Newsletter- 1st Week of Christmastide
May I take this opportunity of wishing each of you a very Happy Christmas and to thank you for the many kind gifts, generous Christmas offerings and beautiful Christmas cards and messages already received by me. This year we are having just one Weekly Bulletin to span the Christmas period from Christmas Day through to 1st January 2023. Please note some changes to the times of Masses between Christmas Day until 8th January 2023. There will be some days too when there will not be a Mass and when the church will not be open, to allow me to take a few days break. On some days during the week after Christmas Mass will be celebrated a little later to reflect the holiday period for us all.
Christmas carries the promise to each of us that new life, a different life, is always within our grasp if we are willing to reach out and receive it. As the first verse from our First Reading from the prophet Isaiah, at Midnight Mass reminds us: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.” With the birth of our Saviour at Christmas a holy day has dawned. A glorious light shines out into our world. It is Christmas! What we have prepared for and longed for has finally arrived. The packages have been wrapped and unwrapped. The world comes to a wonderful pause as we stop to savour this special season with our family and friends. The manger no longer sits empty. The baby Jesus lies on the straw and in our hearts, replacing our longings with hope. At the coming of Christmas, we feel a gentleness about the world and in ourselves.
Yet as quickly as Christmas comes though for many people it is over. Wrappings go into the dustbin; crumbs are swept away, and the decorations come down. It is back to work, back to bills to be paid and life as normal and a rather bleak New Year awaits us all judging by the gloomy predictions in the media for the year ahead. It is no wonder that January heralds the blues of winter. But as Christians we know that Christmas is not over, it has just begun!
The Incarnation of Jesus is a grace we get to experience over and over. Here is the hope that we need to be able to overcome the many challenges life throws at us as the New Year unfolds. That hope is ours through Christ. Jesus comes into our world with every prayer we breathe. The celebrations do end, and the decorations do get put away, but the life of the party remains!
I cannot believe how quickly the past year has flown by and I feel personally very much more settled in my role as your parish priest. Much of this has been down to each of you who have continued to care and support me in my pastoral role and ministry here. Thank you. I would like to thank as well all who in the past year have helped in so many varied ways to support our Catholic community and the worshipping life of our parish. Particularly I would like to acknowledge the generous support of our retired clergy, Canon Michael Bell and recently arrived Mgr. John Hadley, and Andrew our deacon in training. Our office staff Jennie and Ewa and Anne who helps me in the house. They do so much behind the scenes to “keep the show on the road” and help me to remain sane! Our growing band of Catechists, all our Eucharistic Ministers for their care of the sick and the housebound, and all who help weekly with the practicalities of serving, stewarding, reading, music ministry, flower arranging, church cleaning and so much more! There are too many of you to name personally but you know who you are, so a huge thank you for your generosity and support of our parish community during the past year! Every member of our parish community though has helped by your continued presence at Mass week by week to enable us as a parish to gradually resume a greater sense of normality after the difficulties we all experienced during the past Covid pandemic. I pray that this coming year the Holy Spirit may continue to guide and support our parish community here in Grantham, as together we look to the future and build upon the successes of the past.
Let us pray that this Christmas the light of Christ will shine within all our hearts and lives and illumine the lives of those around us. May the peace, joy, and hope that the celebration of the birth of our Saviour brings into our world and into our lives at Christmas, remain a constant for each of us and for our parish community throughout the coming year.
With my prayers for you and for your families during this coming Christmas season,
Your friend and parish priest,
2022 24th December– Newsletter – Download