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Jan 7th 2023

SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD - 8th January 2023

My Dear Brothers and Sisters, The Epiphany, or manifestation of God’s glory, sums up the whole Christmas season. Like the Magi, the three wise men, we come to worship our God, to praise Him for His wonders and to offer Him our thanksgiving, which is the Eucharist, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

We see in this Feast, God’s glory shining through a babe, pinpointed by a star and revealed in the choice of the gifts presented to Him. Gold for a King, Frankincense for a Priest and Myrrh for a Sacrifice. We see God’s glory manifest in the Christ as He accepts baptism at the hands of John and the Father’s voice is heard, “This is my Son.” We see His glory manifest once more as that same Christ performs His first miracle at the Wedding feast at Cana in Galilee.

He truly is God who took flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was born for us and for our salvation. We therefore give thanks with hearts, hands and voices and pray that we may make Him manifest to our own generation so desperately in need of hope and purpose.

Our celebration this Sunday will also include the Blessing of Chalk. St. Matthew tells us that when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem to visit Jesus, they found him and his mother in a house, not the stable where they had found their first temporary shelter. This is a cue that our Epiphany celebrations should focus on our own homes, and it is a very old custom to bless houses through Epiphany and Epiphanytide. In the East, in particular, it is the custom for the parish priest to go through the parish blessing houses – not the elaborate blessing of a new home, but a special blessing that is also often given at Easter, a renewal of the homes in which the people of God dwell and live out the mystery of faith day by day. However, there is another way of blessing homes at Epiphanytide that begins in Church, but does not require the priest to go from house to house – something that would be quite impossible in many parishes in the modern world. This custom involves chalk that is blessed by the priest and taken home by families to mark the doors of their homes.

On The Epiphany, we will bless chalk during the Parish Mass to be used to hallow all our homes. The chalk will be available at the back of the Church for you to take home, and a text for the “chalking” is included in the Epiphany service bulletin.

SERVICES FOR THE WEEK Sunday - Festal Mass for the Epiphany of the Lord at 10.00 am

Tuesday – Mass at 6.30 pm NOTE : The Benedictine Study Group meets for the first time in this New Year tonight at the Vicarage at 7.15pm.

Wednesday – Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 11.45 am - Mass at 12.15 pm

Thursday - Mass at 10.00 am

Friday - BCP / English Missal Mass at 10.00 am

Saturday - Mass at 10.00 am

Next Sunday - The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - 15th January 2023 Parish Mass at 10.00 am

SUNDAY MASS WILL BE BROADCAST this week. Tune in via our Parish Facebook page. TO TUNE IN VIA FACEBOOK TO JOIN IN OUR WORSHIP PLEASE OPEN THE FACEBOOK APP ON YOUR PHONE OR DEVICE AND SEARCH FOR: “St Martin’s Parish Church, Fenny Stratford."

TEA AND COFFEE IS SERVED AFTER MASS ON SUNDAYS - DO JOIN US FOR FELLOWSHIP.

PARISH NEWS BENEDICTINE STUDY GROUP Reconvenes this Tuesday, the 10th January, 2023 at the Vicarage at the usual time of 7.15 pm. Father Victor looks forward to seeing folk on that occasion. All are welcome. Mass on Wednesday at 12.15 pm will be offered as a Requiem for the Repose of the Soul of Barbara Goodman. Together with John, they gave faithful service to Saint Martin’s in a variety of offices over the years. Her funeral took place at the Vale Crematorium at Luton last Wednesday. Father Victor attended to represent the Parish family. Please pray for the repose of Barbara’s soul and please come to this Requiem Mass for her if you are able.

This Thursday’s Mass at 10.00am will also be a Requiem Mass offered for the late Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI. We pray for all those who looked to him for spiritual guidance during his reign. IF YOU HAVE ANY PRAYERS or Mass intentions you would like me to offer at Mass or if would like someone added to our parish prayer list of the Sick or Departed.

My contact details are as follows: Telephone: 01908 372825

I am also available in person during Surgery Hour on Saturday’s in Church between 10.30am - 11.30am.

THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION AND RECONCILIATION is also available at this time.

Please continue to remember the following in your prayers: For the strength to remain firm in our new spiritual resolutions for this New Year.

For the strength to witness more diligently to our Christian faith in the year ahead.

For an end of war in the Ukraine and in Somalia and the Reestablishment of Peace.

That we may continue to remember, the needs of those so less fortunate than ourselves.

For our new Bishop Elect, Paul Thomas, that he may receive those heavenly gifts and graces to equip him to be a truly holy pastor and Bishop.

For those at school, college or University, that they may be kept safe and well.

For those who work, particularly those who have families or other dependents.

For the Government, that in this time of rising costs we may see increased integrity within the world of politics.

For peace to reign within our homes and amongst one another.

For the elderly, housebound and those living in residential and nursing homes.

For our Ambulance Service and for our other Emergency Service Staff and for Milton Keynes Hospital and all who work there.

For Father Victor and Father Ian and for all parish clergy as they seek to continue to make present in our midst the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, the other Sacraments of Christ and offer continuing Pastoral care.

For the Monastic Community of the House of Initia Nova of the Order of Saint Benedict as it continues settles into its new home in Ponce, Puerto Rico and that it finds the funds to furnish its new Motherhouse.

For it’s Abbot, Michael-John Austin, for all of the community and for those new to its life.

For the Sick:

For Judy Rogers, Heather Burke, Suzanna Moirano, June Reid, Nicola Monaghan, Rosalio Eluna, Susan Carter, Pam Wilderspin, Jean Holden, Peter White, Denis & Yvonne Simpson, Paul Ward, David Lingham, Sandra Walduck, Eugenius Yung and Doris Weatherley.

For the Departed:

For Pope Emeritus Benedict, Barbara Goodman, Benjamin Reid and all the recently departed, and for Bert Shouler, Joseph Joyce, Elsie Callow, Kate Gammage, Irene Albert, Frederick Harrold, Emmeline Parkins, Gladys Smith, Margaret Joyce, Dorothy Masters, Howard Jarvis and all whose Year’s Mind occurs at this time.

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord.

And let Light Perpetual shine upon them.

Every blessing,

Father Victor (Brother Cuthbert OSB)

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