Dear friends,

I hope and trust you have all enjoyed – and, in  this Octave week of Christmas, continue to enjoy – a peaceful and happy celebration of the Saviour’s Birth: thank you so much, first, to all those whose help and hard work in recent weeks made our own Christmas celebrations so beautiful – to our musicians, servers and sidesmen; to all who cleaned and decorated the church – and to everyone else whose generous contribution to our Christmas services (attendance at which gently rose on last year’s numbers, by just under 5%) made such a difference. Fr Mike and I also express our sincere gratitude for your kind cards, gifts and Christmas wishes – which are all very much appreciated!

On the coming Octave Day of Christmas, Sunday 31 December, we will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, with our weekend Masses at the usual times. St Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, describes the Church as the “household” of God (Eph. 2.19): we are the adopted children of one and the same heavenly Father, and brothers and sisters one of another, and of Jesus Christ. We share a common confidence and a common hope (Heb. 3.6), and are bound together in one communion. Thus, we should at the same time work to build up the Church as a true family of love and solidarity, and to fashion our own domestic lives after the teachings of Christ. Our homes should be places of prayer; our temples should be places of warmth and kindness.

Then on New Year’s Day, Monday 1 January, we will celebrate a special Mass at 12 noon in honour of Mary, the Mother of God. This will be followed by a bring-and-share lunch in the Hall, to which all are welcome: simply let Pat know that you’re coming, and what you intend to bring.

Mark Wilson and family thank you for your prayers for his grandson Freddy who, following significant surgery, is now – please God – doing well.

With my best wishes and every blessing for a New Year full of faith and good fortune,

Fr Richard