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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 16 December 2018 Posted on Sunday 16 December 2018

Third Sunday of Advent
We name the third Sunday of Advent ‘Gaudete Sunday’ to express our joy that the Lord’s coming is very near. Saint Paul in this weekend’s second reading encourages us to be happy and tolerant for the Lord is very near and we hear that the people who listened to the message of John the Baptist had the humility to acknowledge that they needed guidance from him in order to find out what they must do to prepare for the one who is to come. Tolerance, humility and clarity of direction of travel are in short supply in our society particularly on the national political front in recent days. At least John the Baptist is clear what we must do to prepare our hearts for the great gift of God himself which is more than we can say for those who lead us politically.

The tradition of blessing the baby Jesus crib figures on this Third Sunday in Advent began in Italy and has now become more universally popular – it is known as the Bambillini Blessing. For those who have brought crib figures there will be a blessing at the end of the Masses this Sunday morning.

Evening Prayer this Sunday is in a shorter form and is followed by Benjamin Britten’s, ‘Ceremony of Carols’ accompanied on the harp.

On Monday afternoon Belvedere Academy have their Christmas Carol Service in the Cathedral.

The Nugent ‘Light up a Life’ service is on Tuesday at 12.30pm.

There will be a funeral Mass at 12.15 on Wednesday for Bobby Shacklady.

Our choir school, St Edward’s College, have their Carol Service on Thursday evening at 5.30pm – the evening mass at 5.15pm will take place in the Crypt Chapel.

Next Sunday evening we have our own Cathedral Festival Carol Service in the Cathedral at 5pm which is a lovely opportunity for us all to get into the Christmas Spirit and start to celebrate Christmas in a joyful and festive manner. Both our choirs will be taking part. Also next Sunday we will be giving out a blest candle and Christmas Grace for use on Christmas Day.

During this week Pope Francis will give his annual address to the Roman Curia – the Bishops and Cardinals who run the various departments and dicasteries in the Vatican. In previous years he has not pulled any punches in using this gathering, which is a traditional time to thank them all for their service of the church throughout that year, to also offer criticism and challenge. In 2014 he pointed to certain sinful attitudes that those in the Vatican can be prone to – such as having hearts of stone, thinking they were beyond criticism or review, being miserable and having funereal faces etc. In 2017 he began by quoting a phrase ‘making reforms in Rome is like trying to clean the sphinx with a toothbrush’. Making the point that it takes time and patience but is also an extremely difficult task. Then he finished with a quote as a beautiful one line Christmas reflection ‘It depends solely on you. If only your heart could become a manger, then God would once again become a child on earth.’ It will be interesting to read the address he will give this week but all of these challenging remarks he made to the curia are as relevant to all of us in positions of service in the church.