A bearer of light
Last week we were introduced to John the Baptist as part of our Advent journey. We hear his story again but this time from the fourth Gospel. Light and darkness is a key theme of the fourth Gospel and in its opening verses proclaims that this light has always shone in the dark; the darkness cannot overpower it. The evangelist goes on to tell us that John the Baptist’s mission is that he has been sent by God to ‘speak for the light’. John is a light bearer, he is not the light, but he points to the light. He is a witness to the light of God in our world, a light that cannot be put out.
We celebrate this light today on Gaudete Sunday, Gaudete which means ‘rejoice’. We light the pink candle and we celebrate with joy. As our world continues to battle this pandemic, there is much fear about. People might not feel like celebrating or being joyful. But nature shows us that Spring always follows Winter. Like John, we are called to be light-bearers. To carry Christ’s love and light to those we meet in our daily lives. Our world needs light-bearers, especially in these Winter months. It might be a good opportunity to ask today ‘Who have been the light bearers for me in these past months?’ And also, ‘To whom can I carry light to this week?’ In this way we observe Christ’s ongoing incarnation in the world today.
‘Lord there is much darkness in society and in our church. We thank you that someone always comes on the scene, sent by you as a witness to speak for the light … teachers, community leaders, grandparents, children, a friend … they bear witness to the rest of us that somewhere in the dark a light shines that darkness cannot overcome.’
Michel de Verteuil
CURRENT RESTRICTIONS OVER
The current period of enhanced Coronavirus restrictions ended at Midnight (10th December.)
This means that all liturgical services, including the celebration of Mass. weddings, funerals and baptisms may resume with a congregation present.
Numbers attending continue to be limited to the maximum capacity of our Church, and that is 120. (This includes for weddings and funerals.)
Cognisant of recent comments made by the Chief Medical Officer, IT IS MANDATORY to wear face coverings while entering, leaving and moving around the Church and strongly recommended while seated. We also ask that you do not congregate in groups outside, either before or after the liturgy.
Dear St. Agnes’ Parishioners, At the beginning of 2020 no one could have foreseen the difficulties we would have to endure due to Covid-19. While our first thoughts must be with those who have died, and with their grieving families, we think also of the sick and elderly in our care homes and in our hospitals. They, though admirably cared for by hard pressed medical and nursing staffs, are, nevertheless, isolated from their families. Many others have been “cocooned” in their own homes and depending on the goodwill of relatives and neighbours. At the same time, the restriction on the numbers attending our churches – while very understandable – is not without its pain. As priests, we too struggle with all of this, and experience the sadness and frustration of not being able to minister to our parishioners as we would want, yet, we continue to do what is possible in the circumstances. The pandemic has caused a downturn in the economic situation and once healthy businesses have reduced their staff, or in some cases, closed altogether. Consequently, many families may face this Christmas with greatly reduced income. As a result, parish income is greatly reduced, as is the income of priests’ welfare fund, who rely entirely on the voluntary contributions of parishioners. The priests’ welfare fund has taken a significant reduction over recent months. If your circumstances permit, we ask that you please keep your priests in mind this Christmas. The traditional Christmas collection, together with the other collections for the upkeep of priests throughout the year, is, in a spirit of priestly fraternity, “pooled” in a central fund. This fund, administered by an elected committee of priests, is shared in such a way as to ensure that every priest ministering in the Diocese receives the same level of income. Thank you for your kind support and your constant prayers. We pray, that even in these difficult times, Christmas may be for you a time of blessing. With every good wish and every blessing.
PASTORAL MESSAGE FROM BISHOP NOEL TREANOR “Kindling Hope In Times Of Fear And Anxiety Advent 2020” https://youtu.be/ApI67Vh4o6M
PRAYER INTENTIONS: We extend our sympathies to the families of those who died recently and those whose month’s mind and anniversary occur at this time.
Sat: Vigil 6.30pm: Geraldine Kane
Sun: 9.30am: Sean Robinson, Grace Kemp, Kathleen Montgomery
12.30pm: Isabella Reid
Mon: 10am: Priest’s intention
Tue: 10am: No Mass
Wed: 10am: Peter & Brigid Mc Evoy
Thurs:10am: Colin Canning
Fri: 10am: Margaret Hernan
Sat: 1pm: Special Intention
In the event of a funeral, the assigned intention will be offered privately by the priest at his first available mass.
Recently Deceased: Gerard Mc Allister, Rosina Kelly, Geraldine Crummey
Those whose anniversaries occur at this time: Tommy Kelly, Paddy Leonard, Mary & Henry Mc Keown, Annie Mc Callin, Anna & Patrick Tohill & family, Michael & Eddie Mallon, Margaret & Charles Mallon, Margaret & William Burgoyne
SVP CHRISTMAS CARDS and Trócaire “Gifts of Love” - Will be on sale again this weekend 12th /13th December and right up to Christmas. However, you can still purchase the Trocaire gifts at 50 King Street Belfast, Online www.trocaire.org/gifts or call 0800 912 1200. Please support again this year.
Sunday 13th December at 7.30pmThe Christmas Story (through music, songs, liturgical readings and poetry)
Sunday 20th December at 7.30pmThese concerts will be available via our YouTube and Facebook channels for free. Please spread the word as we hope to bring Christmas joy and festivities into households in the parish and beyond this Christmas Facebook: