December 24, 2021.

Our dear friends in Christ, may the peace, love, and joy that the birth of Jesus Christ brings be with you all during this Christmas Season. “I thank my God for you every time I think of you and when I pray for you, I pray with joy.” (Phil 1:3-40).
Towards the end of last year, we thought Covid 19 had become a relic, that 2021 would be a year of freedom. Unfortunately, Covid brought havoc to many communities and countries all over the world. Multiple national and regional lockdowns, sicknesses, and deaths from Covid were experienced by people all over the world.
However, many people and economies have bounced back once the lockdowns were eased showing our resilience. Gradually, the world is moving from Covid as a pandemic to Covid as endemic. Our prayer is that the Lord will see us through these trying times.
Christmas is a joyous and a family time. We rejoice that a child has been born to us who is the Messiah, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is 9:6). While he was still in the womb of his mother Mary, Jesus brought joy to John the Baptist who was still in the womb of Elizabeth. The Gospel of Luke narrates that baby John the Baptist leapt for joy in the womb of his mother, (Elizabeth), once Elizabeth heard the voice of Mary who came to visit her and share in her joy of conceiving a child after many years of wedlock, when the hope of her bearing a child was fading.
The Christmas joy was also communicated to the shepherds by the angels on Christmas night. “I bring you good news of great joy to be shared by all the people – today in the town of Bethlehem a saviour has been born, he is Christ the Lord.” (Lk 2:9-11). Once the shepherds heard the good news, they went with joy to behold the newborn King and Messiah.
You are invited to share this joy with your family and friends by being a person who goes across the aisle to bring reconciliation, love, and hope, and who performs acts of kindness to others, especially to the vulnerable people in our society like refugees, the homeless, those affected by drugs and alcoholism and so on. Since God has given us the greatest gift – the gift of his Son, we cannot but be a sign of hope and peace to people.
Our Parish theme for 2022 is ‘Revitalising our Community in Christ.’ For the past two years we have been living with the Covid pandemic which has led to isolation and left some people feeling unsafe to mingle with others because they are fearful of being infected by the virus. In the New Year we intend to revitalize our Parishes by integrating ‘Walking the Way of the Gospel’ into our Parish life. The five key areas to be focused on are Worship, Evangelisation, Fellowship, Discipleship, and Service.
Both Parishes hosted a meeting in which Parishioners shared their Parish experiences which included what they considered was working well and areas they believed needed improvement. In the New Year, more Parish gathering will be held as we continue to synergize on revitalizing our community in Christ.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Fr Chinua Okeke CSSp & Fr Jude Agorchukwu CSSp

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