Advent Greetings, First of all we would like to share with you the good news that Bishop Robert Byrne of the Birmingham Archdiocese in the UK and Bishop Jacob Manathodath from the Palakkad Diocese in Kerala have both agreed to become Patrons of this magazine. We are very grateful to Bishop Robert and Bishop Jacob for their support and we ask you to pray for them and their ministries.
In our magazine this month we bring you the testimony of Fr Lee Marshall, who tells us why he decided to give up a successful career in the business world to become a Catholic priest. There is a report on the Sehion Ministries mission to Punjab and details of an unusual school project that developed after a group of pupils visited the Holy Land and saw the plight of the Christian families there. We look at how the birth of Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament, hundreds of years before he was born and the Saint we look at this month is St Nicholas, who has inspired great devotion around the world although very little is known about him.
If you have been to St Peters in Rome you will have seen the Swiss Guards, in their blue and yellow striped doublet and breeches, wearing metal helmets with red feathers in them and holding their pikes, standing guard around St Peter’s Square. These colourful soldiers work in the Vatican and are employed to guard the Pope and his household. We have been given permission to reprint an interview with one of these Swiss Guards, who had his first meeting with Pope John Paul II one Christmas Eve a few years ago. This article gives a wonderful insight into the man who would become a Saint only a few years after his death.
The season of Advent is a time to look forward to the joys of celebrating the birth of our Saviour and it is also a good time to think about inviting Jesus more deeply into our lives so that he can be reborn in us. But it is not just a time to think about ourselves, there are so many places in the world today that are torn apart by war and famine and many people who live in great fear or have been forced to flee their homes. We may not be able to do much to help them but let us remember in our prayers all those who are suffering through war, violence, persecution and famine at this time of year and do what we can to help others. Remember that each time we do one small act of kindness we are making the world a better place for someone else.
For most of us it is a busy time of year but please don’t forget the reason for the season. May God bless you all.
Written by the editorial team