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  • Writer's picturePhil



✠ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

LIGHT A CANDLE - JOY, for Mary the Mother of Jesus

My soul glorifies the Lord

and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me, holy is his name.

His mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shewn strength with his arm,

he has scattered the proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and to his descendants forever, just as he promised to our ancestors.

Jesus, light of the world,

blessed is Gabriel

who brought good news

and blessed is Mary,

your Mother and ours.

Bless your church

preparing to celebrate Christmas

and bless us, your children,

who long for your coming. .

Let us acknowledge our sins,

that we may prepare ourselves to receive Christ into our hearts

I confess to almighty God

that I have greatly sinned

in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,

through my fault, through my fault,

through my most grievous fault;

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever Virgin,

and all the Angels and Saints,

to pray for me to the Lord our God.

May almighty God have mercy on us, ✠ forgive us our sins,

and bring us to everlasting life.

Pour forth,

we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation

of Christ your Son was made known

by the message of an Angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection. Who lives and reigns with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen.

READING: 2 Sam 7:1-5. 8-12,14,16

Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.”

Nathan said to the king, “Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.” But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you.

I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth.

I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies.

The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House.

And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you

and make his sovereignty secure.

I will be a father to him and he a son to me.

Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.’”

Thanks be to God.


I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

1. I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord;

through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.

Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever,

that your truth is firmly established as the heavens.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

2. “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;

I have sworn to David my servant:

I will establish your dynasty for ever

and set up your throne through all ages.”

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

3. He will say to me: “You are my father,

my God, the rock who saves me.”

I will keep my love for him always;

with him my covenant shall endure.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

READING – Romans 16:25-27

Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News I preach, and in which I proclaim Jesus Christ, the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages, but now so clear that it must be broadcast to pagans everywhere to bring them to the obedience of faith.

This is only what scripture has predicted, and it is all part of the way the eternal God wants things to be. He alone is wisdom; give glory therefore to him through Jesus Christ for ever and ever.

Thanks be to God.

Alleluia, alleluia! I am the handmaid of the Lord:

let what you have said be done to me..


GOSPEL – Luke 1

The angel Gabriel was sent by God

to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,

to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,

of the House of David;

and the virgin’s name was Mary.

He went in and said to her, “Rejoice, so highly favoured!

The Lord is with you.”

She was deeply disturbed by these words

and asked herself what this greeting could mean,

but the angel said to her, “Mary, do not be afraid;

you have won God’s favour. Listen!

You are to conceive and bear a son,

and you must name him Jesus.

He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.

The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David;

he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever

and his reign will have no end.”

Mary said to the angel, “But how can this come about,

since I am a virgin?”

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you” the angel answered

“and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow.

And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God.

Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age,

herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren

is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.”

“I am the handmaid of the Lord,” said Mary

“let what you have said be done to me.”

And the angel left her.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


“Isn’t Mary a Catholic thing?

Don’t Catholics worship Mary?

Surely it can’t be right to pray to her?”

Let me put that right – no, we don’t pray TO Mary;

we ask her prayers, just as we would ask any fellow Christian,

but, she is The First to bear Christ, the First Christian,

the Christian nearest to her Son,

just a Mother’s heartbeat away from Him…

so how natural it is for us to ask her, so near to Him,

to pray for us, to encourage us in our life of faith and of prayer.

According to some of a more protestant persuasion,

Mary is just a step too far.

But for the great German reformer, Martin Luther,

"The Virgin Mary remains in the middle

between Christ and humanity.

For in the very moment Jesus was conceived and lived,

he was full of grace.

Mary, though without grace at first,

was by then “full of grace” when visited by Gabriel... “

In today’s famous Gospel, Gabriel calls Mary

The Lord’s “favoured one”,

in the Greek ,‘one who has been

and remains endowed with grace’

………endowed with grace by God for this task

which He was asking her to undertake.

The evidence of her “special” place in God’s eyes is scriptural,

against which there can be no argument.

What HAS been argued are the dogmas, The Immaculate Conception

(not the same as The Virgin Birth – but often confused)

The Assumption, and various titles of Mary,

Our Lady as a title in itself, Queen of Heaven,

Our Lady Help of Christians, Our Lady of this, that and the other…..

Theotokos, God-bearer in the Orthodox tradition;

Mary is a matter of divided opinion amongst Christians.

Important to all, yes;

but just HOW important is open to interpretation.

To my surprise, Mary’s name appears more frequently in the Quran

than it does in the New Testament.

The only women to be mentioned by name in the Quran,

and her name appears there thirty-four times.

Her mother is named, Hannah,and at the birth of Mary (Miriam)

she prays “I have named her Mary,

and have commended her and her descendants to Your protection,

from Satan the outcast.”

Prior to the Prophet Muhammad,

Mary and Jesus are the only two beings

unafflicted by the touch of Satan upon birth.

While Islam does not have a doctrine of original sin,

Mary is considered to be free from all impurities.

A beautiful Greek Orthodox hymn praises Mary

and describes her as a ladder and a bridge -

“Rejoice, O heavenly Ladder, by which God descended.

Rejoice, O Bridge leading those from earth to Heaven.”

Of all Biblical characters,

Mary is a bridge between Islam and Christianity.

Mary, a bridge between Christians,

in spite of the doctrinal barriers we erect.

Mary, a ladder for Christ to climb down into our world;

a ladder by which God can descend into the depths of our being.

Mary, a bridge to enable us to reach God;

a way across the chasm between God and humanity;

Mary, the way to and from God;

Mary, the way by which God comes to us.

We too are called to be Ladders and Bridges;

Ladders to allow God to access people with whom you work,

your neighbours, your children if you are teaching,

you and I are to be the means by which

God accesses the lives of others;

we are also, like Mary, to be bridges,

by whom others can gain clear access to God.

Loving Mother, ladder between heaven and earth,

whereby Christ descended into our chaos to usher God’s Kingdom.

bridge over which we have access to the Father, aided by your prayers.

We turn to you and ask you to support our prayers

for ourselves, for our friends and families, and for all people;

that we may know peace and salvation, and with your powerful intercession

we may build bridges into God’s kingdom, and be ladders to make way for

Christ to descend into the depths of the world’s being.

Pray for us, Mary; pray with us.

“Rejoice, O heavenly Ladder, by which God descended.

Rejoice, O Bridge leading those from earth to Heaven.”


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son,

our Lord, who was conceived by the

Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

He ascended into heaven,

He is seated at the right hand of the Father,

And he will come to judge the living

and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Prayer of the Faithful (Bidding Prayers)

We pray to the Lord, to the God who is our shelter and strength at all times. We pray:

for the elderly, confined to their homes and separated from family and support; for children, removed from school; for those who have lost their source of income; for those who

fear for their home; for those who have no home; for those offering extraordinary, everyday kindness; Lord, you are in the midst of us:

help us in our time of trouble.

We pray for the young and those in

education: for those anxious about

examinations, a place at university, or

employment; for those worried about loved ones and friends; for those concerned about their own health; Lord, you are in the midst of us: help us in our time of trouble.

We pray for key workers: for all medical staff and hospital workers, who go to work knowing the risks they face; for medical researchers, seeking ways to prevent and to cure; for social

workers, protecting the vulnerable; for care workers, providing contact and support to those who have no other help; for teachers, worrying about their charges; for farmers, delivery and shop workers, keeping the nation

provisioned; for cleaners, fighting the spread of infection;

Lord, you are in the midst of us:

help us in our time of trouble.

We pray for the world: for the leaders of the nations and their governments; for areas most besieged by the pandemic; for broken places

where healthcare and resources are scarce, and the pandemic brings further suffering;

Lord, you are in the midst of us: help us in our time of trouble.

We pray for those who are sick:

for those afflicted with coronavirus;

for those with other illnesses and conditions which leave them

vulnerable; for those with poor mental health; for all who suffer;

Lord, you are in the midst of us:

help us in our time of trouble.

We pray for those who have died: for those taken suddenly or unexpectedly; for the families they leave behind; for their friends; for those who have died alone; and for

those who have no one to remember them.Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord,

and let light perpetual shine upon them.

Our Lady of Walsingham, Holy Trinity Winchester

Pray with us, Mary, Mother of God, to the Father, through your Son, in the Holy Spirit:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death

Heavenly Father, who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother

of the promised saviour:

fill us your servants with your grace,

that in all things we may embrace

your holy will, and with her rejoice in your salvation;

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.


This is holy space: God is here.

This is your space to be with God

And God's space to be with you.

Make yourself at home.

Be yourself,

Be real,

There's no rush.

Let God love you,

Let God know you,

Let God heal you,

Let God speak to you.

Receive from God,

Commune with God…..


In this sound-filled world that we inhabit grant us space to rest awhile

by the still waters of your peace,

to hear the whisper of your voice,

and feel the warmth of your Spirit

within our souls.

Grant us space to rest awhile….


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God;

for it is right and just.

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, through Christ our Lord.

For all the oracles of the prophets foretold him, the Virgin Mother longed for him with love beyond all telling, John the Baptist sang of his coming and proclaimed his presence when he came.

It is by his gift that already we rejoice at the mystery of his Nativity, so that he may find us watchful in prayer and exultant in his praise.

And so, with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of your glory, as without end we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.

Glory be to thee, O Lord most high!

Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

At the Saviour’s command

and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power

and the glory are yours now and for ever.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

grant us thy peace.

Time to receive the Lord’s Presence spiritually.

“My Jesus, I believe that You are present

in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar.

I love You above all things, and I desire

to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive You

sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my

heart … I embrace You as if You were already

there, and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You,”


Father, I abandon myself into your hands;

do with me what you will.

Whatever you may do, I thank you:

I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,

and in all your creatures—

I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;

I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,

for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,

to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,

and with boundless confidence,

for you are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld.

May God our Father, who chose Mary of Nazareth

to become the mother of His eternal Son,

enable us to grow daily in the love of God

and in the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ;

and may the blessing of Almighty God,

the Father, the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit

come down upon us, and remain with us for ever. Amen.


The angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

And the Word was made flesh. and dwelt amongst us.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts,

that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ

by the message of an angel, so by his ✠ Cross and Passion

we may be brought unto the glory of his Resurrection;

through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us go forth in the peace of Christ.

Thanks be to God.

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