I was shocked at the week end to discover that the shops are already full of Christmas trees and tinsel. It was still September then. For a moment I went into my default complaint mode which rises up against such things. And then I thought to take another view - to let the trees and the tinsel remind me that the mystery the world is gearing up to celebrate is already with us.
For me, perhaps the most significant gift of the Years of Grace and Faith has been a powerful reminder to take this other view. In this case, to let the trees and the tinsel remind me of the truth that Christ is with us right here, right now, in the most unexpected places and circumstances, just waiting for me to look and see, to listen and hear.
In November we are invited to mark the end of the Years of Grace and Faith by celebrating what we have been invited to ponder during both these years. Christ is with us. Indeed Christ is within us – both individually and as a Church community. We are all called to holiness. We are blessed.
So parishes, schools, CatholicCare, St. Vincent de Paul, all groups and agencies, all people and communities are invited to mark the end of the Years of Grace and Faith with a Celebration of Holiness.
- Blessed are all you parents who get up in the middle of the night to sick children, who cuddle and soothe tantrum-throwing toddlers, who delight in the great and small achievements of your children
- Blessed are all you who mourn the death of children, partners, parents, friends; the loss of dreams and jobs and homes and who get up each day and put one foot in front of the other…
- Blessed are all you who give of your time, your money, your skill, yourself to bring about the Reign of God…
- Blessed are all you artists and musicians and tradespeople and sports people; creators and workers of all kinds who bring delight…
- Blessed are all you teachers and CatholicCare workers and foster parents who open new doors and point to unimagined horizons…
- Blessed are YOU! And blessed is everyone else!
This November let’s celebrate the gifts of grace and faith in our midst, in the faces of the people we know and in our remembering of the people we have known. A Master Template (with notes) and Sample Booklet are available for communities to use. These templates have been updated with revised litanies on Oct 10. A pdf version of the Master Template is available to check the formatting. Some people have had problems with the formatting when downloading the word document. Make a date in November. We have much to celebrate.
The Years of Grace and Faith may be ending. Hopefully we move on like Mary - full of grace and with a profound and courageous ‘yes’ to God.
Wishing you grace and peace.
Over and out!
Louise Gannon rsj
Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Year of Grace Co-ordinator