Happy Christmas 2020: On behalf of the Community at The Graan I wish each one of you a very happy blessed and safe Christmas. This Christmas of 2020 is one that none of us will ever forget. Coronavirus, Brexit, Health issues can cloud our vision of the fact that God entered into our skin and sin. May we take a moment to allow ourselves to be amazed, astounded and awakened to the fact that God loved us so much “that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). May we always be thankful! Fr Charles C.P
Christmas Cards and Gifts: The Community would like to thank you for all the Christmas cards and gifts they have received in the past few weeks. We promise to pray for all your intentions now and in the New Year.
Christmas Collection: There will be a special collection taken up today for the Community’s work here at The Graan.
Remembering the Dead at Christmas: We have placed all the names of your deceased relatives on the altar. They will be remembered at all our Christmas Masses today and over the Christmas period. We have also enrolled each and every one of your loved ones on our Passionist Mass Guild to be prayed for at daily Mass throughout the year.
Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Masses: Because of the pandemic it is no longer an obligation to attend Mass. However you can join us from your own home via our webcam for all Masses at The Graan and on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. To help us accommodate those wishing to go to Mass for Christmas we have put on an extra Mass at 6pm on Christmas Eve. The second Mass on Christmas Eve will be at 8.30pm. We want to prevent overcrowding at any of these Masses: therefore we will be using our overflow rooms (which can accommodate small numbers), in the old sacristy and in the upper prayer room. We will have these Masses transmitted by radio link also. You may have to sit in your car in our car park and listen to the Mass on your radio. Tune into 106FM.
Christmas morning: 9am, 10.30am and 12noon. There will be no 4pm Mass on Christmas Day.
Christmas Crib: Please visit our Crib during this special season. The proceeds will go to St Vincent de Paul in Enniskillen. Thanks to Gerry Murphy for erecting the crib at Our Lady’s Grotto.
Thanks also to Dervilia from DD’s Flowers in Irvinestown for the beautiful flower arrangements.
2021 Graan Calendars: These are available free of charge at the Graan shop today. Please take one home with you.
Post-Christmas Arrangements: St Stephen’s Day (Saturday) Mass at 11am & Vigil @ 6.30pm. Sunday 27th - 10.30am, 12noon & 4pm. Mon 28th, Tues 29th, Wed 30th & New Year’s Eve Mass will be at 11am. New Year’s Day (Friday) - Mass @ 11am.
Recently Deceased: John (Sean) Corrigan, Graan Abbey Nursing Home & Moyletra Gardens, Enniskillen
Libera Mullen, Gransha, Enniskillen
Christmas Day: This year we bought a new Christmas crib for our sanctuary in the Graan. We always, over the years, placed a larger crib in the shrine of St. Maria Goretti. The heavy statue of St. Maria Goretti had to be moved to make way for the building up of the crib. A lot of work went into constructing that crib year after year. When the web-cam was erected in the Graan during this year we felt that this older crib was situated too far away from those viewing our services on web-cam. We needed something that was more portable, smaller, and suitable for our needs. We are told that St. Francis of Assisi was the first to use the crib as a means of helping people to become aware of the wonderful moment of God being born among us. We, human beings, need images and statues to remind us of the mysteries that we celebrate. There is an old proverb that says: “What I hear I forget! What I see I remember! What I experience I know!” St. Francis wanted to make this self-giving of God vivid and real, and so he created the first Christmas crib. At a small town called Greccio, in December 1223, he asked a man named John to prepare a manger, with hay, an ox and an ass. Then Francis came with his brothers and the local people to celebrate Christmas with great rejoicing, and Francis sang the gospel and preached powerfully ‘on the nativity of the poor King’. We live in the age of images. Creation itself is an image or icon of the work of the Creator. Because we live in this beautiful world created by our good God everything we see in it is His handiwork. If we lived on the moon our minds would be as desolate as the moon. However because we live on this planet - even though it is being sorely devastated today by our selfishness - it is the place where we can meet God. A western monastic from France, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) sought to restore the original Rule of St. Benedict to a monasticism that had grown weak and lax. Bernard was considered a giant of scriptural wisdom and theology. Many in his day considered it amazing that his biographer William of St. Thierry wrote that Bernard gained his brilliant understanding of scripture and spirituality alone out under the trees and in the forests. He writes: Indeed, to this day, he declares that whatever competence he has in the Scriptures, whatever spiritual sensitivity he has for them, stems from his meditating or praying in woodland and field. And among his friends, he jokes merrily of having no other masters for such lessons but the oaks and the beeches. Bernard explained this in a letter. “Please believe from one who knows: You will find something greater in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters. God comes to us in the ordinary, in the beauty of creation, in the vulnerable and the poor, in the sacraments of the Church, and above all, in the depth of our own being. Pope Leo the Great (400-461) gave this wonderful sermon to the people one Christmas Night - his words are still true for us today who are moving into the year 2021
Around the crib there is no reason for sadness.
The birthday of life which does away with the fear of death,
And gives the joy of the hope of immortality, is what we celebrate.
Christ comes with redemption for all.
Let the saints rejoice: for he hastens to his crown.
Let the sinners be filled with joy: for pardon is offered to him/her.
Let all be encouraged: for all are called to life.
The angel exults at the birth of the Lord and sing:
“Glory to God in high heaven”
Peace on earth for people on whom his favour rests.
How greatly ought mere humans to rejoice at this work of the divine love?
When the angels on high thrill so much at it.
Let us give thanks to God the Father who loved us and had pity on us
When we were dead through sin, and in giving life to Christ has given life to us also.
O Christian be aware of your nobility –
It is God’s own nature that you share:
Do not then by an ignoble life, fall back into your former baseness
Think of the head, think of the body of which you are a member.
Recall that you have been rescued from the power of darkness
And have been transferred to the light of God, the kingdom of God.
Through the sacrament of baptism you have been made a temple of the Holy Spirit; do not, by evil deeds, drive so great an indweller away from you, submitting yourself once more to the power of evil.
For you were bought at the price of Christ’s blood. Amen.
Have a holy and happy Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year! Frs. Charles, Arthur, Victor, Anthony, Brendan