The Biblical Stations of the Cross

FIRST HYMN:      My Song is love unknown No 750 (Laudate)

INTRODUCTION:

Leader:   In the name of the Father, + the Son and the Holy Spirit

May the love of the Father who gives His only Son, the  grace of the Crucified One and the Spirit that flows from the pierced heart of the Cross be with you all …

St Paul wrote to the Christians of Corinth: ‘The message of the cross is folly … and yet it is the power of God! … I come among you in weakness and trembling only to preach only Christ crucified.’

As we walk this way of the Cross, helped and guided by these Stations carved out of the faith and pain of Africa, we gather into our hearts the pain of all the crucified of our world today, walking alongside and gazing upon the Christ who walks the way of suffering among our brothers and sisters in this moment of history.

Between each Station : one verse of At the Cross her station keeping No 223 (Laudate)

First Station: The Last Supper Mark 14: 22-25

And as they were eating he took bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. ‘Take it,’ he said, ‘this is my body.’ And he said to them, ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many. In truth I tell you, I shall never drink wine any more until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.’

Or John 13; 2-8 & 12-15

They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. And he got up from table, removed his outer garments and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; He then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter. ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have no share with me.’ 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’, he said, ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you must wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you”

Meditation: (World Hunger)

O God who nourishes Your People with bread of Life and Bread of Freedom, with Cup of Love and Cup of Sacrifice: transform us into Bread in Your Hands to be broken and given for the life of the world; give us the courage to drink the cup of the world’s suffering as You did.

Second Station: The Garden of Gethsemane Matthew 26:36-46

Then Jesus came with them to a plot of land called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Stay here while I go over there to pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him. And he began to feel sadness and anguish. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here and stay awake with me.’  And going on a little further he fell on his face and prayed. ‘My Father,’ he said, ‘if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.’ He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘So you had not the strength to stay awake with me for one hour?

Stay awake, and pray not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing enough, but human nature is weak.’  Again, a second time, he went away and prayed: ‘My Father,’ he said, ‘if this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, your will be done!’ And he came back again and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy. Leaving them there, he went away again and prayed for the third time, repeating the same words. Then he came back to the disciples and said to them, ‘You can sleep on now and have your rest. Look, the hour has come when the Son of man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Get up! Let us go! Look, my betrayer is not far away.’

Meditation: (those afflicted with mental turmoil)

O God whose love invites us to drink of the Cup of Sacrifice and challenges us to abandon ourselves into Your hands in service of the Kingdom: be with us in our struggles so that we might stand alongside all who struggle to do Your will; and make us ever watchful and awake to the cries of the oppressed

Third Station:  The Kiss of Judas  Matthew 26: 47-56 

And suddenly while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared, and with him a large number of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. Now the traitor had arranged a sign with them saying, ‘The one I kiss, he is the man. Arrest him.’ So he went up to Jesus at once and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi,’ and kissed him. Jesus said to him, ‘My friend, do what you are here for.’ Then they came forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.   And suddenly, one of the followers of Jesus grasped his sword and drew it; he struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his ear. Jesus then said, ‘Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defence? But then, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this is the way it must be?”    It was at this time that Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Am I a bandit, that you had to set out to capture me with swords and clubs? I sat teaching in the Temple day after day and you never laid a hand on me.’ Now all this happened to fulfill the prophecies in scripture. Then all the disciples deserted him and ran away.

Meditation: (broken relationships, victims of domestic violence and abuse)

O God who is ever faithful even when we betray You: heal the hearts of all who have been betrayed by those whom they love so that they will not despair of loving and being loved; and let us never despair of your forgiveness and love

Fourth Station: The Denial of Peter     Mark 14: 27-31 &  66-72

Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away, for the scripture says: I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered; however, after my resurrection I shall go before you into Galilee.’  Peter said, ‘Even if all fall away, I will not.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘In truth I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times. But he repeated still more earnestly, ‘If I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And they all said the same… While Peter was in the High Priest’s courtyard, one of the high priest’s servant-girls came up. She saw Peter warming himself there, and said, ‘You too were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.  But he denied it. ‘I do not know, I do not understand what you are talking about.’ And he went out into the forecourt, and a cock crowed.  The servant-girl saw him and again started telling the bystanders, ‘This man is one of them”. But again he denied it. A little later the bystanders themselves said to Peter, ‘You are certainly one of them! Why, you are a Galilean.’ But he started cursing and swearing, ‘I do not know the man you speak of.’  And at once the cock crowed for the second time, and Peter recalled what Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times.’ And he burst into tears.

Meditation: (those who cannot forgive themselves)

O God who never stops trusting us, loving us, forgiving us, even when we fail you: give us the tenderness to forgive ourselves as You forgive us and so turn our every despair into hope, our every denial into love’s courage, our every sin into a new beginning of holiness

Fifth Station:  Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns Mark 15: 15-20

Pilate, anxious to placate the crowd, released Barabbas for them and, having orderedJesus to be scourged, handed him over to be crucified. The soldiers led him away to the inner part of the palace, the Praetorium, and called the whole cohort together. They dressed him up in purple, twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on him. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!.’ They struck his head with a reed and spat on him; and they went down on their knees to do him homage. And when they had finished making fun of him, they took off the purple and dressed him in his own clothes.

Meditation: (victims of torture) 

O God  who sent Your beloved Son to be our Servant King who ‘did not cling to His equality with God but emptied himself to become a slave unto death on a Cross’: teach us and all humanity both to reverence and to protect the dignity of every human person made in Your own image and likeness

Sixth Station: Jesus is condemned to death by Pilate John 19: 12-16

From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted, ‘If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.’ Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated him on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was the Day of Preparation, about the sixth hour. ‘Here is your king,’ said Pilate to the Jews. But they shouted, ‘Away with him, away with him, crucify him.’ Pilate said, ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king except Caesar.’ So at that Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. They then took charge of Jesus.

or Luke 23: 18-25

As one man the crowd howled, ‘Away with him, give us Barabbas!‘ (This man had been thrown into prison for causing a riot in the city and for murder.) Pilate was anxious to set Jesus free and addressed them again, but they shouted back, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’. And for a third time he spoke to them, ‘Why? What harm has this man done? I have found no case against him that deserves death, so I shall have him punished and then let him go.‘ But they kept on shouting at the top of their voices, demanding that he should be crucified. And their shouts grew louder. Pilate then gave his verdict: their demand was to be granted. He released the man they asked for, and handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they pleased.

Meditation:   (prisoners)

O God of all the world’s victims you watched with sorrow as Jesus, the Just One was wrongly condemned by the unjust: remind us always to care for prisoners rather than judge them, and to struggle for the freedom of all who are unjustly and wrongly imprisoned 

Seventh Station: Jesus carries His Cross and falls  John: 19: 17- ’22

And carrying his own cross he went out to the Place of the Skull or, as it is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.  Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews’. This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate, ‘You should not write “King of the Jews”, but that the man said, “I am King of the Jews”. ‘ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written, I have written.

Mediation: (call to bear the burden)

O God, who in Jesus carries the pain and hurt of the world: challenge us to take up our Cross of love and witness anew each day to that wounded Brother who gives life and healing to all the broken of the world 

Eighth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps carry the Cross Mark 15: 21-22

They enlisted a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull. John19: 12-16                                                                                                                    From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted, ‘If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.’ Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated him on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was the Day of Preparation, about the sixth hour. ‘Here is your king,’ said Pilate to the Jews. But they shouted, ‘Away with him, away with him, crucify him.’ Pilate said, ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king except Caesar.’ So at that Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. They then took charge of Jesus.

Meditation: (walking alongside)

O God, who in Jesus comes among us vulnerable and in need of our friendship and help: challenge us to be Simons sharing the burden of the Cross with all broken and hurting of our society 

Ninth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem Luke 23: 27-21

Large numbers of people followed him, and women too, who mourned and lamented for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children. For look, the days are surely coming when people will say, “Blessed are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne children, the breasts that have never suckled!” Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”; to the hills, “Cover us!” For if this is what is done to green wood, what will be done when the wood is dry?’

Mediation: (women & children refugees)

O God, who in Jesus was an asylum seeker, searching for safe refuge with your mother in Egypt: may we reverence every woman and child the world over, and empower us to create communities that will welcome and protect all who rightly seek safe sanctuary among us  

Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped and nailed to the Cross Matthew 27: 33-38

When they had reached a place called Golgotha, that is, the place of the skull, they gave him wine to drink mixed with gall, which he tasted but refused to drink. When they had finished crucifying him they shared out his clothing by casting lots, and then sat down and stayed there keeping guard over him. Above his head was placed the charge against him; it read: ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’ Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.

Meditation: (One25 Organisation & prostitution)

O God, who in Jesus is stripped naked before the mocking eyes of the world, who in Jesus is nailed and crucified in sacred communion with all whom the powerful crucify for their own ends: challenge us both to wrap in love and reverence all who are stripped of their human dignity, and to raise our voices in protest against the abuse of our brothers and sisters

Eleventh Station:  Mary and John at the Foot of the Cross John 19:25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.                                                                                                    

Meditation: (Mary of Compassion)

O God, who gives us Mary, Mother of the Lord and Mother of the Church, to be Mother to all whom the world makes victims and outcasts: grace us always with Mary’s compassion that we like her might embrace a guilty world with love and mercy 

Twelfth Station: Jesus hangs between the Two Thieves Luke 23. 39-43

One of the criminals hanging there abused him: ‘Are you not the Christ?  Save yourself and us as well’. But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’  he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did but in our case we deserved it:  we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.’     Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’  He answered him, ‘In truth I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’

Meditation: (breaking the cycles of violence with forgiveness)

O God, who in Jesus chose the guilty as your companions in death and embraced the condemned with a mercy and forgiveness that opens to all the gates of hope on earth and of paradise in heaven: make us a community of compassion, understanding and forgiveness

Thirteenth Station: Jesus dies John 19:  28-30                     

After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed and, so that the scripture should be completely fulfilled, he said:’I am thirsty’.A jar full of sour wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop  stick, they held it up to his mouth.After Jesus had taken the wine he said, ‘It is fulfilled’; and bowing his head,he gave up his spirit.

Mediation: (silence)

O God, who in Jesus is swallowed up by death in order the destroy death forever: help us to die to ourselves that others might come alive and empower us to challenge the culture of death and vengeance with the Gospel of Life and forgiveness 

Fourteenth Station:  Jesus Rises form the Tomb John 12: 28-30

 Jesus replied to them: Now the hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.    In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies it yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me, must follow me, and my servant will be with me wherever I am. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him…  Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour? But it is for this very reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name!   A voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will again glorify it.’

 or also add John 12.29-32

The crowd standing by, who heard this, said it was a clap of thunder; others said, ‘It was an angel speaking to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not for my sake that this voice came, but for yours. ‘Now sentence is being passed on this world; now the prince of this world is to be driven out.  And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.

Meditation: (waiting in hope)

O God, who in Jesus is the seed that falls into the ground and dies to give birth a People of Hope: may we be Your seeds of Hope sown into the ground of our world; and give us the courage to stand before every darkness in the Light of the Resurrection 

Mass of Thanksgiving for 170 Years of Mission at St Nicks

Mass for of Thanksgiving for 170 years of  the Mission and Presence of St Nicholas of Tolentino Parish 

ENTRANCE LITURGY

PROCESSIONAL SONG African

ENTRANCE HYMN No 458

WORDS OF WELCOME by co-chairs of the Parish Pastoral Council

AT THE BAPTISMAL FONT – Penitential Rite

RICHARD: 170 years ago, in 1848, six people were baptised in this parish in its first year of existence. Baptism is the foundation of our Life in Christ. Signed by the Cross of Christ and immersed in the Sacred Waters, we die to ourselves and rise with Christ, to live for Him and His world; from the Fount of Living Water we drink deeply of the Holy Spirit, and cry out ‘Abba! our Father!’. From every tribe and nation, race and people, with every form of diversity we are gathered into the one Family of all God’s Children. Every Sunday we begin our Mass by gathering around the Font of Holiness and New Life with repentant hearts so that the Holiness of God might be restored within us

READER: We commit to being a community of the welcoming Heart of Christ building together a Universal Communion of love for all: forgive us for those times in our parish’s history and in our own lives when we have not welcomed, not loved those different from us yet whom God sends us, such as the Windrush generation of our Caribbean sisters and brothers

ALL: HAVE MERCY, LORD, HAVE MERCY…

READER:     We commit to being a community building unity among all people: forgive us for those times in our parish’s history and in our own lives when we have been divided among ourselves, allowed elitism among us, when we have isolated ourselves from other Christians and People of other World Faiths

ALL: HAVE MERCY, CHRIST, HAVE MERCY… 

READER: We commit to being a community of both prayer and mission, developing new forms of mission as the Holy Spirit calls us: forgive us for those times in  our parish’s history and in our own lives when we have been inward looking, afraid to reach out to others, content to stay comfortable in our church and neglect the Christ of our streets

ALL: HAVE MERCY, LORD, HAVE MERCY…

BISHOP: May the God of endless Love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, embrace us with mercy and pardon, renew the Grace of Baptism in all of us empower us for our mission of Proclamation and Service and bring us all to everlasting life…

PEOPLE: AMEN!

GLORIA                                        No 530

OPENING PRAYER 

LITURGY OF THE WORD

AT THE LECTERN – Rededication to the Word                     

Our priest and Readers go to the Lectern and invite all of us to rededicate ourselves to the Word Who is Life for us, Bread for our Journey.

RICHARD: Our God is the One who speaks – a Word that creates, redeems and heals. God speaks with such intensity that the Word was made Flesh in Jesus. This Living Word has been proclaimed in this parish for 170 years.Let us always open our hearts to the Word Who is Life, that the flesh of our lives will also carry the Word to the World.

READER: Will you rededicate yourselves to being the People of the Word? Will you allow the Word to gather you as one community? Will you welcome the Word when it challenges you to change? Will you, like Mary, ponder the Word in your heart and make it your treasure and like St Nicholas build your lives upon the Rock of God’s Word?

PEOPLE: WE REDEDICATE OURSELVES TO BEING BOTH LISTENERS AND DOERS OF THE WORD, PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL WITH OUR LIVES SO THAT THE WORD WILL BE MADE FLESH IN US.

FIRST READING Isaiah c61: vv 1-3, 6, 8-9

RESPONSORIAL PSALM                                       Kurdish Hymn

SECOND READING                                    Ephesians c4: vv 1-7, 11-16

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION                                 Zimbabwean Gospel procession 

GOSPEL Matthew c5: vv 11-16

HOMILY – 

HANDING ON THE MISSION   Senior citizen parishioners (‘Elders’) come forward, with a candle lit from the Paschal Candle, with a Bible and with a bowl of water and a towel.

Young people and children come forward to receive these symbols expressing the ‘handing on’ of the Tradition of Faith & Mission Senior parishioners handing Light, Gospel, Faith, on to young people of the parish community … to take into the future

ELDER ONE: We received the Light of Faith from those who went before us: With confidence we pass on to you that Light – Go speak your voice, share your vision, and so renew the Church for a New Age, and go be the Light of Christ 

ELDER TWO: We received the Gospel from those who went before us:… With confidence we pass on to you the Living Word of God to shape your lives and to proclaim to your New World

ELDER THREE: We received from generations past the Mission to Serve the Wounded and Poor, the beloved of God:  with confidence we hand on to you the call to serve the Poor, to wash the wounds of the hurting, to speak out with courage for Justice and Equality and so create a New World 

ALL: THANKS BE TO GOD!

INTERCESSIONS    AFTER EACH INTERCESSION, ALL SAY
                                   RENEW YOUR PEOPLE  IN LOVE…

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST

OFFERTORY  (collection for the support of St Nicks 170 Fund)        No 883  and the Taizé chant
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

EUCHARISTIC ACCLAMATION
Sanctus:                           No 559
Consecration:               No 560                                   

PEACE                              No 590

COMMUNION                No 245 (‘Ubi Caritas’)
African Song
No 882

AT THE TABLE OF THE EUCHARIST Rededication as the Community of the Bread and the Cup

After sharing the Eucharist together, the Bishop and priests and deacons stand once more at the Altar Table and lead us in an Act of Rededication as the People of the Eucharist.

RICHARD: For 170 years people have gathered around the Eucharistic Table to share the Breaking of the Bread, and to drink deeply of his transforming love in the One Cup. The Eucharist is the Sacrifice of Christ that has broken down the barriers dividing us from each other; it is the centre of our lives, the love that gathers us from every race, culture and language into a Universal Community, a People of joyous diversity, the People of God; the power which nourishes us and sends us in mission to our world.

READER: Will you commit yourselves afresh to being the People of the Eucharist, working in the years and decades that lie ahead of us as a parish for the unity of the One Bread and One Cup  among yourselves and with Christians of every tradition? Will you commit yourselves afresh to being the People of the Eucharist, to break bread of justice, share the cup of suffering with the poor, welcome the stranger and the outcast to our Table and bring healing to our divided society?

ALL: WITH GRATEFUL HEARTS WE WILL BECOME THE LIVING EUCHARIST IN THE HEART OF THE WORLD, SERVING UNITY.

READER: Will you commit yourselves afresh to being the People of the Eucharist, 

by hungering for Christ’s presence and thirsting for Christ’s love … 

by expressing that love in humble service of the poor and broken

of your world? 

ALL: WITH GRATEFUL HEARTS WE WILL DEEPEN OUR LOVE 

FOR CHRIST, WHO WASHED OUR FEET AT THE FIRST EUCHARIST AND TOLD US TO DO LIKEWISE.

LITURGY OF BLESSING AND MISSION

LITURGY OF BLESSING AND MISSION

Commissioning and Sending our Community for a future of Service and Witness to the Lord

BISHOP:     We stand in a rich tradition of 170 years of faith and prayer, witness and service …  may the Father make us faithful to all that has been handed on to us

PEOPLE: AMEN!

BISHOP:    Jesus shares with us His dream of a world made new. May we listen to his call, walk his Way, proclaim His Truth and give Life by His Love in new and challenging ways

PEOPLE: AMEN!

BISHOP: May the Holy Spirit, fall upon us … with life-giving Water to cleanse and heal; with Fire to burn love into our hearts; with Mighty Wind to empower us to be Prophets that we will be a Parable of Communion in the Inner City forging the future with new courage

PEOPLE: AMEN!

BISHOP: May Almighty God bless us all
Father + Son and Holy Spirit
now and forever …

PEOPLE: AMEN!

DEACON:  We have celebrated together 170 years of this community … now go into the unknown future with the love of God, the Freedom of Christ and the power of the Spirit to proclaim the Risen Christ

PEOPLE: THANKS BE TO GOD!

RECESSIONAL   No 854

Thank you for coming to celebrate this very special celebration, marking 170 years since the foundation of our parish and its mission. We are inspired by the remarkable witness of St Nicholas of Tolentino, together  with St Maximilian Kolbe, St Edith Stein and all who perished in the Holocaust. St Vincent de Paul, St Louise de Marillac, Bl Frederick Ozanam and St Oscar Romero also hold special places in our parish story.  

We are immensely grateful to our Bishop Declan and to all of you who have come and celebrated with us our identity as a parish of diverse peoples called together by God here in the Inner City. Rededicating ourselves to the work of the Kingdom in the years and decades to come, may we embrace every new challenge that the future holds so as to be a community in Christ that is Re-Born in obedience to His Word, ready again to continue building this One World in His Justice, Equality and Peace.

 

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!