Dear Friends in the new-born Christ Child,
In this week’s Bishop’s Blog I wish to take this opportunity of wishing all readers a joyful Christmas and a peaceful New Year. This season is known traditionally as one of peace and goodwill, because as Catholics and Christians we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace.
The greeting of the angels to the shepherds on that first Christmas night was: Peace on earth to people of goodwill. We cannot however but be aware through today’s social media that not all areas of our world enjoy peace and stability. We pray that one day it may be so!
Christmas time will, however, be different for so many families this year in Cumbria and Lancashire because of the devastating floods caused by Storm Desmond and the current horrendous weather and flooding.
They are our brothers and sisters and we feel for them. Some will not be able to celebrate Christmas in their own homes because of the widespread effects of water damage. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them at what is normally a special time for families.
What has been heartening, however, is to witness the outpouring of goodwill and practical assistance given from all sections of the community, believers and non-believers alike. This generosity and deep sense of human solidarity has been most impressive, and the goodwill so characteristic of the Christmas season has already been very evident in Lancashire and Cumbria.
The willingness to help one’s neighbour in their time of need is not only deeply human, but also brings to mind the well-known parable of the Good Samaritan, spoken by Christ in answer to the question ‘who is my neighbour?’ There have been many Good Samaritans recently!
As we pass from one year into another new year, we draw great encouragement from the widespread response to the victims of Storm Desmond and the current storms.
While we may regret much that is wrong in parts of our world, with the violence and human upheaval of countless refugees, there is nevertheless a great deal of good in the human heart, and an awareness that all of us, whatever our race, creed or colour, form but a single human family.
I pray in the year ahead that we may never lose sight of this precious truth.
Season’s greetings to you all!
+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster
P.S. The Bishop’s Blog will pause posts now until into the New Year.