St Teresa & St John Southworth Churches, Cleveleys
Fr Chris Cousens—Phone: 853340
Rev Bernard Ward (Deacon) (Tel: 858346)
Enquiries for St John Southworth: Phone: 853340
19 December 2021
Lancaster Roman Catholic Diocesan Trustees Registered Charity Number 23433
Reflections for the coming week
Gospel Luke 1:39-44
Mary set out and went quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth, Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
Gospel Reflection : An Amazing And Much Appreciated Visit
As we hear this Sunday when Mary discovered that her cousin Elizabeth was, in her old age, six months pregnant, she “set out and went as quickly as she could” and stayed with her three months until Elizabeth’s child was born. Mary’s first thought was not for herself, even though she had just been told that she was now pregnant in worrying and almost unbelievable circumstances. Mary’s thought was for an elderly lady who might need some support and help.
During Advent we wait for Jesus to come to us, as celebrated on Christmas Day. But every day, Jesus waits for us to come to him. Whenever we, like Mary, reach out to someone in need, we encounter Jesus. As Jesus said : “Whatever you do to one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to me'”
In every act of kindness, in sharing with or supporting those in need, in visiting thelonely, Jesus is present to us at that time.
At Christmas, we remember Jesus coming to us, to share our human condition with all its suffering. His love and compassion for us is the model for our love and compassion for others. We are called to grow more and more like him. Each day offers us opportunities to do that, even under our restricting Covid advice and regulations. We just need to use our good imagination and warm hearts.
We Remember In Our Prayers Cyril Ireland whose Funeral was last week, and Monica Delaney whose Funeral Mass is at St.Teresa’s this Wednesday, 22nd December at 2.30 pm. We remember them and their families.
Mask-Wearing Regulations : Mask-wearing in churches is now mandatory until further notice, unless an individual is in an exempt category. Please also take responsibility for social distancing too. Thank you.
The SVP (the St. Vincent de Paul Society) are very grateful indeed for your kindness in the special collection we had last weekend ‘for those in need’. The total raised from both our parishes together was £263.07. Considering there was no prior warning about this collection before the day, this was a generous amount. Thank you.
Another ‘Thank You’ to a parishioner who has very kindly donated £500 to St.Teresa’sParish, in memory of her Mum and Dad. In this time of increased fuel bills, this will be a good help to keep us warm, and in the light, in church.
STAMPS With the increased amount of mail coming through our doors at this time of year, please remember that at St.Teresa’s we collect used stamps for the MIssions. Please place them in the box in the porch where you come into church. We are very grateful to Pat who still organises this.
First Holy Communion : At this point we are hoping to celebrate First Holy Communion at St. Teresa’s (but as always for both our parishes) on Sunday, 15th May 2022. This is for children aged from Year 4 (in Primary School) and upwards. We were hoping to have an Introductory Meeting for parents and children towards the end of February, but this may now depend on the Covid situation by then. We hopefully will be able to give more information in the new year.
Christmas Masses : Please note – There is no Midnight Mass this year.
St. Teresa’s Church (St. George’s Ave., Cleveleys)
Friday 24th December : Christmas Eve Family Mass, 6.30 pm
Saturday 25th December Christmas Morning Mass, 9 am and 10.30 am
Sunday 26th December Boxing Day Mass, 9 am and 10.30 am
St. John Southworth Church (Northumberland Avenue, Cleveleys) :
Saturday 25th December Christmas Day Mass 10 am
Sunday 26th December Boxing Day Mass 5 pm
the blessings of peace,
the beauty of friendship,
and the spirit of love
that is Christmas
Monday (Caryll Houselander)
I think the most moving fact in the whole history of mankind is that wherever the Holy Spirit has desired to renew the face of the earth he has chosen to do so through communion with some humble little human creature. This is something which could happen to everyone now, but it could not have happened to anyone but for the fiat of the peasant girl in Nazareth whom the whole world calls Our Lady. In the virginal emptiness of Mary of Nazareth, Christ was conceived. The whole world trembled on her consent. She was asked to surrender her littleness to the Infinite Love, and as a result to become the Mother of Christ. She was not asked to do anything herself, but to let something be done to her. She was not asked to renounce anything, but to receive an incredible gift.
Scripture (Luke 1:32-38)
The angel Gabriel said to Mary, ‘Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words, but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid, you have won God’s favour. Look! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.’ Mary said, ‘,’But how can this come about, since I am a virgin.’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy spirit will come upon you.’ Mary said, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me,’
Tuesday (A Carthusian monk)
Believe, then, that in this topsy-turvy world in which we have to live, in this world so bereft of peace and so far from God, GOD IS PRESENT: loving, giving himself, pouring his peace into souls of good will. Believe this, I say, not trying to understand it nor seeking to feel it. For to believe is precisely to give one’s assent to a word without understanding or feeling. Believe: and that very Word, the Word of God, will transform us into himself, and make us partakers in his life.
Scripture (Titus 3:4-7)
When the kindness and love of God our Saviour for mankind were revealed, it was not because of any upright actions we had done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own faithful love that he saved us, by means of the cleansing waters of rebirth and renewal in the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our Saviour; so that, justified by his grace, we should become heirs in hope of eternal life.
Wednesday (Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh)
To understand the meaning of the saving death of Christ, we must understand the meaning of the incarnation. Eternity is not something – it is someone. Eternity is God himself. The birth of the Son of God is unlike ours. His birth is not the beginning life, of an ever growing life; it is the limitation of the fullness that was his before the world began. He who possessed eternal glory with the Father, before all ages, enters into our world, wherein we have brought sin, suffering, death. He accepts all that is inherent in our condition and the first day of his life on earth is the first day of his ascent to the cross.
Scripture (John 1:1,9-12,14)
In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone: he was coming into the world. He was in the world that had come into being through him, and the world did not recognise him. He came to his own and his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God. The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that he has from the Father as the only Son of the Father.
Thursday (Oscar Romero)
With Christ, God injected himself into history. With the birth of Christ, God’s reign is now inaugurated in human time. Every year we recall that God’s reign is now in this world. His birth attests that God is now marching with us in history, that we do not go alone. Humans long for peace, for justice, for a reign of divine law, for something holy, for what is far from earth’s realities. We can have such a hope, not because we ourselves are able to construct the realm of happiness that God’s holy words proclaim, but because the builder of a reign of justice, of love, and of peace is already in the midst of us.
Scripture (Micah 5:1-4)
The Lord says this: You, Bethlehem, the least of the clans of Judah, out of you will be born for me the one who is to rule over Israel; his origin goes back to the distant past, to the days of old. When she who is to give birth gives birth, the remnant of his brothers will come back to the sons of Israel. He will stand and feed his flock with the power of the Lord, with the majesty of the name of his God. They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power to the ends of the land. He himself will be peace.
Friday (From a Sermon by Pope Leo the Great)
The Saviour was born: what a joy for us! This is no season for
sadness, this, the birthday of Life – the Life which annihilates the fear of death and engenders joy. Nobody is an outsider to this happiness, for as our Lord found no one free from guilt when he came, so he came with redemption for all: let the sinner be filled with joy, for pardon is offered. When the time had come, God’s son took our human nature upon himself in order to reconcile man to his creator. Let us offer thanksgiving to God the Father through his son. In giving life to Christ, he gave life to us too, so that in him we might be a new creation, a new work of his hands. O Christian, be aware of your nobility – it is God’s own nature that you share. You have been rescued from the power of darkness, and have been transferred to the light of God, the Kingdom of God.
Scripture (Hebrews 1:1-3)
At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is. He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty.