SECOND SUNDAY OF YEAR A

PRIEST:  In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and on this Peace Sunday we listen to John the Baptist pointing to Jesus that we might follow him closely, for to walk his path of unity and love is to become his light in a world darkened by war, conflict and divisions.  Filled with His Spirit, we are called to be true Servants of God bringing the light of true justice to the nations. We need to repent that in God’s Church too there can be found petty warring,  conflicts and divisions.  Our disunity is a denial of our following of Christ, our ‘doing His will’:  let us embrace the Lord’s forgiveness, that he may heal the wounds of division in His Body, the Church and build peace upon the earth.

READER:      For our complacency and feelings of superiority
as a Church or as a nation;
For failing to recognise the gifts of other traditions
                           or the needs of other peoples…

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY

                            For being judgmental and  impatient in dialogue
with our brothers and sisters of other church traditions;
                            when our world prefers war and conflict
to negotiation and peace

                                              CHRIST HAVE MERCY

                            When we make no effort to understand forms
of language, witness and of prayer different from our own;
                            for lacking the courage to blend love with the search for truth

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:    May the God of perfect unity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
                       fill us with mercy, clothe us with forgiveness,
                       and empower us with reconciliation,
                       that together we may heal the Church
                       and build a world of unity and peace,
                       bringing all to everlasting life…

                                              AMEN!

FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

[A Penitential Rite with Sprinkling of Baptismal Water]

PRIEST: Today the Christmas Season draws to a close as we celebrate that holy day when Jesus sanctified the waters of baptism by his own humble baptism in the Jordan River at the hands of his servant and prophet, John. Jesus committed himself to be forever the sign of the Father’s Love, His Word of Liberating Truth, and the Servant of His Kingdom. Today, we call to mind our own baptism, and we say ‘yes’ once more to being the same Love, speaking the same Truth and serving the same Kingdom.  And we welcome that Holy Water that affirms and strengthens the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that is ours by baptism.

                               [the blessing of water]

Loving Father, you sent Your Beloved Son to make Your Word dwell among us. And you washed Him in Jordan’s water, and filled Him with Your Spirit of Love so that His Word would bring freedom, and His touch healing. Bless + this water, and sanctify + this community, that filled with the same Spirit, we may live the Baptism we have embraced and serve the Kingdom we proclaim.

READER:   Knowing that we are sinners,
but confident in the forgiveness Baptism has brought us,
we commit ourselves afresh
                         to the journey of holiness as disciples of Christ Jesus…

                                     WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO CHRIST

Aware of our many failures, but ready to begin again,
we commit ourselves again to proclaim the Word that is Christ,
                           by our lips and by our lives…

                                     WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO CHRIST

Acknowledging our lack of courage and our many compromises,
                              we nevertheless commit ourselves in the Holy Spirit
                              to build the Kingdom of the Beatitudes in our society,
                              and to serve the needs of all our sisters and brothers in the world…

                                     WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO CHRIST

                        [water is sprinkled as we sing Taizé Kyrie]

PRIEST:     May our loving Father forgive our sins,
                       send us the freedom of Christ and the love of the Holy Spirit;
                       and as we celebrate Jesus’ Baptism and our own by this Eucharist,
                       may He rekindle within us the Spirit’s fire and life everlasting…

                                          AMEN!

FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

[NB During this Penitential Rite, the figures of the wise men, the Magi, are brought for ward and placed in the Crib]

PRIEST:    The Wisdom of God has guided each of us here today, as surely as the Magi’s Star:  for we too are pilgrims on a journey searching for wisdom,  walking by faith and yearning in hope for the peace for our world.  We gather to offer our gifts,  our talents and our very selves on this feast of the Epiphany,  the Manifestation of Christ’s Redeeming Light to all the Nations of the world, the glory of the Father’s infinite Mercy to all creation.  Let us find in the Wise Men inspiration to give all we are in the service of the Light of Christ’s Good News.

READER:    We welcome the wisdom of the Gift of Gold…
                          our love given to Christ our King:
may we so grow in love that we can offer the world
                          Christ’s healing, justice and New Life…

                                        O … ADORAMUS TE DOMINE [x2]

We welcome the wisdom of the Gift of Frankincense…
our worship for our God in human flesh:
                           may we so grow in prayer that we will find strength
and inspiration to shine before the world with Christ’s Light…

                                        O … ADORAMUS TE DOMINE [x2]

We welcome the wisdom of the Gift of Myrrh…
our share in the passion of Christ for the salvation of our world:
                             may we so grow in his sacrificial love
that we may place the demands of the Kingdom
                             before our own desires and wants…

                                        O … ADORAMUS TE DOMINE [x2]

PRIEST:      May our God forgive the coldness of our love,
                        the poverty of our prayer,
                        the shallowness of our sacrifice;
                        that we may shine with the splendour of Christ’s Light,
                        and journey with Gospel Wisdom to everlasting life…

                                          AMEN!

NEW YEAR’S DAY – FEAST OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

PRIEST: On this first day of the New Year and a New Decade, the Church celebrates Mary the Bearer of God to the world. We look to the first and greatest disciple as we are about to embark on making this year truly the Year of Our Lord 2020. We commend all that is past into the Mercy of God, all that is present into the Love of God and all that is the future into the Providence of God, and journey ahead in faith and trust in the God who leads us. 

READER:     Mary said ‘Yes’ to God with her whole being
holding nothing back:
For the weakness of our ‘yeses’ and the strength of our ‘no’s’

                                                    LORD HAVE MERCY

Mary pondered and treasured the Word she carried in her heart
so that she could treasure the Word enfleshed in her womb:
for so often taking the wonder of the Word for granted 

                                                    CHRIST HAVE MERCY

Mary embraced an unknown future for the sake of the Kingdom
trusting that the promises of God would be fulfilled;
for our fears of God’s unknown, failing to trust that God is Love

                                                    LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:     May the Father strengthen our ‘yes’ with His forgiving mercy;
                       May the Word be enfleshed in our lives with the healing of forgiveness;
                       May the Spirit carry us forward into God’s Future of Reconciliation
                       To bring all the world to everlasting life…       

                                                    AMEN!

FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY

PRIEST:     As we draw near the end of this year we gather as a family of families … around the simplicity and poverty, the love and the faith of the Holy Family of Bethlehem and Nazareth.  Theirs was not a trouble-free family life: homeless, fleeing for their lives into exile because of the fears of the powerful, destined to be refugees for years.  Yet we celebrate the wonder of God’s great confidence in us and in our families, entrusting His own Son to a family like ours, for Jesus to grow and develop into the power of love that He became.  In the midst of so many diverse forms of family life among us, let us rededicate ourselves to the task of love, recognising that our failures are forgiven…

READER:      The family is the school of love:
                            that we may replace harshness with forgiveness,
                            criticism with encouragement, deafness with sensitive listening

                                           LORD HAVE MERCY …

The family is called to be a healing community:
                              that we may care rather than judge, accept rather than reject,
cherish rather than take for granted

                                           CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

The family is called to be a place of prayer:
                               that Christ may be the centre of our homes, not on the edge,
                               that parents may be the first and best of teachers of their children in the ways of faith,
                               that love may set all free to search and develop,
                               not criticism  to stifle and limit

                                           LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:     May our God who is family, Father, Son and Spirit,
                       bring mercy to our failures, fire to our love grown cold,
                       healing peace to our hurting hearts,
                       and renewed hope to the challenge of love and growth
                       bringing us all to everlasting life…       

                                             AMEN!

FEAST OF CHRISTMAS

PRIEST: Today is a wondrous day … a day for untold rejoicing as we gaze upon the awesome mystery of our God in vulnerable human flesh … the All-powerful contained in the powerless frame of a tiny baby.   Looking into the eyes of this child we can only treat every child with immense respect and love, embrace every human person with a divine love. Yet our world is not like that … and too often neither are we. So we repent of all evil, and seeking the way of peace for ourselves and our world: then our joy will be full this day!

READER:       Father,  come and speak Your Word of Forgiveness to every human heart:
                            forgive us when we close our heart to Jesus’ brothers and sisters,
when there is no room in our nation for the stranger and refugee;
come free us to welcome Your forgiveness

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY

                            Jesus, come and speak Your Word of Peace
                                 into the violence and war of our world:
                            for every anger that we harbour within,
                            for every injustice that makes some victims,
                            for being so slow to work for the peace proclaimed at Your birth…

                                            CHRIST HAVE MERCY

                             Holy Spirit, come and speak Your Word of Love
                                 to a world that forgets how to accept each other:
                             for every refusal to love, to heal,
                             to give ourselves in compassion and sacrifice…

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:     May the Father who has so loved the world that He has sent His beloved Son embrace you in forgiveness;
                       May the Son and Saviour Jesus who died to reconcile us all
                       touch your heart with pardon and peace;
                       May the Holy Spirit who hovers over this day more brightly than the Star
                      fill your lives with light and healing;
                      and may our God who is with us
                      bring us and all the world to everlasting life…   

                                          AMEN!

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT PENITENTIAL RITE YEAR A AND BLESSING OF WREATH

PRIEST:          We gather today on this last Sunday of Advent Preparation to share. through our Eucharist, God’s great dream that Joseph welcomed as he obeyed with love and took Mary as his wife,  and her child as his own. One dream lay shattered, but another grew in its place. We welcome the coming of our Emmanuel,  for God is always ‘with us’. Let us take God’s dream into our heart as we share Mary’s song of joy in the Coming of our Saviour.

                    [proceed to wreath singing ‘Magnificat’ twice]

Let us pray…
O God of our History, from all eternity You have dreamed of a world worthy of your love: you spoke Your Word, creating the heavens and earth,  and making man and woman in Your own image and likeness.  You dreamed of a People who would truly serve Your Kingdom in the world. In the fullness of time, Your dream formed a woman so full of love that Your Word could make His home in her heart and her womb. Through her you have become our Emmanuel,  God who walks with us!  And in Joseph you have found a man who dared to share your Dream for your Son and for our world.  Bless this Wreath of Light and Expectancy and bless our parish community with the faith and love of Mary and Joseph,  that we might dream your dream and welcome the Day of His Kingdom …
In the Name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…AMEN!

READER:      Mary, the woman of faith, risked saying ‘yes’
                           to an unknown future in God’s plan:
for our lack of faith and trust,

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY

                           Joseph, the strong silent man of faith,
                           risked God’s dream and obeyed in love:
                           for the ways we risk little in the service of God and His kingdom,

                                            CHRIST HAVE MERCY

                            Mary, the woman of love, welcomed the Word in her heart
                            before she welcomed the Word in her womb:
for our lack of love that silences God’s Word in today’s world,

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:    O Lord, stir up your might and come!
                       Touch us with Your overshadowing Spirit,
                        speak Your Word of forgiveness to our hearts and world,
                        so that the Saviour, our Emmanuel,  may come again
                        and bring us life everlasting

                                               …AMEN!

PENITENTIAL RITE & BLESSING OF ADVENT WREATH 3RD SUNDAY

PRIEST:      My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This third Sunday of Advent is a day for rejoicing…rejoicing that the coming of our Saviour is close at hand; rejoicing that his coming will make the deserts bloom like the jonquil,  and the wounded will be healed; rejoicing that God still sends prophets to challenge us to welcome the Christ who changes all things!
Let us now sing with joy as we witness the Coming of Christ that brings healing to our brokenness and forgiveness to our sinfulness, transforming us with His Coming…

[Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice x2

Rejoice, Rejoice and again I say Rejoice x2]

Let us pray…
O God, Mother and Father of all that lives, come among us and dance over us with your joy, as on a day of Festival! Fill our community with that rejoicing that comes from welcoming your Light, Jesus Christ, and sharing that light of forgiveness and healing with all our world. Bless this Advent Wreath and our parish so that we may hasten the day when your Son, our Brother, will fill all creation with joyous Glory…
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER + AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT…AMEN!

READER:     Lord, for the wastelands in our lives,
                          for the deserts of sin within us and our world:
                          the emptiness that deprives our earth of your joy;
                          we ask your mercy

                                                          LORD HAVE MERCY

                          Lord, for the violence and war that wastes our world,
for the deserts of unemployment and homelessness,
for the darkness of greed and luxury;
                          we ask your mercy

                                                          CHRIST HAVE MERCY

                          Lord, because of the joy you have in forgiving us,
because you come to transform us with healing and reconciliation;
                          with confidence we ask your mercy

                                                          LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:      O Lord, stir up your might and come! Clothe us in your joyous Light,
                         renew our hearts in your  compassion and forgiveness,
                         and bring us all to  your Day of unending Festival,
                         that we may rejoice to live for ever and ever
                                                       …AMEN!

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT – Year A – Bible Sunday

PRIEST:    We gather on this Bible Sunday, at the beginning of our second week of Advent Preparation and Prayer. On this Bible Sunday, we come together to listen to the proclamation among us of God’s Holy Word in the Bible, so that we may allow His Word to be made Flesh in our lives. John the Baptist proclaims the Coming of the Word made Flesh, and prepares the Way of the Lord. That same Word will be spoken over bread of the earth and wine from the hills, with such power that the Word will become the Flesh and Blood of Christ in Eucharist.

Let us now praise the Light of God’s Word as we sing…
                               (‘Prepare the Way of the Lord’)

Let us pray…
O God, from all eternity You have spoken forth Your Word, so that all creation may experience Your Love. Your Word first created Light at the dawning of time. Your Word came to John in the Wilderness. In the fullness of that time, Your Word became Flesh in the poor Virgin of Nazareth. For Your People everywhere, Your Word remains the Light that guides our journey, the Lamp revealing the path before us. Bless our Advent Wreath of growing Light, and this our parish family, so that the Light of Your Word may grow in our hearts, inspire our lives, and guide our community,
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER  +  THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT                                     … Amen!

READER:         Too often, Lord, we allow the false lights of our world to guide us,
                               rather than the Light of Your Word:
                               forgive us for failing to root our lives in the Word of the Gospel…

                                                  LORD HAVE MERCY…

                                 Lord, for the many times we do not listen to Your Word in the Bible,
                                 for the ways we leave it an unopened book, a treasure sadly neglected

                                                  CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

                                 Lord, the neglect of Your Word makes us less a People of Faith;
                                 it weakens our witness to Your Presence and Your Kingdom:
                                 so for the ways our lives do not shine with the Light of Your Word

                                                  LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:       O Lord, stir up our hearts to prepare the way of Your Son,
                         the Word made Flesh, so that through His Coming on earth
                         we may serve you with lives filled with the Light of His Word,
                        for He Who will come again lives for ever and ever…
                                                   AMEN!

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT – with Blessing of Advent Wreath

PRIEST:     My dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We have come to the Holy and Joyful Season of Advent, these four weeks of preparation … learning to watch with faith for the Coming of the Lord in Glory … learning to welcome with love our brother Jesus who has already come … learning to yearn with hope for the final coming of the Kingdom upon the earth.

Let us now sing the ancient prayer of our Christian forebears, ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’

[proceed to wreath]

Let us pray…
O God, Father and Mother of all Life, by your Word all things are made holy. Send forth your Blessing upon our Advent Wreath, and upon our parish family: may we use this sign of Your growing Light to prepare our hearts and minds to serve Your Kingdom, and so hasten that day when the Lord Jesus will come in His Glory … In the Name of the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit … AMEN!

READER:     The purple candles and ribbon call us to repentance,
making our hearts wide open and ready for His Coming:
Lord, grant us the grace of conversion to your Gospel this Advent…

                                               LORD HAVE MERCY …

The circle of evergreen reminds us that God is ever faithful to us,
                            His love is eternal and infinite, and His mercy never ends:
Lord, forgive us all our unfaithfulness to your call to love…

                                               CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

The red berries make us mindful that Jesus came among us
                              to die on a Cross, and that we drink of His Redeeming Blood:
Lord, by Your wounds we are healed,
                              and by Your death we are freed from the death of sin…

                                               LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:       O Lord, stir up Your might and come!
                         Be our protector and liberator;
                         rescue us from the dangers that threaten us because of our sins,
                        and lead us to our salvation, for ever and ever…

Let us now sing once more the Cry for Jesus’ Coming  [Come Lord Jesus…]