Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Sunday 1st January, 2023
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Message from Canon Kristian
Dear Sisters and Brothers
As you know, the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord lasts for eight days (known as the Christmas Octave) and ends this Sunday, 1 January, with the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The title “Theotokos” or “God-bearer” was formally attributed to Mary by the Third Ecumenical Council held in Ephesus in AD 431 in order to make clear that the Child whom she bore was both fully human and fully divine or, as this fundamental belief of our Christian faith was expressed in the Greek philosophical language in use at the time, her Son possessed two natures, one human and one divine, which were intimately and hypostatically united in one person. Thus, although the title of the Solemnity is Marian, it is truly a celebration of the Incarnation of the Lord, as it makes it absolutely clear that God the Divine Word truly became one of us in the womb of the Virgin Mary, sharing our human nature in every way but sin, and lived amongst us.
You will surely have heard already that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI died peacefully this morning at the age of 95. As our Diocesan Administrator, Canon Paul Cummins, movingly wrote in an email to the clergy of the diocese earlier today:
“I am sure that there will be some more formal statements from the Church in the coming days relating to the Pope Emeritus’ death, but I just wanted to send a quick personal note to you to mark his death in some way. In a letter published on 8th February, Pope Emeritus wrote about his death:
‘Quite soon, I shall find myself before the final judge of my life. Even though, as I look back on my long life, I can have great reason for fear and trembling, I am nonetheless of good cheer, for I trust firmly that the Lord is not only the just judge, but also the friend and brother who himself has already suffered for my shortcomings, and is thus also my advocate, my “Paraclete.” In light of the hour of judgement, the grace of being a Christian becomes all the more clear to me. It grants me knowledge, and indeed friendship, with the judge of my life, and thus allows me to pass confidently through the dark door of death.’
I hope I have something of Benedict’s faith and confidence in the Lord’s mercy when I am facing my end.
In ‘The Joy of Knowing Christ: Meditations on the Gospels’, Pope Benedict wrote:
‘Dear brothers and sisters, prayer is not an accessory or “optional,” but a question of life or death. In fact, only those who pray—in other words, who entrust themselves to God with filial love—can enter eternal life, which is God himself…’
May we follow his advice, and keep each other, and Pope Emeritus Benedict in our prayers as we continue on our pilgrimage.”
Canon Paul ended his email with the words of the Prayer of Commendation which priests pray with a person when death is drawing near:
Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ,
Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you,
go forth, faithful Christian.
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints.”
You will recall that the new Parish Pastoral Council meet for the first time at the end of November. I attach a copy of the Minutes of that meeting so that you are aware of what was discussed. If you have anything you would like to be considered for inclusion on an agenda of the Pastoral Council, please talk to Vivienne Brewster, the Chairperson, Tony Doble, the Vice-Chair or to me.
As usual, the weekly guide to prayerful meditation on the Sunday Gospel and the latest number of Inspire are also attached to the Newsletter.
Tomorrow also marks the beginning of a new civil year and it is most appropriate that the Aaronic Blessing is chosen as the First Reading (Numbers 6:22-27) of the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. As we look forward in hope to the year ahead, I invoke this same blessing upon all of you too, especially on those who are seriously sick at this time or in great need:
“May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let us face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace”
Canon Kristian Paver
Parish of St James & St Boniface
40 Old Road
Tiverton EX16 4HJ
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI RIP
We were saddened to hear that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died at 8.34am on Saturday morning at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican City at the age of 95. Benedict XVI served as the Successor of St Peter and Bishop of Rome from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. Please commend his soul to God in your prayers. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
Christmas Crib Offerings
During this past year, the Catholic Children’s Society (Plymouth) has been supporting vulnerable families in ever increasing numbers, all made possible by donations from parishioners across the Diocese. When you visit the crib in our churches, please consider leaving an offering to support the work of the Catholic Children’s Society, spreading God’s love and giving families in need, of all faiths and none, hope in times of crisis.
Holy Father’s Prayer Intention for January
Pope Francis invites the Universal Church to pray this month for educators: “We pray that educators may be credible witnesses, teaching fraternity rather than competition, and helping the youngest and most vulnerable above all”. Visit www.thepopevideo.org to hear the Holy Father speaking about this intention.
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
The ancient Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord on 6 January is one of the principal festivals of the whole liturgical year and celebrates in the Child born of Mary the manifestation of the One who is Son of God, the Messiah and the Light to all nations. It is a Holy Day of Obligation when we are all asked to come together to celebrate Holy Mass. In order to allow as many parishioners to get to Mass as possible, there will be a Vigil Mass at 6pm in St Boniface on Thursday 5 January and Masses at 10.00am and 6.00pm on Friday 6 January in St James.
The Friends of St James and St Boniface
The Friends of St James and St Boniface meet in St James next Saturday, 7 January, at 9.30am. The Friends are a group of parishioners who get together about 6 times a year to plan events which support the social and community life of our parish as well as initiatives to raise funds for the parish. This is an open group and there is a very warm invitation to parishioners from across the parish to come along and join the Friends!
Parish Epiphany Concert
We will be holding an Epiphany Concert next Sunday, 8 January, at 6.00pm at St James which we hope will involve St John’s School, our young people, and any singers and musicians in our parish. It would be great if different groups could prepare something for the concert and make it a really good and entertaining parish event. If you haven’t already done so, please let Bridget Tosh know this weekend if you are able to contribute a song and/or a piece of music to the concert.
Burns Night Celebration
On Friday 27 January, starting at 7pm prompt, we will be holding our first ever Burns Night Celebration in the Hall at St James! Come and enjoy Cullen Skink, a Piper to greet guests and to pipe in the Haggis for the main course of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, followed by Cranachan, with the odd whiskey to taste for those who would like. Due to limited numbers, this will be a ticketed event and for adults only. Tickets cost £10 and are available from this weekend. Please advise of any special dietary needs when you purchase your ticket.
Unwanted Gifts Stall
After Mass at St James on 14 and 15 January, there will be a stall to sale any “unwanted gifts” that you may have received at Christmas. If you have any donations for the stall, please leave them at the entrance to church.
Flame 2023 – Special Invitation to our Young People
Anyone 14-21 years of age is invited to join our parish trip to Flame at Wembley Stadium, London, on Saturday 4 March 2023. Flame is the largest Catholic gathering in England and Wales. Transport is from Cullompton on a coach so almost door to door! If parents want to know a bit more, please talk to Elaine Kelly, Siobhan Gilroy or Eduarda Santos as they have all been before. It’s such a great day out that the parish would like to treat our youngsters to this experience, so there is no cost to the individual. To get on the coach we need to book tickets now with the diocesan coordinator as there is a limited number on the group transport, so please give your name to the Parish Office as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Siobhan Gilroy will be leading our parish group.
“Book” and Lunch Group
The “Book” and Lunch Group will be meeting this week at Wetherspoon’s, Tiverton, at 12.30pm. Any queries, please contact Sheelagh on 01884 256312.
Operation Warm New Clothes
Thanks to all those who have been contributing to Operation Warm New Clothes, so that, through CHAT, we can do what we can to ensure that local children can keep as warm as possible over the winter months. The boxes for your donations are either at the entrance to church (St James) or by the Lady Chapel (St Boniface). Thank you for your generosity!
hose parishioners who pay their subscriptions annually at this time of year are reminded to do so over the next few weeks. Any queries, please contact Simon Coombs on 07761 420703. Canon Kristian will make the January draw after 6.00pm Mass this Saturday.
Masses and Events this week
Sunday 1st January, 2023
Saturday 31 December – Christmas Octave
- Vigil Mass at 6.00pm Pro Populo
Sunday 1 January 2023 – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
- Holy Mass at 10.00am Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI RIP
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface)
Monday 2 January – St Basil the Great and St Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church
- No Mass
Tuesday 3 January – Weekday of Christmas before Epiphany
- Holy Mass at 10.00am
Wednesday 4 January – Weekday of Christmas before Epiphany
- Holy Mass at 12noon (at St Boniface)
Thursday 5 January – Vigil of the Epiphany of the Lord
- “Book” and Lunch Group at 12.30pm at Wetherspoon’s, Tiverton
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm (at St Boniface)
Friday 6 January – Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – Holy Day of Obligation
- Holy Mass at 10.00am
- Holy Mass at 6.00pm
Saturday 7 January – Weekday of Christmas after Epiphany
- Friends of St James and St Boniface at 9.30am in the Church
- First Holy Communion Preparation at 10.00am in the Hall
- Vigil Mass at 6.00pm
Sunday 8 January – The Baptism of the Lord
- Holy Mass at 10.00am Pro Populo
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface)
- Parish Epiphany Concert at 6.00pm