Christmas thanks and New Year's update from Nepal
Last April, a devastating earthquake occurred in Nepal, killing 9,000 people and leaving countless families homeless and destitute.
In response, a donation of €63,625 was raised in a number of parishes in the Diocese of Meath. This donation was sent directly to Bishop Paul Simick, Vicar Apostolic in Nepal.
In recent days, the Bishop of Meath has received an update and Christmas message from Nepal, which he wishes to bring to your attention:
Dear Bishop Smith,
Season Greetings from Bishop Paul Simick.
This Christmas is very special for the people of this Himalayan Country, Nepal. Apart from its own spiritual significance, Christmas this year carries with it the recent memory of massive earthquakes of April 25th and May 12th that claimed about 9000 lives and caused enormous damage of private and public properties, a New Constitution was promulgated through the Constituent Assembly fulfilling the long awaited aspiration of the people to see the country as a Democratic Republic, an unofficial economic blockade by India, and above all, the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy inaugurated by Pope Francis on the 8th of December, on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
A few days ago, a press reporter asked me this question: “what impact does the festival of Christmas have on the Nepali Christians this year? Is your Christmas a bleak one? Bleak Christmas!" I said, “No way!” Christmas can never be bleak to those who believe of what happened on the first Christmas night. The angel announced to the shepherds out in the field: “I bring you good tidings of great joy for all people”. If we strongly believe what God said to us we will never have bleak Christmas because he comes to us where we live and how we live. Yes, the people of Nepal saw many death and disaster but also witnessed the struggle and determination to rise from the ruins. Yes, the victims of earthquakes are still living in temporary shelters but not afraid and discouraged. Yes “we are afflicted in every way possible, but we are not crushed” [2 Cor. 4:7]. “God always protects his people, he is always near, Pope Francis said, and that is why “we must always be joyful and with our kindness offer everyone witness of the closeness and care God has for everyone.” We are filled with joy for God loves us as we are and not as we should be.
This faith, hope and love growing in the face of the grievous pain of loss, encourages us to strive for the same remarkable and unconditional commitment to God’s providence; to the God who from all bad things has the power to bring out good, even from the suffering wrought by massive cataclysmic disaster for we saw God’s love for all humanity in the human response to the earthquakes. We all experienced that the presence of God’s power and goodness working mysteriously in and through us in many different ways. So, we all have a reason to thank God.
Along with thanks to the Lord, I thank wholeheartedly for your impressive response to the disaster. Your help is reaching to those are in dire in need. Thank you also for your generous support and interest in our apostolic works here in this Himalayan Nation of the Lord’s Vineyard. May all your New Year, 2016 be filled with the blessings you so richly deserve.
I will remember you in the Christmas Masses I shall be privileged to celebrate and ask for a similar remembrance in your Masses and prayers. May Mary, Mother of God, intercede for us and help us to come to know and to love her Son today and throughout the New Year.
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
United with you in the mission of Christ,
Bishop Paul Simick
Vicar Apostolic of Nepal