The Feast of Christmas
Christmas is a living reality, not just a happy memory. It is a time when we celebrate the Hope, Joy, Peace and Love of the birth of Christ and pray that it will spread through our lives and the lives of all of humanity.
However, Christmas is not a fairy tale and it certainly doesn’t have a fairy tale ending. The fact is that Christ was born into a world torn by political turmoil, oppression and cruelty. However much he was surrounded by love, peace and goodwill at his birth it wasn’t long before the fear of a ruler, losing his power, drove the Holy Family to flee to a far country.
The drawing above, by a parishioner, reflects the fact that the same injustice and cruelty is still common place. The modern refugees follow in the footsteps of Mary and Joseph and the hundreds of thousands that have tread the ‘Long Road to Exile!’
Paradoxes abound in the Christmas story too.
Consider, for example, how remarkable it is that “The Light of the World” is born in the darkness of December; how striking it is that the “Eternal Word,” through whom all things were made, comes into the world as a speechless baby; how bizarre it is that “The Bread of Life,” who will give his flesh as true food for eternal life, is laid to rest in a manger, a feeding trough for livestock. And think how “The Lord of the Universe” was born in the humblest and poorest circumstances: not in a palace but in a stable, not in Jerusalem but the humble town of Bethlehem six miles to the South.
Christmas paradoxes such as these not only confound expectations but can leave us rather beguiled. We have to prayerfully contemplate such paradoxes, to marvel on their wonder and enchantment, to enter into the mystery of God’s Son made man for us. (Fr. Sam Burke OP adapted)
Let us strive to do what we can this Christmas to make the Hope, Joy, Peace and Love Jesus brings a living reality to the people we meet. May we be his light in the darkness leading others to discover the new born King living in our midst today.
Fr. Patterson wishes you and your families a peaceful and blessed Christmas
Christmas Mass Times
Mass will be celebrated in St. Patrick’s Church on Christmas Eve at 5.30pm with carols
This will be followed by mulled wine, soft drinks and mince pies in the parish centre.
Mass on Christmas morning will be celebrated in St. Alban’s Church at 9.30am.
Fr. Patterson will celebrate Mass for the following Intentions during the coming week. With the exception of Wednesday and Friday all Masses are open to everyone.
- Monday: No Mass
- Tuesday: 10am in St. Patrick’s parish centre: Gerry Toberty and the Toberty Sisters
- Wednesday: (Private Mass) Vera Isaac
- Thursday: 10am in St. Patrick’s parish centre: Nellie Armstrong
- Friday: (Private Mass) Private Intention
- Saturday: 6pm in St. Alban’s Church: For the Intentions of all our parishioners
- Sunday: 10am in St. Patrick’s Church: Allan Lavin
Mass to view on line
Mass is live streamed from our Cathedral on a Sunday. Visit the Cathedral website.
Alternatively, you may like to follow Mass from the Holy Name, Jesmond. Visit the website for Mass times this week.
When you are unable to celebrate Mass in Church, you may wish to make this act of spiritual communion:-
Lord Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
Please keep in your prayers:
- all our parishioners who are sick, housebound or in hospital.
- all those near and dear to us whose memories we cherish at this time especially Nellie Armstrong, Allan Lavin and Gerry Toberty
- and Maureen Dodds who has died. May she rest in the peace of Christ.
A Prayer for those who are ill and for those who care for them
Merciful God, we entrust to your loving care those who are ill or in pain. Comfort and heal them, and restore them to full health and strength. Grant perseverance and resilience to all who are caring for the sick, empower them with your Spirit, so that through their care many will be restored to health; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
A Prayer for Ukraine
Loving God, we pray for the people of Ukraine, for all those suffering or afraid, that you will be close to them and protect them. We pray for world leaders, for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices. We pray for the world that in this moment of crisis, we may reach out in solidarity to our brothers and sisters in need. May we walk in your ways so that peace and justice become a reality for the people of Ukraine and for the whole world. Amen
Fr. Patterson wishes to thank those parishioners who offered to prepare our churches for the Feast of Christmas. He is also most grateful for your prayers, support, cards, gifts and kind wishes.
A particular word of thanks for a gift aided donation to the value of £375.00, given to St. Patrick’s towards the cost of the heating of the Church for our Christmas Eve Mass.
Fr. Patterson also wishes to renew his thanks to Mary Laurie and the members of the Women’s’ Guild for their most generous donation of £1,100.00 to St. Patrick’s parish funds. As many of you will be aware, the ageing process and health issues have meant that the membership of the Guild has declined considerably and after discussion with Mary, Fr. Patterson has agreed that the Women’s Guild will be disbanded. The Guild and its members have, over the years, contributed so generously to the parish both socially and financially and Fr. Patterson acknowledges his gratitude for all they have contributed to the parish and local community.
Fr. Patterson is grateful to those who helped to establish our Advent Café and to those who contributed to the spiritual and social dimension of the Café clients. It is hoped to be able to develop this group in the New Year.
Are you feeling unwell?
If you are feeling unwell or have any cold, flu or Covid symptons, particularly a persistent cough, you should consider staying at home rather than coming to church for the well-being of everyone.