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


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.

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