Archbishop Philip Tartaglia's Christmas Message

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia's Christmas Message
 
Thursday 20 December 2012

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland has urged Scots to "be lights of hope in the lives of our neighbours" at Christmas. In his message he refers to the plight of asylum seekers and urges "all those in positions of civil authority to ease the burden of suffering of these people, to allow them the basic human requirements of shelter and sustenance and to engage with them so that they might make their contribution to the common good"

The full text of the Archbishops' Message is shown below.

ENDS

Peter Kearney
Director
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
Glasgow
G1 2DH
0141 221 1168
07968 122291
pk@scmo.org
www.scmo.org


This has been a momentous year for me. I started it as Bishop of Paisley – a Diocese for which I will always have a special fondness – and I ended it as Archbishop of Glasgow and President of our Bishops’ Conference.
 
Somewhere along the way I seem to recall saying that I felt that in coming to Glasgow as Archbishop, I was “coming home”.  That joy of “coming home” is very much in evidence at this time of year as people make plans to be with their loved ones at Christmas.
 
For Mary and Joseph the desire to be at home for the birth of Jesus was thwarted by the circumstances of the day, and so they passed the first Christmas far from their loved ones in a beast’s stall.
 
This Christmas I have a particular concern for people in our own back yard who may be forced to spend the festive period far from home and family, sheltering under a bridge, in a doorway or on a cold floor because they have been forced into destitution.
 
These unfortunate people are refused asylum seekers who came to this country to escape war and persecution, who found themselves in Scotland, and who, after several years here, must now face a Christmas turned out of their meagre dwellings, their paltry benefits stopped and compelled to scrape some sort of survival on the street.  
 
I would appeal to all those in positions of civil authority to ease the burden of suffering of these people, to allow them the basic human requirements of shelter and sustenance and to engage with them so that they might make their contribution to the common good.
 
All of us can reach out this Christmas, not only to the destitute asylum seeker, but to the many forgotten souls in our midst, perhaps a lonely neighbour or elderly relative.
 
As the Holy Father wrote in his message for World Migrants Day recently: “Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by – people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way”

As we sing our favourite Advent and Christmas hymns and carols in the days ahead, one word will be repeated in constant refrain ... Emmanuel – God with us.  Jesus is God with us not only in the stable at Bethlehem, but every day of our lives. This Year of Faith is a call to recognise Him, to engage with Him in prayer, to witness to His message in our daily lives and to serve Him in the care of others.
 
May Mary, the mother of Jesus and, the Star of the New Evangelisation intercede for all of us this Christmas and help us be lights of hope in the lives of our neighbours. I wish you all a joyful Christmas.
 
 
 
+Philip Tartaglia
Archbishop of Glasgow
 


/p>