The Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Reverend Peter Smith, celebrates the first Mass of Christmas in St George's Cathedral.
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In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
We gather on this Holy night to celebrate the birth
in to the world of the Son of God, Emmanuel - God with us - born not
in strength with great fanfare, but as a fragile child
I welcome you all to the Cathedral Church of St George,
the mother church of the Catholic diocese of Southwark,
those who are here with me in the Cathedral and those joining
This church has been here, just south of the River
Within a mile of this place are the old and new.
The Houses of Parliament, Shakespeare's Globe,
Waterloo Station, the Elephant and Castle, and the London Eye.
The community of this place reflects the diverse nature of our capital
city, with parishioners who have links all over the world,
symbolised by the wide variety of languages they know,
some of which we will hear later in the Mass during the Prayers
As we continue our celebrations, I invite the Cathedral Dean to place
the figure of the baby Jesus into the manger
and to bless our nativity scene, a visual aid to our devotion
Dear friends in Christ, on this special
night, as we meet to celebrate the birth
of Christ, let us pray that God will bless
this crib, that all who worship his Son,
born of the Virgin Mary, may come to share his life
God our Father, on this night your Son
Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary
Bless this crib which we have prepared to
May all who see it be strengthened in faith,
and receive the fullness of life he came to bring,
Christ the Light of the world has come to
In his light may we give glory to God, Father,
O God, who have made this most sacred
night radiant with the splendour of the true
light, grant, we pray, that we, who have
known the mysteries of his light on earth,
may also delight in his gladness in heaven.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and
The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light.
On those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.
You have made their gladness greater, you have made
They rejoice in your presence as men rejoice at harvest time,
as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.
For the yoke that was weighing on him, the barb across his
shoulders, the rod of his oppressor, these you break as on the day of
For all the footgear of battle, every cloak rolled in blood,
For there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion
Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace.
Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end.
For the throne of David and for his royal power,
which he establishes and makes secure in justice and integrity.
From this time onwards and for ever, the jealous love of the Lord
O sing a new song to the Lord, sing to the Lord all the earth.
and his wonders among all the peoples.
Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad,
let the sea and all within it thunder praise.
Let the land and all it bears rejoice,
all the trees of the wood shout for joy
at the presence of the Lord for he comes,
With justice he will rule the world, he will judge the people
And reading from the of St Paul's to Titus.
God's grace has been revealed, and it has
made salvation possible for the whole
human race and taught us that what we
have to do is to give up everything that
does not lead to God, and all our worldly
ambitions, we must be self-restrained and
live good and religious lives here in this
present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing
which will come with the Appearing of the glory
of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus.
He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us
free from all wickedness and to purify
a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a census of the whole world
This census - the first - took place while
Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to his own town
So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee
and travelled up to Judaea, to the town
of David called Bethlehem, since he was of
David's House and line, in order to be
While they were there the time came for her to have
her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first born.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him
in a manger because there was no room for
In the countryside close by there were
shepherds who lived in the fields and took
it in turns to watch their flocks during
The angel of the Lord appeared to
them and the glory of the Lord shone
They were terrified, but the angel said,
Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy
Today in the town of David a saviour has been born
in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.'
And suddenly with the angel there was a great throng
of the heavenly host, praising God and singing.
'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
"The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light.
On those who live in the land of deep shadow, a light has shone."
These themes of light and darkness in the ancient world were often used
as symbols of peoples experience of life.
Light was associated with goodness, knowledge and hope.
Darkness symbolised evil, ignorance and despair.
In the time of the prophet Isaiah, the Israelites were an embattled
people, oppressed by foreign powers and driven into exile.
In those dark days they were convinced that the God
of their fathers had been abandoned them,
and in their misery they pleaded with God to have mercy on them.
The Prophet Isaiah gives them a message of hope,
promising that the time would indeed come when their God would come
For there is a child born for us, a son given to us, and this is the
name they give him. Wonder councillor, mighty God, eternal
Father, Prince of peace. As Christians we believe that this
promise was fulfilled on the first Christmas night when God became man
in the person of Jesus Christ - Emmanuel, "God with us!",
the long awaited Messiah, the Saviour and Redeemer
of the world. That wonderful, joyful news,
was announced by the angel I bring you news of great
joy, a joy to be shared Today in the town of David a saviour
has been born to you. in the prologue to his Gospel,
John saying of Jesus Christ, "All that came to be had life in him
and that light was the light of men, a light that shines in the dark,
a light that darkness could not overpower, the true light that
enlightens all men." made visible the God we cannot see -
the God who is slow to anger So whilst our hearts are filled
with joy and hope tonight, we can't ignore or forget the pain
and the tragic experiences of so many people in the world
today, nor the sadness and heartbreaks which arise
from time to time in our own lives I'm thinking especially of the
terrifying events in Paris just over a month ago. The persecution and
slaughter of Christians and many others resulting in the refugee
crisis in the Middle East and other parts of the world. Famine in
Ethiopian and extreme poverty and lack of education in other
countries. The list is endless. These tragedies reminders that there
is a need for reduction from sin and evil.
As Christians we believe that this work of salvation and redemption
is literally a labour of love and mercy which God pursues through,
with and in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
But the working out of that redemption has to take place
in every age and will continue to be worked out until the second coming
by taking on our wounded humanity, he became our brother, our closest
friend and companion on the road of life, sharing our pain and
isolation. He came to share our lives intimately, the show us how to
carry our burdens and following his example how to care for those most
in need. He is our model, for Jesus said of himself, I am the way, the
truth and the life. He came to show us the way back to the house of our
heavenly Father, the prodigal Father, slow to anger and rich in
mercy. Who waits with infinite compassion and patience the final
return home of all his children. So for us and all people of goodwill,
Christmas is pre-eminently a season of joy and hope. The challenge for
each one of us is to allow Jesus Christ to be born again in our
hearts. To allow his love, mercy and compassion to become incarnate in
our hearts and minds, so that in our own times we might be lights in a
world which has grown so dark with selfishness and sin. And in this
jubilee year of mercy Pope Francis is calling all Christians and all
people of good will to a profound conversion of heart, turning away
from selfishness and self-interest to reveal in our lives that infinite
love and mercy of God by making our own unique contribution to the task
of healing human brokenness. The fostering peace and harmony in human
relationships. And through the Corporal Works of Mercy feeding the
hungry, differing drink to the thirsty, closing the naked, healing
the sick, so to bring a little of Christ's life into the darkness of
the world in which we live. So my prayer for you all tonight is that
the message of Christ will find a home in you and that the peace of
Christ may rein in your hearts tonight and throughout the coming
year -- reign in your hearts tonight. Let us commit ourselves to
living out this Jubilee year of mercy by doing what we can to help
all those who are in need, relieving their pain and suffering both at
home and abroad. And insofar as we show mercy to those in need, we can
be quite certain that God will show mercy to us. In the name of the
Father and of the sun and the Holy Spirit. Arnell. -- Ahmed.
# Amen. So let us stand and profess our
faith in God and his church. My brothers and sisters,
as we gather to worship the Christ Child,
born tonight, let us open our hearts and minds
to him in prayer. In the blessed silence of this holy
night, let us now present our personal needs to God.
Almighty Father whose love knows no bounds, whose compassion knows no
end. Hear the prayers of your people. As we celebrate the perfect
gift to your human family, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Amen. Pray, brothers and sisters,
that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God,
the almighty Father. May the Lord accept
the sacrifice at your hands May the oblation of this day's
feast be pleasing to you, O Lord, we pray, that
through this most holy exchange we may be found in
the likeness of Christ, Who lives and reigns
for ever and ever. The Lord be with you.
Lift up your hearts. Let us give thanks to the Lord our
God. It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation. Always and
everywhere to give you thanks. Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal
God. For in the mystery of the word made flesh, a new light of your
glory has shone upon the eyes of our mind. So as we recognise in him God
may visible. We may be caught up through him in love of things
invisible. So with angels and archangels, thrones and dominions.
With all of the hosts and the powers of heaven. We sing the hymn of your
glory as without him we are claimed. You are indeed Holy, O Lord,
the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore,
these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit
upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become
for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly
into his Passion, he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it,
and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you,and
eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you.
In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice and,
once more giving thanks, he gave it to his disciples,
saying: Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this
is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new
and eternal covenant. Which will be poured out
for you and for many The mystery of faith.
Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection
you have set us free. Therefore o Lord, as we celebrate
the memorial of his Death and Resurrection, we offer you,
Lord, the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation,
giving thanks that you have held us worthy to be in your presence
and minister to you. Humbly we pray that,
partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ,
we may be gathered into one Remember, Lord, your
Church, spread throughout the world, and bring her
to the fullness of charity, together with Francis our Pope
and Peter our bishop, his assistant bishops
and all the clergy. Remember also our brothers
and sisters who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection,
and all who have died in your mercy. Welcome them into the
light of your face. Have mercy on us all, we pray,
that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with the blessed
Joseph her spouse, with the blessed Apostles, and all the Saints
who have pleased you throughout the ages, we may merit to be
coheirs to eternal life, Jesus Christ.
you through your Son, and in him, O God, almighty Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours,
for ever and ever. Now at the saviour's command,
informed by divine teaching, we dare to sing.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Deliverers, oh Lord, we pray, from every evil. Graciously grant peace
in our days, that by the help of your mercy we may be always free
from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the bless the hope and
the coming of our saviour, Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus Christ, who said the Europe Austell is, peace, I leave
you, my piece, I give you. Look not on our sins but on the face of your
church and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with
your will, who live and reign for ever and ever. The piece of the Lord
be with you always. And with your spirit. Letters offer each other the
sign of peace. Behold the Lamb of God,
behold him who takes Blessed are those called
to the supper of the Lamb. In Splendoribus
sanctorum, exutero ante # Even to the uttermost
end of the earth. # Even to the uttermost
end of the earth. # Even to the uttermost
end of the earth. # The people that
walked in darkness. # The people that dwell
in the shadow of death. # And the government shall
be upon His shoulders. # And his name shall
be called Wonderful. # The everlasting Father.
# The Prince of Peace. # Even to the uttermost
end of the earth. # Even to the uttermost
end of the earth. # Even to the uttermost
end of the earth. Grant us we pray, Our Lord, our God.
That we who are gladdened by our participation in the feast of
nativity, may for an honourable and worthy life became worthy of union
with him, who lives and reigns forever and every. Amen.
And just before the blessing and dismissal, may I wish you all, those
here, those watching on the television, a very joyful, peaceful
and blessed Christmas. As when Christ was born, Mary and Joseph,
the shepherds, rejoiced a what a great gift God had given not only
them but the whole human race. We thank him this evening for that, so,
go in peace. Rejoice, despite the darkness of the world and may your
acts of mercy help all of those in need.
To the Lord, be with you. Bow down for the blessing.
May the God of infinite goodness, who by the incarnation of his son
has driven darkness from the world and by that glorious birth has I
resumened this holiy night, drive far from you the darkness of vice
and I humanen your hearts with the light of virtue. May God who willed
that the great joy of his son saving birth be announced to shepherds by
the angel, fill your minds with the gladness he gives and make you
heralds of his gospel. And may God, by the incarnation who brought
together the earthly and heavenly realm, fill you with the gift of his
peace and favour and make your sharers with the church in heaven.
Amen. And may Almighty God bless you all,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Amen. Go forth, in peace ,glorify the Lord
by your light.
The Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Reverend Peter Smith, celebrates the first Mass of Christmas in the inspiring setting of St George's Cathedral. The cathedral choir and congregation sing favourite carols, including Hark the Herald Angels Sing and O Come, All Ye Faithful.