Christmas Message 2015 from Bishop Philip Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe

22 Dec 2015

A Holy Season has come upon us again and “God’s grace has been revealed” (Tit. 2:11).  We celebrate the coming of God’s Son into our world as a Saviour.  His birth has changed the course of human history.

A new Star led the Wise Men from the East to Jerusalem and then on to Bethlehem, where they found the Child with Mary his Mother.  They fell down on their knees and worshipped Him.  No new star would go unnoticed nowadays, but not everyone is led to Bethlehem and to a Saviour.

This is the meaning of Christmas and the real reason for our celebrations: He came to save us.  He is God in human flesh, the Unseen made visible, the all-powerful placed at our mercy, the ‘Creator in a cradle’.  To remind us of this fact, it is important to have a Crib in our homes and streets, and not simply a tree.

This year Christmas falls in the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.  God’s merciful and forgiving love is offered to us with greater abundance.  We are invited to go through the Holy Door in the Cathedral (or at Rossnowlagh or Ards Friary) to receive mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Faced with the tragedy of many people becoming homeless in our country and the multitude of refugees and asylum seekers entering Europe as they flee from persecution and warfare, we do need God’s mercy.  “In this Child at Bethlehem God’s Mercy was born” (Mother Julia).

May we in turn become merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful, as Pope Francis wrote: “A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just”.

May the blessings of Christmas enlighten your journey and bring you peace. Beannachtaí na Nollag oraibh go léir.

+ Philip Boyce

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444