Dear Friends of the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

The Third Sunday of Advent takes its name from the first words of the Introit: “Gaudete Rejoice.” The Mass bids us rejoice for the Lord is near. For this reason the vestments are the more “joyful” rose colour, there are flowers on the altar, and we once again hear the joyful sounds of the organ.

We should also rejoice that we can once again celebrate Mass publicly. Let us all pray, and offer up our daily sacrifices, that we may not be “shut down” again. Please also read the signs posted at the entrance of the church and follow the regulations as these are a condition for keeping the church open.

Have you already read the Apostolic Letter Patris Corde of the Holy Father Pope Francis on the 150th Anniversary of the proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church (8th December 2020)? Pope Francis has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from 8thDecember 2020 until 8th December 2021. The Apostolic Penitentiary has issued a Decree granting plenary indulgences for the year. Reading this document is also a good preparation for Christmas.

This Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are the Advent Ember days. These are traditionally days of extra prayer and penance the church set aside to pray sanctify the seasons and pray for vocations. 

My quest for a new visa has been a success. I received it a couple weeks ago. After returning to Ireland and passing my “travel quarantine” in Limerick, I am now happy to be back in Belfast.

Yesterday, Canon de Martin was called back to Limerick. Unfortunately, with the ‘lockdown’ last week it was not possible to organise a farewell event. Limerick is his actual assignment though, and his presence is certainly needed there as the Limerick apostolate of the Institute provides four Masses every Sunday!

Lockdowns and regulations have meant that everything is a bit slow this year but the Christmas schedule is in preparation and it will be published next week. Apologies if you were hoping to know the timetable of the various ceremonies and other plans by now.

Wishing you a blessed week,

Canon Heppelle

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