Newsletter- 2nd Week of Advent

Dear Parishioners

We continue our journey through the season of Advent, a chance to renew our relationship with God and with each other and as we prepare to receive the precious gift of God’s love coming amongst us through the birth of His Son at Christmas.

Part of our preparation should be to renew our relationship with God and with each other. An important part of becoming reconciled to God and to those around us involves making a good Confession, as we seek forgiveness for our sins and acknowledge our many human failures and are given the grace to journey forward restored again into God’s love. I will be available during Advent most days in the week before or after Mass to hear confessions and I am normally available up to 15 minutes before Mass to hear confessions on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Total Forgiveness: In many places in the Gospels Our Lord makes the point that the measure of forgiveness we grant to others will be granted to us; and in the Our Father we pray to emulate the generosity with which God forgives us: this is illustrated in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Father in the story goes to meet the prodigal son halfway, in fact he runs to meet him. In this way Our Lord emphasises that our act of sorrow has its effect without delay; absolution, which we receive in Confession, we have no right to expect, but it follows instantly. The father shows no sense of grievance; the pardon is complete; everything is to be exactly as it was before. This is what happens when we receive absolution after making a good confession, but to appreciate God’s generosity and love for us, we too must attempt to imitate it; we must forgive others as we ourselves have been forgiven; we must forgive from the heart, for only then can we be truly counted the children of the Father who is always more anxious to forgive us than we are to be forgiven.

Christmas Crib Offerings: Christmas time recalls the needs of our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. Many parishes across the country adopt Friends of the Holy Land as the beneficiary of their crib collections. We shall do the same here at St. Mary’s. FHLhelp the most deprived Christian families, especially those living around Bethlehem, in Gaza, Israel and Jordan. FHL remains theonly registered UK Charity with its own office, staff and volunteers in the City of Christ’s birth. From Christmas Day and until the end of the Christmas season there will be a basket to collect your offerings placed before the Nativity Scene in church. All donations given will be sent directly to FHL to help support their important aid work.

With my prayers for you and for your families during this Advent season

Your parish priest and friend,

Father Jonathan


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