New Year’s Eve Service 2015

 Welcome, as we gather to cross the threshold from the old year to a new year in prayer. We give thanks for all that we have received as blessing in the year which is drawing to a close. The core of our reflections are drawn from Misericordiae Vultus, written by Pope Francis for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, launched a few weeks ago. As we prepare to enter a new year, we commit ourselves to bringing the light of God’s mercy and compassion into all our relationships. On the eve of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, and of the World Day of Prayer for Peace, we ask Mary’s intercession for all God’s people, especially for those who long for peace with justice and hope for a better life. 

Part One: Preparing our hearts 

We begin in silence, then introduce a Taizé chant (Within our darkest night), which can be sung gently for several minutes

 Song  Within Our Darkest Night (Taizé)
All sing:  Within our darkest night you kindle a fire that never dies away, will never die away
Within our darkest night you kindle a fire that never dies away that never dies away.

Reflection Misericordiae Vultus (1)
When Pope Francis announced the Jubilee of Mercy he said: ‘Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him. The Father, “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4), after having revealed his name to Moses as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6), has never ceased to show, in various ways throughout history, his divine nature. In the “fullness of time” (Gal 4:4), when everything had been arranged according to his plan of salvation, he sent his only Son into the world, born of the Virgin Mary, to reveal his love for us in a definitive way. Whoever sees Jesus sees the Father (cf. Jn 14:9). Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person, reveals the mercy of God.’

Song  Lord, Show Us Your Mercy – Psalm 85 (Jeanne Cotter)
All sing:   Lord, show us your mercy and love 

Reflection Misericordiae Vultus (2)
‘We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.’


Song  God Of Second Chances (David Haas)
All sing:  Come now, O God, of second chances; open our lives to heal.
Remove our hate, and melt our rage. Save us from ourselves.
Come now, O God, release our demons; open our eyes to see  the shame within, our guilt and pain.
Mend us; make us whole.
Come now, O God, and still our anger; open our minds to peace.
Embrace our fear, and hold us close. Calm the storm within.
Come now, O God, shake our resentment; open our way to choose the way of love over the revenge.
Show us a new way.
Come now, O God, and grant compassion; open our hearts to love.
May we let go of all our hurt. Help us to move on.
Come now, O God, of second chances; may we forgive ourselves, may we become your living sign: children of God’s love.

Silence 3-5 min

Part Two: Moved By Mercy

‘Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, shows us the heavenly Father who in the image of the father from the parable in Luke, runs to meet his repentant son to give him much more than his repentance could ever lead him to hope.’
“He runs to you, because he already hears you when you reflect inside yourself, in the secret of your heart. Then when you are still far, he sees you and begins to run. He sees into your heart, he hastens so that no one will keep you, and he embraces you.”  Saint Ambrose

A candle of mercy is lit

Song  Lord, Show Us Your Mercy – Psalm 85 (Jeanne Cotter)
All sing: Lord, show us your mercy and love

‘In Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis dedicated some significant passages to the prayer of the Psalms. He wrote “In a special way the psalms bring to the fore the grandeur of God’s merciful action: ‘He forgives all your iniquity, he heals all your diseases, he redeems your life from the pit, he crowns you with steadfast love and mercy (Psalm 103:3-4)… The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality with which he reveals his love as that of a father or mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child”. (Archbishop Rino Fisichella)

Song  The Heart of the Poor (David Haas)
All sing:   Lord, show us the heart of the poor, for they have shown us the true way to live.
Lord, show us the way of the poor to be the true Church of Christ.

 3-5 min Silence

Part 3: Commitment to Service

Prayers of Intercession
Saint Louise de Marillac says, ‘Be diligent in serving the poor. Love the poor, honour them as you would Christ himself.
All  Help us all to see and grasp opportunities to be with the poor of our neighbourhood and nation
Blessed Oscar Romero says ‘It is not God’s will for some to have everything and others to have nothing’,
All Help us become alert to local and global injustices and strengthen us in our advocacy for justice.
Saint Clare of Assisi says. ‘Love God, serve God, everything is in that’ .
All Open our hearts to experience the gentleness and mercy of God’s love for us and enable us to touch the hearts of all we meet

A candle of commitment to service is lit

All sing: Lord, show us the heart of the poor, for they have shown us the true way to live.
Lord, show us the way of the poor to be the true Church of Christ.

The Lord’s Prayer

All pray: Our Father, who art in heaven…

Magnificat of Conversion (Inwood/Costa)
My soul comes in the darkness of unknowing to the secret room of the All Knowing:
my spirit seeks understanding in the happenings of these days
because God looks upon the people in a new way.

All sing:  Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater (2)

Yes, from this day forward
all generations will speak of these strange events as wonderful:
and those of us who walk blindly trusting
will be called blessed, for the presence of the Almighty, the Most Loving One, is felt in our land.

All sing:  Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater

Holy is the name of the One who is eternally new.
God’s guiding hand reaches from age to age
for those who grope and stumble in search of the saving way.

All sing: Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater

We are shown the power of touching and simply being open to each other:
our proud imaginings of the high place of our chosen nation are scattered and ground down.

All sing:  Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater

 The warrior-king we expected to establish us on earth as uncontested righteous power has not come,
and we see instead the promised messenger with dusty feet and hidden words.

All sing: Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater

The hungry of heart are fed with enabling love.
In places where there was a need, people now give to others from their abundance.
The rich are troubled and rumble of revenge.

All sing:  Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater

 You have come, O trusted God, because we have summoned you to help us.

Silence  A candle of peace is lit

Prayer  Hail, Holy Queen (Adapted)
All say:  Greetings to you, O Holy Queen. We salute you, Mother of mercy. You are our life, our sweetness and our hope. As we struggle in our humanity with the difficulties of life we turn to you with tearful eyes and heavy hearts. Let your merciful eyes look kindly upon us and point us with your look of love towards the fruit of our womb, Jesus. O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

Song  Lord Of All Hopefulness (Slane)
All sing: Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever childlike, no care would destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labours and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.