The fellowship of the flame

This thoughtful poem by American Kelly Chripczuk traces the theme of the fire of God’s presence running through the life of St John the Baptist.

He didn’t see it, but felt it
through the darkness of his mother’s womb,
the flame that baptized drawn close enough
to singe his foot,
which caused him to leap.
The wild fire caught
and grew, ruining him
for a life of conformity.
So he moved to the wilderness somewhere near the river’s edge where others were drawn
by the smoldering flame.
He doused them each with water, warning them one-by-one
of the fire to come.
Later, when he leapt
from this world to the next,
leaving his head behind,
he was greeted by the fellowship
of the flame – Isaiah
with his charred black lips,
Miriam who danced
like a flickering wick,
and the others, too many now to name together they glowed like
so many embers,
lighting the long, dark night.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols on “Do you love me?”

I am very pleased to welcome this publication ‘Do you love me’. I believe many will find in it great help in their life of prayer, in their lived relationship with our Blessed Lord. For this reason, it is a most important publication and imaginative contribution to our lives.

Our relationship with Jesus, our life of prayer, is the back-bone of our life of faith. As his disciples each of us is called to know him better, to make more and more space for him in our hearts, to enter every day into intimate conversation with him. This interior life is a source of joy, of encouragement, of strength for each of us. In these pages we will find great help in deepening that life each day.

Mary teaches us always to be attentive, to be listening for the whisper of God in our lives, for it was the Angel of the Lord who declared to Mary God’s intention for her. She also teaches us not to be afraid to ask questions of God, “But how can this be?” Then she teaches us to be ready to follow. Her words should find an echo in our hearts each day: “Be it done to me according to your word”. She is, indeed, the first and the best of all disciples.

Mary also teaches us to make our journey of faith and prayer within the context of the Church, in the company of our fellow disciples. We make this journey better together. So too this publication will yield its fruit more fully if it is used not only personally but also if the reading, reflections and prayer are shared. This can certainly be within a family or, of course, within a group of friends or groups of parishioners. I hope that many groups will find great encouragement here… The journey presented in this publication, then, always takes place, we pray, under the guidance, the gift, and the power of the Holy Spirit. May this publication help us all express more deeply and respond more fully to the powerful invitation “Do you love me?” Yes Lord, you know that I love you, help me to love you more and more.

From the Cardinal’s foreword to “Do You Love Me?”
Our taster sessions for this initiative are this Monday at 2.30 or 7.30pm

Towards the manger of love

Welcome to Advent!  Even though it’s only really three weeks long, I really encourage you to make Advent “real” this year. Today is the beginning of a new year for the Church, and so it’s a great opportunity to enrich and deepen our faith, to make our faith new too, in preparation for the Feast of Birth – Christmas.

Why not try to attend a weekday Mass each week – the times are on the back page of this newsletter. Drop in to St brigid’s or St Paul’s, open during daylight.

Take a good look at your life and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation  In addition to our normal times, again on the back page, we hold a 3 Churches Penitential Service at St Brigid’s Wednesday 13th December at 7.00pm when several priests will be available.   Want something to read to help and inspire you? Get a Walk With Mebooklet of prayers and reflections – available at the back of church.

And this Advent we have something really special – come to a taster afternoon or evening for Do You Love Me?on Monday 11th December at either 2.30pm or 7.00pm in St Brigid’s Hall.  This is going to be the beginning of a major initiative to help all of us in our 3 Churches to grow in our faith, prayer and Christian life. Come and be part of it by having a taste on 11th December, and bring along anyone who needs more in their life…

Later in Advent…

Carol Service   Our 3 Churches Carol Service will be at Christ the King this year on Wednesday 20th December at 7.00pm.  Think about inviting friends to this, if perhaps they would not come to Mass.

Christmas Masses  There will be Mass at the following times

6.00pm    Mass on Christmas Eve, 24th December at all 3 Churches.

10.00pm  Mass on Christmas Eve at St Brigid’s.

Midnight  Mass at St Teilo’s and at St Philip Evans.

Morning  Masses will be at Sunday times: 9.00am at Christ the King and St Paul’s, 11.00am at St Brigid’s.

This is Advent – don’t waste it!

Fr Matthew