Thursday, 11 December 2008

Lauds and Mass was followed by a visit from our Jolly Tots in church. A large number of pre-school children came up with their mums and participated in the story of Christmas. We had many processions around the church; we accompanied Mary and Joseph as they went to Bethlehem. We saw what happened in Bethlehem and then went to the Shepherd’s fields to see the angels asking them to go to find Jesus. After the shepherds were safely in the holy stable we went to encourage the wise men on their very long journey. The crib complete we had a short prayer. Jackie ensured that we sung appropriate songs during the journeys and led us in all time for favourite at the very end – one for the mums! Jackie gave a nice Christmas card to all the little ones and their families showing the crib that is set up at St John’s every year. Parents were encouraged to come along for our Christingle on Christmas Eve and there seems to be a lot of interest.
While all this was going on, Christine was busy working on the frontal that will be used for Christmas. Well done Christine, it is looking good! With Christine were the Edmeads busy cleaning the church brass – thanks!
A short meeting with the Parish Administrator and our Reader was followed by time devoted to correspondence and sermon preparation.
Office of Readings and Vespers share with Francis brought to an end this one more day in the Advent journey.
I see in other blogs the mention of the Rorate Mass, or votive Mass in honour of Our Lady in Advent. This reminded me of a tradition which I experienced and which still brings the Christmas spirit to me. It is the Christmas Novena. The nine days indicate the nine months of the pregnancy of Our Lady from March 25 to December 25. In my parish church we used to have one Mass in white or in Rose colour which was a votive Mass known as Sancta Maria in partu; Our Lady giving birth. Every day we had a sermon and hot drinks where served after Mass together with a different holy picture. As young children we were fascinated to see decorations in church progressing and building up for Christmas. The Parish Priest used to bring some crib figures out and tell us the story and teaching behind it. Some years back I came to know of a Lady chapel in England known as Our Lady in gestion (gestation). What a wonderful tradition to introduce the Christmas Novena. Although the sung Litany of Our Lady was always the Novena speciality here are some prayers you might find helpful.

Christmas Novena
to be said daily as part of the intercessions from the 15th to the 23rd December.

O Holy Child of Bethlehem, who said: "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you." Through the intercession of Mary, Your Most Holy Mother, we knock, we seek, we ask that our prayers may be pleasing to you.
(Silent prayer.)

O Holy Child of Bethlehem, who said: “Unless you become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Grant us the simplicity and wonder, the tenderness and gentleness of a child. Fill us with innocence, hope and love. Grant us the grace that we need.
(Silent prayer.)

O Holy Child of Bethlehem, help us know how close You are to us and how powerful is Your embrace. Help us to trust that You hold the whole world in Your hands. We place our every need and care in Your hands. We ask that you fulfil our request according to Your holy will.
(Silent prayer.)

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