Weekly Email – Advent 4
I write as Advent draws to a close and we stand on the brink of Christmas. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped in any way with the various carol services and special Advent liturgies that have characterised the past few weeks of holy waiting and joyful expectation. It has been a time of rich liturgical encounter with Christ, and heartfelt welcome offered to so many visitors and newcomers.
The calendar this year makes Christmas a little more complicated than it often is. Advent has been very short, and with Christmas falling on a Monday, this coming Sunday will be a very busy day. I urge you, nonetheless, to make an extra effort to be present at all the major liturgies of the coming days.
Sunday morning will be the last Sunday of Advent. Fr Alan will be our preacher at the 11.00 am High Mass and the music at the Mass will include Victoria’s Missa Alma Redemptoris and Robert Parsons’ Ave Maria. Do ensure you keep this final Sunday of Advent and make an extra effort to be in church that morning as we ponder Our Lady’s role in the mystery of our salvation.
Directly after the High Mass, a huge “set change” will take place, as All Saints’ is then made ready for the celebration of Christ’s birth! The altar frontals and sanctuary hangings will be changed, extra candles trimmed and put out, the reliquaries will be restored to the High Altar, Christmas flowers laid before Our Lady, and the first figures will be placed in the crib scene!
At 6.00 pm the first High Mass of Christmas will be celebrated with Mozart’s Missa Brevis in D K192 as the setting and Walford Davies’ O little town of Bethlehem as the Offertory Anthem. I will preach at that Mass. The Christ Child will be placed in the manger, and the crib blessed at the end of the liturgy. We hope that this celebration at a substantially earlier time than has been our custom in the past will make it more possible for those who have to get home by public transport to be with us on Christmas Eve.
At 11.00 pm our traditional Midnight Mass will take place. Fr Julian will celebrate and preach. We will be treated to further musical riches by our wonderful choir with the splendid Spatzenmesse by Mozart and Michael Head’s The Little Road to Bethehem. At the end of that Mass, the sacred ministers will go in procession to the crib to cense the Christ Child and lead devotions to the newly born Saviour.
On Christmas morning, a Low Mass of the Dawn will be celebrated at 9.00 am for anyone who wishes to attend an early Low Mass. This will be a short, said service lasting around 25 minutes.
At the 11.00 am High Mass on Christmas Day, Joseph Haydn’s Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo will form the setting and Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck’s Hodie Christus natus est will be the Offertory Anthem. Fr Alan will be the preacher and celebrant.
Please note that in the week following Christmas Day, there will only be one Mass each day at 12 noon (i.e. the evening Mass at 6.30 pm will be cancelled). The church will also not be open during the afternoons and will close after the 12 noon Mass.
Sunday 31st December will be the Feast of the Holy Family. On that Sunday there will only be one Mass at 11.00 am – there will be no 5.15 pm evening Mass, nor Evensong, with it being New Year’s Eve.
I look forward with such joy to celebrating with you all the Saviour’s birth and give thanks for the liturgical heritage of our parish. I pray that through our music, carols and song, and through the offering of the liturgy of the church, Christ will be born in our hearts afresh, assuring us of the salvation he brings, and the hope he offers to the whole human family. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.
Attendance last Sunday
The Friends of All Saints’ Margaret Street:
December 24th – Richard Hoskinson, David Hutt, Alfred Imhoff, David James, Andrew Jervis, Arthur Johnson, Stephen Jury, Malcolm Kemp
25th – Alan Kimbrough, Brenda Koupis, The Very Rev’d Harry Krauss, Deirdre Laing, Graham Last, Christopher Laws
26th – Cornelius Logue, Frau Dr Christiane Loidl-Rainey, Nigel Lynn, Henry Macey, Bishop Michael Marshall, Robert Mason, Graham Mather
27th – Judith Mather, The Ven Fr Stephen McClatchie, The Rev’d Peter McGeary, Nigel McNeill, John McWhinney, Anne Merritt
28th – Thomas Moller, Barry Moore, Dr John Morrell, Fr Stephen Morris, Inger Mosbery, Carol Mundell
29th – Christopher Naylor, Brian Newman, Elaine Norman, Graham Norman, Richard North, Fr Paul Ockford
30th – Fr Peter and Anna Oesterby-Joergensen, Fr Barry Orford, Samantha Parker, Malcolm Parr, Bhaven Patel, Alma Pearson
Javier Barbetta, Martin Berka, David Craig, Jason Dunlop, Frances Gayler, Gill Hargreaves, Fr. Harry Hodgetts, Michael Lamprell, Elizabeth Lyon, Ian Lyon, Lionel and Lynn Persey, James Roger, Bruce Ross-Smith, Doreen and Melvin Warren, Jean, Paul Sturgul.
The faithful departed:
Gary Hargreaves, Alma Lockley, Frances O’Neil, Adam Persey
Those whose anniversaries of death fall at this time:
December 24th – Cynthia Tucker, Miriam Smith, Augustus Thompson, Paul De Fortis Pr, Doreen Forde
26th – Hugh Warren Pr, Lennox Berkeley
27th – Desmond Berk, Kenneth Bond
28th – Percy Flemine, Richard Williams, Paul Drake, Ernest Gaskell, Gordon Symes, Rosemary Harris
29th – Katherine Mundy Dn, Brian Lee
30th – Elaine Boyton, Mona Crompton, John Freebairn-Smith, Malcolm Melville Pr, Elizabeth Young
Service times this week
Saturday 23rd December – Advent Feria
12.00 pm Mass
6.30pm Vigil Mass of Sunday
Sunday 24th December – Fourth of Advent
11.00 am High Mass of Advent 4
6.00 pm First High Mass of Christmas
11.00 pm Midnight Mass
Monday 25th December – Christmas Day
9.00 am Low Mass of the Dawn
11.00 pm High Mass of Christmas Day
Tuesday 26th December – St Stephen, Protomartyr
12.00 pm Mass
Wednesday 27th December – St John the Evangelist
12.00 pm Mass
Thursday 28th December – The Holy Innocents
12.00 pm Mass
Friday 29th December – St Thomas Becket
12.00 pm Mass
Saturday 30th December – Sixth Day in the Christmas Octave
12 noon Mass
Sunday 31st December – The Holy Family
11.00 am High Mass