Masses (Wednesday 5th Vigil Mass 5.30pm) Thursday 8am and 10am
This feast commemorates the visit of the pagan, wise men to worship the infant Jesus. It is a hugely significant event in that it reveals that this infant King is not only for the Jewish people but a King and Messiah for all nations. Research suggests that they had come from the Arabian Peninsula – and belonged to a pagan sect that longed for a Messiah. Tradition assigns to them the names Caspar, Melchior and Balthassar. The men were astrologers who were looking for the star that would lead them to the promised Messiah. According to the Gospel narratives, the wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and presented them to the infant in the manger. There is huge significance in these gifts that were presented. Gold was a precious and expensive gift; traditionally exchanged among royalty – a recognition that Jesus, despite his lowly birth, is King. Frankincense is a sweet perfume which was often burned in the temple to worship God – a recognition that Jesus should be worshipped. Myrrh was used to keep things fresh – and used by the Jews to preserve the body of one who died. It was used by the women to anoint Jesus’ body when he died. This presentation is a recognition that this Messiah would suffer and die.
A three-hour vigil of Thanksgiving will take place at Ascension Parish on Friday, 31st December, beginning at 9pm. It will conclude with Mass at 11.45. This Vigil is to give God thanks for all his blessings in 2021 – and asking His protection on our families and nation in 2022. We invite you to spend some time with us on that night.
Masses on Tuesday, Vigil – 5.30pm & Wednesday 8am and 10am.
On Wednesday, 8th December, Christians all over the world celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This feast recalls a hugely decisive moment in salvation history when God intervenes to spare Mary [at her moment of conception in the womb of her mother, Ann], from the consequences of the sin of Adam, (Original sin).
What were/are these consequences? The Church teaches that because of Adam’s disobedience every human being ever born is contaminated by that original sin – resulting in the loss of innocence – where the human will is weakened, the intellect is darkened and human passions are inclined towards evil.
Why was Mary granted this special grace from God? For one reason only – Mary was singularly chosen to bring forth in her womb the Saviour of the world. It could not happen that this Saviour could dwell in the womb of a person contaminated in any way by sin – original or actual. Thus, Mary, seen by God, even before she took existence, as an exemplary disciple, is spared the contamination of that original sin and so is indeed a worthy vessel for the Christ to take human form and to be born.
What was granted to Mary before Christ’s death and resurrection is now granted to all of us at Baptism.
O Mary conceived without original sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.