Christmas and New Year note to duty news editors, news desks and journalists from the Catholic Communications Office
· Advent and Christmas website feature
This is available as a link on the home page of the Bishops’ Conference website. The feature includes copy text, video and audio reflections and Christmas messages from bishops including Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Bishop John McAreavey, Bishop Denis Brennan, Bishop Seamus Freeman, Bishop Donal McKeown and Bishop Philip Boyce. More will be added as they become available over the coming days.
The feature also includes information on Pope Benedict XVI’s messages and homilies for the Christmas and New Year Period and video reflections made available from each of the Sundays of Advent.
The feature also includes information and resources from the Commissions, Agencies and Offices of the Irish Bishops’ Conference including: ‘Family Prayer Resources for the Home’ from the Bishops’ Council for Marriage and the Family; information from Trócaire, the Church’s overseas aid agency, on ethical gifts for Christmas; an audio reflection on Christmas and marriage from ACCORD, the Catholic marriage care service; and many other resources.
· World Day of Prayer for Peace – 1 January 2011
The 44th World Day of Prayer for Peace will be marked on 1 January 2011. Pope Benedict has issued his message on the theme ‘Religious
Freedom. The Path to Peace’.
This year’s WDP Message by Pope Benedict is made up of “an introductory reference to the attack on Christians in Iraq, the main body of the text which presents the meaning of religious freedom and the various ways in which it fashions peace and experiences of peace, and a concluding reflection on peace as a gift of God and as the work of men and women of goodwill, especially of believers.”
The full text of the Pope’s message for the World Day of Prayer for Peace is available in the media section of the Bishops’ Conference
website under ‘Press Releases 2010’.
· Special web feature on 40 years of social research surveys
In 1970 bishops set up a special unit within the Catholic Communications Institute. The purpose of this unit was to research and report on every aspect of religion in Ireland with a view to pastoral planning. At the time, Ireland was going through some significant social and cultural changes and the bishops wished to “monitor the
changes…which impinge on religious belief and practice”. By 1974 the work of the bishops’ Council for Research & Development became more publicly-known, following the publication of ‘Religious Practice in Ireland’, Ireland’s first social scientific survey of Catholic practice. In the 1970s, the Council for Research & Development produced quality social scientific research, although as some of the contributors on the web feature recall, not always informing pastoral planning.
This feature is an attempt to show some of the work that has been completed by the researchers of the Council for Research & Development since that time and includes contributions from some past researchers who recall the efforts made to complete their projects and place their work in a larger context. Their contributions are placed alongside the projects they worked on and, below these, other notable reports are listed. These projects have been made available for the first time on the bishops’ site as pdfs.
· First anniversary of the death of Cardinal Cahal B Daly RIP
The first anniversary of the death of Cardinal Cahal Daly will fall on 31 December 2010. Information and tributes relating to the much loved late Cardinal can be found at the following link http://www.catholicbishops.ie/features/features-archive/1673-cardinal-cathal-daly-1917-2009
· Catholic Communications Office
The Catholic Communications Office will be closed until Tuesday 4 January. If you have any queries over the Christmas period please
contact Martin Long on 00 353 86 172 7678 or Brenda Drumm on 00 353 87 310 4444.
Thank you for your all your help this year and may we wish you a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas and best wishes for 2011.