Christmas Message 2020 Dear Parishioners of Quin Clooney, Maghera, This has been a difficult and stressful year for many of us. It has been particularly painful because the pandemic has kept us away from our loved ones. The Parish during the course of the year has suffered a number of sad losses. Many are mourning the loss of a loved one whether it was because of the pandemic or other reasons. The fact that people were not able to console one another in person makes that grief more intense. If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it is the value of relationships, the value of being together in person, the value of touch. Due to restrictions the sick and housebound were not visited as much as I would have liked. The good community spirit, however, that is within the Parish, kept many in touch with conversations through a window, telephone calls, shopping and helping with basic necessities. We think too at this time of the many that are not able to return home this Christmas because of the pandemic. At Christmas we rejoice in the belief that God loved us so much that He sent His only Son in the form of a child to walk with us on our journey through life. In the past year we have had to social distance from one another but we celebrate at Christmas a God who does not keep His distance from us. He is very close to us during this pandemic because Christmas celebrates how God became man in Jesus Christ and how He wanted to break that barrier of distance by becoming one of us. Jesus came as a light to the world and He penetrates the darkness of this present time. Jesus Christ is God Himself stooping down to us, opening His arms to us, and embracing us with love. Christmas teaches us that God wants nothing more than to love us and to be loved by us in return. Truly God is with us this Christmas. May the peace and joy of the New Born Child touch the heart of each one of us this Christmas. Let us rejoice! God loves us. God gives us salvation in His Son. Christ is born for us! Let us rejoice and delight in that love.