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St Luke paints the first icon of the Theotokos

Normally, the Sunday after Christmas is the feast of the Holy Family but, this year, it is superceded by the Feast of Mary, Mother of God; which is always the feast of New Year's Day, the Octave Day of Christmas. The Council of Ephesus (431) recognised Mary as 'Theotokos' (literally, 'God-Bearer'), emphasising that the child born to her was God from the beginning but also truly and fully human: there is nothing human which is alien to Jesus. Legend has it that St Luke painted the first icon of Mary as Theotokos. This is also a time when we think of New Year's resolutions; as usual, I will resolve to go to the gym, exercise and eat less...wish me luck! But, perhaps, the most important resolutions are those embodied in Micah 6:8, which are all God asks of us: to act justly - to be fair and honest in our words, our thoughts and our actions; to love tenderly - to be generous, forgiving and tolerant of others and of ourselves; to walk humbly with our God - to know that everything is in God's hands and that divine providence leads us all. RECENTLY DECEASED

Please remember in your prayers all our beloved departed, especially those who died recently and those whose anniversaries occur at this time.

We continue to remember in our prayers all those who are sick and those who care for them. POPE BENEDICT As I prepare this newsletter, we have been asked to pray especially for Pope Benedict whose health is worsening at this time. MASS TIMES THIS WEEK Please note that there will be NO evening Masses on; Friday 30th, Sunday 1st or Monday 2nd. There will be evening Mass on Saturday 31st and the Nigerian Chaplaincy will have a later Mass at 10.30 pm Sunday morning Masses will be at 8.30, 10 and 11.30, as usual. KNIT AND NATTER The group restarts this week; new members are always welcome. DePAUL UKRAINE You can contribute on-line at or any gifts left at the Parish Office will be forwarded to Depaul. MARY'S MEALS In writing to thank us for the generosity of the parishioners, they tell us that they collected £1,331.87 in their recent appeal here. Thanks to the 'Double the Love' campaign, that effectively means that 166 children will get one good meal every school day for the coming year. GOOD COUNSEL NETWORK Their recent newsletter gives the names of some 28 babies born during 2022 thanks to the help offered by the Network and the support they receive from parishes and individuals. BAPTISM COURSE The next baptism preparation course will take place on Thursdays, 12 and 19 January. If you have a child for baptism, please contact GOD KNOWS; Minnie Louise Haskins January is named for Janus, the two-headed (or two-faced) God of thresholds and crossing places, who looked both forward and backward, inward and outward. He was imagined as standing at the threshold of the year. Whether we look back or forward, we can so so confident that all time is in the hands of God. This poem was used by George VI, in his Christmas broadcast of 1939. You can read the full version on-line here. And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: "Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown". And he replied: "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way". So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East. God knows. His will Is best. The stretch of years Which wind ahead, so dim To our imperfect vision, Are clear to God. Our fears Are premature; In Him, All time hath full provision.

AND FINALLY... Thank you so much to all who were so generous to the Vincentian Community this Christmas; at a time when there are so many calls on your resources, we deeply appreciate your generosity. As we enter this new year, may we do so confident that, as the Easter Vigil reminds us: all times belong to Him and all the ages, to Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Rev Eugene Curran CM

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