Wednesday, 30 January 2013

New Priest in Post at Our Lady's, Storrington

The Church of Our Lady of England, Storrington
There has been a period of change at Our Lady of England parish in Storrington, West Sussex. For various reasons the community of priests of the Norbertine Order, who had been here since 19th century, have moved on and the care for the parish passed onto the diocese. The Norbertine house at Chelmsford helped during the interregnum, but eventually the shutters went up at the Monastery in November of last year.   
Fr Con Foley

Bishop Kieran was able to provide the parish with a Diocesan priest,who joined them just before Christmas. A parishioner said "Father Con Foley, a young and most energetic person, soon proved himself to be an inspiration to young and older parishioners alike."

He carried on "His undoubted ability to reach the minds of others came when a Parish Meeting was called on the day of The Epiphany. Previous gatherings of this kind would normally attract minimal levels of attendance. On this occasion, however, the church hall was full to capacity and refreshments afterwards added a social theme also. More important, Father Con was a most convincing voice as we set about re-establishing our future."

We wish both Fr Con and the parish all the best for the future.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

In the Footsteps of Jesus

Mount of Beatitudes - Holy Land
Taking over from Fr David Weston who for many years led pilgrimages to the Holy land, local parishioner Ann-Marie Brook is offering a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in late spring.

This Holy Land Pilgrimage: In the footsteps of Jesus, runs from 7th – 19th May 2013. It is an invitation to experience at a deep personal level the blessings of the Holy Places where Jesus lived, ministered and prayed. 

Total cost: sharing £1649; single room £330 extra. ATOL/ABTA protected. Further details from Ann-Marie Brook, Sacred Heart RC Church, 36 Fort Road, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9EJ. Mob 07980 084360 email:

For more information go to their website

Monday, 28 January 2013

Worthing Concert of Music for St Elizabeth's Convent, Minsk

The Slavyane
St Michael’s, Hayling Rise, Worthing BN13 3AL is hosting a concert given by the award winning Belarusian Choir “The Slavyane” in support of the great work of the Sisters of the Convent of St Elizabeth on Sunday, 3rd March at 7.30pm.

The sisters of the convent in choir
The concert will feature chants from the Orthodox Divine Liturgy as well as Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian traditional folk songs it will be quite excellent and very enjoyable indeed. The concert supports the Sisters who care for patients of the National Psychiatric clinic, for children and adults with learning disabilities, an orphanage and a farmstead rehabilitating sufferers from drug and alcohol dependence.

The concert will be a remarkable opportunity to enjoy good music and you will also be able to support and participate in the charitable activities for the Convent. We warmly invite to give your support on the 3rd March at 7.30pm.

For more information and tickets tel: 01903 264770 or email:

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Holocaust Memorial Day 2013 Today 27 January

Man Praying at the Wall of the Temple, Jerusalem
Every year on this date, the world pauses to mark the day taking time to remember the millions of people who were murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution, as well as millions more who have died in subsequent genocides.

In 2000, a commitment was made in Stockholm by the Holocaust Taskforce to encourage remembrance of the Holocaust by holding an annual Holocaust Memorial Day.

The UK, one of the 28 member countries of this taskforce, held its first national Holocaust Memorial Day in 2001. The date chosen was 27 January, the day in 1945 when the Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camp was liberated. Throughout the UK, civic and local events, as well as school assemblies, will be held to recall and learn lessons from the Nazi persecution and murder of millions of Jews and others, as well as the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Survivors of these atrocities will be honoured and their stories heard. Genocide, antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination continue and must be challenged.

Theme and Resources
This year's theme is titled Communities Together: Build a Bridge.
Materials for Holocaust Memorial Day have been prepared by the Bishops' Conferenece Committee for Catholic Jewish Relations:
Booklet: Holocaust Memorial Day 2013

Presentation: Build a Bridge


Saturday, 26 January 2013

Fr Enda RIP and the Sistine Chapel in Goring

R-L: Fr Enda Naughton and Gary Bevans below the Sistine Chapel Ceiling
at English Martyrs in Goring, West Sussex
Fr Enda Naughton who died recently was the inspiration for the production of West Sussex's own Sistine Chapel Ceiling. Following at trip to Rome, when Fr Enda was parish priest of English Martyrs, Goring-by-Sea, he encouraged local sign writer and parishioner, Gary Bevans to create a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling from the Vatican on the ceiling of the parish church. This he did and it can still be seen to this day, indeed there are regular coach trips to visit the church and its ceiling.
Fr Enda left a further legacy when he encouraged the same Gary Bevans to train for the diaconate. Several years later Gary was ordained as a deacon for the parish.
Fr Enda will be long remembered in Goring for the legacy he left. May he rest in peace.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Alive in Christ - Discerment Group for Young Women

Alive in Christ is a group for women aged 18-35 to discover and respond to the call of Christ.

The group offers a space to journey with others seeking to tune-in more deeply to the call of Christ in your life, to discern His will for you, discover deeper meaning and direction, and to grow in the trust and freedom to respond generously to the Gospel.

Meetings are last Tuesdays of each month in Crawley - Vocations House, Stagelands, RH11 7QD - @ 6:15 for Mass, followed by pizza, talk, discussion and Adoration, finishing with Benediction at 9pm.

AiC is offered by the Arundel and Brighton Vocations Service.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Taizé in Hove

The Taizé community were recently in Rome with thousands of young people and the people. The chance for young people to share in a similar experince is being offered closer to home with an evening of prayer, song, sharing, silence and reflection to be held at Cardinal Newman School, Hove.

See poster below for more details.

People may be interested in the School weeks in Taizé aimed at UK schools in June and July. For more information click here.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

An Artist in Flight

Eleanor Bird, Hosanna House Lourdes Artist in Conversation with Peter Burholt

Visiting Eleanor’s studio in Bristol was an interesting experience. The smells of the brewer’s mash tuns, which featured so prominently with the Old Brewery, were long gone. Standing at the door of her studio, artist Eleanor Bird’s warm smile was a greeting to behold. A hand of welcome reached out ‘So, you managed to find me in this part of old Bristol!’

Moving inside, it was a typical place to work and create. The difference was that glass and metal samples were spread around in a purposeful way, possibly showing a sign of someone who knew what they were doing. Next door the carpenter’s studio gave out an aroma of newly cut wood and glue. A plate of chocolate Hobnobs sat formally on a serviette and plate on her worktop.

Making space, we sat down to talk.

You are an artist who works in designing architectural stained glass. Whatever made you take up this unusual profession? For a young person, it is not exactly a trendy profession.I have always been intrigued by glass. I remember when I was a very young girl, I used to get distracted by the patterns stained glass used to make in church – perhaps not the thing I should say in the A&B News! When I got older, stained glass became a point on which I could focus my thoughts.

Originally I wanted to take a degree in public art, but had no idea about specialising in stained glass design. My parents encouraged me and I have grown up with design, as this is what my father does for a living. I studied at the Chelsea College of Art & Design, which gave me the opportunity to experiment with the way in which glass could be used to modulate light through sand-blasting and acid etching.

Was it difficult to find work in this rather specialised world?In 2002 I came out with a 1st class degree and was then lucky enough to be taken on by the Thomas Heatherwick Studio. One of my first assignments was to help design the Bleigeissen sculpture for the Wellcome Trust’s office in the Euston Road, London.

This was quite a scary project as it consisted of glass beads hanging the eight floors of the building’s atrium. I was very proud of this work, but I’m relieved to say that it never collapsed!

Did you stay at Thomas Heatherwick’s Studio long?After my contract finished, I wanted to gain a more hands-on experience of working with glass and this is when I moved to Bristol. I joined the renowned Roy Coomber, famous over many, many years for his work. At 80 years of age he is still working, mostly in America. Over the 5 years I was with him, he taught me how to use paint to create form and tone in stained glass windows. He is a very straight-talking teacher!

I also worked with Andrew Taylor, who helped me understand how to glaze and install stained glass windows.
You have been pictured with Princess Anne, who presented you with an award. How did that come about and how did Missio become part of your life?This came about in 2008 after I decided to study for an MA in Architectural Glass at the University of Sunderland. Fortunately, I won The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust grant to further my training from Princess Anne. While I was there I entered the Stevens competition, an annual event run by The Glaziers Guild.

Although I knew the competition was being run with a possible commission from Missio, I had never heard of them, except I remember my grandmother having her red box by the front door. Although I came third, luckily for me Msg Dale had the final say on who was taken on.

My work has been exhibited at the British Glass Biennale 2010, the UK’s top contemporary showcase featuring 80 of the country’s leading glass artists. I was very proud of that achievement.

So, what happened next after you were commissioned by Missio?As a point of explanation, one of the HCPT’s earliest chaplins, Fr Byrne, always nursed a fervent hope that the Chapel at Hosanna House would one day be enhanced by its upper windows being filled with stained glass, depicting the Risen Christ in an Easter Garden . A fortnight before he died, a fund was established to fulfil his dream. 

The commission was for a panel in the Chapel. This work started last year and it took three months to complete. You are quite correct - I do tend to be a perfectionist! (Eleanor is pictured showing a detail of the panel).

During my visit to Hosanna House, I felt a great sense of friendship and healing. I wanted to depict this feeling through the resurrection theme in stained glass. One day the answer came in a conversation with Br Michael, who suggested the story of Mary Magdalene meeting the Risen Christ.

Did you really drive down to Hosanna House with the stained glass window in the back of your car?
I thought about the options of getting the glass down to the southern part of France and decided that the only safe way was to do the transporting myself and not to trust others.

You may think it was one large glass window, half stuck out of the passenger window! In reality, I separated the panel into 15 individual pieces and then we had it assembled on site. A French woman glazier did that part of the job.

But you did not see the finished article until much later.That is true, as I only saw it when I was invited for the formal blessing of the panel at Easter this year.

I have some good news for you - I have just heard that HCPT has commissioned me to design two more panels – one representing Palm Sunday and the other Pentecost.

What else happened at that time?As all this was going on, I came back to Bristol from Sunderland to get married. That’s why I am here at the Old Brewery. Does he work with me? No way, he is an aerospace engineer working for Airbus.

Although you are not a Catholic, does your work have a spiritual affect on you?
Eleanor paused a few moments as she considered how she would reply to this question. The Hobnobs still sat untouched on their plate.

Now I come to think about it, yes it does. I try very hard to relate to the people who commission my work and it is important to know where the stained glass is to be located. It happens that much of my current commissions involve the (wider) Church – I have work with several church schools, a convent and a church. I am having an ‘Our Lady of Lourdes Year’.

By Eleanor’s own admission, she has a calling. Where this will take her next, only Himself knows. Wherever it will be, this artist will keep her feet firmly on the ground and will never be known as a ‘flight of fancy’.

Ed – Eleanor’s website is:  

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Fun in the Snow for School Children

Children and staff at Annecy School, Seaford had fun in the snow during their lunch break. Everyone took full advantage of the seasonal weather with many snowmen appeared on the playing fields.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Peacemaking In The Year Of Faith

Fr. Rob Esdaile, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Thames Ditton, Surrey writes for Peace Sunday (20 January):
"Pope Benedict has asked the Catholic community to live 2013 as a ‘Year of Faith’, inviting us “rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the Word of God,”  in the face of the many competing voices and values of our day and age.  Of course, we always stand in need of renewal.  But there is a particular reason for holding such a Year of Faith right now, for the Second Vatican Council began its work of renewing the Church fifty years ago.  It’s time, says the Pope, to rediscover the teaching of that great gathering.

The theme of this year’s Peace Sunday (January 20th, 2013), “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” certainly fits very well with the aim of the Year of Faith.  It’s taken from the seventh of the nine Beatitudes (Mt 5.9) with which Matthew begins Jesus’ public ministry.  It’s a key text of Scripture.  But what does it mean for us today? To understand the Beatitudes properly, it’s important to see that they aren’t instructions.  Rather, they are descriptions of how ‘Kingdom People’ are:  poor in spirit, compassionate, gentle, thirsty for righteous, merciful, pure in heart, peace-making ... oh and (uncomfortably) persecuted and spoken ill of. Seeking the Kingdom gets them into trouble. But signs of the Kingdom of God happen if (and only if) people dare to live that way.

If we ask what Vatican Two has to say about peacemaking, the first thing to note is a trust in humanity.Those who gathered in Rome in 1962-5 had lived through the horrors of World War Two, while the shadow of the Cold War hung heavily over countries East and West. Yet, despite this, they remained convinced that God’s Love is capable of renewing all things and that God’s Will is a universal peace in which all are called to share.

From this flow two further insights:  the conviction that Christians are called to work for reconciliation (firstly, between the Churches, but then of the human community wherever there is conflict);  and the urgent call to read “the signs of the times”  – to interpret the events of our day and age, so that we can see where the Holy Spirit is touching people’s hearts, opening up pathways towards peace.  We Catholic Christians may not simply say that we’re ‘not interested’ in current affairs, because we believe that each person is our brother or sister and that the dignity of all matters.

At the end of Vatican II the Council Fathers turned to the urgent task of ‘Fostering Peace and Establishing a Community of Nations’.  Peace, we are reminded, “is more than the absence of war” and cannot be based on a balance of terror. It is a task that needs to be worked at constantly, a search for the Common Good, grounded in love and justice.  In contrast, modern warfare cannot be regarded as an acceptable way of resolving conflict. Vatican II condemns both the targeting of Weapons of Mass Destruction (notably nuclear missiles) on civilian populations and the wasting on the arms race of vast sums which could be used to help the poor. And the Bishops insist that all must work for disarmament and the end to the arms-race.

Re-reading this teaching after nearly half a century, perhaps the most striking thing is how relevant it remains and how widely the Church’s teaching on warfare is ignored, not least in the supposedly ‘Christian’ West. So, once again, we are being called to conversion.  Perhaps part of our own contribution to the Year of Faith could be undertaking to study Vatican II’s teaching on peace-making and then asking: What can I do to work for peace, in the spirit of the Council? Certainly, we cannot do much alone. We need others to work alongside.  And that is where the Catholic Peace Movement, Pax Christi, comes in – linking people who are committed to the work of making peace, providing resources, and fostering prayer and reflection regarding the meaning of the Gospel of Peace."

Friday, 18 January 2013

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Begins

The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins today Friday, focusing on a theme taken from a verse of the prophet Micah "What does the Lord requires of us?"

This annual initiative, which is marked by countries around the world at different times provides an opportunity for local churches to step up contacts, to share in worship and to promote joint initiatives between Christians of different denominations.
Read more and listen to Cardinal Koch (pictured above) on the Vatican Radio website 
You can also find more information on the Churches Together website here...

Monday, 14 January 2013

Going for Gold - St Philip Howard Catholic High School

Olympian Gold Medalist Sophie Christiansen with Head of St Philip Howard's, David Carter
Students were honoured to receive their GCSE and GCE certificates from an Olympic heroine at their recent presentation evening. Sophie Christiansen, MBE, who has achieved 5 Olympic medals at the Paralympic Games, 3 of them in London this summer, congratulated the students, who had achieved excellent GCSE and A Level results, many at A* or A grades. Prize winners included Samuel Theodoridi, for social awareness, David Simmonds, for endeavour, Lucy Brookes for public speaking, Catherine Hawkins for her contribution to the school community and James Turner for achievement in Mathematics. The Thorpe Justice prizes for students of law went to Joshua Weston, James Turner and Samuel Foster.
Sophie, who has never allowed cerebral palsy to interfere with her drive to succeed, gave a moving speech about her own road to success. Having started riding at age 6, she went on to compete in dressage competitions nationally and internationally including European and World Championships. Not only has she achieved phenomenal success with her sport, she is also a graduate of a top London university in Mathematics.

Sophie spoke to the students about how she worked hard to fulfil her dreams, overcoming setbacks and learning how to deal with the stress of preparing for the Olympics. Her message to the students was also about recognising the important contribution made by other people in allowing our dreams to be realised; she encouraged the students to remember the role played by their families and members of the school staff.

Headteacher, David Carter commented “Sophie’s attitude, determination and desire to succeed is an example to us all. She has a no-nonsense, no excuses, upbeat mentality which is totally inspiring. Like we do at SPH, she sets her sights high and never gives up in aspiring to be the very best she can be. There were many gold-winning performances from our students in the exams over the summer and we were delighted to host Sophie, one of our country’s most successful Paralympians ever”.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Fr Emmanuel Agius Reception of Body

We have just been informed that Fr Emmanuel's coffin will be received into St Joseph's Church, Redhill at 4.30 pm on Tuesday 15th January. After a time of prayer there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 6.00 pm. A period of Adoration and recitation of the Rosary at 6.15pm followed by Benediction around 6.30pm. The Vigil Mass will commence at 7.00 pm.

The funeral as in the previous post will take place on Wednesday 16th January at St Joseph's from 2pm.

May he rest in peace.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Fr Emmanuel Agius RIP - Funeral Details

Fr Emmanuel Agius: Living in retirement Fr Emmanuel died on 29th December 2012. Born in Malta he was ordained there in 1960, but eventually joined the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton in 1974 where he served in various parishes finally retiring from Holy Family parish Addlestone.

There will be reception of the body and a Vigil Mass on Tuesday 15th January at 7pm at St Jospeh's, Redhill RH1 1LF. His funeral Mass will take place on Wednesday 16th January at 2pm in St Joseph's.
Also included below is information about the funeral that has just taken place for Fr Enda Naughton- He died in retirement on 30th December 2012. Originally from Ireland he was a RAF chaplain before acting as parish priest of English Martyrs. Goring and Sacred Heart, Petworth.

His funeral took place at St Patrick's Church, Ballinaheglish, Co. Roscommon on 3rd January 2013.

May they both rest in peace

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Haslemere Parish Choir Transylvanian Tour

Choir members with the happy couple
Eight members of the choir of Our Lady of Lourdes, Haslemere, recently had the unforgettable experience of travelling to Transylvania to sing at a wedding.

Two years ago Beata and Laszlo, working as au pairs in the town, joined the church choir and have endeared themselves to everyone. For their wedding they then invited fellow members to sing Mozart’s Ave Verum during the nuptial Mass in the predominantly Catholic town of Cristuru Secuiesc. The choir also took part in many of the Hungarian marriage traditions and the all-night feast which followed.

On the other days the bridal pair took their English friends sightseeing in the area which rarely sees tourists. This included a salt mine where, deep down in the ecumenical chapel the group sang Be Still and, in the inspiring underground setting, the presence of the Lord really did seem to be all around them.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Five Years of the The Thomas More Legal Centre

On 1st September 2007 a group met in London to consider the formation of an organisation to provide Legal advice and representation to individuals whose religious freedom was threatened by employers or Government. The initial impetus was the coming into force of the Sexual Orientation Regulations which were to ultimately lead to the closure of the Catholic Adoption Agencies.

Following that meeting the Thomas More Legal Centre (TMLC) was created with Mr Richard Kornicky CBE as Chairman and Neil Addison, Barrister as Director and on 7th January 2008 TMLC was officially registered as a Charity and began operations. On 7th January 2013 TMLC celebrates its 5th Anniversary. In those Five years it has developed a particular expertise in the Pro Life area and this article is a review of some of the main cases TMLC has been involved in over that period. Many of the names of those we have represented are kept confidential because TMLC has always tried to deal with cases through negotiation and where cases involve employees who are carrying on being employed avoiding undue publicity helps to ensure that there are still good relationships at work. The disadvantage for TMLC is that this reduces the publicity we can achieve for our work but it has also meant that overall we have been more successful than other more publicised organisations. A lot of our work has involved giving general legal advice and support at an early stage which has helped to prevent situations developing into cases

In the next few years we expect to be increasingly involved in defending the rights of pro-life groups to operate and express their views in Universities where Students Unions are increasingly adopting “pro choice” policies and then attempting to silence pro-life groups on the basis that they are “contrary to student union policy”. We also expect to see increasing intolerance of pro-life medical staff as part of what appears to be a systematic attempt by the NHS to minimise the right to Conscientious Objection in the Abortion Act. The effect of Same Sex marriage on the rights of Christian organisations and individuals to express their views and act in accordance with their conscience is also likely to come under increasing pressure.

See more about them go to

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Guidelines for Interreligious Marriages from Christian-Muslim Forum

Guidelines for the increasing number of interreligious marriages have been launched by the Christian-Muslim forum. “When Two Faiths Meet. Marriage, Family and Pastoral Care – Ethical principles” is available free online (see below).

Bishop Paul Hendricks, Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Southwark, and Co-Chair of the Christian-Muslim Forum, welcomed the new guidelines, saying that “they offer valuable guidance for both priests and imams. With an increasing number of Christian-Muslim couples entering into marriage, we also need an increased awareness of the particular pastoral support that is owed to them, which can help them and their loved ones discover their marriage as a place of dialogue, and a beneficial link between two religions”.

The guidelines are based on the advice of Christians and Muslims who have many years’ experience in working pastorally with mixed-faith couples. They urge ministers of religion to be welcoming of interreligious couples, and to give them the care they need at such an important time in their lives, stressing that great respect is needed for the religious freedom of each partner, and of their families.

Senior Muslim representatives were present at the launch, alongside the Director of the Christian-Muslim Forum, Julian Bond. He called this area of work “difficult but important […] for inter faith dialogue, cooperation and conflict resolution”. He stressed the value “of experience in dialogue and shared reflection on a range of issues” that the Christian-Muslim Forum has built up over the years.

The Catholic Church makes provisions for interreligious marriages between a Catholic and a non-baptised person. Muslim-Catholic couples should seek the advice of the local priest, who will be able to help and advise them. The coordinators for marriage and family life ministry of the dioceses can also offer assistance. Their contacts can be found at

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales’ teaching document on interreligious dialogue “Meeting God in Friend and Stranger. Fostering respect and mutual understanding between the religions” looks at the area of interreligious marriage and says that, with all its challenges, “interreligious marriage can offer opportunities for deepening faith and for cultural enrichment” and goes on to say that “the beliefs and religious practices of the partner who is not Christian must be treated with proper respect, and given every possible consideration consistent with Catholic faith and teaching”.

The full guidelines can be found at

Friday, 4 January 2013

Defending Marriage - Bishops of England and Wales

The Bishops of England and Wales have continued to speak on the defence of marriage:
Speaking earlier in the year  Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Kieran Conry, warned that Mr Cameron would not be given "an easy ride on this”.
“I think the Church will have to do something. We can’t just let this slide by and say we are not interested," he said.
“It is the question of protecting the particular, specific institution of marriage and its specific character as the permanent union of a man and a woman who would then bring up their own children.”

You can find other comments from other Bishops here...

Bishop Egan in Portsmouth has also written directly to the Prime Minister and this can be read here...

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Sad News of Three Deaths

It is with regret that we announce the death of Fr Emmanuel Agius on Saturday 29 December 2012.
Formerly Parish Priest Of Addlestone, Ash, Midhurst, Fetcham, Eastbourne – St Agnes, Hollington, Warlingham and Assistant at Horley and Redhill.Ordained in 1960 in Malta. He joined the Diocese in 1974.
Funeral arrangements to be communicated shortly.

We also announce the death of Fr Enda Naughton in retirement on Monday 31 December.
Formerly Parish Priest of Goring and Petworth and RAF Chaplain.
No details yet of Funeral arrangements – he died in Ireland. (The Bishop believes the funeral will probably be this Thursday 3 January near Roscommon in Ireland)

Bill Haynes died just before Christmas. Known to many as originator of the Summer Walking Pilgrimages and previously as Parish Priest of St Patrick’s Woodingdean and Redhill. He was for a time Chaplain at the Cardinal Newman Catholic School Hove and Pastoral Director at St John’s Seminary.
Funeral Mass at St Andrew’s,Little Chalfont on Thursday 3 January 2013 at 3pm.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated in Worthing sometime after 22 January.

May they rest in peace

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Wishing you a Blessed New Year on this Feast of the Mother of God

Mother of God of the Life-Giving Spring by Vasiliki Oldziey of St. Elias Church, Austin, TX
Today as well as celebrating the New Year the Church celebrates the great feast of Mary, Mother of God. It is the feast of the one who bore the Christ child who became human like us so that we might share in his divinity. For that reason the Church continues to sing the praises of Mary, Virgin and Mother who is for us the God bearer (Theokotos).

The icon is from the website of the Anthiocian Orthodox Church of North America