The words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“The Virgin will conceive and give birth to a son
and they will call him Emmanuel”,
a name which means ‘God is with us’. Mt 1:24
Nollaig shona dhíobh go léir. May this Christmas be a source of blessings for us all.
Every time you see a crib, in the square in town, in your own home, or in the church, remember these words. The Almighty, the All-Powerful came into our world as a gentle loving new-born baby. Such is “the loving kindness of the heart of our God”. He came to stay, He is with us always. He is present with your family. Our Christmas faith is summed up in the words of the Creed:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.
Christmas is a time to celebrate our faith. It is also a time to nourish our faith. It is a time to hand it on to our children and grandchildren. Talk to one another, and to your children too, about the Son of God who has revealed himself to us all in Jesus. This Christmas will the faith of your family and home be nourished and strengthened?
During the Christmas season let us remember and give thanks to God for the two events of last August: the WMOF 2018 and for the visit of Pope Francis. In all of our lives, is there anything more important than family? Home, family and marriage are God’s greatest gifts to humanity. God bless all our homes and families. Be mindful that Christmas is about both family and faith. In our celebrations, what can ensure we get the balance right? Consider the following:
- Have time for God. Have time to say a prayer and count your blessings.
- Deep in your heart give thanks for the goodness of the people in your life. Gather together in church to joyfully give praise and thanks to God.
- Enjoy the presence of children. God bless families with a new-born baby.
- Let no neighbour’s Christmas-day be long and lonely because no one comes to visit. Be generous to needy causes, give what you can.
Thanks to everyone for your contribution to the life of your parish community throughout the year. It is wonderful to see the numbers of people actively involved in their parishes and communities. Thanks to all the volunteers in local organisations and charities that so enrich our communities through culture, sport, or assistance for people in need.
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth. Luke 2:14
This Christmas, in the cathedral, my prayer at the altar and before the crib will be to praise and thank God, asking that He fill all the homes, families and communities of our diocese with his Love and Peace. A happy and a blessed Christmas to one and all.
Síocháin an Linbh Íosa, um Nollaig agus ar feadh na hAthbhliana, libh go léir.
Bishop Ray Browne