HCF Christmas greeting 2014
On behalf of the Defence Forces Chaplaincy Service I am delighted An Cosantóir* has again afforded me the opportunity to send Christmas greetings to you, the men and women of Óglaigh na hÉireann and your families.
Having commemorated the centennial anniversary of the commencement of World War 1, where men and women gave their lives in the ‘war to end all wars’, we prepare now to celebrate the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Even during this wonderful season as we sing of the angels who announced the coming of Our Saviour, human suffering is still a powerful reality in the lives of too many and peace is but a dream.
At a time when the world is preoccupied in all types of conflicts and threatened by natural and human crises we need the Christmas story more than ever to remind us there is hope and in this hope there is peace and love.
Christ did not come to give us a day of celebration, but to fill our hearts with happiness and joy. As we welcome the Infant Jesus of Bethlehem let us do everything we can to make Christmas the occasion it should be. Let us put Jesus at the heart of our Christmas celebrations and not allow the secular pressures of the time to hijack the real significance of what we are about.
May we find time to stand for an instant, before the Crib and contemplate the immensity of the mystery of love that is being unfolded before us.
Very many of our personnel will be separated from families and loved ones this Christmas, which is difficult for those deployed and those at home. Wherever our soldiers are, on behalf of the Chaplaincy Service I express warmest wishes and the blessings of Christmas.
I acknowledge the outstanding contribution and extraordinary service of our soldiers, sailors and aircrew and thank you for the support you provide for the chaplains. We are humbled by your selfless dedication to duty and the sacrifices you make.
At this time, when we celebrate the coming among us of the Child of Bethlehem, our thoughts and prayers turn to those who have lost a loved one during the year. We ask that God will comfort those who mourn. They will forever be in our prayers.
Finally, may our celebrations this Christmas be marked by a genuine effort to be open to others and may we all endeavour to be reconciled with God and with our neighbour so that the coming among us of the Son of God may usher in an era of peace and harmony among all people.
Gúim Beannachtaí na Féile ar gach ball dena Forsaí Cosanta agus dá mhuintir uilig.
Rt. Rev. Mgr. Eoin Thynne
Head Chaplain to the Defence Forces
* this message was published in the December edition of CONNECT magazine