On the Feast of the Epiphany there is a tradition of announcing the moveable feasts, usually in song, for the coming year. This gives a structure, a sense of timelessness, to the yearly rhythm of our faith.
Although we didn’t proclaim it at Masses on Wednesday here is the text for this year of 2021.
“Know, dear brothers and sisters that we have rejoiced at the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, so by leave of God’s mercy we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection who is our Saviour.
On the seventeenth day of February will fall Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.
On the fourth day of April, you will celebrate with joy Easter Day, the Paschal feast of Lord Jesus Christ.
On the thirteenth day of May will be the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the twenty third day of May, the feast of Pentecost.
On the sixth day of June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
On the twenty eighth day of November, the First Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honour and glory for ever and ever.
But we are also living at a time when we have been promised another timetable, a new and unprecedented schedule, concerning how the COVID vaccine will be administered. The government has set a target to offer vaccination slots to 13 million in the top four priority groups – including all over-80s – by 15 February. We hope and pray this will start the process of our eventual return to some form of normality to our parish life.
There are two other areas of our Christian life that we can, as a parish, focus on this year. The first is the initiative, “The God who speaks”. This began last year when we celebrated the 1600th anniversary of the death of one of the greatest minds in the Church’s history, St Jerome, who translated the Bible in the Latin Vulgate. Our focus at the beginning of this new year is on the upcoming Sunday of the Word of God on 24th January. You can look at the website for ideas on how to mark this day. Some of our parishioners took part in the seven week Bible timeline course last year which they found helpful. This year 2021 is the Year of Mark and most Sundays the Gospel will be taken from St Mark.
The second initiative is for us as a parish to look for ways to be a missionary parish. “Go, make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28. These words established the Church’s core mission, which have remained unchanged even as we have to navigate the uncharted waters of life in a Covid-19 world. We are starting our first online Alpha course is about to start on Wednesday, 20th January from 7.00 pm – 8.15 pm for 11 weeks. Some of the topics covered are:
- Is There More To Life Than This?
- Who is Jesus?
- Why Did Jesus Die?
- How Can I have Faith?
The group watches a 20 minute video each Wednesday and then discusses it afterwards. Having been on an Alpha course last year, one parishioner expressed how much she liked the course; she felt inspired by the videos and really enjoyed the debates/discussions. This is aimed at those who are seeking faith and answered to their questions about God and the meaning of life. Please pray for this new venture and for those who might sign up.
The COVID 19 vaccine we truly hope will bring safety and assurance to our daily life. As our new liturgical year begins, we can also take comfort in the familiarity of the Church’s cycle of worship and challenge ourselves too with exploring new ways to enrich and deepen our faith, our life in Christ.