always say ‘YES’ to Your Word and overshadowing Spirit, that Jesus may ever take flesh in our lives.

[READER ]    Now all is ready.  We will sing one verse of ‘Away in a Manger’, as the Christ Child is carried to the Crib.

[PRIEST]   Let us now dedicate our Crib, and pray God’s Blessing upon all who gaze with wonder and pray with love before our God made man, Jesus!

Blessed are You, Lord God of all creation.  Through all ages you prepared a people as Your own.  When the time was ripe, You sent us a Saviour, conceived by the Spirit and born of the Virgin, a man like us in all things but sin. Loving Father, we pray, bless this our Crib + that we may marvel at Your goodness, imitate Your love, and journey in Your light, until the great day of Jesus coming in Glory, when we will live for ever and ever…AMEN!


READER: The erecting and decorating of Christmas Trees originated in Germany some three hundred years ago, and came to this country during the reign of Queen Victoria. It’s meaning comes from the story of the Fall in the Garden of Eden which we find in the Book of Genesis. It was originally called the ‘Paradise Tree’, symbolising the Tree of Life in the Garden. It was decorated by apples (and we have some apples on our tree), symbolic of the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil that the first Eve and the first Adam ate in disobedience to God. It also carried candles – lights to express the Jesus Light of the World,  Light of Forgiveness scattering the darkness. And it was decorated on Christmas Eve – the traditional Feast of Adam and Eve in the Eastern Church.

So, as we draw close to Christmas Eve, to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Second Adam, gift of the Second Eve, Mary, we put in place the symbols of the First Adam and Eve. This reminds us that Mary’s loving obedience ‘untied the knot’ of Eve’s disobedience, and that Jesus, the New Adam, came to be the One who saves us from the First Adam’s sin. The Tree that brought death is transformed by the Cross of Jesus Christ into the Tree of Everlasting Life. For tomorrow, Christmas Day, we do indeed greet the Saviour!

DEACON:   O God, who by the Power of Your Word and Hovering Spirit
                        did create all things and made them good
                        and created men and women in your own image and likeness:
                       pour your blessing upon this Paradise Tree …


DEACON:   May it be a sign for us children of Adam of our need of a Saviour
                        and of the sublime gift of Jesus Christ who recreates us
                        in the glorious image of the Second Adam …


DEACON:   May it be a sign for us of the Tree of the Redeeming Adam, Jesus,
                         who embraced the Wood of the Cross for our Salvation and Healing …


PRIEST:    We bless and dedicate, O God, this Tree to your Honour and Glory
that it might shine with Light where once there was darkness,
that it might express the fruit of Redemption where once sin held the sway,
that it might stand to remind us that Jesus came as the Saviour
who died on the Tree so that the Tree of the Cross might ever give Life