Many the gifts
The new year has begun and here at St Thomas More may we take this opportunity to wish all our parishioners a blessed and peaceful year ahead.
It is appropriate that we should begin this year with thoughts turned towards the Epiphany. The magi are guided by the star to the house of the Lord, where they present their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. For us, the journey of faith continues and we pray that we shall be guided towards the Lord’s house in our endeavour to build up our parish as a centre of love and mercy, of prayer and worship and as a witness to all, of the goodness of God in and amongst those we meet and serve.
In order to achieve all of these aims we must offer the gifts which we possess and make full and best use of them in the work we are called to undertake. The parish functions through the generosity of its parishioners and this means that every aspect of its Christian witness can only happen if each member of the parish plays his and her part, from the oldest to the youngest. There are many aspects of parish life, be they obvious or not so obvious, which unless they are cared for and carried out, will mean that in some detail, we are falling short of our vocation. The parish constantly needs to be renewed with fresh hands to support all that happens, and with fresh ideas to ensure that what we are praying for is made real by our efforts. The example of the magi mirrors beautifully with this, as their gifts become symbols of the work we offer: the preciousness of gold could symbolise our own precious resources and cause us to ask ourselves how much of my precious time am I prepared to offer? The fragrance of frankincense could symbolise the priority of prayer and worship. Where do I place this in my list of priorities? Am I prepared to offer my help with the liturgy say as a musician or to join in with the singing of the hymns at Mass and so enhance the liturgy with my full participation? The sharpness of myrrh could symbolise the sacrifice that my faith asks of me; to give of myself just a little more in helping out with the practical demands of parish life. Of not leaving them for others to do, but to actually offer myself. As we all know, the beauty of any gift is in both the giving and the receiving.
During this coming year we will have an opportunity to celebrate a great event as the parish rejoices in commemorating 60 years of worship and prayer in its current building. As you know we are busy hoping to enhance and develop our current home, to give it a make over and add to its facilities, but that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating what has been achieved over these past 60 years. It is intended that on or close to the feast of St Thomas More (22 July 2016), we will have a party and come together to express our joy and give thanks for all the blessings the parish has received over the years. Of course many of you will have your own special memories and it is hoped that these can be re-lived and re-visited in some way. It would be lovely if such memories could be gathered together to form a booklet of the past 60 years with stories and photos of special moments in the life of the parish. These memories are the building blocks of the parish; the achievements and successes, the overcoming of setbacks and the resolve to continue to move forwards on our journey, guided as always by the star which will ultimately bring us to the place where the child is, so that we can open our gifts and find there a treasure which will sustain us in our work for the years to come.
Let us know your thoughts and give us your ideas. Happy New Year and Happy Epiphany