Consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – Prayer for Peace

O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, in this time of trial we turn to you. As our Mother, you love us and know us: no concern of our hearts is hidden from you. Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence! You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Yet we have strayed from that path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars. We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young. We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns. We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons. We stopped being our neighbour’s keepers and stewards of our common home. We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters. We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves. Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord!

Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life. He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity. By God’s gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.

We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart. We are your beloved children. In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion. At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort. Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?” You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times. In you we place our trust. We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid.

That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs. To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3). Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded. We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace. We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness. How greatly we need your maternal help!

Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.

Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.

Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths of reconciliation.

Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world.

Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness.

Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.

Queen of the Rosary, make us realise our need to pray and to love.

Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.

Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.

O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts. May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew. Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace. May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs. May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land. May your Sorrowful Heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.

Holy Mother of God, as you stood beneath the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: “Behold your son” (Jn 19:26). In this way he entrusted each of us to you. To the disciple, and to each of us, he said: “Behold, your Mother” (v. 27). Mother Mary, we now desire to welcome you into our lives and our history. At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you beneath the cross, needing to entrust itself to you and, through you, to consecrate itself to Christ. The people of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, now turn to you, even as your heart beats with compassion for them and for all those peoples decimated by war, hunger, injustice and poverty.

Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world. The “Fiat” that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more. To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world. Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days. Our Lady of the “Fiat”, on whom the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God. May you, our “living fountain of hope”, water the dryness of our hearts. In your womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion. You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. Amen.

A Meditative Liturgy of Light for Candlemas

INTRODUCTION:

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

Mass for Holocaust Memorial Sunday

 

THE LIGHTING OF THE MINORAH CANDLES

A ‘Mother’ of the community lights one of the Seven Candles with each Response of  this Jewish Blessing

O God, You have called us to peace, for You are Peace itself. May we have the vision to see that each of us, in some measure, can help realise these aims:

Where there are ignorance and superstition,
Let there be enlightenment and knowledge.

Where there are prejudice and hatred,
Let there be acceptance and love.

Where there are fear and suspicion,
Let there be confidence and trust.

Where there are tyranny and oppression,
Let there be freedom and justice.

Where there are poverty and disease,
Let there be prosperity and health.

Where there are strife and discord,
Let there be harmony and peace.

A prayer from the Jewish Liturgy of Hanukkah (Feast of Lights)

RICHARD: These candles which we now light
are in remembrance of the miracle of our deliverance,
of the wondrous and glorious deeds
that You performed for our Fathers of old
and still perform for us today.
For the eight days of Hanukkah these candles are holy,
and we cannot look at them
without giving praise and honour to You, O Lord,
for the wonders and miracles You have performed
and for Your Glory.

PENITENTIAL RITE: All say together Pope John II’s Prayer which he prayed at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem during his Pilgrimage of Jubilee Reconciliation, Year 2000 

God of our Father,
You chose Abraham and his descendants
to bring Your Name to the nations:
we are deeply saddened by the behaviour of those
who in the course of history
have caused these Your children of Yours,
the Jewish People, to suffer;
and asking Your forgiveness,
we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood
with the Jewish People of the Covenant … AMEN!

AFTER THE BIDDING PRAYERS:

ACT OF REMEMBRANCE The Lighting of the HMD Memorial Candle, the voices of Holocaust Survivors, and the reciting of the prayer found on a piece of paper in the clothing a dead child discovered when Ravensbruck Concentration Camp was liberated 1945

LITURGY OF BLESSING

The great Hebrew Blessing of Aaron in the Book of Numbers: as you leave the church today, you are invited to pause briefly to say a prayer before the Window of Holocaust Martyrs and Victims (at the Lady Chapel) .

ASSEMBLING & BLESSING OF THE 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 the 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.

This year, however, this tree takes on a new meaning for us: as the rain forests are being destroyed and the eco-systems of our world are breaking down through the plundering and abuse of our beautiful planet, let this tree remind us that God entrusted the Earth to humanity (symbolised by Adam and Eve), to care for and live in communion with all creation. Let us listen to words of Pope Francis concerning the effects of Global Warming:

Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will be felt by developing countries. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to global warming. Changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognised as refugees. Our lack of response to these our brothers and sisters points to the loss of a sense of responsibility for each other upon which society is founded.’

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. Jesus, the New Adam is the One who renews and heals all Creation and calls us to share in His redeeming work. The Tree that brought death is transformed by the Cross of Jesus Christ into the Tree of Everlasting Life. For on Christmas Day, we do indeed greet the Saviour!

PRIEST: 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!

 

PRIEST:    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!

PRIEST:    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!

Re-Dedication to Serving the Kingdom (Feast of Christ the King)

RICHARD: 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.

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

ALL:    I DO REJECT EVERY ENEMY OF CREATION.

RICHARD: 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.

RICHARD: 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.

RICHARD:  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.

RICHARD:  Do you reject the evil of inequality,  in both world and church:  that hides the divine dignity of every human person;  and do you reject 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.

RICHARD:  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 ANDTHE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL: MAY THE KINGDOM COME!

PRAYERS FOR THE YEAR OF ST JOSEPH

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil.  Amen
.     (Pope Francis)

LITANY OF ST JOSEPH

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us. 

God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. 
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. 
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. 
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us (after each line)

Saint Joseph,
Renowned offspring of David,
Light of Patriarchs,
Husband of Mary, Mother of God,
Loving guardian of the Virgin Mary,
Adoptive father of the Son of God,
Diligent protector of Christ,
Tender husband and father of the Holy Family,

Joseph, man of justice, bearer of peace
Joseph, man of honourable and respectful love,
Joseph, man who shared the Dream of God
Joseph, man of gentle strength and strength of gentleness,
Joseph, silently obedient of the Father’s Will,
Joseph, model of faithfulness,

Example of patience,
Lover of poverty,
Model for all workers,
Sign of the holiness of home life,
Safe carer of women,
Pillar of families,
Compassion for the wearied, Hope of the sick,
Patron of the dying,
Protector of Holy and Universal Church,

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us and give us peace.

V. He made him the father of His household:
R. And carer of all His children.

Let us pray.
O God, who in Your immense providence chose blessed Joseph to be the tender husband of the Mother of Your own Son, and loving face of Your own Fatherhood: grant, we ask You, that we may have him for our intercessor in heaven, whom we reverence as our guardian on earth: through Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Mary, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.