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CHAPLAIN'S MESSAGE: Our Lady and St John the Baptist

thumbnail image Aside from Our Lord himself, two figures feature most prominently in our liturgy, Our Lady and St John the Baptist. In the Roman Canon, Our Lady and St John head each of the two lists of saints because they stand at the turning point between the time of the prophets and patriarchs and the time of the saints, they stand at the turning point between the Old and New Testaments. It is especially appropriate therefore that these two great saints are celebrated at the very beginning of the Church’s new year and during this holy season of Advent.

On Friday, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and throughout Advent, but especially this Sunday (the second of Advent) we meditate on the role and message of St John the Baptist. This is no accident.

St John the Baptist stands at the end of the line of Old Testament Prophets, all of whom in their in their different ways and according to the different situations of the people of God pointed back to the original promise of God to send a redeemer. Immediately after the sin of our first parents, at the very beginning of human history and the story of man’s relationship with God, God already began to reveal the mystery of the incarnation that would be fulfilled in Christ. As Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, God promised that they would be freed from the power that the devil had gained over them by the son of a woman, a new Eve who would crush the devil’s head with her heel. In the feast of the Immaculate Conception we celebrate the coming into the world of that New Eve, unstained by the sin of the old Eve, who will bring forth the Saviour.

If the whole line of Old Testament Prophets were pointing obliquely to the coming fulfilment of this promise, then John the Baptist, who Jesus himself declared to be greater than any born of women, points directly with his finger to the Saviour, Jesus Christ. ‘Behold the Lamb of God’ he says, the object of all the desires of the human race from Adam and Eve onwards, because he is to ‘take away the sins of the world.’

Our Blessed Lady conceived without stain of original sin is the first of those redeemed by Christ. John the Baptist is the last of the prophets and esteemed as the greatest of those born of women by Jesus himself because of his closeness to Christ and his absolute fidelity to his role as the forerunner. When Jesus begins his public ministry John disappears and witnesses finally by the shedding of his blood. Therefore John shares that position with Our Blessed Lady at the head of long line of saints.

We too are called to continue that list; and by the grace of God and the prayers of Our Lady and St John the Baptist may it be so.

Fr Andrew Bowden

See also: College of Chaplains

THIS WEEK'S DIARY

thumbnail image Friday 8 December IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF OUR LADY
No Friday Abstinence
09.30 Hinsley Room Fitness Training and Coffee Morning
19.00 Cathedral Hall Charismatic Prayer Group

Saturday 9 December
10.00 Hinsley Room Centering Prayer Group
16.00 Lady Chapel Extraordinary Form Mass
18.00 Cathedral Victoria Choir sings at Mass

Sunday 10 December SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT
9.00-14.30 Cathedral Hall Christmas Fair
13.00 St Patrick’s Chapel Divine Mercy Prayer Group
16.45 Cathedral Organ Recital: Jonathan Allsopp (Westminster
Cathedral)
19.45 The Windsor Castle Young Adults’ Group

Monday 11 December Advent feria
11.30 Hinsley Room Prayer Group
18.30 Hinsley Room Christian Meditation Group
18.30 Cathedral Guild of the Blessed Sacrament

Tuesday 12 December Our Lady of Guadalupe
10.30 Crypt Mass (Latin)
11.00, 14.00 Cathedral Catholic Children’s Society Carol Services
12.30, 13.05, 17.30 Cathedral Hall Mass
18.30 Cathedral Guild of St Anthony

Wednesday 13 December St Lucy, Virgin & Martyr
14.00 Cathedral Choir School Christmas Carol Service
19.30 Hinsley Room Communion & Liberation Meeting

Thursday 14 December St John of the Cross, Priest & Doctor of the Church
13.30 Hinsley Room Art Lesson
17.30 Cathedral Closure; Said Mass at 17.30 in Cathedral Hall
18.30 Clergy House (Rm 2) Legion of Mary

Friday 15 December Advent feria
09.30 Hinsley Room Fitness Training and Coffee Morning
14.00 Cathedral Hall Seniors’ Christmas Party
19.00 Cathedral Hall Charismatic Prayer Group

Saturday 16 December Advent feria
10.00 Hinsley Room Centering Prayer Group
19.00 Cathedral Hall Simbang Gabi – Après Mass

Sunday 17 December THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT
Second Collection – Christmas Flowers
12.00 Hinsley Room Grandparents’ Association
13.00 St Patrick’s Chapel Divine Mercy Prayer Group
14.00 Hinsley Room Filipino Club
15.30 Cathedral Parish Christmas Carol Service (replaces Vespers;
refreshments follow in Cathedral Hall)
16.45 Cathedral Organ Recital: Jack Thompson (St Mary’s, Chelsea)
19.45 The Windsor Castle Young Adults’ Group

AN APPEAL FOR CHRISTMAS FLOWERS

thumbnail image Over next weekend, 16/ 17 December, there will be a Second Collection at all Masses for Christmas Flowers. It is right that we do all we can to add to the beauty of our Christmas celebrations, and so the appeal is for your help. Last year there was a considerable shortfall between the cost of the flowers and the amount collected. Please be generous in your contribution to this collection.

CHRISTMAS USHERS AND COLLECTORS

thumbnail image There will be sign- up sheets in the Well by the Lady Chapel for ushers and collectors who can help at the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses.
Please do help if you can.

THE FUTURE OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS - VOICE YOUR SUPPORT

thumbnail image Do you support Catholic schools and the right of Catholics to send their children to them? Then we need you to make your voice heard. The Government is making a critical decision on whether to overturn the admissions cap which prevents Catholic schools from allowing all Catholic pupils to attend. They have acknowledged that this policy discriminates against Catholics and promised to abandon it; now we need you to tell them not to u-turn on their promise to Catholics. The cap was introduced in 2010 and states that some new Catholic schools may only contain up to 50% Catholic pupils if they are oversubscribed. Visit http://catholicnews.org.uk/ or search for ‘Catholic Education’ in your search engine to write to the Government and urge them to drop their policy which bans new Catholic schools.

Related links: Link to Website

CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION - TUESDAY 19TH AND WEDNESDAY 20TH DECEMBER 2017

thumbnail image The ever-popular Cathedral Christmas Celebration returns at 7.30pm on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 December, featuring Readings for Christmas and Music by the Cathedral Choir and Orchestra under the direction of Martin Baker. Tickets are now available from the Cathedral Gift Shop or from Ticketmaster on 0844 844 0444, www.ticketmaster.co.uk

Related links: Link to Ticketmaster

CATHEDRAL CONFIRMATION PROGRAMME 2018

thumbnail image Application forms for the 2018 Confirmation Programme 2018 are available at the information desk at the back of the Cathedral and at Clergy House Reception. Candidates should be in Year 9 or above. Please return forms by Friday 15 December.

THANK YOU MESSAGE FROM THE SVP

thumbnail image The Sale on Sunday 3 December raised just under £540 towards the SVP’s work in the parish. Thank you to all who supported.

I WAS IN PRISON: A WORK OF MERCY

thumbnail image Would anyone who is interested in writing letters to someone who is currently in prison, who has asked the Cathedral for this support, please contact Fr Martin Plunkett through Clergy House Reception.
Letters would be sent out ‘care of’ the Cathedral as the return address, so private information need not be given.

SENIORS’ CHRISTMAS PARTY - FRIDAY 15TH DECEMBER

thumbnail image There will be a Christmas Tea Party for Seniors of the Cathedral Parish in the Cathedral Hall on Friday 15 December from 2 – 4pm. Application forms should now have been submitted, so that we have an idea of how many would like to attend. We are very grateful for the most generous support of the Cathedral Parish St Vincent de Paul Society for this year’s party.

FILIPINO CLUB SIMBANG GABI (NIGHT MASS) - SATURDAY 16TH DECEMBER

thumbnail image The Filipino Club celebrates its traditional Simbang Gabi (Night Mass) in the Cathedral at the 6 pm Vigil Mass on Saturday 16 December. All are welcome to post-Mass refreshments in Cathedral Hall.

CHILDREN’S LITURGY 2018

thumbnail image Due to a lack of resources our 9am Children's Liturgy is not running this term. However, we are seeking new volunteers for this important ministry in our parish so that we can restart in January 2018. If you are interested in either leading or helping supervise children at the 9am Mass every few weeks, then please contact Fr Julio or Fr Andrew G for more details.

VOLUNTEERING AT CARDINAL HUME CENTRE

thumbnail image The Centre has an urgent need of volunteers to help in the children’s Homework Club in the afternoon Monday to Friday for 2 hours each day. It also requires volunteers to help in the Charity Shop on Horseferry Road. For more information, please contact Flora and Emily in their Volunteering Team at volunteering@cardinalhumecentre.org.uk or 020 7222 1602.

Related links: Email for Cardinal Hume Centre Volunteering

WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL YOUNG ADULTS

thumbnail image The Westminster Cathedral Young Adults group meets every Sunday following the 7.00pm Mass. We gather outside the main doors of the Cathedral after Mass (at the bottom of the steps, on the Piazza) and generally go to The Windsor Castle for a little socialising. We attempt to create a sense of community amongst young Catholic adults who come to London from all parts of the globe. All are welcome. For further details email westminsteryoungadults@gmail.com

Related links: Email Westminster Cathedral Young Adults

AMERICAN FRIENDS

thumbnail image American taxpayers can receive a US income tax deduction for their contributions to support the work and heritage of the Cathedral by directing their contributions to American Friends of Westminster Cathedral, Inc., a non profit 501(c)(3) Organization (EIN # 13-2983174).

They will also enjoy special events and receive newsletters about Cathedral activities. Donations may be made through bequests and charitable trusts.

Contact Ms. Una Chang, President, American Friends of Westminster Cathedral, Inc., P.O. Box 92, New York, New York 10185-0092, e-mail UChang1@aol.com

Related links: Click here for email

EXPOSITION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

thumbnail image This takes place in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel every Monday to Friday following the 1.05pm Mass until 4.45pm.