Fr Ed’s Christmas message
As 2018 draws to a close, I have been reflecting on what this year has meant for our community. A number of changes have taken place behind the scenes that have made a dramatic impact on how we are and what we do as an English-speaking community. Our Pastoral Council has adopted new ‘Internal rules of procedure’ which clarify what the Council is for and to guide it going forward. Our Safeguarding policy has been provisionally adopted, pending it’s compliance with Luxembourg civil law. We now have seven active Council sub-committees, reporting regularly to the Council: Liturgy, Youth, Social life, Diakonia (serving those in need), Finance, Catechesis, and Safeguarding; in addition we have recently established a group concerned with legal, financial and data protection compliance, and Communication.
The former Secretary of our Pastoral Council has now been elected Chair of the Parish Council of Luxembourg Notre-Dame, and I am part of the small group that is helping shape the pastoral planning of the new parish.
An addition that has made a great and wholly positive difference in our community has been the engagement of Nicola Hammond as our Administrative Assistant, meaning that our admin is now in very capable hands, as opposed to my own!
Our Marriage Preparation team have received training from Marriage Care UK, to whom we are now affiliated, and 29 couples have benefited from our courses this year; of these, I have celebrated 11 marriages. We celebrated the First Holy Communion of 50 children in May, and there are 66 children enrolled in our current class. 19 young people are preparing for Confirmation, along with 8 adults. Two members of our community are now engaged in Baptism Preparation, catechising parents for the Baptism of their child. Our new youth group has got off to a good start, with a core of 15 or so young people. Our new children’s choir is in full swing, and their own, new Mass setting is proving popular all round. Our average Mass attendance between our 3 Masses is 850. We celebrated a Mass followed by a barbecue to raise funds and show solidarity with people in need in Venezuela, and recently hosted a Sunday breakfast to benefit Religious sisters in Madagascar. The appeal for shoe-boxes filled with essential items for children in need in Romania and Moldavia broke all previous records: 456 boxes were collected and dispatched.
Our Sunday music group continues to flourish, and our Saturday evening Mass now has a superb cantor. We were blessed for six months this year with the presence of Fr Valentine d’Souza SJ who was able to help with Masses, Confessions, house blessings and sick visits; he spoke highly of our community and was grateful for his time with us.
All in all, 2018 has been a truly blessed year for our community, a year of tremendous energy and growth, for which we can all be truly grateful to the Lord. Sincere and deep thanks to everyone who has contributed in anyway to the vibrancy and outreach of our community — the challenge is that in 2019 we can maintain this dynamism. With God’s help, we will!
Every good wish and blessing to you and your loved ones,