Monday, 6 January 2014


The celebration of Christmas was very enjoyable in both our churches.  The early Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve was packed to the rafters with many parishioners and visitors who joined us for the celebration.
Mass at Midnight in St Marie's brought many people together to welcome the Incarnate Word.  Mass was celebrated by candlelight which made the whole celebration very atmospheric.
The two Masses on Christmas Day were well attended by both parishioners and visitors.
My thanks go to those who made the celebrations so enjoyable.  All those who worked so hard in cleaning the churches before the celebrations.  Those who then set to and decorated the churches with floral arrangements and candles and cribs.  All working together means no one is left to do it all on their own.
My thanks also go to our musicians who helped us raise our minds and hearts to God in prayer and joyful song.
My special thanks go to our dedicated team of altar servers in both churches who not only faithfully turn up week by week to serve Mass but came to the celebrations of Christmas as well.  My thanks also go to my trusted friend and MC for guiding me through the ceremonies and making sure that all was done as it should be but above all, as the great Jesuit motto has it:
 AMDG - Ad majoram Dei Gloriam - For the greater Glory of God. 
After all the liturgical celebrations were completed I was able to go and spend some time with my family and 'christen' a gift given to me by a dear friend.


The approaching Feast of Christmas can be a sad time for many people especially as they recall family members who are no longer with them to celebrate.  Please remember in your prayers the following who have died round this festive period.  Remember also their families and friends who mourn their passing.
Canon Liam Houlihan
Margaret Elizabeth Thomas
Dorothy Semple
Bernard Howard
Ellis Molyneux
Adam Pickup
Bridget Ann Denniston
Fr. Gary Walsh SSS
Fr. Patrick O'Brien
Giacinto Spolverino


As the term was drawing to a close in St Marie's school and the children were looking forward to celebrating Christmas the staff and Governors were preparing a surprise celebration for one member of staff.
Miss Oksanna Stecyk, who has served the school for the last twenty five years as a classroom teacher and in latter years as Deputy Head.  We could not let such on occasion pass without marking it in some way. 
Knowing Oksanna as we do she would not want any fuss so the celebrations had to be kept hush hush until the day of our final school Mass before the Christmas break.
At the end of Mass Miss Stecyk was presented with a Papal Blessing in recognition of her twenty five years service to St Marie's School.  After Mass everyone returned to school for a celebration buffet at which various speeches were given in recognition of Oksanna's outstanding contribution to the school.  Members of the Ukrainian Community were also invited and they showed their appreciation in song.

Oksanna being presented
with the Papal Blessing by Fr. Francis



Towards the end of last term the children from St Joseph's School led us in a celebration of Harvest.  Here are a few photos from the celebration.  Well done to all the children for the way that they led us in this celebration.


As I haven't posted anything on the blog for a while I thought it was high time that I did so. 
The last post was of the baptism of baby Adam.  A few things have happened in the parish since then.
All Souls Shrine at St Joseph's
In the Month of November we traditionally remember all those who have died.  At each of the churches in the parish an 'All Souls Shrine' was prepared so that the names of those we wished to remember could be placed there.  Mass each day throughout November was offered for all those whose names where on the November Dead Lists.
Also in November St Marie's hosted the annual Memorial Service for Bernadette Gibson Funeral Service.  With hymns, readings and reflections we were able to remember our dead.  Each member of the congregation was invited to come and light a candle in memory of their loved ones.
It was good to welcome Bernadette and her staff as well as all the families for whom funerals have been celebrated in the last twelve months. May I take this opportunity to thank Bernadette for organising the service and the ladies of the parish who helped serve the refreshments after the service.

All Souls Shrine at St Marie's