During this very strange and challenging year of 2020 when we have had to endure so many restrictions and the unprecedented closure of our churches, it has been wonderful to have the ability to watch Holy Mass and the Rosary online, and I know very many of you have been doing so.
Since March people have tuned in to our Webcam over 1.2 million times from 114 countries around the world. This has been a great facility to allow people to keep close to their faith and join in prayer with others and I have been very thankful for it. However, it does not mean that I have not hugely missed the physical presence of my congregation participating fully in the Eucharist.
I am very much looking forward to, and longing for, the day when the church is freely open and I see you all returning to Mass and the Sacraments, especially Communion. There is absolutely no online substitute for the Real Presence of Our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist, and the grace and nourishment we receive from it. I would like to very much encourage every one of you to take the opportunity to return to Mass as soon as we are again free to do so. In the meantime, I know how much attending Mass at Christmas means, so I have arranged as many Masses as possible over those days and I sincerely hope you will make every effort to come with your family to one of these Masses. It is especially important for the children to remain close to the Lord, and it will indeed bring the true message of Christmas to the fore and earn you many blessings.
I hope you will also take the opportunity to come to Confession for Christmas, if you haven’t already done so. My thoughts are especially with those who are housebound and have been unable to receive the Sacraments during this time – please be assured of my prayers for you. Yet Christmas and the birth of Christ invites us to rejoice. God is with us, no matter what is happening, and is inviting us to deeper happiness.
Masses will take place at the following times.
8am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm – Carols from 5.30pm 8pm Midnight – Carols from 11.30pm
Saturday 26 – St Stephen’s Day
11am, 1pm, Vigil 4pm.
Sunday 27 – Feast of the Holy Family
10am, 12pm, 6pm,
Monday 28 December – Feast of the Holy Innocents
Mass 11am, (Medugorje Mass) 7.30pm; Rosary 7pm
Tuesday 29 December
Wednesday 30 December
31 December (Hogmanay)
Mass 11am, Vigil -11.30pm
New Years Day – Feast of Mary the Mother of God
Mass – 11am
Saturday 2 January Mass 11am, Vigil 4pm
Sunday 3rd January Mass 10am, 12pm, 6pm
Masses must be booked in advance online at www.saintjohnbaptist.org
For those wlth no access to the internet 12pm Mass on Christmas Day is bookable by phone only. Bookings will be taken 10am -12pm on Tues 22nd.
I cannot end this exceptional year without expressing my thanks to many people.
A special thank you to Deacon Alan for his dedication and help in every aspect of Parish life, particularly over this difficult year.
On behalf of myself and all of you I would like to thank Deacon Richard for his faithful service and friendship to myself and the Parish over the last 8 years and wish him well in his retirement.
Many thanks to all for their generosity and good wishes expressed for my Golden Jubilee.
Thank you to those who have continued to work quietly to keep the Parish running this year – particularly Margaret, the Sacristan, who ensures every service runs perfectly, and Frances, the Housekeeper, who deals with all enquiries at the Chapel House with patience and understanding.
A huge thank you to all the volunteers who have been giving so generously of their time to act as stewards and Eucharistic Ministers at Masses, Adoration and Confession times. We could not have had the church opened without you, and your commitment to this has been exceptional!
To all who have provided music and song at Mass – you have lifted our hearts!
I am grateful to the small group of parishioners who have worked in our shop and those who volunteered to look after the grounds and garden. They looked lovely this year and were a credit to your hard work.
On Behalf of Deacon Alan and myself I wish you all the blessings of Christmas – love, joy and hope. I pray that God will grant us all peace and good health in 2021.