Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas Day

Greetings for a truly peaceful and happy Christmas.
Here at St Joseph's we had three Christmas Masses on 24th December and one this morning - all full to overflowing. Despite, or maybe because of, recent tragic events, families with children, visitors and regular parishioners make a special effort at Christmas to get to church. Lovely stories emerge in chatting - a daughter, for various reasons, had not seen her Dad for over 30 years. This morning he arrived from overseas and his grandchildren met their grandfather for the first time. Young people back to family in Paris from college and employment in other countries.  Then, too, people keenly feel the loss of loved ones who have died in the past year. Still, all in all, I love Christmas. Tomorrow I go to Ireland for a few days.    A.T

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Christmas 2016

Really sad about what happened at the Christmas Market in Berlin. May those who died rest in peace. Over the past few weeks, I have enjoyed the occasional visit to the Paris Christmas Market on the Champs Elysée. It is so good to see people mingling in a happy atmosphere. Please God all people will be safe this Christmas. A young parishioner from Aleppo has shared with me something of his pain as he watches daily the news coming from a city where he was born, that he loves and that one day he would love to go back to Syria. He and other displaced people are shining examples to me and to others, of true courage.

Since the closure of the Calais camp, the number of families with young children sleeping on the streets of Paris is heart-breaking. Young people from St Joseph's and teachers and families from a school go out on Saturdays with food and drink in an attempt to reach out to people in desperate need. Some parishioners recieve 'restuarant tickets' as part of their salary and donate books of these tickets to St Joseph's to be given to those on the streets in desperate need. Already, one book of these tickets I have been able to give to families so that they can buy food in supermarkets or go to eat in a restaurant. The gratitude expressed by these people is truly moving.

There are four Christmas Masses and it will be great to welcome parishioners and visitors alike.

For those who check in from time to time with my blog, I wish you a great Christmass filled with happiness and peace.                                                                                                      A.T.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Christmas almost upon us

I have been a bit lazy with keeping going with the blog. No real excuse, I'm afraid. Into the final stretch for Christmas and it is a time I love. The great contradiction to the arrival of the Prince of Peace are the awful scenes coming out of Aleppo. It is heartbreaking to see whole families and especially children, losing their lives and those who survive being subjected to inhumane treatment. Whole families sleeping on the streets of Paris is on the increase. Feeding these people is possible and is being done as well as possible but the longer term education of the children and health care is a great challenge to us all.

 I promise to try to do better with updates of the blog in the coming days.                             A.T.