Perhaps one of the greatest elements of countercultural witness which we as Christians can present at Christmas is the way in which, as the world packs away its tinsel and the supermarket shelves fill with Easter eggs(!), yet our celebration of the Birth of the Saviour continues well into the New Year.

This week on Friday, 6 January we will keep the Feast of the Epiphany, the coming of the eastern Kings – and, during the 9.30am Mass (to which all are, as always, most welcome), the traditional ceremonies of Epiphany will include the blessing of chalk – for distribution this weekend – with which to mark the doorframes of our houses, both to ask God’s blessing upon our families, and – again – to bear witness to the world to our faith in the Son of God, our Saviour.

The Epiphany is, in fact, a triple celebration (fittingly, given the three gifts brought by the kings): not only do we remember the visit of the Magi, but we also meditate upon two other occasions in Scripture when Our Lord’s divine identity was revealed – namely, at his Baptism by St John, in the river Jordan; and in the performance of his first miracle, at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, when Jesus transformed water into wine.

Thus, this Sunday, 8 January, we will commemorate the Lord’s Baptism – by renewing our own baptismal promises, and then receiving (in addition to the blessed chalk mentioned earlier) holy water with which to bless our homes and neighbourhoods and workplaces, plus special Epiphany gifts, and a glass of mulled wine after the 10.30am Mass – a joyous celebration, not to be missed!

Finally, please note that I will be taking my post-Christmas break next week, 9-16 January, and will be away from the parish for most of this time. If, in an emergency, you require a priest, please contact Fr Mike, or ask the churchwardens to put you in touch with the clergy of one of our sister parishes in the local area.

May the Epiphany of Our Lord shower blessings upon you, and may your week ahead be blessed:

Fr Richard