The Holy Family 29th DECEMBER 2019
Yellow Book Page 106
To be read at all Vigil and Sunday Masses over the weekend of 28/29 December 2019
My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ
This is my first Pastoral Letter to you since becoming your new Archbishop last July. I want to begin by offering you, your families, and your loved ones, my very best wishes for this Holy Season of Christmas. In what are changing and sometimes challenging times, we, nonetheless, renew our faith that a Saviour has been born for us who is Christ the Lord. May He bless you this Christmas and give you His peace.
On this Feast of the Holy Family we naturally reflect on what it must have been like for Our Blessed Lady and St Joseph to nurture the infant Lord Jesus. Like so many in our world today, they were a poor refugee family forced to flee their homeland out of fear for their lives. St Matthew records how Joseph took Mary and the Christ child to Egypt until it was safe for them to return to Nazareth. The early years of the Holy Family were far from the idealised pictures on our Christmas cards. This father and mother knew the tears and sorrows experienced by so many families, including those in our communities. But despite all their hardships, they rejoiced at their child’s birth, as we too should rejoice at the gift of each new life.
Whether in church or at home, it remains a beautiful tradition for our families, and each one of us, to pray before the Christmas crib. In doing this we return spiritually to Bethlehem. But what do we find there? In the words of the French poet Paul Claudel, we find ‘three poor people who love one another and will change the face of the earth.’
To change the face of the earth by loving one another. This is the vocation of every disciple and especially of the family. Whether rich or poor, our families, first and foremost, are places of love, modelled on the Holy Family. So often I have heard people describe their own upbringing by saying: ‘We didn’t have a lot of money, but there was always lots of love.’ The love of the Christian family is rooted in faith in God’s word and trust in Christ’s promises. This love looks outwards to the good of others, seeking their holiness and their wellbeing. This love overpowers selfishness with generosity and patience. In the midst of all the ups and downs of family living – and we should never underestimate these – this remains a love that is best replenished by being given away.
St John Paul II once wrote that ‘the future of humanity passes by way of the family.’ The love at the heart of family life, the love in the heart of each family member, can change the face of the earth. It can create a better kind of future, even if just for those around us. Pope Francis reminds us that ‘all family life is a ‘shepherding’ in mercy.’ He adds that, like the Church, ‘the family has always been the nearest hospital,’ a source of healing and care for broken hearts and lives. As the basic foundation of society, and of our common future, the family offers the best security for all of us, individually and together.
Sadly, we know that some families suffer breakdown, separation, and divorce. We know too that not everyone has the best experience of family life, nor will everyone have a family themselves. In whatever struggles we face, there is a space for everyone in the family of the Church. We belong to Christ and, through Him, to each other, united by a love that cannot be broken. Christ reveals the Father’s love. It has no limits and includes every person. In Him there are no orphans.
As we look forward to a New Year, please join me in praying for a renewed appreciation of the beauty and dignity of marriage and family life in our society. We ask that the love of Christ might change the face of our own hearts so that we might change the face of the earth.
May the Lord Jesus walk with you each moment of this coming year. May Our Lady and St Joseph pray for you, especially for your families and those in any kind of need. And please pray for me as I do every day for everyone in our Archdiocese. Pray that, together, we might be evermore lovingly the presence of Christ to each other and to our world.
With every blessing
Yours devotedly in Christ
+ John Wilson
Metropolitan Archbishop of Southwark
Message received from Jackie “Irish”:
Moses went to the Doctors. He said: “Doctor I keep feeling like I have to write the Ten Commandments ” Doctor says “I’ve got a tablet for that” (Jackie you need to get better Christmas crackers next year!)
Items for the Manna Centre May still be received by weekend 5-6th in the New Year www.mannasociety.org.uk.
There will be a New Years Day Celebration Mass (Our Lady – Mother of God)
at 12.00noon at St Joseph’s.
Both congregations bring whatever you have left over from Christmas to share at a party.
Please Note: No 7.00pm Mass on New Year’s Eve (Tuesday) at St Joseph & No 9.30am Mass on New Year’s Day (Wednesday) 1st at OLSS
The Children’s FHC Group at St Josephs Begins after Mass on Sunday 12th January
And at OLSS from 10.45 on Saturday Mornings in the Parish Rooms on Saturday 11th.
Eileen died at QEH in the morning of Tuesday 17th. She has been such a faithful and kindly stalwart of St Josephs for so many years. Always cheerful and kindly she will be very sadly missed.
Funeral arrangements TBC
Friends & neighbours at Crooms Hill will be sad to hear of the passing of Jean in the early morning of 23rd. She was a long-standing member at OLSS. We remember her devoted husband Bill and the family
Funeral arrangements TBC
Francis (Frank) RiP
Funeral Friday 10th January 11.00am at St Joseph’s. (Cremation at Eltham).
Adrian lived nearby in St Marks Court. Funeral arrangements TBC.
2019 has still demonstrated a few unkind tricks in the closing days with the unexpected death of my Father-in-Law Dennis (Frances’ father). He died in his sleep on Boxing Night at his home in Norfolk.
Sincere Thanks to everybody for your kind gifts and generosity at Christmas Fr Kevin
HAPPY NEW YEAR – MASS CALENDAR FOR
28th DECEMBER 2019 – 6th JANUARY 2019
This Evening at OLSS Baptism of Grace 3rd Child to Jenny & Anthony and baby Sister to Benedict & Elisabeth
Saturday 28th Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Parish & People
Sunday 29th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Daniel B RiP
Holy Family Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: William (Billy) D RiP
Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: John L (RiP) & Anne
Monday 30th NB NO MASS ON MONDAY
New Year’s Eve Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Maggie Barrett Nb No 7.00pm Mass St Josephs (Tuesday)
New Years Day 2019 Whole Parish Mass 12.00noon at St Josephs Nb No 9.30 Mass at OLSS (Wed)
Bring your left-over Christmas stuff whatever needs using up! (Int: The 11 Christmas Day Martyrs – Nigeria)
Thursday 2nd Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Luke B (Exams Aus)
Mass St J’s 11.00 Int: Martin & Sheila L (RiP)
Friday 3rd Mass St J’s 11.00 Int: Roque P (RiP)
Saturday 4th Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Paul H (W/B)
Sunday 5th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Matthew T (Sp Int)
Epiphany Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Eileen A (RiP)
Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Johanna Thkg (HspTest)
OLSS Christmas Hamper Raffle 2019 Winners Ticket No.
1st Karen 620 Green
2nd Jackie 481 Yellow
3rd Tony 100 Green
4th Ann (?) 180 Green
5th Amanda B 383 Green
6th E Davis 482 Orange
LONDON CATHOLIC HISTORY WALKS 2020 Come and enjoy discovering London’s History! No need to book – just turn up! Everyone welcome. Suggested donation: £10. Each walk lasts about 1&1/2 hours.
Monday January 6th: a lantern-lit Walk across the Thames to the City. Meet 6pm, Church of the Most Precious Blood, O’Meara Street, London SE1 (nearest tube: London Bridge). Please see contact details in the newsletter in the church.
Tuesday January 14th, WESTMINSTER: Parliament, the Abbey, and more. Meet 3pm (note time) steps of Westminster Cathedral SW1 (nearest tube: Victoria).
Post expires at 8:25pm on Saturday February 1st, 2020