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every grace and peace for 2010!
Mary, the mother of God
The Christian New Year is celebrated on January 1, one week after the celebration of the birth of Jesus. January 1 has been given several different names that reveal something of the nature of the feast. First of all, the Christian New Year is within the Octave of Christmas [i.e. 8 days after the birth of Jesus.] Before the liturgical renewal of the Second Vatican Council [1962-1965] the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus or the Naming of Jesus [Holy Name of Jesus] was celebrated on this date to commemorate the Gospel account of Jesus' circumcision according to the ritual prescriptions of the Mosaic law, thus becoming officially a member of the people of the covenant: "At the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus" [Lk 2:21-24 ].
Following the liturgical renewal of the Second Vatican Council, January 1 has now been known as the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of the Lord, and it has also been designated as the World Day of Prayer for Peace.
We may often wonder if New Year's Day has accumulated so many different meanings, that people no longer pay attention to the feast. Is it also not true that the atmosphere of revelry attached to New Year's Eve hardly leaves anyone with the energy, desire or willingness to consider New Year's Day as a religious feast? Let us consider some of the biblical foundations for the various meanings attached to the Christian New Year.
Feast of the Circumcision and Naming of Jesus
In antiquity and in the Scriptures, it is a common belief that the name given to a person is not just a label but part of the personality of the one who bears it. The name carries will and power. Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem to Jewish parents [Matthew 1-2 ; Luke 1-2 ]. At his conception, it was told by an angel that his name would be "Jesus". The Hebrew and Aramaic name "Yeshua" [Jesus] is a late form of the Hebrew "Yehoshua" or Joshua. It was a very common name in New Testament times. The meaning of the name is "The Lord is salvation" and it is alluded to in Matthew 1:21 and Luke 2:21 . Read More
Our 2010 Lenten Program focuses on our life of service. It is an "invitation to explore and deepen our life of service in Jesus Christ." This year the program features one of the amazing works of art of Fr Seiger Koder for each week, to assist our reflection upon that week's scriptures.
The weekly themes are:
Recent items added to the website:
Every Advent we prepare for the coming of Jesus. Preparing for and celebrating the coming of our Saviour reminds us that we are called to live for a new future, a future that we can hardly dare to imagine. Each week we listen to God's promises and we light an extra Advent candle to dispel more of the darkness of sin and ignorance. We accompany Joseph and his spouse, Mary, pregnant with the Saviour, on their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. We need to recall that God has given us the best Christmas gift – His love for us made flesh in His Son, Jesus.
Remember also our movie review feature, with more than 120 movie reviews now available on the Diocese of Wollongong website. Plus, you can sign-up to receive the latest news items and movie reviews direct to your inbox as they are published each week. Some of the current film reviews are:
The Catholic Church Offices in Market Street will re-open on 4 January 2010. Our prayers are with you over the New Year. May the hope and joy of Christ's coming stir anew in your heart.
Diocese of Wollongong Parish Services and website team