The Feast day of St Stephen, First Martyr

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Mass was celebrated at St Mary’s today on the Feast of St Stephen, First Martyr. Saint Stephen was one of the first deacons of the Christian Church. He was the first Christian martyr.

Stephen is believed to have been a Greek Jew who converted to Christianity. When the number of disciples increased, there was much confusion over the distribution of alms and the serving of the poor. Stephen’s trustworthy character marked him out, and he was chosen as one of the seven deacons who would perform this task.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An excellent and well trusted orator, his preaching style was so effective that many Jews became worried about his success. They accused him of blasphemy and he was made to stand trial.

At the supreme Jewish law court, the Sanhedrin, Stephen recounted the many mercies that God had given the children of Israel, and the ungrateful way in which they had repaid Him. He accused them of murdering Jesus, whose coming, he said, had been foretold by Moses. This angered the crowd and he was dragged out onto the streets. He was then stoned to death according to the law at that time, an event witnessed by St Paul. It is believed he died around the year 34CE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He is believed to have been initially buried in a grave to the north of Jerusalem, but this body was exhumed and moved to a new grave outside the Damascus Gate. This is where the stoning is believed to have taken place.

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen is the patron saint of deacons, altar servers, headaches, horses, coffin makers, and masons. He is often represented carrying a pile of rocks or with rocks on his head.

O come let us adore Him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A very Happy and Holy Christmas to our blog readers and viewers! The Christ can be seen lying in the Manger. Watching over Him are Mary and Joseph.


 

 

 

 

 

At the Family Mass during the Homily, children came forward to look at the crib more closely.


 

 

 

 

 

Both the 4:30pm Family Mass at St Patrick’s and the 6:30pm Family Mass at St Mary’s were full and standing… No room at the Inn!


 

 

 

 

 

It is always a beautiful sight to see the Church lit by candlelight on the inside…


 

 

 

 

 

and on the outside!


 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Feast continues with the Solemn celebration of Midnight Mass which was at St Patrick’s Church.


 

 

 

 

 

From the Preface of the Nativity of the Lord:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
For in the mystery of the Word made flesh
a new light of your glory has shone upon the eyes of our mind,
so that, as we recognize in him God made visible,
we may be caught up through him in love of things invisible.
And so, with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominions,
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,
we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim:

St Mary’s Primary School Mass

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Monday children and staff from St Mary’s Primary School joined parishioners for Holy Mass at St Mary’s Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It truly was a wonderful occasion to see the Church full of young people and to hear them singing for joy!

The final week of Advent begins!

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This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Advent which begins the final week of this liturgical season of Advent. As can be seen above, four candles are now lit on the Advent Wreath.

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In this final week of Advent we will hear the ‘O Antiphons’ at Mass.

The O Antiphons, also known as The great Os are Magnificat Antiphons used at Vespers (Evening Prayer) of the last seven days of Advent.They are also used as the alleluia verses on the same days in the Holy Mass.

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They are referred to as the “O Antiphons” because the title of each one begins with the interjection “O”. Each antiphon is a name of Christ, one of his attributes mentioned in Scripture. They are:

  • December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
  • December 18: O Adonai (O Lord)
  • December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
  • December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
  • December 21: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
  • December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
  • December 23: O Emmanuel (O With us is God)

Gaudete Sunday

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Yesterday we celebrated the Third Sunday of Advent which is also known as Gaudete Sunday. The day takes its common name from the Latin word Gaudete (“Rejoice”), the first word of the introit of this day’s Mass:

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione et obsecratione cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

This may be translated as:

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.” Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84) 1.

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On Gaudete Sunday rose-coloured vestments may be worn instead of violet; as can be seen in the picture above. The colour violet is prescribed for every day in the season of Advent. Gaudete Sunday was also known as “Rose Sunday”.

Day of Reflection on the Feasts of Christmas-Tide

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Last Friday, Fr Joe Smith and Dympna Magee led a Day of Reflection on the Feasts of Christmas-Tide in St Mary’s Church Hall. The SVP (Saint Vincent de Paul Society) organised this event which was well attended by parishioners!

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The Day of Reflection started with everyone singing the hymn ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’. The first session theme was on the Advent season and Oscar Romero and the second session theme was the feast days after Christmas – St Stephen, St John and The Holy Innocents. Hence the violet and red cloths on the table at the front.