Dear Friends, 

On this last Sunday of the year we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. From the time of the annunciation to Mary by an angel that she was chosen by God for a special task – to bring the Saviour of the Word to life – the lives of Mary and Joseph were turned upside down and this pattern would continue all their days.


Is it not like the advent of the birth of one or more children to any family? People can plan, hope and dream, but when the child and circumstances beyond their control kick in their lives too are turned upside down and it goes on and on. In some cases it may be the child’s health, or the health of a parent, it may be loss of work and difficult financial circumstances, it may mean one person has to be absent from home for a long period to follow work etc. Google tells me that the average cost of rearing a child from birth to 17 in this country is now £192000. How do people manage at all? So, while we think of the travails of the Hols Family in going to Egypt and then back, let us also be aware of the great sacrifices that are made by so many to raise their children. It is good today to ask yourself, how grateful have I been to mum and dad? This is a good time to show gratitude.


On that note, may I thank you all for your generosity of mind, heart and pocket in your giving to the good causes this Christmas time. You will see the figure below; words are never enough, we must be people of action also.


Speaking of action, please note that on Tuesday, January 1st, The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, (her greatest title), the parish mass will be at 12 noon to start the year 2019 where we will pray for people of every race and creed because they too are God’s children (and even unknown to them, Mary is their “Faith Mother”). It is particularly appropriate as our parish has a Marian title – “Our Lady Queen of Heaven”.


It would be welcome if we could bring an item of food to eat in the hall and wish each other a blessed and happy new year.


Pope Francis in his address to the Worlds’ People appealed strongly to our sense of fairness in the way we speak about people. This fraternal spirit of peace comes from the source that, “all of us are brothers and sisters in humanity”. There is no permission to abuse or denigrate people high or low in the social order. Even for children it is worth remembering that it is not true that “sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you”.


Finally: Did you know? Line dancing was started by people waiting in queues to use the bathroom!


                                                              A Happy New Year to all. God Bless

                                                                                    Fr John



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