Dear friends. It has been another busy year for the Hook of Faith in 2021 as we strove to provide resources for individuals and parishes that both affirmed the gift of faith and increased that gift in these challenging times. At the beginning of the year, our hope was that the vaccination programme would put an end finally to COVID-19 and the associated restrictions as soon as possible. Those hopes have not been realized but yet we are thankful that so many have been spared from serious effects of the illness despite contracting the disease. What the last few years have reminded us is how fragile life is and the truth that we are not in total control of what happens in our troubled world.
Perhaps now, more than ever, we need the gift of hope for this time in our history – a hope that is not a naïve optimism that things will go back to how they once were but a hope that is born of faith and a faith that is born of love.
I am always struck each year when listening to the Christmas story of how Christ was born into a world of great political instability and into a world of poverty and uncertainty. There is a danger that we can sentimentalize the meaning of Christmas too much and miss the subversive message that Christmas is about – that God sent his Son into a world to change it, to re-order it, to heal it and save it. This is the work of God. He asks us to co-operate with it so that there might be peace and harmony among all peoples. But Christmas is also about each of us welcoming Christ as our Lord and personal Saviour. It is about accepting him in faith as the One who has come to heal us, forgive us, bless us, feed us, gather us and welcome us into the very life of God.
This continues to be the mission of the Hook of Faith that seeks ‘to proclaim the Gospel in the diocese of Ferns and beyond’. May we who have walked in darkness and shadows come to see the great light that is the infant Christ in Bethlehem – the light of his truth, his love, his beauty and his goodness.
Please pray for the continued success of our mission. Thank you!
May the Lord bless you and yours this Christmas and grant us all a peaceful and healthy 2022.
Fr Billy Swan,
Editor and Founder of ‘The Hook of Faith’