This Week's Message

A BLESSED AND HAPPY CHRISTMAS

In their preparations for this Christmas children from St Edmund’s School have been singing Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene’s Mary Did you Know? It is a Christmas song that invites us to wonder what Mary knew of the child she wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in the manger.

Did she know that he was indeed the promised Messiah? The one who would bring in the Kingdom of God? The one through whom all things were made? The one who would save God’s people? The one who would set her free? Who would set us all free?

Let’s put before our eyes the scene of Bethlehem in the silence of the night. Mary and Joseph kneeling by the manger gazing at the child Jesus. As good holy people they knew the prophecies that would be fulfilled, and had heard the greetings of the Gabriel and of Elizabeth. They were used to spending time with God in prayer and knew that he was fully with them there and then in flesh and blood. And because whenever God is present he is present to save, they knew that remarkable truth that the Son born to them was also their saviour. And their hearts overflowed with peace and joy.

The message of Christmas is this: in Jesus God comes to save us, to set us free from all that oppresses us. He comes that we may have life and have it in its fullness. He comes not only at the time when Quirinius was governor of Syria but to us in our time. Today a saviour has been born to us. Let us rejoice and be glad!

This Christmas perhaps I could encourage each of us to spend some time before the crib or a picture of the nativity. To wonder in silence and allow the child in the manger to speak to us of his love for us, his joy at being with us today, and his desire that, being fully alive we might be with him for ever. That we may have a fuller share of that wonderful rich life that is only found in Him.

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas.

Fr Jonathan

God And Technology


God And TechnologyI am delighted to welcome you to our new parish website. Please do have a look around.

The website is the fruit of the work of the parish Technology Review Group and they have produced a short overview which you might find helpful. It can be downloaded from the new site by going to the Contacts and Documents page and scrolling down to the Useful Parish Documents section. We have used a well-respected church website platform “Faithlife” as its base which should ensure that it continues to look fresh and work well on tablets and mobile devices. We will keep the old site running and current into the new year to make sure that those already familiar with it can access information over the Christmas period.

On behalf of the parish, I would like to express our particular thanks to Ian Honeysett and Cathy Sanderson for their excellent work on the existing site which has supported the parish mission for many years, and to the Technology Review Group (TRG) for their preparation of the new site.

There are other features which the site offers which we hope to roll out in the future. In the meanwhile comments about the new site and suggestions for its ongoing development can be sent to the TRG through Alan (alion@btinternet.com).

As long ago as 2003, St John Paul II recognised that “The growth of the Internet… provides an unprecedented opportunity for expanding the Church’s missionary outreach, since it has become a primary source of information and communication for so many of our contemporaries, especially the young.” Please join with me in praying that our new website will both draw others to a deeper faith in Christ and call forth a greater commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel in our lives.

With my best wishes and prayers for you all,

Fr Jonathan

WHO ARE YOU ABLE TO HELP TODAY?

This message comes from this week's Bible Alive. It speaks to us all:

“How seriously do you take the call to evangelize? Do you think that evangelization is primarily the work of priests or religious? Does the idea of sharing your faith make you embarrassed or awkward? Well, the truth is that most of us feel a little embarrassed or awkward about sharing our faith. If it is any consolation, many priests and bishops probably do as well.


Why is this? Well, one reason, which can appear to be a very sensible one, is that we don’t want to impose ourselves or our beliefs on others. We comfort ourselves with the thought that others are better equipped and more able, evangelism is a kind of Christian specialism - rather like a brain surgeon is a specialist in their area of medicine and a criminal lawyer is a specialist in their area of law.


The problem with all of the above is that it is simply misguided and wrong. We are all called to evangelize. And sooner or later, whether we like it or not – and most of us don’t like it – we need to share with others the hope we have in Christ. The thing is, it’s not that difficult and people do actually want to hear it! We are the ones who wrongly conclude that people aren’t interested – but they are. If you have a joy about you, a sense of peace, a presence or an attraction, because of the way you live, think, speak and act, then you have already prepared the ground. 


We can be rather like a football team who do all the hard work to get into a goal-scoring position only to fail to score the goal when the opportunity presents itself.”


Prayer: Lord, you have commissioned me to spread the good news to the four corners of the earth. Make me a joyful, enthusiastic and confident witness. 

WHO ARE YOU ABLE TO HELP TODAY?