Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the Most Pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of his Blessed Mother. Amen.
To experience the heart of Christmas simply let your eyes dwell on
and ponder the crib scene. Circumstances were very difficult for Mary
and Joseph. There was not a room available as she gave birth.
the kindness of a stranger they were offered a stable. Shepherds came
with a word of rejoicing and encouragement. Even the warm breath of the
animals brought some comfort to the new born. Many peoples’ Christmas is
The kindness, thoughtfulness and assistance of friend or
stranger can bring great comfort. Have a heart to feel and eyes to see
the needs of those around you. Continue to give generously to St Vincent
de Paul, sadly the demands on their services are greater than ever.
Baby Jesus brought joy to Mary and Joseph and all who visited the
stable. Jesus is ever present to us all. He is as present in our world
today as he was in that stable that first Christmas day.
He brings the
same joy to each of us this Christmas. Our faith is summed up in the
words of the angel to the shepherds: “Today a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord”.
In the hymn, ‘Hail Redeemer, King Divine’ we sing of Jesus as:
“Lord of life, earth, sky and sea,
King of love on Calvary,
Prince of everlasting Peace”.
Preparing for and celebrating Christmas asks us to have time for
reflection, time for prayer, time for Christmas carols, for the Gospel
story in the Bible. What spiritual preparation will you make? Resolve
to join in the celebration of Sunday Mass. Is it your privilege to bring
the birth of Jesus alive for young children? Will your family visit the
church crib? Does the crib in your home nourish the faith of your
It is wonderful that Christmas continues to be a family season. Look
back as a family with gratitude on another year well lived, remember
loved ones who now enjoy Christmas in heaven. Jesus was born into the
Holy Family to open the door into heaven for us all.
A sincere thank you to everyone in the diocese (laity, religious,
deacons and priests) for all you have contributed to the life of your
parish and diocese over the past year. Our communities are alive with
prayer, faith, hope and love.
God bless each and every home and family this Christmas – bless the
old and the young, the strong and the weak, the married and the single,
the successful and the struggling. Show special care Lord for anyone who
comes to this Christmas heart-broken, dispirited, hurting or
struggling. Where there is darkness let the star of Bethlehem and the
Christmas candle be a warm light.
Lord, give all families and communities in Ireland a sense of unity –
and the desire to be good neighbours and to work together to promote
the good of all. Let no one in our communities be alone, neglected or
lonely this Christmas. A happy and a holy Christmas to every home
throughout the diocese. Beannachtaí na Nollag díobh go léir.
Bishop Ray Browne.
Diocese of Kerry