Another year has flown by! 2018 is almost at an end, and from international celebrations at the World Meeting of Families to my own adventure on the Camino walk, it has been a year to remember for many reasons.
Without doubt, these are challenging times for us all. From social and political turmoil, to devastation caused by natural disasters around the world, it can seem that every time we turn on the news, we hear of death and destruction. However, even in the depths of despair, hope remains, and thanks to the support of our great community of faith around the world, we have been able to continue to bring the gifts of hope, faith, and love to vulnerable families all over the world.
This summer, along with Pope Francis and hundreds of thousands of people around the world, we celebrated the love of the family, and at Christmas time, we reflect once again on the blessing of family – our own immediate families, and our extended families, made up of friends, neighbours, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
I often refer to you, our mission friends, as a family of faith, and together, we are part of a much bigger picture. I include our MSCs working in far-flung corners of the world, away from the embrace of home and hearth this Christmas season. I include the communities to which they minister, and the children who have been orphaned by illness or violence. I include those who are surrounded by loved ones, and those who may be spending the Christmas season alone. I include all who are struggling with challenges of different kinds. Love knows no bounds, and we are every one of us a loved and valued part of this great family of faith.
As another year begins to wind towards its end, I thank you for all that we have achieved together over the past months. Thanks to your friendship, the power of God’s mercy continues to be seen in all its glory around the world. Our strength comes from your kindness and we are truly grateful.
In the spirit of the season and on behalf of our MSC community around the world, I’d like to extend my warmest wishes for a joyful Christmas, and I pray that the coming year will bring you and yours an abundance of peace, happiness, and blessings.
Wishing you and yours a happy and holy Christmas,
Fr Michael O’Connell MSC