Sancta Maria Catholic Parish  

www.livingtheword.org.nz
www.foodforfaith.org.nz

2019-20 Christmas/ Holiday Mass Schedule

4th Sunday of Advent ~ God With Us

This time of year can be difficult for many people.  For some it’s the hassle and the extra work that makes them fearful.  For others it’s the strain put on their already overstretched finances.  For others it’s fear of the conflicts that sometimes occur in families at this time.  And for     others it is the fact that Christmas reawakens painful memories – the memory of a death or a tragedy that occurred around this time, or even at another time that is felt again at Christmas.

But those who fear the approach of Christmas can take heart and hope from the story of the first Christmas. There was plenty of fear present in it too.  Joseph was afraid when he found that Mary was expecting a child even though they hadn’t yet lived together.  Mary was afraid on hearing the greeting of the angel Gabriel, and when the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds they were terrified.  In each case the angel implored them not to be afraid.  To Joseph, “Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit”. To Mary, “Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour.”  To the shepherds, “’Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy… Today a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

They were called to trust God despite their fear.  Let us too trust in God despite our fears and allow our hearts to be open to the news of great joy, that God is with us.

Special thanks to all those who have helped in the parish this year.  There are many ministries that occur in a parish and hundreds of people who give up their time to volunteer to help – thank you.  May you, and all parishioners of Sancta Maria parish, have a happy and holy Christmas and New Year.

Fr Phil.