Proclamation   Isaiah 61:1-2
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor,
to bind up hearts that are broken;
to proclaim liberty to captives,
freedom to those in prison;
to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.

(Procession of Archbishop with representatives from different communities carrying flowers/chrysanthemums, incense, icon and Advent banners)

Song    Jubilate Deo (Jean-Paul Lécot)
All sing: Jubilate Deo, Jubilate omnes terra, Jubilate Deo
The word of the Lord to his people:
“Sound the trumpet throughout the land,
Proclaim the liberation of the all the inhabitants!” (Refrain)

“In this year of Jubilee,
Put my laws into practice,
And in the land you will live securely.” (Refrain)

“I will make my dwelling place among you,
I will walk with you,
I will be your God
and you will be my people.” (Refrain)

Welcome   Archbishop Martin

Opening Prayer     Let us pray,
All say:    God of everlasting love,
Bless your people who wait in joyful hope.
Open our minds and hearts,
Inspire our prayer and reflection,
Fill us with enthusiasm and energy,
We ask this in the Spirit, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

We gather on the brink of Advent to pray, reflect and sing about our hopes for this season of joyful expectation. We come as we are with our dreams, our promises and our resolutions. We embrace our regrets, our sorrows and our anxieties.

We gather too at the start of the Year for the Consecrated Life with a sense of joy at our calling and with a longing for renewal in our mission. We stand before God whose everlasting love encircles us with strength, comfort and compassion.

We are mindful of the challenges and possibilities of this special year of grace. We are ready to answer the invitation of Pope Francis to ‘wake up the world.’

We are mindful too of waiting patiently during Advent in the spirit of Blessed John Newman – ‘I do not ask to see the distant scene, one step enough for me.’

In our service we have intertwined some of the Advent prophetic readings from Isaiah with excerpts from ‘Rejoice’ the Letter to Religious towards the Special Year for the Consecrated Life.

Quotation from ‘Rejoice’
‘It is about leaving everything to follow the Lord… the call to evangelical radicalism is made to everyone. But religious follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way. I look to you for this testimony… Religious need to be men and women capable of awakening the world.’

Song    Rise Up (Liam Lawton)
All sing: Rise up, oh, rise up! Show your face unto the Lord.
Rise up, oh, rise up! Bring his love into the world.
That you may gaze on his holy countenance,
That you may share his holy word.
Rise up, oh, rise up! Bring his love into the world.

Quotation from ‘Rejoice’
‘He invites us to a pilgrimage into the past, a camino of wisdom to find ourselves in the streets of Palestine or in the boat of the humble fisherman of Galilee. He asks us to contemplate the beginnings of a better way into an encounter, inaugurated by Christ.

All sing: Rise up, oh, rise up! Show your face unto the Lord…

Quotation from ‘Rejoice’ ‘He invites us to dwell in peace, as in an interior pilgrimage, like in those early days, warmed by a friendly relationship, with our minds open to the mystery, when we made the decision to give ourselves to the Master who alone has the words of eternal life. He calls us to make our ‘whole existence a pilgrimage of transformation in love’.

All sing: Rise up, oh, rise up! Show your face unto the Lord…

Reading   Isaiah 40:1-2
Console my people, console them’
says your God.
‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem
and call to her
that her time of service is ended,
that her sin is atoned for,
that she has received from the hand of the Lord
double punishment for all her crimes.’

Song O Comfort My People (Gaelic)
All sing:   O comfort my people and calm all their fear,
and tell them the time of salvation draws near
O tell them I come to remove all their shame
Then they will forever give praise to my name.

Proclaim to the cities of Juda my word:
that gentle yet strong is the hand of the Lord.
I rescue the captives, my people defend
and bring them to justice and joy without end.

Quotation from ‘Rejoice’
Bring the embrace of God – “People today certainly need words, but above all they need a witness to the mercy and tenderness of the Lord, which inflames the heart, awakens hope, appeals to the good.” Pope Francis entrusts this mission to us in the consecrated life: Find the Lord, who comforts us like a mother and comfort the people of God. From the joy of meeting the Lord and His call flows the service in the Church’s mission: to bring men and women of our time the consolation of God, to bear witness to his mercy.

All sing:  All mountains and hill shall become as a plain
for vanished are mourning and hunger and pain.
And never again shall these war against you.
Behold I come quickly to make all things new.

Prayer   Let us pray,
All say: God of all creation,
Plant in us the seed of renewal:
to leave behind what ties us down and draw closer to Jesus
to be comfort and consolation to others this Advent time
to be transformed in love and mercy.
We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Reflection   The Potter
O Life-Shaping Potter, Come~ As we begin this Advent season, may we be yielding and pliable, open to your soft, molding touch. Come and shape our lives: expand our hearts for compassion, open our eyes to your ways, tune our ears to your words, guide our hands to touch others gently, nudge our feet onto your paths. Form us into your Advent people, bringing hope and peace to your hurting world.

Song        Ullmhaígí Bóthar An Tiarna (Máire Ní Dhuibhir)
All sing:  Ullmhaígi bóthar an Tiarna, alleluia, alleluia

Reading   Isaiah 40:3-5
A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God
across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low,
let every cliff become a plain
and the ridges a valley;
then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all mankind shall see it;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

Song    Ullmhaígí Bóthar An Tiarna (Máire Ní Dhuibhir)
All sing:  Ullmhaígi bóthar an Tiarna, alleluia, alleluia 

(At this time people come forward in procession with Advent wreaths to be blessed)

Blessing of Advent Wreaths     Archbishop Martin
We ask you, God, our creator, to bless these Advent wreaths’
May they remind us that Jesus is in our midst
And that we are surrounded by his love and care.
Bless the candles on these wreaths.
May they remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world.
May these wreaths reminds us to prepare well for Christmas,
each and every day of the Advent season.
We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

All sing: Ullmhaígi bóthar an Tiarna, alleluia, alleluia

 Reflection   An Advent meditation sealed with a promise
Prepare the way of the Lord
Poor, cluttered hearts starving for the emptiness
that makes fullness possible
It is so little that He asks of us
Give some evidence that you mean to reform
Wear lights in your hearts instead of on your trees.
Our autumned hearts stand waiting for the Father’s gift
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Gospel up our lives with your presence
and we’ll wear lights in our hearts instead of on our trees.

Song   Christ With Me (Taizé)
All sing:  Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me

Quotation from ‘Rejoice’
Taking the Gospel as his way of life, Francis of Assisi “made the faith grow and renewed the Church; and at the same time renewed society, making it more fraternal, but always witnessing to the Gospel. ‘Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary also with words.’ (St. Francis of Assisi)

Song    How Beautiful Are The Feet (G.F. Handel)

Reading Isaiah 40:9-11
Go up on a high mountain,
joyful messenger to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice,
joyful messenger to Jerusalem.
Shout without fear,
say to the towns of Judah,
‘Here is your God.’

Song    Shout to The Lord (Darlene Zschech)
All sing:  Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing;
power and majesty, praise to the king!
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your name.
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands; forever I’ll love You, forever I’ll stand.
Nothing compares to the promise I have in you.

Quotation from ‘Rejoice’
For Pope Francis tenderness is a hallmark of fraternity, a “Eucharistic tenderness”, because “the tenderness makes us good.” Community will have “a huge drawing force, for such brotherliness, despite all differences, is a form of love that goes beyond conflict.”

Reading  Isaiah 40:11
Here is the Lord coming with power,
his arm subduing all things to him.
The prize of his victory is with him,
his trophies all go before him.
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering lambs in his arms,
holding them against his breast
and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

Song    Shepherd Me, O God (Marty Haugen)
All sing: Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants,
beyond my needs, from death into life.

Reflection  Drops of Oil
 Don’t think that love, to be true, has to be extraordinary. What is necessary is to continue to love. How does a lamp burn, if it is not by the continuous feeding of little drops of oil? When there is no oil, there is no light and the bridegroom will say: “I do not know you”. Dear friends, what are our drops of oil in our lamps? They are the small things from everyday life: the joy, the generosity, the little good things, the humility and the patience, a simple thought for someone else or a way to be silent, to listen, to forgive, to speak and to act. These are the real drops of oil that make our lamps burn vividly our whole life. Don’t look for Jesus far away, He is not there. He is in you, take care of your lamp and you will see Him. (Saint Teresa of Calcutta)

Address  Archbishop Diarmuid Martin


Archbishop Martin: We turn to the Lord, asking his blessing on ourselves, our loved ones, and on our world this Advent at the start of this Year for Consecrated Life.
For those who have an abundance of good things in this life, that they may be mindful of the world’s poor.
Let us pray to the Lord
All sing: Lord hear our prayer
For those who carry hurts and angers and dark memories, help them to find the peace which only you can give. (R)
For those whose faith has grown dim and who feel lost and confused on their journey through life, touch them with the warmth of your presence. (R)
For those who are tired, weary, worn from generous giving of their lives for others, bring them rest and enkindle within them a deep spark of light and happiness. (R)
For those who grieve the loss of a loved one and whose hearts are lonely, touch them with dear memories and with a vision of what lies beyond this time and space. (R)
For those who live in the darkness of hunger and want, in the fear of violence or pain, be a light of hope for them, bringing the promise of a new tomorrow (R)
For all those in consecrated life keep their hearts full of wonder and openness (R)

Archbishop Martin:
God our Father, our hope and our light,
bless our world,
open our eyes to your presence among us
and open our hearts to the joy of welcoming you
and of serving you in each other.
We ask this though Christ Our Lord. Amen. 

Song   Rorate Coeli (Plainchant)
Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum
Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness

 Reflection   Advent Stillness before Christmas
Advent is a season that looks back and looks forward at the same time. We look back to the birth of Jesus in simplicity over 2000 years ago. We also look forward with hope to welcoming Jesus again at the end of time when he comes in tenderness and love to meet us face to face.
Advent is a season of waiting, of patience and of attentiveness. We wait in a spirit of calm and patience with our eyes wide open in gentle attentiveness for the gifts that Jesus has prepared for us to unfold.
A Christmas song tells children to ‘watch out’. In the Gospel of Mark (13:37) on the first Sunday of Advent Jesus challenges us to ‘stay awake’. These two phrases have something in common – being alert and attentive.
In Advent when we make time for quiet prayer we begin to notice anew the presence of Jesus in so many different ways. We appreciate the gifts that we have been given especially those with whom we live and work.
Quiet thoughtfulness will make us more aware of the needs of others. In the silence of Advent we will be inspired to reach out like Jesus to those who find it hard to survive, those who are left out by others and those in need of healing words and touch.
In the stillness of Advent we learn to be active in proclaiming the kingdom of God and in spreading the good news of the Gospel. We are mindful too of the words attributed to St. Francis of Assisi – ‘Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary also with words.’

‘Attentiveness is the purest and rarest form of generosity’ (Simone Veil)

 Reflection  Magnificat of Betrothal (Ann Johnson (Adapted)

(This prayer is led by seven representatives of consecrated life who light a candle in front of the Icon of Our Lady during the refrain before they speak)

And holy, holy, holy is his name

Our souls are filled with wonder at the gift of loving. You have looked upon us with favour as we join our lives in response to you.

And holy, holy, holy is his name

Yes, from this time on all people will call us blessed, for you, the One who dwells in human hearts, have done great things for us.

And holy, holy, holy is his name

Holy, is your name, and your sustaining joy reaches from age to age to those who dare to journey on the difficult pathways of committed love.

And holy, holy, holy is his name

You have shown us the life-changing power of our love in the eyes of those who know us and in the richness of our work.

And holy, holy, holy is his name

The false pride that we treasured, our ability to stand alone, has been cast aside. We understand ourselves and you more tenderly as we begin to experience the treasure of a lifetime of standing together.

And holy, holy, holy is his name

We are no longer lonely. We touch with compassion those who come to us filled with needs.

And holy, holy, holy is his name

You have opened the doors of eternity to us as we searched for you, according to the dreams you shared with those who sought your face since the beginning of time.

And holy, holy, holy is his name 

Reflection Remembering in Faith

We call to mind at this time all those in consecrated life who have died especially those women and men who have passed on during the past year. Religious have given extraordinary witness over the years and when my Uncle John died in Fiji after 50 years on the missions this reflection in his own handwriting was found on his desk.

Give me the faith that asks not why?
I shall know God’s plan by and by.
Give me the faith that looks at pain
And says: “It will all be right again.”
Give me the faith that claps God’s hand
When things are hard to understand.
Give me the faith to bow my head
Trustfully waiting to be led.
Give me the faith to face my life
With all its pain and wrong and strife.
And then with the day’s setting sun
I’ll close my eyes when life is done.
My soul will go without a care
Knowing that God is waiting there.

As we come towards the end of our service we listen to a final quotation from the document ‘Rejoice’ which focuses on Mary ‘star of the new evangelisation’.

Quotation for ‘Rejoice’
In Mary the Church is all who journey together: in the love of those who go out to the most fragile; in the hope of those who know that they will be accompanied in their going out and in the faith of those who have a special gift to share. In Mary each one of us, driven by the wind of the Spirit, fulfils our own vocation to move out!

All say:  Star of the new evangelisation,  help us to bear radiant  witness to communion,  service, ardent and generous faith,  justice and love of the poor,  that the joy of the Gospel  may reach to the ends of the earth,  illuminating even the fringes of the world.  Mother of the living Gospel,  wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,  Pray for us. Amen. Alleluia! 

Advent Blessing    Archbishop Martin
May the almighty and merciful God,
by whose grace you have placed your faith
in the First Coming of his Only Begotten Son
and yearn for his coming again
sanctify you by the radiance of Christ’s Advent
and enrich you with his blessing. Amen.

As you run the race of this present life,
may he make you firm in faith,
joyful in hope and active in charity. Amen.

So that you, rejoicing now with devotion
At our Redeemer’s coming in flesh,
You may be endowed with the rich reward of eternal life
When he comes again in majesty. Amen.

And may the blessing of almighty God,
The Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Come down on you and remain with you for ever. Amen. 

Song  O Come Emmanuel (French Traditional)
All sing: O Come, O Come Emmanuel, To free your captive , That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of Man appear.
Rejoice, Rejoice, O Israel, to you shall come Emmanuel
O come great daystar radiance bright And heal us with your glorious light, Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice, Rejoice O Israel, to you shall come Emmanuel
O key of David’s city, come, And open wide our heavn’ly home Make safe the way that leads above Protect us ever by your love.
Rejoice, Rejoice, O Israel, to you shall come Emmanuel