For Your Newsletters
Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help! May we reach out to them and support them so they can feel the warmth of our presence, our friendship, and our fraternity! MV 15
Who do you know who is suffering from unemployment, hunger, homelessness? What could you do to support them?
Great Oneliners for Christmas
These quotes from Pope Francis remind us of the importance of the Christmas season.
The time has come for new messengers of Christ, ever more generous, more joyful and more holy
Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters, and we must act as such.
Christmas is joy, religious joy, an inner joy of light and peace.
A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.
Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.
Life is a journey. When we stop, things don’t go right.
God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it.
A Year of Mercy
The Pope’s announcement of a holy year for mercy suggests that Pope Francis wants us to know how much God loves us, warts and all.
The “extraordinary Holy Year” will take place from December 8, 2015, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, to November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King.
Announcing the closing date, the Pope added a new term to the title of Christ celebrated that day, also calling Jesus “the living face of the mercy of the Father”.
There are many resources available to help us explore how to be and what it means to be “the living face of the mercy of the Father”.
Prayer for Mission
Gracious and merciful God,
we pray that through the Holy Spirit
we may all hear your call to mission
and seek a deeper relationship with your Son, Jesus.
that our plan “Fit For Mission” will renew our diocese,
inspiring all Catholics to “go forth and make disciples of all nations” and transform society through the power of the Gospel.
for all members of the Church,
that we heed the words of Christ
—“do not be afraid”—
and strengthened by the Holy Spirit’s gift of courage,
give witness to the Gospel and share our faith with others.
that we may become
like the father of the prodigal son
—filled with compassion for our missing brothers and sisters—
and run to embrace them upon their return.
that all people
yearning to know Christ and the Church
may encounter him through the faithful
who witness to his love in their lives.
that we may learn to use modern means of communication
to spread the good news, to reach out
and touch those who tweet and twitter and email and text.
We ask that you inspire us to embrace the new media in your name.
Loving God, our Creator,
strengthen us to become witnesses
to the saving grace of your Son,
Jesus, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Hymns with a Mission Theme
We are called – David Haas (GIA)
Act justly – Trisha Watts/Monica O’Brien
All are welcome (Marty Haugen) GIA
Be not afraid (Bob Dufford) (New Dawn Music)
Bring Forth the Kingdom (Marty Haugen) (GIA)
City of God – Dan Schulte
Christ be our Light (Bernadette Farrell) OCP
Companions on the Journey – Carey Landry
God has Chosen Me – Bernadette Farrell
Go Now You are Sent Forth – Leo Watt
God gives his people strength – Winter/McCrimmon
Go Tell everyone – Richards/Alan Dale
Go the Mass is ended – Pereira/McCrimmon
Hear what our God asks of us – Chris Skinner
Here I am Lord – Dan Schutte
Prayer of St Francis – Sebastian Temple OCP
Send Down the Fire (Marty Haugen) GIA
Servant Song – Richard Gillard COP
Song of the Body of Christ (David Haas) (GIA)
The Summons – John Bell & Grahame Maule (Wild Goose)
They’ll know we are Christians – Peter Scholles (FEI)
We are the Church – Christopher Walker (OCP)
Who will Speak? (Marty Haugen) (GIA)
You are mine (David Haas) GIA
The Lord hears the cry of the poor John Foley SJ
Song of Faith – Maria Guzzo (NZ)
Joyful, Joyful – James Lyons (NZ) Tune Ode to Joy
Bring Forth the Kingdom – Marty Haugen GIA
Joyful is the Gospel
(Sung to the tune of Ode to Joy)
Joyful, joyful is the Gospel, bringing news of happiness,
God in time is born among us, Jesus Christ the Word made flesh
Son of God he gifts the Spirit, freeing hearts held down by fear
Opening doors to new horizons, speaking love for all to hear.
See the love of God around us in the beauty of each day
Let our hearts be filled with gladness, giving thanks along the way
Winter times of pain and sorrow melt in the glow of love’s clear light
Celebrate our gratefulness with caring hands and faces bright.
Every life is rich with blessings, everyone has gifts to share
Peace and justice are the fruits of giving self in generous care
Goodness always tends to grow, reaching across each boundary
Mercy gives the strongest witness crowning our humanity.
Joyful, joyful is the Gospel, gifting us with life anew
Offering all a new beginning, young and old, and strangers too.
Live this message, bring it to others, Smile the joy our faith proclaims,
Hand in hand walk on together, Christian both in deed and Name
James Lyons Ode to The Joy of the Gospel, Welcom March 2014
A Prayerful Reflection on Mercy for Lent
Lent: A time for Returning and Forgiving A reflection for use by individuals or a group
Return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love
In Pope Francis’ new book, “The Name of God is Mercy” he calls upon each of us to be merciful. Just as God shows mercy to us –God is always there to accept and forgive, whatever we have done – all we need to do is to turn towards God – like the Prodigal Son, or the dishonest servant, or the woman who was being stoned. Jesus showed the face of Mercy by his words, actions and entire person.
How do I/we do this? How do I/we show mercy? The number one challenge to becoming truly merciful is to forgive others. If we have experienced forgiveness ourselves it is so much easier to forgive others.
In preparation for Lent, let us do two things
Part One – Recall a time when someone forgave us or showed us mercy.
- Think about this, reflect, and write it down on a piece of paper.
- How did you feel?
- Share how you felt when you were forgiven. (If in a group)
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Part Two – Think of someone in your life that you need to forgive or show mercy to – it might be a family member, alive or dead, a teacher, a neighbour, a former friend or colleague, someone who has wronged you or harmed you in some way. It might have happened last week, last year or last century.
- Name that person to yourself.
- Think about how you could go about showing forgiveness/mercy to that person. Perhaps make a resolution that during this year of mercy you will reach out to that person in forgiveness.
Pope Francis says:
Pardoning offences becomes the clearest expression of merciful love, and for us Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves.
- If the person is dead, still think of forgiveness, as resentment over hurts just harms us. Let go of that hurt, forgive that person in your heart. Forgiveness is mostly about me – Forgiveness is the mark of a Christian. In forgiveness we act like Jesus, showing the mercy of God.
- Quiet prayer
We pray that in this Jubilee Year of Mercy – we will be a people who practise Mercy in the way we offer forgiveness and share our unconditional love with all our brothers and sisters. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
R/ My soul bless God, Bless God’s Holy name
all my inmost being, praise God’s holy name.
Bless God who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and enfolds you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. R/.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. R/.
God will not accuse us long, God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. R/.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who believe him;
for God knows how we are made, remembers that we are dust. R/. (Psalm 103)
We pray with Pope Francis
You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified. You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God. Amen.
Excerpt from Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
You can download a hard-copy of this reflection Returning and Forgiving