The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus –the school of the Gospel. First, then, a lesson of silence. May esteem for silence, that admirable & indispensable condition of mind, revive in us, besieged as we are by so many uplifted voices, the general noise & uproar, in our seething & over-sensitised modern life.
May the silence of Nazareth teach us recollection, inwardness, the disposition to listen to good inspirations & the teachings of true masters. May it teach us the need for & the value of preparation, of study, of meditation, of personal inner life, of the prayer, which God alone sees in secret.
Next, there is a lesson on family life. May Nazareth teach us what family life is, its communion of love, its austere & simple beauty, & its sacred & inviolable character. Let us learn from Nazareth that the formation received at home is gentle & irreplaceable. Let us learn the prime importance of the role of family in the social order.
Finally, there is a lesson of work. Nazareth, home of the “Carpenter’s Son”, in you I would choose to understand & proclaim the severe & redeeming law of human work ;here I would restore the awareness of the nobility of work ; & reaffirm that work cannot be an end in itself, but that its freedom & its excellence derive, over & above its economic worth, from the value of those for whose sake it is undertaken. [Address of Pope Paul VI ; 5 Jan 1964]
On behalf of Fr Abbot, Fr Prior, & our Community, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas season. It has been a time when our Parish could be seen & experienced at its best. On Christmas Eve, we enjoyed a Crib Service with our youngest parishioners, including Louis William Slingsby 10days old, & their parents & grandparents; 54 came. Attendances at our three Christmas Masses exceeded last year’s impressive numbers; Christmas Eve 6pm ; 830pm  & Christmas Day [ 85]. 413 at our four Christmas Services. We welcomed many who returned from away to spend Christmas with family, as well as a significant number who will always belong to us but, for all sorts of reasons, only join us for Christmas. They made our Christmas special by their presence & full participation. Our flock will always value the Herdwick as well as the Swaledale. It is always heartening to bump into someone close by or further afield, who says with a smile “Fr Bede, I am one of your Herdwicks!” proud to be so & keen to be recognised & appreciated as such. There is no such thing as a “lapsed Catholic” & please, when someone seeks to explain their distant situation, remind them “once a Catholic always a Catholic”, always part of our holy family on our shared journey towards the manger & the kingdom. On your behalf I would like to thank all those Swaledales who helped us over Christmas in all sorts of service & ministry, ensuring the Church looked at its very best, & that the liturgies were celebrated with reverence & joy. We are indeed blessed to have such an active Parish Community.
“dancing towards the future with immense hope – the leaven that makes it possible to look beyond arguments, conflicts & problems & to see things in a broader perspective. It harnesses our uncertainties & concerns, so that growth can take place. Hope also bids us live fully in the present, giving our all to the life of the family, for the best way to prepare a solid future is to live well in the present.” [ Pope Francis ; Amoris Laetitia n.209]
“all of us are called to keep striving towards something greater than ourselves & our families, & every family must feel this constant impulse. Let us make this journey as families, let us keep walking together. What we have been promised is greater than we can imagine. May we never lose heart because of our limitations or ever stop seeking that fullness of love & communion that God holds out before us. [Amoris Laetita n.325]
With my love & prayers for a happy family day, Fr Bede.