Christmas message 2019 from the Bishop of Killaloe
Christmas greeting and blessing
Christmas is a time when many people look towards Church and faith for a message of hope, meaning and inspiration. With that on mind it is my privilege as bishop of the diocese of Killaloe to offer a seasonal religious reflection, greeting and blessing.
A time to review
For many Christmas is a time of memories, recollection and nostalgia. This festive season is a good time to look back at the events and happenings of the year just gone by and reflect on what has been. In doing so we savour and relish the good times while acknowledging the times of challenge as well.
A Time for outreach!
Christmas is an opportune time to become aware of those less fortunate than ourselves. It is a time when we can reach out to others with care, concern, compassion – with Christian love. By its very nature the good news of the birth of our saviour demands a voice and clamours to be shared and passed on!
We remember those who might not have the same privileges and resources that many of us have. Unfortunately, homelessness continues to be major problem in our world and country.
The issue of immigrants, refugees and those seeking asylum has become very topical in recent months and unfortunately has polarised many communities in our land. It is heartening to hear of the arrival of a substantial number of seekers of asylum to our capital town and my hope and prayer is that they will be welcomed with open arms. We remember at this time of the year the Holy Family in their struggle to find a resting place both in their own land and in their travels abroad.
I commend the diligent efforts of so many in public life, in the charity sector and every concerned person of good will in their efforts to continue to do what is possible in order to alleviate that situation and fight the scourge of poverty in any way.
Care for Planet Earth
Great strides have been achieved in the year gone past in relation to awareness of the gift of creation around us, with the recent Amazon Synod in Rome and the world wide protests of inspirational young people, concerned and caring for the planet earth. May we always have a “Franciscan like” love for the gifts and fruits of the earth around us and ensure its protection for future generations.
Solidarity with the bereaved
For those who have suffered a loss or bereavement, Christmas can be a particularly challenging time. Our thoughts and prayers go also to the many people who have lost their lives as a result of tragedies on our roads, on our waterways, those who for whatever difficult circumstances in life and their own personal lives have taken their own lives and most of all their families who are left bereft, forlorn and heartbroken.
Emigrants and Immigrants
At this time of the year people who are away from home are in our thoughts. We welcome home those who have returned to be with us for the holiday season and our prayers go out to those who could not come home. Welcome also to anyone who has come to join us from other countries and enrich our work-force and culture and communities by settling in our midst.
A time to look to the future with Hope and Joy
As Christians, we are people of hope and people of joy. Pope Francis, frequently reminds us of the great hope our faith offers us in a world that can be indifferent and preoccupied with empty materialism. No matter what happens to us in life, as people of faith we carry this hope with us because of the Christ-event, the coming of Jesus Christ in the Incarnation, the Word made flesh.
The incarnation that we celebrate came through the presence of a tiny vulnerable baby that had such potential and became such good news for the human race. In a country in which the protection of such individuals has reduced greatly in recent years, we pray for a deep sense of respect for all forms of life from beginning to end.
At this special time of the year, this time of profound religious meaning I pray that the message of the Christ-Child would be reborn in our parishes, our pastoral areas, our diocese in our homes, in our hearts and souls this Christmas season. Peace, joy, health, happiness, along with many blessings and graces to all for a joyful, fulfilling, meaningful and a happy new year in 2020.
Bishop of Killaloe