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Statue by Sr Margaret Beaudette, Sister of Charity of New York

One of my favourite lines in Scripture occurs in this week's Gospel; Mary arose and went, as quickly as she could, to a town in the hill country. On hearing the news of her own conceiving of Jesus, she also heard that her cousin, Elizabeth, was pregnant. Her response was to go to her, not, perhaps, as quickly as she would have done in the past, but as quickly as she could. That is what the Lord asks of us: that we respond, as best we can. What matters is the response. And, it is worth noting that she went 'to a town in the hill country'; it meant going out into the wilderness, perhaps even alone. It was not only an act of solidarity but an act of courage, of risk. In times when we may feel weaker, less confident, less courageous, even older than before, may Mary be an example to us and encourage us to go 'as quickly as we can'. RECENTLY DECEASED Please remember in your prayers all who have died recently, especially;

Christine Murray (Funeral, 17 January, 11.00 am) Diana Klein (Funeral, 10 January, 11.30 am) Mary Carr (Funeral, 6 January, 11.00 am) Irene Deegan (Burial, 21 December)

and all those who have died during this time of pandemic. We continue to remember in our prayers all those who are sick and those who care for them. CHRISTMAS MASSES Booking for the Christmas Masses is on-line, with seating in both the Church and in the Hall. If you, or a friend or neighbour, have difficulty booking on-line, please contact the Parish Office and we will do it for you. Please be mindful that, in the current situation, we will not be able to permit entry to anyone who does not have a booking, nor can we allow standing in the Church or Narthex. Christmas Eve Masses will be at 6.00, 8.00 and 10 pm. On Christmas Day, Masses will be at 9.00 and 11 am. As Boxing Day falls on Sunday, 26th, we will have Mass at 9 am and 11 am. There will NO evening Masses on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or Monday, 27th December.

COVID PRECAUTIONS Given the rapidly increasing incidence of infection, we again emphasise:

  • the use of hand sanitizer and the wearing of masks (covering both mouth and nose)

  • good ventilation...therefore, you will need to wrap up warmly at this time!

  • People with any symptoms should stay at home and participate virtually.

CAROL SERVICE The Carol Service will be held on 21st December at 7.30 pm. It will also be live-streamed. PRAYERFUL CONGRATULATIONS to recent First Communicants, Osemerire, Alexandra and Ijeoma and to Chizara, Adriel and Toriola who will make First Communion this weekend. Congratulations to India and Juliette, who will be confirmed this weekend. And, finally, prayerful blessings for Clare, who will be baptised this weekend. PARISH OFFICE Following a series of interviews, I am delighted to announce that Francesca French will begin working in the parish office, commencing officially on 10th January. She will work Fridays and Mondays and Melanie will work the other days of the week. Although Melanie is not, in any sense, retiring, I do want to take this opportunity to thank her for her dedication and hard work and, particularly, for her commitment over the past months as we worked out the new system. At the moment, Melanie is due some days off and, given the Covid situation, has wisely decided to take them at this time. For this reason, the clergy will be staffing the office over most of the Christmas period; please bear with us! VINCENT DE PAUL HAMPER RAFFLE Tickets will be on sale at all the Masses over the weekend. Your support will help a great many people.

AND FINALLY... This coming Tuesday, 21st, is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, the moment from which the days begin to lengthen and brighten. What better way to celebrate it than by joining our carol service, either in person or virtually. As the days lengthen and brighten, may we be mindful of the coming of the Great Light, in Jesus Christ. With every blessing in these final days as we prepare for the celebration of Christmas Rev Eugene Curran CM

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