2015 - Midnight Mass from St George's Cathedral, Southwark Midnight Mass


2015 - Midnight Mass from St George's Cathedral, Southwark

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

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We gather on this Holy night to celebrate the birth

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in to the world of the Son of God, Emmanuel - God with us - born not

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in strength with great fanfare, but as a fragile child

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I welcome you all to the Cathedral Church of St George,

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the mother church of the Catholic diocese of Southwark,

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those who are here with me in the Cathedral and those joining

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This church has been here, just south of the River

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Within a mile of this place are the old and new.

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The Houses of Parliament, Shakespeare's Globe,

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Waterloo Station, the Elephant and Castle, and the London Eye.

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The community of this place reflects the diverse nature of our capital

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city, with parishioners who have links all over the world,

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symbolised by the wide variety of languages they know,

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some of which we will hear later in the Mass during the Prayers

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As we continue our celebrations, I invite the Cathedral Dean to place

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the figure of the baby Jesus into the manger

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and to bless our nativity scene, a visual aid to our devotion

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Dear friends in Christ, on this special

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night, as we meet to celebrate the birth

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of Christ, let us pray that God will bless

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this crib, that all who worship his Son,

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born of the Virgin Mary, may come to share his life

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God our Father, on this night your Son

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Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary

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Bless this crib which we have prepared to

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May all who see it be strengthened in faith,

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and receive the fullness of life he came to bring,

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Christ the Light of the world has come to

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In his light may we give glory to God, Father,

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O God, who have made this most sacred

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night radiant with the splendour of the true

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light, grant, we pray, that we, who have

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known the mysteries of his light on earth,

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may also delight in his gladness in heaven.

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Who lives and reigns with you in the unity

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of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and

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The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light.

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On those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.

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You have made their gladness greater, you have made

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They rejoice in your presence as men rejoice at harvest time,

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as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.

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For the yoke that was weighing on him, the barb across his

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shoulders, the rod of his oppressor, these you break as on the day of

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For all the footgear of battle, every cloak rolled in blood,

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For there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion

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Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace.

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Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end.

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For the throne of David and for his royal power,

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which he establishes and makes secure in justice and integrity.

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From this time onwards and for ever, the jealous love of the Lord

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O sing a new song to the Lord, sing to the Lord all the earth.

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and his wonders among all the peoples.

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Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad,

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let the sea and all within it thunder praise.

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Let the land and all it bears rejoice,

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all the trees of the wood shout for joy

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at the presence of the Lord for he comes,

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With justice he will rule the world, he will judge the people

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And reading from the of St Paul's to Titus.

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God's grace has been revealed, and it has

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made salvation possible for the whole

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human race and taught us that what we

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have to do is to give up everything that

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does not lead to God, and all our worldly

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ambitions, we must be self-restrained and

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live good and religious lives here in this

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present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing

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which will come with the Appearing of the glory

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of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus.

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He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us

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free from all wickedness and to purify

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a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition

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A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

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Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a census of the whole world

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This census - the first - took place while

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Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to his own town

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So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee

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and travelled up to Judaea, to the town

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of David called Bethlehem, since he was of

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David's House and line, in order to be

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While they were there the time came for her to have

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her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first born.

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She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him

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in a manger because there was no room for

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In the countryside close by there were

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shepherds who lived in the fields and took

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it in turns to watch their flocks during

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The angel of the Lord appeared to

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them and the glory of the Lord shone

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They were terrified, but the angel said,

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Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy

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Today in the town of David a saviour has been born

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in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.'

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And suddenly with the angel there was a great throng

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of the heavenly host, praising God and singing.

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'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy

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Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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"The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light.

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On those who live in the land of deep shadow, a light has shone."

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These themes of light and darkness in the ancient world were often used

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as symbols of peoples experience of life.

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Light was associated with goodness, knowledge and hope.

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Darkness symbolised evil, ignorance and despair.

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In the time of the prophet Isaiah, the Israelites were an embattled

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people, oppressed by foreign powers and driven into exile.

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In those dark days they were convinced that the God

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of their fathers had been abandoned them,

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and in their misery they pleaded with God to have mercy on them.

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The Prophet Isaiah gives them a message of hope,

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promising that the time would indeed come when their God would come

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For there is a child born for us, a son given to us, and this is the

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name they give him. Wonder councillor, mighty God, eternal

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Father, Prince of peace. As Christians we believe that this

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promise was fulfilled on the first Christmas night when God became man

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in the person of Jesus Christ - Emmanuel, "God with us!",

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the long awaited Messiah, the Saviour and Redeemer

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of the world. That wonderful, joyful news,

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was announced by the angel I bring you news of great

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joy, a joy to be shared Today in the town of David a saviour

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has been born to you. in the prologue to his Gospel,

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John saying of Jesus Christ, "All that came to be had life in him

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and that light was the light of men, a light that shines in the dark,

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a light that darkness could not overpower, the true light that

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enlightens all men." made visible the God we cannot see -

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the God who is slow to anger So whilst our hearts are filled

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with joy and hope tonight, we can't ignore or forget the pain

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and the tragic experiences of so many people in the world

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today, nor the sadness and heartbreaks which arise

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from time to time in our own lives I'm thinking especially of the

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terrifying events in Paris just over a month ago. The persecution and

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slaughter of Christians and many others resulting in the refugee

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crisis in the Middle East and other parts of the world. Famine in

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Ethiopian and extreme poverty and lack of education in other

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countries. The list is endless. These tragedies reminders that there

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is a need for reduction from sin and evil.

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As Christians we believe that this work of salvation and redemption

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is literally a labour of love and mercy which God pursues through,

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with and in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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But the working out of that redemption has to take place

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in every age and will continue to be worked out until the second coming

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by taking on our wounded humanity, he became our brother, our closest

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friend and companion on the road of life, sharing our pain and

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isolation. He came to share our lives intimately, the show us how to

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carry our burdens and following his example how to care for those most

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in need. He is our model, for Jesus said of himself, I am the way, the

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truth and the life. He came to show us the way back to the house of our

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heavenly Father, the prodigal Father, slow to anger and rich in

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mercy. Who waits with infinite compassion and patience the final

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return home of all his children. So for us and all people of goodwill,

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Christmas is pre-eminently a season of joy and hope. The challenge for

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each one of us is to allow Jesus Christ to be born again in our

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hearts. To allow his love, mercy and compassion to become incarnate in

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our hearts and minds, so that in our own times we might be lights in a

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world which has grown so dark with selfishness and sin. And in this

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jubilee year of mercy Pope Francis is calling all Christians and all

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people of good will to a profound conversion of heart, turning away

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from selfishness and self-interest to reveal in our lives that infinite

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love and mercy of God by making our own unique contribution to the task

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of healing human brokenness. The fostering peace and harmony in human

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relationships. And through the Corporal Works of Mercy feeding the

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hungry, differing drink to the thirsty, closing the naked, healing

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the sick, so to bring a little of Christ's life into the darkness of

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the world in which we live. So my prayer for you all tonight is that

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the message of Christ will find a home in you and that the peace of

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Christ may rein in your hearts tonight and throughout the coming

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year -- reign in your hearts tonight. Let us commit ourselves to

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living out this Jubilee year of mercy by doing what we can to help

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all those who are in need, relieving their pain and suffering both at

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home and abroad. And insofar as we show mercy to those in need, we can

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be quite certain that God will show mercy to us. In the name of the

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Father and of the sun and the Holy Spirit. Arnell. -- Ahmed.

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# Amen. So let us stand and profess our

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faith in God and his church. My brothers and sisters,

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as we gather to worship the Christ Child,

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born tonight, let us open our hearts and minds

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to him in prayer. In the blessed silence of this holy

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night, let us now present our personal needs to God.

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Almighty Father whose love knows no bounds, whose compassion knows no

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end. Hear the prayers of your people. As we celebrate the perfect

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gift to your human family, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

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Amen. Pray, brothers and sisters,

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that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God,

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the almighty Father. May the Lord accept

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the sacrifice at your hands May the oblation of this day's

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feast be pleasing to you, O Lord, we pray, that

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through this most holy exchange we may be found in

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the likeness of Christ, Who lives and reigns

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for ever and ever. The Lord be with you.

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Lift up your hearts. Let us give thanks to the Lord our

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God. It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation. Always and

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everywhere to give you thanks. Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal

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God. For in the mystery of the word made flesh, a new light of your

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glory has shone upon the eyes of our mind. So as we recognise in him God

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may visible. We may be caught up through him in love of things

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invisible. So with angels and archangels, thrones and dominions.

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With all of the hosts and the powers of heaven. We sing the hymn of your

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glory as without him we are claimed. You are indeed Holy, O Lord,

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the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore,

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these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit

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upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become

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for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly

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into his Passion, he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it,

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and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you,and

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eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you.

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In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice and,

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once more giving thanks, he gave it to his disciples,

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saying: Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this

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is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new

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and eternal covenant. Which will be poured out

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for you and for many The mystery of faith.

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Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection

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you have set us free. Therefore o Lord, as we celebrate

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the memorial of his Death and Resurrection, we offer you,

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Lord, the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation,

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giving thanks that you have held us worthy to be in your presence

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and minister to you. Humbly we pray that,

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partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ,

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we may be gathered into one Remember, Lord, your

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Church, spread throughout the world, and bring her

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to the fullness of charity, together with Francis our Pope

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and Peter our bishop, his assistant bishops

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and all the clergy. Remember also our brothers

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and sisters who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection,

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and all who have died in your mercy. Welcome them into the

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light of your face. Have mercy on us all, we pray,

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that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with the blessed

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Joseph her spouse, with the blessed Apostles, and all the Saints

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who have pleased you throughout the ages, we may merit to be

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coheirs to eternal life, Jesus Christ.

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you through your Son, and in him, O God, almighty Father,

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in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours,

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for ever and ever. Now at the saviour's command,

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informed by divine teaching, we dare to sing.

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Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

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Deliverers, oh Lord, we pray, from every evil. Graciously grant peace

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in our days, that by the help of your mercy we may be always free

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from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the bless the hope and

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the coming of our saviour, Jesus Christ.

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Lord Jesus Christ, who said the Europe Austell is, peace, I leave

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you, my piece, I give you. Look not on our sins but on the face of your

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church and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with

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your will, who live and reign for ever and ever. The piece of the Lord

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be with you always. And with your spirit. Letters offer each other the

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sign of peace. Behold the Lamb of God,

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behold him who takes Blessed are those called

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to the supper of the Lamb. In Splendoribus

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sanctorum, exutero ante # Even to the uttermost

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end of the earth. # Even to the uttermost

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end of the earth. # Even to the uttermost

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end of the earth. # The people that

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walked in darkness. # The people that dwell

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in the shadow of death. # And the government shall

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be upon His shoulders. # And his name shall

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be called Wonderful. # The everlasting Father.

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# The Prince of Peace. # Even to the uttermost

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end of the earth. # Even to the uttermost

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end of the earth. # Even to the uttermost

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end of the earth. Grant us we pray, Our Lord, our God.

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That we who are gladdened by our participation in the feast of

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nativity, may for an honourable and worthy life became worthy of union

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with him, who lives and reigns forever and every. Amen.

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And just before the blessing and dismissal, may I wish you all, those

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here, those watching on the television, a very joyful, peaceful

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and blessed Christmas. As when Christ was born, Mary and Joseph,

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the shepherds, rejoiced a what a great gift God had given not only

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them but the whole human race. We thank him this evening for that, so,

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go in peace. Rejoice, despite the darkness of the world and may your

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acts of mercy help all of those in need.

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To the Lord, be with you. Bow down for the blessing.

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May the God of infinite goodness, who by the incarnation of his son

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has driven darkness from the world and by that glorious birth has I

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resumened this holiy night, drive far from you the darkness of vice

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and I humanen your hearts with the light of virtue. May God who willed

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that the great joy of his son saving birth be announced to shepherds by

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the angel, fill your minds with the gladness he gives and make you

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heralds of his gospel. And may God, by the incarnation who brought

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together the earthly and heavenly realm, fill you with the gift of his

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peace and favour and make your sharers with the church in heaven.

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Amen. And may Almighty God bless you all,

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the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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Amen. Go forth, in peace ,glorify the Lord

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by your light.

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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.


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