With the new year almost upon us, in this week’s blog Fr. Paddy reflects on what his hopes are for 2011.

Soon we are to celebrate the beginning of the New Year 2011. ‘Celebrate’ may not be the appropriate description for the Tens of Thousands of people across the country who face 2011 with burden, unemployment, uncertainty and fear. A New Year, is a time for resolutions. To become more healthy, to be more assertive, to make better use of our time. 2011, hopefully will be a healthy and blessed year in all our lives.

2011 offers the opportunity for a new leadership to emerge in our country. We all have a significant contribution to make in the formation of our new government. There is an earnest desire in the hearts of many people for a radical alternative as we begin a New Year. Surely ‘change’ is not just a cliché but a heartfelt reality, especially by the unemployed, young graduates, social welfare recipients and the elderly. This is the year for the vulnerable, who had nothing to do with creating our economic catastrophe, to make their presence felt at the centre of our countries governance.

Sometime in 2011, a new Bishop will be selected by the men in Rome. I find myself tired and deeply dissatisfied with the snail pace of renewal given by Church leadership at this time. It is in my opinion unacceptable, one year after the resignation of Bishop Jim Moriarty, that we still find ourselves waiting. Whoever our new Bishop is, he faces a huge challenge directing our diocese in a new way forward. Less than 3% of the world’s Catholic population are religious and clergy. Yet, 97% who are active, committed and willing have no real voice when it comes to the governance of our Diocesan and Universal Church. This fundamentally has to change. I pray that our new Bishop will bring with him an earnest desire to embrace and implement radical reform to our local church at this time.

My greatest fear for our Church and indeed society is that people’s anger and desire for change will turn from expectation to apathy and silence. This is not a time to be quiet, disconnected or indifferent. Tap into the fire that is contained in all our bellies. A light that is bright, a hope that sustains, a confidence that assures us with a real optimism, that despite the many hurdles we may face, all will be well.

It is a humbling reflection to realize that none of us no matter how precious and necessary are indispensible. Our time is very short. Lets make the most of this New Year. Patrick Kavanagh speaks beautifully of new beginnings and opportunities when he tells us that “Christ has come in his January Flower”.  May the New Year be an occasion not to be overwhelmed and burdened. May we be enthusiastic, committed and energized in our desire for change. There is so much to be done, and so little time to do it. May we attend to the New Year with hope.

I pray health and peace in mind, body and spirit for all of you. ‘Carpe Diem’, Seize the day!!!