Christmas message from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth

The Rt Rev Philip Egan
The Rt Rev Philip Egan

I’d like to wish all readers and everyone in this great City of Portsmouth a very Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year 2017!

Over the years I’ve come to realise I am more of a summer person. I never like these dank winter days that seem so dark and short.

This is why I find it a great uplift seeing everywhere the lights, the decorations and the Christmas trees.

They help lift our spirits through these, the shortest and darkest days of the year.

Our world is changing and we are at a political crossroads. In 2017, Britain will move ahead with Brexit and its withdrawal from the EU, and in the USA a new

president will enter the White House.

At the same time, the tragic mess in Syria and the Middle East, with its harrowing fall-out, continues to burden our hearts and minds.

Here in Portsmouth, there is the continuing issue of poverty, asylum-seekers and homelessness. With all these challenges, we need to pray earnestly that this New Year will bring new ways forward to help resolve these crises.

I hope you get the chance this Christmas to attend a service in your local church. Here at the Catholic Cathedral, we will be having our usual Christmas Masses, although this year, on Christmas Eve, Mass will be at 10pm instead of Midnight.

Every week the Cathedral congregation is like the United Nations, a truly international gathering! This is especially evident at Christmas.

Our British temperament can sometimes be a bit cynical and pessimistic, so let me try to offer a word of joyful hope. For the Child born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago was the Son of God. In doing this God wanted to show us how much He loves us.

That Child was later cruelly crucified for teaching the Truth, but remarkably, on Easter morning, rose from the dead.

He is alive today. He wants to meet you, to fill you with love, to transform your life. So sometime this Christmas, amidst the tinsel and the turkey, or in whatever you are doing, try to find a moment to pray in order

to meet this God of Love.

He wants to come into your heart at this special time.