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Every Christmas we look back at the twelve months gone by savouring and enjoying the good times and acknowledging the difficult times as well.
I pray that the peace of Christ will disturb you this year. By this I mean, the message of Christmas when we move beyond the little baby in the crib is very challenging. It calls us to be people of faith, to be people of love. It calls us during this Christmas time to reach out to other people, maybe immigrants, poor people, maybe those who need a visit around this time of year. It is a very challenging message to be a genuine Christian, to be follower of Jesus Christ and that is fundamentally the message of the crib.
Many homes continue the tradition of placing a lighted candle in the window on Christmas Eve. This was a light to the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph on their way to Bethlehem and also that the Holy Family is welcome into this house. It is a lovely symbol that Mary and Joseph are invited into our community, our homes and most of all into our hearts. A lovely tradition also is for the whole family to visit the crib in the Church. I never fail to marvel at the wonderment on the faces of young children at the crib as a parent tells the Christmas story to their child.
The visit of the Holy Father to Ireland for the celebration of the World meeting of Families in August did much to strengthen the faith of many Catholic families worldwide. Fr. P.J. Breen returned to his Carmelite community, and is now sub –prior in Whitefriars in Dublin. We welcome Fr. Paul S.V.D. from China, whom we hope will be very happy with us.
It was a source of great joy for many families to welcome a new baby while many homes have lost a loved one. May they rest in peace.
A very happy feature of the Christmas season is that of family reunions. Given the large number of people who left the area to find work in recent years, all modes of transport will be very busy as people travel to be with their loved ones at this time. For so many it will also be a time to welcome a new grandchild into the family.
We thank the many people who support us in the various ministries in the parish, without your help we would be unable to continue. May I wish that every family has a peaceful and blessed Christmas and a happy New Year.
God bless: Frs. Nicholas, Shane & Paul.