Prayers for Feast of St Josephine Bakhita, Patron of Trafficked and Enslaved people

HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND MODERN SLAVERY DAY

A TIME TO PRAY AND REFLECT 

INTRODUCTION:  St Josephine Bakhita, born in Sudan, was captured as a slave at the age of nine years and was cruelly abused. She had 144 scars of wounds on her body. She was trafficked to Egypt, sold to the Italian Consul and eventually taken to Italy. There she later found freedom, was baptised and then professed as a Canonossian Nun in Venice. She died in 1947 and recently declared Patron Saint of all trafficked and enslaved people.

SCRIPTURE: Exodus 3: 7-12a – the Lord hears the cries of the slaves

The Lord said: ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I heard them crying for help on account of their taskmasters. Yes i am well aware of their sufferings. And I have come down to rescue them from the clutches of the Egyptians and bring them up out of that country, to a country rich and broad, to a country flowing with milk and honey. Yes indeed, their cry for help has reached me, and i have also seen the cruel way in which they are being oppressed. So I am now sending you to bring my people out of Egypt.

Moses said to God: “Who am I to go and bring your people out of Egypt?’ ‘I shall be with you’, God said.

Galatians 3:28 – we are all  one in Christ

There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither slave nor freeman, there can be neither male nor female – for you are all one in Christ Jesus

V/   The Lord hears the cries of the slaves
R/   Lord that we may hear their cries also

V/ For the Lord there is no distinction between slave and free
R/ We are all one in Christ – they are our sisters and brothers

V/ Whom shall I send – who will go and set them free!
R/ Here I am Lord, send me!

HYMN:    ‘The Lord hears the cry of the Poor’

         The Lord hears the cry of the poor Blessed be the Lord

I will bless the Lord at all times
With praise ever in my mouth
Let my soul glory in the Lord
Who will hear the cry of the poor

        The Lord hears the cry of the poor Blessed be the Lord

Let the lowly hear and be glad:
the Lord listens to their pleas;
and to hearts broken God is near,
who will hear the cry of the poor.

       The Lord hears the cry of the poor Blessed be the Lord

Ev’ry spirit crushed God will save;
will be ransom for their lives;
will be safe shelter for their fears,
and will hear the cry of the poor.

       The Lord hears the cry of the poor Blessed be the Lord

We proclaim your greatness, O God
Your praise ever in our mouth
Every face brighten in Your light
For You hear the cry of the poor

        The Lord hears the cry of the poor Blessed be the Lord

INTERCESSIONS:

For Pope Francis and all Christian leaders across the world, that they may continue to call all people to unite against the scourge of modern slavery
V/Lord we cry…
R/SET YOUR PEOPLE FREE

For Christians everywhere, that the Holy Spirit may inspire us to to act with courage and wisdom to support and care for the survivors of modern slavery in our communities

V/Lord we cry…
R/SET YOUR PEOPLE FREE

For those trafficked and trapped in slavery, that their perpetrators be brought to justice and their dignity as human beings respected and safeguarded

V/Lord we cry…
R/SET YOUR PEOPLE FREE

For those in forced labour on land or at sea, in cities or countryside, that they be strengthened in body, heart and spirit, and raised up by those who can rescue and help them

V/Lord we cry…
R/SET YOUR PEOPLE FREE

For the survivors of modern slavery, that they might find the support and care they need to start a new life: we pray in particular for the work of the Santa Marta Group, for the Clewer Project, for Unseen, and for the Salvation Army

V/Lord we cry…
R/SET YOUR PEOPLE FREE

For legislators and law enforcement agencies around the world: may they strengthen and protect the rights of workers

                               V/Lord we cry…
R/SET YOUR PEOPLE FREEE

Our Father…

Blessing:    May the Blessing of God be upon us and all exploited and
oppressed people this Day and always
                        In the Name of the Father + the Son and the Holy Spirit

A Meditative Liturgy of Light for Candlemas

A Meditative Liturgy of Light for Candlemas

A light to enlighten the gentiles

and the Glory of Your People Israel

 

READER 1 In the beginning was the Word:
the Word was with God and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning.
Through Him all things came into being,
not one thing had its being but through Him.
What has come into being in Him was life,
life that was the Light for all people;
the Light that shines in the darkness
and darkness cannot overcome it.

LIGHT FIRST CANDLE AND PAUSE FOR REFLECTION

ALL SING CHANT TWICE:
The Lord is my Light, my Light and salvation
In God I trust, in God I trust!

READER 2 In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
Now the earth was a formless void,
there was darkness over the deep
with the Spirit sweeping over the waters.
God said:  ‘Let there be Light’ and there was Light!
God saw that the Light was good.

LIGHT SECOND CANDLE AND PAUSE FOR REFLECTION

ALL SING CHANT TWICE:
With You O Lord is life in all its fullness
and in Your Light we shall see true Light

READER 3 Arise, shine out Jerusalem, your Light has come,
the glory of the Lord is rising on you,
though night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples
Above you the Lord now rises and above His glory appears.
The nations come to your Light, your dawning brightness.
No more will the sun give you daylight,
nor the moon shine upon you;
but the Lord will be your everlasting Light,
Your God will be your splendour.

LIGHT THIRD CANDLE AND PAUSE FOR REFLECTION

ALL SING CHANT TWICE:
Lord Jesus Christ, Your Light shines within us.
Let not my doubts and my darkness speak to me!
Lord Jesus Christ, Your Light shines within us.
Let my heart always welcome Your Love

READER 4 Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!
Way of the sea on the far side of the Jordan,
Galilee of the nations!
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light,
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a Light has dawned!
For a son is born for us, a son is given to us
and this is his name: ‘Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace’;
to extend his dominion in a boundless peace!
And they will hammer their swords into ploughshares
and their spears into sickles.
Nation will not lift sword against nation,
no longer will they learn war anymore!
….
A virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son,
whom she will call ‘Immanuel’ a name that means
‘God is with us!’

LIGHT FOURTH CANDLE AND PAUSE FOR REFLECTION

ALL SING CHANT TWICE:
The Kingdom of God is justice and peace
and joy in the Holy Spirit! Come, Lord,
and open in us the gates of Your Kingdom.

READER 5 The Word was was the real Light that gives Light to all;
He was coming into the world. He was in the world
that had its being through Him.
The Word was made flesh and lived among us,
and we saw HIs glory, the glory that He has from the Father
as only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Indeed from His fullness we have all received,
grace heaped upon grace!
No-one has ever seen God; it is the only Son,
who is closest to the Father’s heart,
who has made Him known!

LIGHT FIFTH CANDLE AND PAUSE FOR REFLECTION

ALL SING CHANT TWICE:
O the Word of my Lord, deep within my being
O the Word of my Lord, you have filled my mind!

READER 6 I am the Light of the world; anyone who follows me
will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light of Life
… Walk always as children of the Light…
You are the Light of the world. A city built on a hill top cannot be hidden. No-one lights a lamp to put it under a tub;
they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone
in the house. In the same way, your Light must shine in people’s sight, so that seeing your good works,
they may give praise to your Father in heaven.

LIGHT SIXTH CANDLE AND PAUSE FOR REFLECTION

ALL SING CHANT TWICE:
Christe Lux mundi,
qui sequitur te habebit, Lumen Vitae, Lumen Vitae

READER 7 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. I saw the holy city,
the New Jerusalem, dressed as a bride for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice call from the throne:
Look, here God lives among humanity. He will make
His home among them; they will be His people,
He will be their God, God-with-them!
There will be no more death!
Look, I am making all creation new!
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End!
And the City of God did not need sun or moon for Light;
since the radiant glory of God, and the Lamb was the lighted torch and the nations will come to its Light!
and bride and the Lamb say: ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come Soon!’

LIGHT SEVENTH CANDLE AND PAUSE FOR REFLECTION

ALL SING CHANT TWICE:
Come Lord Jesus, … Maranatha…

BLESSING OF CANDLES AND PROCESSION OF LIGHT TO MASS IN THE LADY CHAPEL

 

LITURGY OF DEDICATION TO THE MISSION OF CHRIST THIS NEW YEAR

 

PRIEST We stand in: a rich tradition of faith, witnessed by the martyrs and prophets; a rich tradition of hope, witnessed by courageous missionaries opening up new lands and cultures for Christ; and a rich tradition of love, witnessed by all who have sacrificed themselves for the poor, the broken and the excluded of our world in every age. In these ways we, the Church of Christ, have served our God and our world well, and for this tradition we give great thanks.

READER We confess with sorrow that there is another, darker, history revealed in centuries of divisions among the People of God; in a Church too often identifying with the powerful rather than with the struggles of the poor; in the persecution even to death of Christian brothers and sisters different from us, and of those of other faith systems. In these ways we, the Church, have failed our God and our world, and for this sad tradition we repent with all our heart.

PRIEST And now, as we are about to set foot upon this Year of Our Lord, 2019, 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 come to 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.

READER 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.

READER 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 2019 begins may the Holy Trinity continue always to empower our Mission of Mercy and Healing to our torn world.

PEOPLE    AMEN! AMEN! ALLELUIA!

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]

Assembling of the Christmas Crib

[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’, No 66 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!

Blessing of Christmas Tree

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, on this Christmas Eve, to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Second Adam, gift of the Second Eve, Mary,  the symbols of the First Adam and Eve are put in place. 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 …

PEOPLE:        BLESSED BE GOD!

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 …

PEOPLE:        BLESSED BE GOD!

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 

PEOPLE:        BLESSED BE GOD!

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

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER + AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

PEOPLE:         AMEN!

Commissioning of Altar Servers

Pastoral Assistant: Let those who are called for the first time to serve our parish community in the ministry of Serving at the Altar of God, please come forward …

Pastoral Assistant:   After careful training and preparation these young members of our parish family are presented to you, our pastor, and to our whole community that you may commission them in the name of the Servant Jesus, asking the Holy Spirit to guide them, so that they may serve the Sacred Liturgy for our community, especially our Celebration of the Eucharist

Priest:       Do you know them to be prepared, trained and ready 

to be trusted with such a ministry among God’s People?

Pastoral Assistant:     Knowing that God accepts us just as we are, and always wants to draw young people closer to Himself, I can confirm that these young brothers and sisters have a love for God, listen to His Word and are willing to serve. They are to be judged prepared and ready for this ministry.

Priest:       Relying on the wisdom and grace of God, 

in the name of our parish community, we choose these brothers 

and sisters for the Ministry of Serving at the Altar of God

ALL:           THANKS BE TO GOD!

MARY HOPPER Let those who are called to be recommissioned to continue serving our parish community in the ministry of Serving at the Altar of God, please come forward …

Priest:       As Servers, you are called to assist the priest and deacons at God’s Altar on behalf of all our parish community. You are to be thoughtful, prayerful and attentive as you serve, knowing that the whole community relies upon you. Know that you touch sacred things and that you are very closer to Jesus who came not to be served but to serve. Grow to be more like Him, serving with a generous heart, a willing readiness and an alert mind. Pray the Liturgy that you serve and listen carefully to God’s Word.

In this way you are to deepen your love for our God, our Church and this community. Perform the sacred duties entrusted to you with care and prayerfulness, with understanding and humility, and above all with love. 

Know that the Holy Spirit is with you to guide you. Know also that you can rely on the prayer, support and affection of our parish family, who will encourage you in your journey of faith and service.

So, to those who are being Commissioned for the first time, I ask you: are you willing to accept before God and our community this Ministry of serving at God’s Altar, with all the faith and love God places in your heart?

SERVERS:    I AM WITH THE HELP OF GOD 

AND MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS

Priest: To those who are being Re-Commissioned today, I ask you: are you willing once again to accept before God and our community this Ministry of serving at God’s Altar, with all the faith and love God places in your heart?

SERVERS:    I AM WITH THE HELP OF GOD
                             AND MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS

Priest:       I now invite each Altar Server to come forward, to receive the Sign of the Cross as a sign that you seek to serve as Jesus served and by your serving proclaim the Death and Resurrection of Jesus to our parish family through the Liturgy.

Meanwhile we all sing No 873 …

Priest: (To each Server):

    I COMMISSION YOU TO THE SERVICE OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
AS A SERVER AT GOD’S ALTAR.
    MAY HOLY SPIRIT FILL YOU WITH LOVE FOR GOD, FOR THIS COMMUNITY
AND FOR JESUS WHOM YOU MEET AND SERVE IN THE SACRED LITURGY.

[the Bidding Prayers now follow, after which whole Community prays over the Servers before they return to their places.]

Rededication to Christ the King and Service of the Kingdom

PRIEST: Do you believe in God,  the creator of all that is,
whose name is ‘Abba, Father’, and who has chosen you
to be both beloved child of His and partner with Him
in the creation of our world and its future?

ALL: I DO BELIEVE IN MY FATHER WHO CALLS ME BY NAME.

PRIEST: Do you reject any evil that destroys creation’s beauty and harmony?

ALL: I DO REJECT EVERY ENEMY OF CREATION.

PRIEST: Do you believe in Jesus Christ,  Son of God and Son of Creation,  King of Heaven and Earth,  yet Servant and Brother:
who is the Way to God and one another;
the Truth that liberates all humanity;
the Life of the Kingdom that is Justice, Love and Peace;
and whose death and resurrection loves and heals our world ?

ALL: I DO BELIEVE IN JESUS,  OUR KING WHO REDEEMS ME.

PRIEST: Do you reject the evil that oppresses our sisters and brothers
with poverty and despair,  diminishes their humanity and freedom,  and dismembers our world in violence and war?

ALL: I DO REJECT THE EVIL WHOSE NAMES ARE OPPRESSION,
POVERTY AND WAR.

PRIEST: Do you believe in the Holy Spirit:  the Fire of Divine Love
renewing the face of the earth;  the Mighty Wind that casts out
every fear and fills our lives with Power and Gifts of Love;
the Well-spring of Life in all its fullness;
who sends the People of God in Mission to proclaim the Kingdom and build the new heaven and the new earth?

ALL: I DO BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO EMPOWERS MY LIFE.

PRIEST: Do you reject the evil of inequality,  in both world and church:
that hides the divine dignity of every human person;
and the evil of disunity:  that distorts the face of Christ in the Church,  and robs us of the power for Mission?

ALL: I DO REJECT EVERY INEQUALITY AND INHUMANITY THAT IS
A SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT.

PRIEST: This is our faith … this is our commitment:  to Christ our King,
and to his Church, called to be sign and servant of His Kingdom.

ALL: WITH JOY I AFFIRM AND RENEW MY DEDICATION
TO THE LOVE OF GOD – SOURCE OF MY LIFE;
TO THE SERVICE OF CHRIST MY KING AND BROTHER;
TO THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT AND
THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL:
MAY THE KINGDOM COME!