A Christmas Message from Toowoomba Diocese
CHRISTMAS as usual has crept up on me before I realised, but maybe you are one of those who finished all your shopping last month.
It has been a busy year and as we look back we can be thankful for many blessings that we have received. At the same time we regret that there are many things we should have done that remain outstanding. Perhaps we should make a list of all the things left undone from 2013 and give them priority for 2014.
Despite blessings there have also been difficult times and sadness for many people in our community. We remember those who have lost a loved one during the year.
We express our solidarity with those who have family overseas who have suffered because of natural disasters or who have been traumatised by war in their homelands. May we do all in our power to assist those who are now struggling. Let us journey together as one family in the Diocese of Toowoomba.
As we know, the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse is underway. Too often in the past a high priority was given to protecting the reputation of the Church, over the protection of children and their families. As Bishop of Toowoomba and together with other leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia I am committed to repair the wrongs of the past, to listen to and hear victims, to put their needs first, and to do everything I can do to ensure a safer future for children.
Last month Pope Francis released his apostolic exhortation in English called The Joy of the Gospel. Indeed what a joy Pope Francis has been to our world in 2013.
He continually calls us to move out of our own comfort zone and to be actively involved in reaching out to those most in need. The starting point for such action should be our relationship with Jesus, who calls us not only to remain in His love but also to love one another.
Our life in the community means engagement with others. In this engagement may we never discriminate in our dealings with others.
Amid all the demands being made on us at this time let us not be entirely carried away by incidentals. Let us step back in prayer and reflection so we may fully appreciate the extraordinary blessings being offered to us.
We celebrate the birth of the child Jesus who continually comes with a message of peace and goodwill to everyone without distinction. What a great gift we receive. This is a gift for which we truly give thanks, but it is also a gift that we are called to share with those around us especially those mostly in need.
Glory to God in the highest and peace to everyone of goodwill, may the joy and peace of Christmas be with you now and throughout 2014.
BISHOP ROBERT McGUCKIN
Diocese of Toowoomba