26/12/2010

30/12/2010

St John the Evangelist

Reg. Charity 234025

645 3314

Email stjohntheevangelist@gmail.com

Fr Frank Rice

Rev Philip White

Holy Family 26th December 2010

FAITH IN FOCUS: WHOLLY FAMILY

At first sight the feast of the Holy Family doesn’t seem such an attractive proposition. To some it may appear rather sugary and idealistic with its overtones of domestic bliss that are far from normative in any family home over the Christmas holidays, when relations are forced to live at close quarters and stress and tension have a field day.Yet the feast is about the incarnation, the birth of Jesus into an ordinary human family. And perhaps it’s that word, “ordinary”, that encapsulates what it’s all about. For most families are ordinary, ordinary because they are good. Truly human life is about sacredness and goodness, and it was to show us how much like God we can really be that Jesus humbled himself to live in the family of Nazareth. Families, whether they are nuclear with two parents and children, single parents with children, or couples who are childless, are the school of life. It’s in the family that we learn love, and in the Christian family that we learn of the existence of grace. Grace shows itself in care and gratitude, in respect and love. Not just common or garden fondness, but God’s own love. That’s why we learn to praise, because we recognise traits of God’s creativity in our children, and it’s why we’re quick to forgive because we realise that we are passing on the same forgiveness that our parents brought us from God. Families are holy when their members are there for each other. Each of us is called to “parent” other people, whether our flesh and blood or simply people who cross our paths. We’re called to bring people to life, to encourage, to support those in our wider Christian family of the Church, and those we are related to through the family of the human race.

The Holy Family was probably quite unremarkable until Jesus started his preaching. And in this it mirrors most of our families. The respect and love that today’s prayers urge us to emulate come about through being present to each other, through being wholly family. And holiness is not to be found in any pious demeanour but in being wholly there for each other in playing and praying, in loving and living, in disagreeing and reconciling, in rejoicing and sorrowing together. Not just a group of individuals, but wholly family.

WORD OF GOD

Whoever respects his father is atoning for his sins.

Whoever honours his mother is like someone amassing a fortune. (Ecclesiasticus 3:3)

WORD FOR TODAY

The model of home life shown by the family of Nazareth sets the standards for us all. How do we treat the other members of our family? And do we recognise that we belong to wider families than our own flesh and blood?

In each family a story is playing itself out, and each family’s story embodies its hope and despair. (Auguste Napier)

 

To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right. (Confucius)

 

How does one keep from “growing old inside”? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people…. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are indispensable.

(Robert McAfee Brown)

Holy family 26th 10am. Parishioners

 

Mon- Patronal Feast 27th 12md Parishioners
Tues.

 

28th 9.15 Nancy Kelsall
Wed 29th. 9.15 Aileen McGuigan
Thurs 30th 9.15. Mike & Stella Wilkinson
Fri 31st 12md Vincent Sarson
Sat- solemnity of Mother of God 1st. 12md Parishioners
Epiphany 2nd. 5.30

10am

8pm

Benefactors SSCF

Parishioners

Prayer Meeting

Please pray for our sick and those who care for them

Fred Archbold, Jane Jackson, William Halpen, Philomena Moore, Margaret Randles, Michael Collins, Teresa McLean, Joan Lee, Ann Ferguson, Denis Welch, Josie Cohen, Peter Williamson, Kathy Smith, Marjorie Hoey, Mrs H McCormack, Esther Roche, Fay Challoner, Sheila Stockley, Joan & Charles Reynolds, Mollie Dowling, Kath Holland, Sheila Clayson, Mary Bryden, Owen & Josie Toohey, Betty Kennedy, Helen Worth, Christopher Hadfield, Ivan Gregory, Kath Bassett , Christopher & Raymond McNally , Mark Harrison, Genevieve Foster & Aileen McGuigan. Those in the parish who do not wish their illness to be made public but who also need our prayers

Money Matters-Thank you

Sunday Offering £ 630 45p

Boiler £10

Flowers £223

120 Club Winner No 58 P Davenport £20

I have received a Christmas card from Fred Archbold and he wished me to convey his best wishes to all the parishioners. We hope his recovery continues apace.

 

Tuesday 28th Vic Gemmell

Ann Gemmell

Thursday30th. Bernard McGuigan

Eleanor McGuigan

 

I again refer you to all the different mass times etc this coming week- keep the newsletter handy!

 

In the unusual amount of space available this week, I thought I would take the opportunity to repeat my Christmas message and also to repeat my thanks to all those people who make my ministry possible here. I needed people when I was in my salad days as a priest but having entered my 83rd year I need them more than ever. My thanks to all those people who help to keep me going and to the entire congregation who gather here week after week- without you there would be no St John’s!

 

Dear Friends

This year has been characterised by cruel weather and economic cuts. I will take an educated guess that none of us have been left unscathed by one or other of these factors, most of us by both. It is easy to become disheartened in circumstances where you may be struggling to find, or to retain employment; to pay your mortgage or to afford to keep warm. But in the midst of the gloom of winter we once again joyfully celebrate the birth of the one who became man to save us.

At the end of a year we tend to take stock –we have usually had a mixture of good and bad experiences and we look forward to what the next year may bring.

Many tributes have been paid to our Bishop Emeritus, Brian and I would like to add my heartfelt admiration for the work he has done in the diocese over the 15 years of his tenure, sometimes in the face of serious illness. He has enriched us with his words of wisdom and has kept a steady hand on the tiller whilst always being ready to listen with an open mind and in a spirit of kindness. I am sure we all wish him a very long retirement- he has even suggested that he might do some supply work in this parish which is a measure of the kind of man he is. We welcomed Bishop Mark to the diocese in February and I know we will pray for him in the difficult task he has ahead of him as the church continues to evolve in the 21st century.

We were very blessed this year by the introduction of Fr Dennis Xulu to our parish family. His joyful spirit and his profound words brought laughter and peace to the house in equal measure. I know many of you shared my disappointment that he was unable to be with us here to share this feast but he is very hopeful that we haven’t seen the last of him. In a recent email he wrote: “You are amazing and loving people! I am really happy to have you walking either side of my life. Really God is provident! Please tell them ngiyaphila [I am doing well] Pass my love all there!” We have many things to thank Philip for but I think finding Fr Dennis is near the top of the list!

So I turn to Philip, my right hand man without whose help life would be almost impossible. Now fully retired from his profession as a solicitor he has consolidated his role as our first Deacon and this Advent has provided us with superb insights on the scriptures of the season. During the year he has found time to take several roles in various Pilgrim Troupe presentations; do a colossal amount of study for his Canon law qualification; help re-form Marriage Care on the Wirral and alongside his wife Sara hold marriage counselling sessions. Phew! My heartfelt thanks go to him and to Sara for their support and friendship. Philip has a room in the house which we named The Deacon’s Den (no fire –breathing creatures allowed)– perhaps in July we will have to move the apostrophe because that is the month in which our ‘home grown’ deacon-in-waiting finally becomes ordained to the permanent deaconate. Mike Daly has put heart and soul into parish life at St John’s whilst continuing his difficult role as a civil servant. His good humour and enthusiasm are unbounded and his organisational skills have paid us great dividends. Alongside his wife Celia, his training of our altar servers ensures they are always admired for their dignity and attentiveness in their key ministries.

These are just a few of the people who make life liveable but I am indebted to those people with a lower profile, Catechists, cleaners, counters, collectors, welcomers, singers, musicians, readers, the bereavement team- and of course the parish team -the list is very long and they are each an invaluable part of the jigsaw, as week in and week out, they fulfill their roles in the parish without fuss or need of recognition. I would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of them and to every member of the parish including those who are unable to attend church but are still part of our family. God bless you all.