December 24th 2006 – 4th Sunday of Advent

Christmas: A reminder of the greatest gift ever given
Making, buying and giving gifts as Christmas should be a reminder of Christ, the greatest gift ever given to humanity. It is right to consider Christmas "the feast of gifts."
Christmas gifts remind us of the Gift par excellence, that which the Son of God made of himself in the Incarnation.
Exchanging gifts at Christmas time has real meaning only if it is a symbol of "the principal gift" remembered as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, to "fix our gaze not only on the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger", but also to contemplate and adore him in the Eucharist.
"Under the appearance of a small piece of bread,- it is Jesus who gives himself and wants to enter into our hearts.
In the manger at Bethlehem, we adore the same Lord who, in the eucharistic sacrament wanted to be our spiritual food in order to transform the world from the inside, beginning from the human heart.

The Origin of the Crib
To celebrate the birth of Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi decided to make it "real" for his people and his friars who lived in the hills around the hermitage of Greccio. St, Francis sent a message to an old friend, Giovanni Vellita, telling him of his plan to re-create the scene at Bethlehem.
"If you want to celebrate the Feast of the Lord at Greccio, hurry and diligently prepare what I tell you. For I wish to recall the memory of the little child who was born in Bethlehem, I want to set before our bodily eyes the hardships of his infant needs, how he lay in the manger, how with and ox and ass standing by he lay upon the hay."
Giovanni and his friends worked hard and succeeded in re-creating in the cave the first crib scene surrounded by candles. The villagers and friars were completely overwhelmed as they celebrated the Christmas Mass at which St. Francis preached, bringing the Christmas story to life in a very special way.
After the death of St. Francis, the custom of having a crib at Christmas spread throughout Europe. The crib in the house also became popular by the seventeenth century owing much of its popularity to the enthusiasm of the Franciscans.
When we have a crib scene at home it is not only a reminder of the first Christmas; it is also a link with all other Christians who have celebrated the joy of the birth of Jesus through the ages. 

After all the Masses this weekend.

Christmas Masses
Christmas Eve   Sunday: 6 pm & 10 pm
Christmas Day   Monday: 9 am, 10.30 am, 12 noon

Sign Language
A Sign Language Interpreter will be with us for the 10 pm Mass on Christmas Eve. We welcome members of the Deaf Community to come and join us as we celebrate the birth of Christ.

Our thanks to all who donated Poinsettia Pot Plants to decorate our altar for Christmas.

Prayer around the Christmas Tree and Crib
Go to the parish website and you will find these prayers.

Priests Collection
The Collection taken up on Christmas Eve Sun. 6pm, 10pm and Christmas Day is for the Priests of the Parish.
There will be only one collection. This collection, with the Spring & Autumn Dues, are the primary source of income for the priests of the Parish.

Christmas Hamper Draw
Winner: Denny Lynch, Evergreen Rd. (Card no 9 line11)
Many thanks to our sponsors and to those who supported the draw and sold the lines.
Our thanks to Duane's Shop, The Horse Shoe Bar and Friars Rd. Post Office for displaying the hamper.

We remember in our prayers Helena Connolly, Greenhills Court and Liam  Walsh, Connolly Rd., who died during the week, and we extend our sympathy to their families.

St. Stephen's Day 26th Dec. 
Mass at 10 am.
For remainder of the  week Mass at usual time 10 am.
Sunday 31st Dec.  Feast of the Holy Family.
Monday 1st Jan. Feast of Mary Mother of God – World Day of Prayer for Peace..

God's Word for Feast of the Holy Family Dec. 31st
1st Reading: Ecclesiasticus 3:2-6.12-14, Psalm 127, 2nd Reading: Colossians 3:12-21. Gospel: Luke 2:41-52,