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Bishop Michael’s Letter

20 December, 2022

As this is written I am in the Holy Land with a group of people from across the Diocese on the Diocesan Advent Pilgrimage.  It is such a special opportunity to be walking in the places of the birth of Jesus as we are almost at Christmas and readying to celebrate the birth of our Saviour.  I have been praying for all across the Diocese as we journeyed to the many sacred places.

I have made the new clergy appointments for 2023 and some of our priests will be moving in the new year to take up their new appointments.  I am sure those communities where changes are happening will have the opportunity to farewell and thank their priest before they leave.

As of Christmas Day this year I have restored the Sunday Obligation on all the baptised – that is to attend Sunday Mass .  The COVID pandemic necessitated the need to dispense of the obligation, however now that life is returning to normal it is time for us to gather once more and celebrate together in our communities the Sunday Eucharist.  Livestreaming gave us the opportunity to connect still, even though we could not meet in person, it cannot however replace the community gathering and participating in the Sunday celebration, as the Church has done since the earliest times.

I encourage you all to join us for the Christmas celebrations in our local churches, and to invite your family and friends back to this wonderful celebration.  You can find Christmas Mass times across the Diocese on our website, in your local parish bulletin or contact your local parish office.  Our priests are providing many opportunities to attend a Christmas Mass, some travelling great distances to cover as many communities as possible.  I pray that you and all you love may enjoy a happy and holy Christmas, and enjoy a peaceful new year.