Christmas Message from Bishop Ray Browne

No one has ever seen God;

it is the only Son, who is nearest the Father’s heart,

who has made him known.     John 1:18

Dia dhiabh. Nollaig Shona dhiabh.  The Son of God, the Almighty, the All-powerful, as helpless and dependent as a newborn baby. The pure love of the new-born baby Jesus proclaiming God’s eternal, unconditional love for the earth and all its peoples.

A word of thanks to all who through their work, their community and parish involvement, or their homes have responded so well to the great, great challenge presented by Covid. Again and again in the pandemic, we have seen the great love and selflessness of so many people – all ages and all situations. You have been an inspiration to us all.

Care for all people and care for the environment:  This year of Covid and of Cop26, the infant Jesus in the crib points to two appropriate Christmas responses: love and care for each other; love and care for our planet.

The love Jesus had for everyone he met, the love of God for every human being, calls out to us to love one another, to love our neighbour. The birth of Jesus calls on us to renew our commitment to care for one another, and to be there for each other, and to work together for the good of all in need, locally and worldwide.

The earth is God’s gift to us, we need it for food, for water, for air, for everything. God asks us to take good care of it. Jesus again and again showed a wonderful awareness and appreciation of nature. So many of his images and parables were of nature, of the sun, of crops planted, of the birds of the air. Jesus in the crib gently calls on us adults to appreciate and take care of the world God has given to us and to hand it on with great care to the children of today.

This Christmas we can rise above the negative effects of the Pandemic.  Trust there will still be more than enough you can do to have a happy, meaningful Christmas. Ensure that all children have a good Christmas. If you can afford it, give generously to St Vincent de Paul and other local voluntary organizations.

Have a prayerful Christmas. Make time each day to turn to Jesus in prayer, “Emmanuel, God with us”. Ponder the mystery of his love and care for us all. Have a crib in your home. Join in worship with your parish community, either in church or via parish radio or streaming. This Christmas message comes to you “Le gach dea-ghuí í gcomhair na Nollag”. Every Christmas blessing on all in our communities.

+ Ray Browne

Christmas 2021