Bishops Denis Nulty discusses the 2014 Christmas REACH OUT campaign in the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin which involves a gift for 42,000 homes.
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Message from Bishop Nulty
As the Christmas season approaches I send warm greetings to you this Advent day. Once again the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin through the network of our 56 parishes has undertaken to distribute a small gift, message and prayer to 42,000 homes. I thank the team behind this annual ‘Reach Out’ initiative and the teams in all 56 parishes that make it a reality.
Last January I had the privilege of being part of an international delegation of Bishops and Aid Agencies, including our friends in Trócaire that visited the Holy Land. While there, we spent an overnight in Gaza. When we think of an overnight, it’s often at a friend’s house, maybe even a sleepover! Those 24 hours on the Gaza Strip, with power supply continuously interrupted, have left an indelible mark on my own outlook as I witnessed the injustices and unfairness of man’s inhumanity to man. In every conflict, there are two sides, two stories, two perspectives and I am very aware how even an international delegation can be used as propaganda. We all agree there is the most acute need for peace the world over. There are Gaza Strips in many homes, parishes, communities and countries. We see how social media has been used and exploited as a weapon in conflict; let us use ♯PEACEKANDLE this Advent to spread the message of Christ’s peace.
This Christmas there is a truth the world needs to hear. The peace and the hope that are yearned for in our world, our communities, our homes and our hearts are found in Christ. This is true for all Christians who find themselves persecuted and displaced just as the Holy Family was. It is true for communities torn apart by gangland and street violence; for families coping with unemployment, emigration and financial difficulties; for hearts burdened with addiction, depression and isolation.
As we look upon the Christ child in the manger, the greatest gift we can give ourselves this Christmas is to once more welcome Christ into our lives. Putting Christ in our hearts, being planted and rooted in Christ, is our source of peace and hope. This year our parishes are reaching out with a gift of ‘Chamomile Seeds’ to parishioners. For years Chamomile seeds have been used as a traditional medicine to calm anxiety and fear. My hope is that as you sow these seeds and watch them grow they will remind you of the words of Jesus; ‘And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; Now if that is how God clothes the wild flowers growing in the field which are there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you,’(Matthew 6:28,30)
As seeds turn into flowers I pray that we may all experience God’s love, a love that once more comes to us this Christmas, a love that is our peace and hope.