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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 us.

(You are invited to light a candle)

Blessed are you, sovereign Lord, just and true:

to you be praise and glory for ever.

Your prophet John the Baptist was witness to the truth

as a burning and shining light.

May we your servants rejoice in his light,

and so be led to witness to him

who is the Lord of our coming kingdom,

Jesus our Saviour and King of the ages.

Blessed be God for ever.

Lord Jesus, light of the world, John told the people to prepare,

for you were very near. Help us to be ready to welcome you now:

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.

O God, who see how your people

faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity,

enable us we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation

and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Isaiah 61: 1-2. 10-11

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,

for the Lord has anointed me.

He has sent me to bring good news to the poor,

to bind up hearts that are broken;

to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison;

to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.

“I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God,

for he has clothed me in garments of salvation,

he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity,

like a bridegroom wearing his wreath,

like a bride adorned in her jewels.

For as the earth makes fresh things grow,

as a garden makes seeds spring up,

so will the Lord make both integrity

and praise spring up in the sight of the nations.”

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


My soul rejoices in my God.

My soul glorifies the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.

He looks on his servant in her nothingness;

henceforth all ages will call me blessed.

My soul rejoices in my God.

The Almighty works marvels for me.

Holy his name!

His mercy is from age to age,

on those who fear him.

My soul rejoices in my God.

He fills the starving with good things,

sends the rich away empty.

He protects Israel, his servant,

remembering his mercy.

My soul rejoices in my God.

Second Reading – First letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians,

chapter 5, verses 16-24

Be happy at all times; pray constantly;

and for all things give thanks to God,

because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.

Never try to suppress the Spirit

or treat the gift of prophecy with contempt;

think before you do anything –

hold on to what is good and avoid every form of evil.

May the God of peace make you perfect and holy;

and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body,

for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God has called you and he will not fail you

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Alleluia, alleluia!

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me.

He has sent me to bring good news to the poor. .


The Gospel – John chapter 1: verses 6-8, 19-28.

A man came, sent by God. His name was John. He came as a witness, as a witness to speak for the light, so that everyone might believe through him.

He was not the light, only a witness to speak for the light.

This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, “I am not the Christ.” “Well then,” they asked are you Elijah?”

“I am not” he said.

“Are you the Prophet?”

He answered, “No.”

So they said to him, “Who are you?

We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?”

So John said, “I am, as Isaiah prophesied: a voice that cries in the wilderness: Make a straight way for the Lord.” Now these men had been sent by the Pharisees, and they put this further question to him, “Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ,

and not Elijah, and not the prophet?” John replied, “I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.” This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan,

where John was baptising.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


John the Baptist was, to many, a bit of a circus-act.

People walked for miles into the most-inhospitable places imaginable

to see this strange act,

to hear him outspokenly denounce the royal family for adultery,

or yet another public or over-pious figure.

It was quite a spectacle, great fun,

as long as you weren’t at the receiving end of it!

John the Baptist - a man's man. He was bold and heroic,

rough and rugged, the wilderness his home,

itchy clothing, locusts and wild honey his diet.

If “Izal” and Wright’s Coal Tar Soap had been around then,

that’s what he would have used (if at all)!

Crowds came miles to hear this manly proclaimer of God.

The circus wasn’t new…..there had been other acts before him,

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Malachi,

……and Elijah – another wild man of the desert.

John the Baptist was the warm-up act for the Messiah,

some considered John the second Elijah, including Jesus.

What was the message of wild man John the Baptist?

“That the “Top of the Bill” has yet to come!”

The Top act - the magic of miracles, the skill of storytelling,

and the most-challenging trick of transforming lives.

But Jesus is no diva - He wants to share billing with us,

as we tell His stories, as we raise the curtain on the acts of Christ,

as we give a live performance

and a living, from-the-heart portrayal of Christ’s script.

Grant us ears to hear, eyes to see,

wills to obey, hearts to love, minds to learn;

that we may play our part on the stage of the world

to spotlight the possibilities that Christ brings.


I believe in one God, the Father almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the Only Begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

he suffered death and was buried,

and rose again on the third day

in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead

and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Prayer of the Faithful

For a joyful spirit: that as we recognize the gift of our relationships and the many blessings that God has given us, our hearts may be grateful, and our spirits filled with joy

For freedom of spirit: that God will free us from selfishness, prejudice, and fear so that we may be sisters and brothers to one another

For all who are held captive whether by economic situations, lack of education, or by addiction: that God will free them and open new opportunities for life, growth, and wholeness

For all who must wait: that God's loving presence will give strength and hope to those who are in isolation, awaiting surgery or the birth of a child, or who are caring for the sick or dying

For all public officials: that God will move them to recognize and take action to address the needs of the poor, the homeless, the elderly, and children so that no one will be forgotten in our communities

For all who are suffering economically: that God will guide the unemployed to new work, bring relief to those who face losing their homes, and open new resources for those who do not have enough food

For all who are working to defeat the coronavirus: that God will speed the production of the vaccine, guide those who are distributing it, and help those who are administering it

For all who are ill: that God's healing love may renew and strengthen all who are ill or recovering from surgery.

We ask Mary to pray with us as we say -

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. Amen.

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

our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let us lift up our 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,

through Christ our Lord.

For he assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh,

and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago,

and opened for us the way to eternal salvation,

that, when he comes again in glory and majesty

and all is at last made manifest,

we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise

in which now we dare to hope.

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.

Deliver us, 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 blessed hope

and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles:

Peace I leave you, my peace I give you,

look not on our sins,

but on the faith of your Church,

and graciously grant her peace and unity

in accordance with your will.

Who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

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.

My Jesus,

I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

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.

Soul of Christ, be my sanctification; Body of Christ, be my salvation; Blood of Christ, fill all my veins; Water of Christ's side, wash out my stains; Passion of Christ, my comfort be; O good Jesus, listen to me; In Thy wounds I fain would hide; Ne'er to be parted from Thy side; Guard me, should the foe assail me; Call me when my life shall fail me; Bid me come to Thee above, With Thy saints to sing Thy love, World without end. Amen.

(Anima Christi, attributed to Pope John XXII

and translated by St John Henry Newman)

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples,

‘I am with you always’.

Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.

Hear my prayers for others and for myself,

and keep me in your care. Amen.

May God himself, the God of peace,

make you perfect and holy,

and keep you safe and blameless, in spirit, soul and body,

for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ;

and may the blessing of Almighty God,

the Father, the Son, X and the Holy Spirit

come down upon you, and remain with you 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. Amen.

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. Amen.

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. Amen.

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 X 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 peace.

Thanks be to God.

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