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Wherever you are, I hope you experience Christmas. The celebration of Christmas is about a God who not only tells us that he loves us, but gives himself into our hands as he first reached out in love and trust to Mary and Joseph, and was content to be with them resting in their arms.My wish for you is that you and your loved ones are blessed this Christmas, and may the Christ whom we celebrate at Christmas find a home in your heart.
For the past few years, since the beginning of the recession, many people have lived in the shadow of fear. This has certainly been the case in the many homes hit by unemployment. The strain that this imposes has undoubtedly been hard to bear.
Many families have seen sons and daughters leave our shores. This was brought home to me recently when I saw a young man with two hurleys attached to his luggage in the departure area of an airport. What a loss to the community he was leaving behind. While modern communications can allow these emigrants to maintain some link with home, it is surely every parent’s wish to be with their familyat this time and to see their grandchildren grow up in their midst.
There are vacant places in other homes too because of death and sickness. We are particularly mindful of those who are bereaved at this time.
As Christians we are invited to live with hope despite our fears. This hope was made manifest this year with the election of Pope Francis, the first Pope from the American continent. Pope Francis says in his recent letter The Joy of the Gospel, ‘Mary was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love. She is the friend who is ever concerned that wine is not lacking in our lives and at the foot of the cross, at the supreme hour of the new creation, Christ led us to Mary. He led us to her because he did not want us to journey without a mother’.
I hope this year when we visit the crib in our churches that his inspiring words and actions will help us to renew our belief in the healing and hope that is the gift of Christ.
I would like to end my few words by paying tribute to Bishop Lee who was Bishop of Waterford and Lismore for the past 20 years, up to his retirement due to ill health at the beginning of October. Bishop Lee ministered tirelessly during that time and I am sure you will join with me in wishing him a return to health and many happy years of retirement in our midst.
“Merry Christmas” From the Priests of the Parish
Nicholas O’Mahony P.P., Mons John P Shine A.P., Fr. Michael Toomey Cc.