Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin has launched the 2016 Reach Out campaign in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.
Denis launched this year’s campaign with Confirmation pupils from Scoil
Mhuire Gan Smal and Bishop Foley schools in Carlow.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Bishop Denis said, “Ten years
ago in 2006 the Diocesan Reach Out was themed ‘Give us this day our
daily bread’ and the poster carried the striking photograph of three
Nicaraguan child workers. Ten years later the image of thousands of
children suffering in the atrocity that is Syria continues to haunt
us. This year we think of the people of Syria in our Reach Out Campaign.
Parishes across the diocese will this weekend be distributing a
Christmas card from Bishop Denis which shows pictures from Syria and a
small prayer card which they will be encouraging parishioners to use.
The diocese has traditionally shared a Reach Out gift to parishioners
such as a candle, some Christmas tree decorations from the Holy Land,
but this year the diocese will be making a financial donation
to Caritas International via Trocaire as their Reach Out gift. These
funds will go directly towards alleviating the suffering of the people
in Aleppo, Syria.
In his message to parishioners on this year’s Reach Out Christmas
Card, Bishop Denis said, “Since 2004 parishes across our diocese have
marked the Advent Christmas Season with a shared Reach Out initiative.
Through a simple card and a gift, parishes extend a Christmas greeting
and blessing to those near and afar. Just at that time in the Church
year when we celebrate that the Light of the World has come into our
midst, we seek to share this Light with others in our Reach Out. Pope
Francis often challenges us as church to go to the margins, the fringes,
the Diocesan Reach Out initiative seeks to do just that.
“Returning to our celebration of the Light of the World coming into
our midst, 2016 is a year in which perhaps the darkness has had too much
say. When we look at the events across our world – the devastation and
misery wrought by conflict, the unbearable hardships of people who have
been displaced from their homeland or who seek to remain and survive in
the most awful of situations, the persecution and genocide of people
based on religion and ethnicity – these are events to which the Gospel
compels us to respond. In this holy season we rise up and announce to
ourselves and to the world, ‘A Light shines in the darkness, and the
darkness has not overcome it.’ (John 1:5)”
Bishop Denis went on to say, “In the circumstances of our times, our
Reach Out initiative needs to make a change this year from past
tradition. This year parishes in Kildare and Leighlin are Reaching Out
locally with this card and its accompanying prayer. But the parish gift
this year is a financial donation made in the name of the people of our
diocese to Trócaire who act on behalf of Caritas International in
Ireland. Trócaire will divert this donation towards Caritas Syria and
their work in specific projects for the people of Syria. The United
Nations has referred to the Syrian situation as the largest humanitarian
crisis since World War II. We must play our part in bringing
humanitarian aid to our brothers and sisters of the Middle East, the
cradle of Christianity. This is what Jesus taught us to do, to help one
another. In this one action we unite with all people of faith who
through their concrete actions of mercy reveal time and again the Light
who conquers all darkness.”
Bishop Denis concludes his message by offering a prayer for peace,
“In this season of light and hope I pray for peace in Syria and across
the Middle East and all places of conflict in our world. I pray also for
the deep peace of Christ to find a resting place in your home and
heart. I invite you to join with me in praying our Prayer for Peace in
this season when we once more welcome Christ, the Light of the world,
into our lives.
“Wishing you every blessing and grace at Christmas and in the New Year.”
For more on the Reach Out 2016 campaign, see www.kandle.ie and follow the hashtag on Twitter #kandlereachout.