Happy new year to Father David and to all Union of Catholic Mothers mums!
Yes, I know that we haven't celebrated Christmas yet, but the First Sunday in Advent is New Year's Day in the Church's liturgical calendar. I think this shows how important the season is in preparing us for the birth of Jesus Christ.
Last Christmas, I read a lovely verse titled 'The true meaning of Christmas', which begins:
"Jesus Christ was born this day so many years before
He came as a servant to the lost, though he was Lord of Lords."
According to the poem, Jesus came to us with a plan which "reconciles us back to our loving Father God", and so there is one thing above all to remember and to celebrate at this time of year. As the poem stipulates in its ending:
"So let's arise with joy in our hearts and share it with everyone
The meaning of Christmas will always be the birth of Jesus – God's son."
• Congratulations to the UCM's Archdiocesan president-elect Maria Bruns. Maria will be the fourth Archdiocesan president from St Paul's foundation and we should also thank Anne Woods, president of St George's foundation, who was another nominee. I pray that the committee will have received applications for the role of Archdiocesan secretary – the closing date was 27 November.
• The Year of Mercy starts on 8 December and Father David has kindly arranged for us to have a penitential service at the Metropolitan Cathedral after our business meeting there on Saturday 20 February. Please do your best to attend.
• I look forward to seeing you before then at our Mass on 20 January when our charity cheques will be presented. In the meantime, a peaceful and happy Christmas to you all, and may 2016 be a blessed and healthy year for you and your families.