By Katie Ascough - 20 December, 2019
Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin, has released a Christmas message for 2019 in which he focuses on the family and all the relationships that are bound up within. He talks about not only the Holy Family but also the families in his own diocese. He mentions the gift of children and the strength that each member of a family can grow in welcoming a new precious member.
“During this Christmas season, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the focus is not only on the child, but on the family into which He is born. My thoughts turn to families in our own diocese who have welcomed the birth of a child during this past year and to those who are expecting a baby in the near future … The gift of a child is a great blessing, but it also brings new responsibilities, for mothers and fathers in particular, but also for older sisters and brothers and, of course, for grandparents. Our relationships are challenged, and it is in responding to those challenges that families grow stronger.
“Saint Luke is the one who tells us most about the family of Jesus. He tells about the support and encouragement Mary received from her older cousin Elizabeth who lived on the other side of the mountains. Thank God for the support and backup that parents so often receive from the extended family.”
Bishop Doran also shares how, at Christmas time, many families attend Mass or visit the Crib in churches around his diocese: “I know that the parish is sometimes thought of as a place where religious services are provided [but] I would hope that your parish community can be much more than that for you. I hope it can be part of your extended family; a place where families are supported and encouraged and where children grow to maturity in their relationship with God.”
Bishop Doran’s 2019 Christmas message concludes: “On that first Christmas, the choir of angels sang ‘Glory to God’ and ‘peace on earth’. My prayer for all our parishioners and for your family members and friends overseas, is that you may experience that peace in your own hearts and homes this Christmas and in the year ahead.”