I have a drawer in my desk into which I have dropped a variety of cards received
during 2020. When I’m feeling down or blue I only have to dip in there and
reread some of the kind words people have written about something I did for
them, that the parish staff provided or that we celebrated together. There is
nothing more uplifting than a kind word of recognition and appreciation. So, as
we bid farewell to 2020 I would like to return the compliment and thank all the
people of the parish, my brother priests and our exceptional staff for what you
have done for each other in this most challenging year.

Since March we have had the long lock down, the move to live streaming, the
closing of schools and the postponement of celebrations. We have learnt to
steward, sanitize and abstain from singing. There have been opportunities to be
exceptional neighbours to each other, to shop local, eat in and walk and walk
and walk. Nature blessed us with some beautiful weather and sunrise and
sunsets stunned us into silence. Young people discovered inner resilience that
few would have imagined lay within and making huge sacrifices they helped to
keep the virus at bay. Butterflies comes out from their cocoon more beautiful
than before and some of the senior members of the parish grew browner, leaner
and healthier as they stayed in place, rediscovered the garden afresh and
sacrificing hugs and kisses, holding and scolding, stayed safe and well. Together
we have faced the loss of loved ones and with micro celebrations have said
farewell amid the promise to gather when we can and amplify the tributes.
Meantime neighbours stood out by the kerb, crying silent tears of tenderness
and gave incalculable solace to the bereaved.

Zoom entered into our consciousness and alongside a myriad of platforms we
met virtually, enjoyed long face to face chats, quizzes and social moments
online. The wonderful PPC and many parish groups moved into the realm of
these incorporeal encounters, discussing important issues from one sitting
room, kitchen, study or den to another and great work was done.
The life and liturgy of the parish kept on going, every single day, since March.
This took great commitment from parish staff and co-operation from volunteers
and sustained many parishioners in their spiritual life.

As these words are being written I’ve no idea how 2021 will begin, how soon we
will be vaccinated and able to regain contact with each other in a normal
manner. So, we pledge ourselves to patience, for it is a gift of the Spirit. We hope
and pray for Wisdom in all the choices we make and we renew our Hope that
the God of love will care for all people, and bring us through to a new promised

Thanks again for being faithful to your God, to prayer and care of the poor, to
the parish, its priests and staff and to family, neighbour and stranger alike.

Happy New Year, may 2021 bring us back!