Since my arrival here at the end of last July I have experienced the welcome, faith and kindness of St Patrick’s Parish. I want to thank everyone: staff, those in various ministries, committees and volunteers, all the priests who helped out over the past few months and especially in these days of the Christmas season including including Fr Peter, Fr Dermot, and Fr Gabe Troy who is home for Christmas. Above all I wish to thank all of you the people who make up this faith community for your continued support and generosity in so many ways. In the New Year with God's blessing we will continue to meet the challenges and explore new ways to grow our faith community into a vibrant centre of Gospel Joy.
The Gospel of St John is read at the Mass of Christmas Day. In that reading we hear that The Word became Flesh and Lived Among Us. Through the mystery of the Incarnation God plunged God's self into the depths of our humanity. The celebration of Christmas is an acclamation that God is with us, God is in us. The Child born in Bethlehem is God taking on our vulnerability so we can be raised up to share in divine life.
As we celebrate Christmas 2023 in St Patrick's, St Fiacre's and St Joseph's Foulkstown we are particularly conscious of families that are bearing with troubles and difficulties all around us and we recognise that our world wide human family needs to be raised up from the carnage of senseless violence, from a 'no room at the inn' mentality to those seeking shelter, from a wreckless materialism and throwaway attitude to human life.
We are also conscious that all around us there is evidence of great goodness and kindness, of love and compassion for one another, of people sharing their gifts and talents in the service of others. We see this especially at Christmas with great generosity towards St Vincent de Paul & other organisations and the great work they do in helping those in need.
This is how the Word becomes flesh today. This gives us great hope for now and the future. On Tuesday evening last in St Fiacre's we had a simple and wonderfully chaotic celebration with families and children preparing for first Communion! During the service we blessed and officially lit our Christmas tree. During the coming year of 2024 let us be like lights on the tree in our families and communities, let each day be a Christmas day when we welcome the Saviour among us and let us be bearers of God's Love in the flesh to all God's people.
I would like to wish all of you a happy and Holy Christmas. I pray especially this Christmas for all the families of the parish, those who are sick or housebound, those living alone, those in hospital and nursing homes, young people and family members away from home, all who are bereaved, those who will visit our parish during Christmas.
May it be a time of celebration of the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, who continues to be born in us and through us when we reflect God's Love . Happy Christmas to all!