Parish Priest - Father Anton Column
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am able to use the greeting, “Brothers and Sisters” because Jesus changed the baptism of John the Baptist from a baptism of simple repentance into a baptism of repentance and the gift of the Holy Spirit, making us into the Sons and Daughters of God the Father and Brothers and Sisters of Jesus Christ.
Today we are reminded that John made the way for the Lord Jesus to begin his ministry. In doing so Jesus brought to us the grace of the sacraments, there are seven in all: Baptism, Confession, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Marriage, Holy Orders and the Sacrament of the Sick and Dying. These are the means by which Christ comes to us repeating the gift of Baptism, giving us his presence that of the Holy Spirit living in us.
The Holy Spirit inspires us and sends us out into the world to spread the Good news, which is the Gospel itself. Being a follower of Christ means also to be an example and a leader, a light to the world, salt to the earth and leaven to the dough! May this Advent be a little Lent that encourages us to pray a little more, to fast a little more and to enjoy the Spirit of Christ at Christmas a little more!
Please note a change in plan from a notice in the Newsletter last week. We had been seriously looking at Carol Singing in the centre of Newcastle in order to raise money for charity. However getting permission and a licence is not guaranteed so we are accepting the usual invitation from the Gatehouse to sing carols there. The manager is having the piano tuned for us and we will be in our usual place of past years. The event is to take place on Thursday December 20th at the earlier time of 6.30 p.m. We will have the usual two half-hour sessions with a break in between. Come and join in the spirit of the season.
This weekend my Superior General from Rome will be paying a visit to Clayton. He speaks some English, but is fluent in Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Apologies that he is not able to come in time for the Ashley Mass but I will endeavour to drive him over on the Sunday to visit our Ashley Church and see something of our history and the beauty of the chapel.
Remember the call of St John the Baptist to repent and make way for the Lord, especially that place within your hearts this Christmas. There are a number of penitential services throughout the deanery; ours is on Tuesday Dec 18th at 7.15 p.m. and there will be four priests present for confessions. Please see the list on the front of the newsletter.
Please keep in your prayers the sick and dying. Also please pray for the repose of the soul of Fred Wright who died last Sunday. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord!
Finally a hearty Congratulations to Spencer Christmas and Lucinda Myatt on their wedding day this weekend.
Take care and have a beautifully happy and spiritual Advent!
Father Anton s.c.j.