In this week’s blog, Fr. Paddy gives a message of hope in the new year.

An Icon of hope for the new millennium passed away this year: Steve Jobs. Remarkable in his genius, he once said: “We are but moments away from giving birth to something new.”

Every New Year marks an opportunity to begin again.  There are many feelings that we can experience as we now enter the journey of 2012.  The reality for so many is that things can only get better.

I am sure this has been a difficult Christmas, for all have found themselves overburdened as a consequence of unemployment and debt.   One hopes that this year will bring a recovery to our economic crisis. I pray for bold leadership to be given by our government.

The vulnerable must stop being punished for the sins of the wealthy elite.   Our Church, despite the crisis it finds itself in, has a real opportunity to begin in a new way.  Leadership must be open to a real dialogue and humble enough to consider the enormous task in rebuilding public confidence.

It is over two years since Bishop Jim Moriarty resigned, and his position is still vacant – a terrible statement of how paralysed the local church seems to be by a governance removed from the reality of its domestic church.   Engaging on the margins is where the relevance of the Gospel can be felt.

The witness of Fr Peter McVerry and capuchin friar Br Kevin to the homeless in Dublin attests to this. One of the big events the Irish Church facilitates this year is the International Eucharistic Congress.   I hope that this will not be just a ‘big gig’ for cardinals and bishops to parade with pomp and ceremony around Croke Park.

A recent comment by British PM David Cameron, a self-confessed ‘Lukewarm Christian’, said: “Christianity continues to be an inspirational source of hope to the modern world.”

Young people face a huge amount of uncertainty at this time, and yet we can all learn from their enthusiastic, hopeful spirit.

In the same way, there are so many voluntary agencies responding to the needs of others at this time.

This year, St Vincent de Paul received one of its most generous ever responses to its Christmas appeal. It is the energy of youth, the spirit of volunteerism that gives me great hope when I consider the future.

We look forward to a new springtime, a time of new beginnings and an opportunity for all of us to begin again.

Hopefully, we have in our hearts a sense of enthusiasm as we embrace the many opportunities that accompany a new year. January can be a most difficult time.

There may quickly be the realisation that things remain the same: the same fears and burdens seem to accompany us and time simply seems to pass us by.

The resolutions we endeavor to achieve can be lost in the routine of our day-to-day lives.

It is a humbling reflection to realise that none of us, no matter how precious and necessary, are indispensible.

With this realisation, a healthy resolution may well be to simply enjoy the time we have to the best of our abilities and embrace every new day.

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 as we do so; health and energy will spur us forward.

May 2012 be a good one for us all.