This coming Thursday is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, patroness of our parish, church and primary school.  11th February marks the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to St Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858.  We send you all our best wishes for this important feast. Today is the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Already the meaning and message of Lent is reaching out to us, calling us to prepare for the great journey of renewal. There is some further information below about the parish feast day and the start of Lent.  Best wishes and every blessing to you all for the coming week.

Tuesday is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the final end of the celebration of the Christmas mysteries in the liturgy. This feast is also known as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Candlemas Day. The feast is a special day of prayer for everyone in consecrated and religious life. In the mystery of the Word-Made-Flesh, God's light has unexpectedly entered our darkness and illumined the whole of time and history. God's light of revelation also illumines our own lives and struggles. We pray at this time especially for the light of heaven to enlighten our own perspective on the current situation, confident that God really is: God-with-us.

150 years ago, St Joseph was declared Patron of the Universal Church by Bl. Pope Pius IX. To mark this anniversary, Pope Francis has declared 2021 to be a special 'Year of St Joseph'. As we know, Joseph was the guardian and protector of the Holy Family, just as now he has a special care for the family of God which is the Church. Perhaps during these months we can renew our devotion to St Joseph as we seek his heavenly protection at this difficult time. St Joseph: pray for us!

Today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, which has been designated by Pope Francis as a special day to reflect of the Word of God. In these days after Christmas and Epiphany we are continually invited through the liturgy to reflect on the mystery of Christ, the Word-made-Flesh, who has lived among us. Pope John Paul II, at the start of his pontificate, implored humanity, 'to let Christ speak to man'. Christ, who is God's living Word among us, speaks to us and reveals to us his Father. His words of the Gospel, which are always new and life-giving, continue to form us and show us the way of life. Perhaps today there may be an opportunity for each one of us to reflect on these truths and spend some time praying with the readings we have heard at Mass.

Today is the Feast of the Lord's Baptism. This event at the River Jordan is a kind of Epiphany when there was a revelation of God's love at the beginning of Jesus' ministry. The voice of Father is heard and the Spirit is seen when Jesus is anointed as the Christ of God. God is love and his overwhelming love for each of us is revealed in the mystery of Christ, the Word-made-flesh and the Saviour of the world.


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