The Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, has written the following Pastoral Letter to be read in all churches and chapels of the Archdiocese on Sunday 26 December 2010, the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
My dear People,
‘With you always’: that’s Christmas: the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
‘With you always’: that’s the word of God today: even if my father’s, mother’s mind fails I will show them sympathy and not despise them in my health and strength.
‘With you always’ : that’s the assurance spoken to everyone by today’s Gospel story:
with the forty day old baby:
with every young mother, especially those from poor places like Nazareth:
with every husband: and from the stories Jesus told about bad foundations, the cost of building projects, I suspect Joseph was what today we call a structural engineer;
with old men and widows; like Anna and Simeon: ‘with you always’. Emmanuel: God with us always whoever, we may be.
And surely to say to others ‘with you always’ is who we are called to be:
to their child at baptism parents declare: ‘we will be with you always’:
to every family on baptism day the parish says: ‘we will be with you always’:
our schools say to every child and their family, especially where life has its deeper shadows: we will be ‘with you always’.
At every wedding those present says: ‘with you always’. And perhaps best of all, to the sick, the housebound, to prisoners, to everyone troubled in body, mind, spirit, our Catholic family says: ‘with you always’.
Indeed Christmas has come once more; after all we live, and breathe and are Our Lord’s final words: ‘I will be with you always’.
May this season’s blessed joy and peace be with you always.
Yours devotedly in Christ,
Archbishop of Liverpool