Christmas Message from our Rector in Esker

St. Dominic's Hill at Esker: dawn on Christmas Eve, 2017 (Photo: S. Devitt)

ST. PATRICK’S REDEMPTORIST MONASTERY ESKER COUNTY GALWAY

CHRISTMAS 2020

Dear Friends of Esker,

At Christmas we celebrate with great joy the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, who took human form. He came into the world, not for the benefit of this or that group, but for the salvation of all of humanity. In this way, Jesus has created a bond between all peoples.

The Covid-19 pandemic has dominated our lives in 2020. Initially, we heard references to a dangerous virus which was spreading around the world. In mid-March, we sat up and took notice when Ireland went into lockdown. Schools were closed, business activity was severely curtailed. Church services, with people present, were not possible for several months. It has been a difficult time for church going people. However, services on-line have helped somewhat, as have people’s own prayer initiatives.

The pandemic has caused, and continues to cause, a huge amount of suffering. We are mindful of the many thousands who have tested positive for the virus. We pray for those who have died because of covid-19 and offer our condolences to the bereaved, whose suffering has been compounded by the guidelines for funeral services.

There are lessons to be learned from the experience of the pandemic. Repeatedly, I have heard people say – ‘there is so much in life we simply took for granted and can now appreciate our blessings more’. Another learning must be the recognition of the goodness of so many people, whose actions are wonderful examples of human solidarity. Some groups spring to mind: the frontline workers, the many volunteers at the service of the isolated and the elderly, and those who follow the basic guidelines of hand washing, social distancing and the use of face coverings.

To attend Mass at Christmas has been the practice of many people down the years. We will have some extra Masses in Esker over the Christmas period and will follow Government guidelines, as we have been doing all along. This year, because of the pandemic, some are wary about coming to church, and that is understandable. Regular church goers who choose to assist Mass on the internet, in current circumstances, have good reasons for doing so.

Christmas is a time of great hope, rooted in the conviction that God does care for us. The presence of the Lord in our ‘human family’ gives us courage for the journey ahead.

On behalf of the Redemptorist Community in Esker:

-        I thank you for your support and friendship throughout the year. Many have expressed their concern for our welfare and kept us in their prayers. I am grateful also for the financial support received.

-       I wish each and every one of you a very happy Christmas and pray that 2021 brings you abundant blessings.

 

Brendan Callanan C.Ss.R. (Rector)

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