Baptism of the Lord

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

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!

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.  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!

 

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

PRIEST: On this first day of the New Year, 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 2019. 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!

 

NEW YEAR VIGIL

PRIEST: We gather the year that is past with thankfulness for the many touches of grace and goodness that have been the gifts of God; with sorrow for all that has wounded our world through sin and selfishness, war and injustice; with healing prayer for hurts we have endured or have inflicted. We seek to enter the New Year with hearts purified in the fire of Divine Love and lives focussed on the God who makes all things new!

READER:    For Peace not won, and Justice not achieved;
For poverty still rampant and power still abused
We ask your mercy, O God of Peace

                                    LORD HAVE MERCY

For forgiveness withheld and wounds inflicted;
For relationships broken and lives abused
We ask your mercy, O God of Pardon

                                  CHRIST HAVE MERCY

For touches of grace not welcomed and gifts not
accepted;
For the Good News not proclaimed and unity not
achieved
We ask your mercy, O God of Oneness

                                    LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:     May the God of Pardon bring mercy to our failures,
                       The God of Unity bring fire to our love grown cold,
                       The God of Peace bring healing to our hurting hearts,
                        and renew hope as we journey into this New Year
                       To bring all the world to everlasting life…

                                      AMEN!

Christmas Day

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!

Blessing of Advent Wreath – Fourth Sunday YC

PRIEST:          My dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,
We gather today on this last Sunday of Advent Preparation to welcome in this Eucharist the Visitation of God’s Love. Like Elizabeth, we carry humanity’s longings within us…longings for a world of peace,  equality and justice;  like Mary,  we carry the Christ within us,  he who is God’s answer to every human longing, God’s gift of Mercy made Flesh.  Our meeting with the living God this day is rich with promise.  Let us seek to run to meet him with the obedience of love.

                            [sing the ‘Magnificat’]

Let us pray…
O God of our History, from all eternity You have spoken forth Your Word of Love that gives Life. Your Word created the heavens and earth…Your Word made man and woman in Your own image and likeness…Your Word called forth a People to serve Your Truth and Kingdom in the world. And in the fullness of time, You found a woman so full of love that Your Word could make His home in her heart and her womb. Through her,  indeed You our God have visited your people!  Bless this Advent Wreath of Light and Expectancy and bless our parish community with the faith and love of Mary so that the Word may be free to become Flesh in our flesh, so that the Day of His Kingdom may come…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

                        Mary, the woman of hope, journeyed forgetting her own needs
                        in order to serve Elizabeth and all God’s People:
                        for the times we refuse to hope and to serve,

                                       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 may come again and bring us life everlasting

                                      AMEN!

Penitential Rite & Blessing of Advent Wreath – Gaudete 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 we are called to work joyfully for the Great Day of the Lord,  when all creation will ring with the Glory of God; rejoicing that we hear the call to conversion, and wish to respond, rejoicing in the endless mercy of the Father that Jesus brings.

Let us now sing with joy as we witness the Light of Christ growing in our midst…
                          [ proceed to wreath, singing – Rejoice in the Lord always! ]

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 with one another in the household of faith and with all the 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 all the darkness that is in our lives, and in our world: a darkness that deprives our earth of your joy; we ask your mercy

                            LORD HAVE MERCY

Lord, for the darkness of violence and war, for the darkness of hunger and poverty, 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 among us bearing the light of healing and reconciliation; with confidence we ask your mercy

                             LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:          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 Light,
                             that we may live for ever and ever…

                               AMEN!

Second Sunday of Advent – Bible Sunday

PRIEST: My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus,
We gather this morning, at the beginning of our second week of Advent Preparation and Prayer. We come together to listen to God’s Holy Word in the Bible, so that we may allow His Word to be made Flesh in our lives. That 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. In this Year of Prayer we recognise that the Bible is our first and greatest ‘prayer book’.

Let us now praise the Light of God’s Word as we sing…

(‘The Lord is my Light’)

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. 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 Wreath, 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 make 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!

          

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

PRIEST: Today is a day of rejoicing,  a day of holiness:  for Mary’s conception is the earliest dawn of the Holiness of our Redeemer.  Her holiness is the fruit of His Redemption,  so that she should always be a mirror, reflecting the wonder of Christ to us.  She summons us likewise to holiness, to mirror Christ’s love and Wholeness to the world; she pleads with us to tread her same path of humble and faith-filled love,  and like her to give of Christ’s endless life to the people of our earth.  Let us ask forgiveness for the ways and times we have clouded, not reflected Christ’s humanity and love…

READER:    For the ways the poverty of our loving has hidden
the beauty of Christ’s Holiness from those among whom we live…

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY

For the ways we do not embrace our own humanity
and so do not reveal to the world Christ’s loving divinity…

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY

For the moments when our faith and trust give way
before the suffering we encounter;
                            for the ways we do not walk the Way of Christ…

                                               LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:             May the God of Life free us from the sin that is death;
                               May the Risen Jesus summon us by his mercy into the holiness
                                                 that is His Redemption;
                               May the Holy Spirit heal us into the holiness that is our calling
                                                 and our witness to the world;
                               and bring us all to everlasting life…

                                                     AMEN!