This Christmas we celebrate the eight hundredth anniversary of the first Crib assembled by St Francis of Assisi in the little Italian town of Greccio. This year I invite you to take a little more notice of the Crib – spend a little more time before it. Each “Crib” is a gentle invitation to welcome God into our lives and in the process to have life itself transformed beyond our greatest expectations. Each “Nativity Scene”, invites us to behold, to contemplate and to be moved by the mystery of the tender transforming presence of God in the ordinariness of our everyday lives.
This Christmas, a world rocked by warfare and uncertainty, by the fear of Climate Change and the plague of inequality – longs for something better. Lives touched by sickness, poverty, homelessness, violence and loneliness hope for Good News. The hungry search for food and the migrant and refugee journey for safety and shelter. Those who live in the darkness of depression reach out for light. Those who have lost loved ones seek for consolation. Into this world, the Christmas story, the Christmas message, so vividly portrayed in the Christmas Crib, gives us hope – hope for a better way, hope of a better day. O! that as individuals and as humanity, we would truly take this message to heart and create a “manger” – a “crib” – a “space” for it in our own lives.
I wish you and yours all God’s blessings this Christmas and throughout the New Year.
Nollaig Naofa, Beannachtaí Íosa, Nollaig Chroíúil, Is Bliain Nua maith.
+ Michael Duignan
Bishop of Clonfert
Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh
Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora
23rd December 2023
Pic Crib from Display of Cribs, Franciscan Abbey Galway 2023 – Jason WS