“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 & excellence derive, over & above its economic worth, from the value of those for whose sake it is undertaken.” (Address of Pope Paul VI: 5th Jan 1964)
On behalf of Fr Abbot, as his exile from us continues, 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 & their families; 29 came. Attendances at our four Christmas Masses were impressive; Christmas Eve 6pm ; 830pm ; & Christmas Day 9am at Gilling  & 10am here at OL&SB [54 ] ; 387 at our five Christmas Services. We welcomed many who returned from away to spend Christmas with family, together with a significant number who will always belong to us but who, for all sorts of reasons, only join us here for Christmas. A special moment when insiders & outsiders, innkeepers & shepherds, come to the manger As the mole in our Christmas book “the boy the mole the fox & the horse” said “I think everybody is just trying to get home”..indeed & together. Pope Francis’ words of encouragement addressed to our young people earlier this year fit well & comfortably to our shepherds out there on the front line, always part of our holy family on our shared journey towards the manger & the kingdom ; “May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! [ & you ]. And when you arrive where we [innkeepers] have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.” On your behalf, I would like to thank all those innkeepers who helped over Christmas in all sorts of service & ministry, ensuring the Church looked at its very best, & the liturgies were celebrated with reverence & joy, & with such outstanding singing from our music groups at our two Christmas Eve Masses, & our simple Christmas morning Mass in Gilling where, in the absence of the usual & much appreciated music accompaniment, the flock sang with great joy & unity, re-united again for a morning Mass at this special moment. We are indeed blessed to have such an active Parish Community; please keep all those affected by the amalgamation in your prayers, as they & we together come to terms with the inevitable yet difficult consequences, in a time of re-incarnation, where indeed “God-is-with-us” Emmanuel. An important initiative in helping weave together our three Churches in the process of amalgamation, which emerged from our Coordinating Group meetings, is the Parish Lunch next Sunday, the feast of the Epiphany, with the arrival of the wise men & women from Gilling & Oswaldkirk, who we have invited to lunch with us at OL&SB at 12noon in the Parish Hall. Large numbers have signed up so far in all three Churches; the lists close this weekend so if you haven’t yet signed up please do so after this Mass. The food & drinks will be provided from Parish funds, & we hope it will be a lovely moment to put names to faces, & help us to weave into the one holy family. The lunch will finish with some carol singing. With my love & prayers Fr Bede.