Bishop Paul Colton, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross and Bishop Fintan Gavin, Catholic Bishop of Cork and Ross have issued a joint Christmas message.
This has been a tough year. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect all our lives. The scriptures tell us that after their visit to the new-born Saviour in Bethlehem, the wise men ‘went home by a different way’. The pandemic has also forced many of us to change our ways, to do things differently. Nobody has been unaffected.
There have been times during the pandemic when public health requirements restricted our public worship; we were even forced to close church doors at times. However, even in those times, parishes tried to remain open in spirit to everyone. It’s thanks to the creative gifts and commitment of so many people that we remain connected to one another as a family of faith.
With all that’s changing, we need to focus on important values that we would never want to lose. Our Christian faith calls us to be a welcoming people and to reach out to the vulnerable. This faith challenges us to be fair and just in our sharing of the world’s resources. The frailty of our planet also cries out for shared action to hand on our “common home” to future generations.
Each time of crisis provides an opportunity which must be seized. These pandemic times bring us to the heart of the Gospel message: what we agree to do as a community is more authentic and lasting than our individual concerns. This is a time for unity and for shared concern for one another.
At Christmas, we pray that through Christ, we will all be united in shared goals:
to look out for and care for one another more;
to reach out to those who have less;
to support those who have lost loved ones in the pandemic;
and to be eternally grateful for the many blessings we have — today and always.
May the Lord of Light shine on you and on your loved ones this Christmas and in the New Year.