Christmas gift 2015
Once again the diocese is making 45,000 Christmas gifts freely available from all its Churches this Advent season. The gift this year is a Christmas Card and a votive Candle.
People are invited to bring a gift and an envelope home with them along with one or two more that they undertake to deliver as a Christmas greeting to someone who may not attend regularly.
This year our gifts will be distributed on the weekend of Sunday 13th December which also coincides with the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the diocese. Bishop Nulty will lead a procession to the Cathedral with the opening of the Door of Mercy on Sunday, December 13. The stational liturgy will begin with prayers at 10 a.m. by the Icon of St Fiacc in St Clare’s Church, Graiguecullen, from where Bishop Denis will lead a solemn procession to the main doors of the Cathedral, which he will formally open at the beginning of the 11 am celebration of Eucharist.
All the content of this year’s Christmas gift has been sourced within the diocese, supporting the local economy in difficult times.
The image on the front of the card is of The Killeshin Doorway by Mary Cassidy, a local artist in Carlow. We wish to thank Ms Cassidy for allowing the diocese to use this image for our 2015 Reach Out Christmas Card. Inside the card there is the Bishop’s Message (see below) and the Christmas Mass Times for your parish is included also. On the back of the card is a calendar marking the year of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The gift is a small votive candle, bearing both the Reach Out and Jubilee Logos. Parishioners might be invited to light it at some stage each day for a moment of prayer. This personal prayer might include the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
REACH OUT campaign 2004 – 2014
The Reach Out initiative began in the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin in November 2004.
The priorities for the campaign were based on the results of a consultation carried out in all parishes in the diocese. This consultation revealed that people wanted the diocese to be pro-active, especially in reaching out to young people, newcomers and to those who do not regularly attend church services.
Each year 45,000 gifts have been distributed from our churches to homes across the diocese and beyond.
- 2004 – Candle
- 2005 – Candle
- 2006 – Icon of Holy Family
- 2007 – Crib scene
- 2008 – Christmas Olive Wood Decorations from Bethlehem
- 2009 – Fridge Magnet with Bible quote
- 2013 – Prayer Card and Portrait of Pope Francis.
- 2014 – gift of ‘Chamomile Seeds’.
This is the twelfth year of the Kildare & Leighlin Diocesan Reach Out initiative. It all began in 2004 with the gift of a candle and an accompanying prayer. In the intervening years, the following gifts were offered: an icon of the Holy Family, a fridge magnet, a peace lamp, an image of Pope Francis, olive wood Christmas Tree decorations and last year’s packet of chamomile seeds.
This year, it is as if we have come full circle, returning to the candle with its strong emphasis on the Year of Mercy. With the candle, we offer an opportunity for a liturgy at parish level to celebrate the Father “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4). Pope Francis in the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, reminds us that mercy is “the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness”.
I encourage you as part of the diocesan family, to gaze on the mercy of God by focusing on the splendid romanesque doorway, almost a thousand years old in Holy Cross Cemetery, Killeshin, County Laois. We will have an opportunity to walk through designated Holy Doors during this coming ‘Year of Mercy’; the words taken from St. Luke “knock and the door will be opened to you” (Lk.11:9) assure us that none of us is far from the mercy of God. The door is open, come right through!
An additional feature of this year’s Reach Out greeting card is the specific Christmas Arrangements for your parish. The doors of your church are open to you all year round, but especially in this season of Christ’s birth, so please be a part of your parish, open the door and come right in.
Wishing you every blessing and grace at Christmas and in the New Year.
Ag guí Nollaig Shona ort agus go raibh an Ath-bhliain lán de bheannachtaí.
Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin