A Christmas Homily.

The word “Emmanuel” means GOD IS WITH US.

When I lived and worked on the Falls Road in Belfast from 1978 until 1983 any boy born around Christmas was named and christened EMMANUEL.

Most of those boys grew up to dislike their name.

So, in Belfast  Emmanuel soon became “BAP”.

And so you had Bap Nugent, Bap Maguire, and so on.

But for us Christians, the word Emnanuel is a wonderful word – GOD IS WITH US.

This world has always been a tough place.

In parts of the word today there is extreme hunger, extreme drought, extreme fighting and wars.

And in the history of the world there have always been tough times.

Famines, wars, plagues and diseases.

There have been crusades  reformations and inquisitions.

So the world has always known and experienced darkness.

And today it is no different.

We are on third variation of Coronavirus. Many thousands have died. Many more thousands have been gravely ill. Business and commerce are struggling.

Here in our own Oratory family we have two members preparing for major surgery in the coming days.

One of ours in Belfast is on morphine for extreme pain.

And all of us are under the Omicron cloud.

So there is still suffering and darkness overcrowding our own lives.

Many years Go I learned not to use many useless words when visiting the wake house of a deceased.

It was always better just TO BE THERE.

To hold a hand.

To give a hug.

People remember those who were WITH THEM in their dark time.

And so it is with God.

And so it is with Christmas.

God came to be our EMMANUEL.

God came to be WITH US.

And having God simply with us is touching, healing, comforting and encouraging.

Some people think of God as their “problem solver”.

A king who grants favours to his subjects.

A shop keeper who gives free sweets to children to stop them crying.

That is not a mature way to see God.


We need to realise that we are in a RELATIONSHIP with God.

He is our lover, our partner, our friend – our constant companion on our journey – through the good times and the bad times.

Sometimes he may answer a particular prayer and sometimes he will not.

And that in itself is mysterious.

But he is ALWAYS with us and that makes all the difference.

CHRISTMAS is the feast of God being with us.

And he has said”

“In the world you will have trouble. But do not be afraid, I have overcome the world”.

God moves in a mysterious way

Author: William Cowper (1774)

1. God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

2 You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

3 His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding ev’ry hour.
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

4 Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan his work in vain.
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.


78 replies on “CHRISTMAS 2021”

+Pat: this individual, JoJo, no doubt believes that he, or she, has the one and only true and correct belief and understanding of “religious matters”. And such beliefs therefore gives the right to personally abuse anyone, like you, of different beliefs. By beliefs I mean those highly debatable issues concerning the whole range of humankind’s beliefs in some kind of an infinite creator with an interest and enduring concern for we humanoid species.
Jojo chooses to disgracefully abuse you, presumably because your beliefs don’t mirror his/hers. Such is the intolerance of so many religious beliefs of the past and present.
All these religious belief systems, certainly in the western world Christian era, seem founded on human insecurity and concern about our inevitable mortality.
Once we accept that on death, we no longer exist ( in ANY way, with or without angelic wings etc, etc! ), it clarifies and behoves us to live our present existence responsibly as best we can.
And that certainly doesn’t entail putting all “our eggs” in some imaginary/wished for basket……………based on the questionable writings of bronze age wandering Arabs 2000+ years ago.


7:42. Maybe he does like it, oh aye, and winding up people like you!🎃🎟🎫🎯


Pat, you expressed something of my reflections at two masses earlier this evening. Thankfully we had a reasonably full church for both – about 900 but not as many as before covid. The most important gifts we all need now are hope and light. The Zephaniah prayer about the loving kindness of the heart of our God visiting us is so powerful. Emmanuel – God with us – is the realisation of all promises made through the prophets. May all hearts be open to this gift of God-with-us in the birth of Christ. May your day be truly blessed.


Happy Christmas Patsy, you naughty bold boy, hope you have a good wan. looking forward to our differences in the next year. I wonder how long it will be before the oul gossip Nettie comes on giving out her usual insults. But who cares, Cheers! Bellarmine Evivva Maria!


Happy Christmas Pat . May you receive many blessings and Good Health in 2022. Keep up the great Work.


1:52: Wishful thinking won’t bring wish fulfillment!
Have a good ponder on my last paragraph @ 2:07 above.
Nollaig shona duit.


Luke 2:02 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

2:06 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born.

2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Happy Christmas +Pat! Happy Christmas to all my brothers and sisters in Christ! I wish my fellow comment makers of different faiths and none peaceful days!
Is mise le meas,


Pat, may your day be blessed with peace, goodwill and your celebrations be enjoyable. We take a break from the normal course of your blig to focus on the significance of the Christ child. Your crib is very prayer inspiring in its setting. May all who gather in our churches or wherever to celebrate this moment of God-with-us be filled with peace. Let us stay safe and well and trusting in God for better days ahead.


She will receive First Class treatment today from an episcopus benevolens 😀


I see+ Vin is giving it big this morning about the need to keep churchs open whatever. Mmmm ? I think he, and lots of other dioceses, have got the wind up them about the big fall in income from people putting money on the plate. I think here there’s a lesson for those of us who would like to nudge / drag / kick the Church and its clerical apparatchiks in to some change and reformation; just stop giving money. They will notice it when it hurts their pockets. The Covid crisis has shown that. They are now desperate. So, if you really want to see the likes of + Vin talking about the things that really matter and fixing the things that are wrong in the Church, then stop paying, and when he starts bleating tell him what he needs to be doing. Let’s start, first of all, with a root and branch review of the toxic clerical culture and theology of priesthood. That would be a start. Then we can move on to the institionalised misogyny that is alive and kicking in the Church. Then, perhaps a good look at the ridiculous theology of the body stuff and its warped understanding of who and what human beings are; and then we might start to look at people in a different way and begin to see the beauty of people of diversity and difference and not get so vicariously hot and bothered and condemnatory about their sexual and relationship lives. It all starts with the money. So, just stop giving !


10:47am So it is however many are still unaware of the Great Reset Agenda! They need to quickly wake up.


9.12: What a horrible, nasty, vindictive and unkind person you are! Another for whom Christ means absolutely nothing. Shame on you, fool.


To regulars,irregulars or newbies to Bishop Pats blog, of faith, little faith or none,
I wish a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year to all.


The Catholics Bishops didn’t tweet about the strange goings on in Mount Melleray but they tweeted this this morning:
@CatholicBishops: Listen in to
at 10am speaking with seminarians Stephen Sherry
and Anthony Hartnett
on becoming a #priest and their family life at #Christmas


We celebrated a Civil Partnership Ceremony 11 years ago in Larne Registry Office that can now be automatically transferred into a Marriage.


That is great Pat; I’m so happy to have you in our community and you champion all minorities across the board. A true people’s man, I wish there was so many more men like you in the world.


I use to love Eurovision until my then alcoholic bf did my head in; so I went to bed early only to be woke by the loudness of the tv, I go down to tell him to turn it down and he was literally unconscious and looked dead and had wet himself.


Pat McCafferty Warned in mass today that anyone commenting on blogs is doing the work of the devil, he didn’t specify what blog but we all know what one



Absolutely, Bishop Pat.
The sooner more people realise it, particularly the faithful, the better for everyone.


I agree. But some victims never become survivors. I am a survivor of child abuse. But I don’t let it take over my life.


At least he does speak out about it and that’s a good thing for other victims. I wish he would bring that carriage he was being transported in back also.


As a young priest Paddy used to oppose my work on the media. He was/is a great church defender.


I don’t know Paddy but I also wish him well. However, I do find it strange how
people can be so selective in determining what is and what is not the work of the devil.


At 1:53pm – Liar. Have you nothing better to do on Christmas Day? He made no such mention. I watch his Mass on CSTV. He did/said no such thing.


It’s sad to witness a priest racing through mass on this special day, and what for? Who for? I’m changing Parish


Many years ago Pat I went to midnight mass in our home parish in D&C diocese.
The priest was bluttered!
He didn’t preach and kept making excuses that he was on tablets which were making him dizzy.
My mother believed him until she found out that her own brother and the priest were at the drink since teatime on the Christmas Eve.


Happy Christmas Pat, I hope you and your husband and mother in law have all had a good die. Our Fr Peter Carlin is isolating over the festive period and I hope he makes a full recovery soon.


Does anyone recall Fr Brown from St Mateus in the early 90s, wee ginger man who developed dementia early?


Yes he had dementia and I know we shouldn’t laugh at this, one day he had literally just started mass and after the readings he got up and told us all to go in peace and finished the service. He ended up in a nursing home.


Aw Pat I’m so envious of folk who at Christmas have lovely days and build ups. I’m sat on my own, my husband has been drunk and abusive from 11am and has now conked out I’m bed, my daughter is at an illegal house party and will prob come home with Covid and kill me off as I am immunosuppressed. No respect but have a good time


I’m sure the priest that frequents lay bys and toilets in Antrim has been bored today with weather like that


Let us remember people who were annoyed by this blog during the year as Christmas is a weird time for some with mental health issues. But let us also thank the blog for liberating some priests/religious who did not want to go gently but who know deep down that they did the right thing by stepping aside. This year they will have a sincere Christmas and a humble Christmas and no doubt they have experience Christian humility this Christmas and that too is a huge gift.


6.53: You, sir, are the PERVERT, not the man you speak of. What a sad piece you are! Yours are the kind of comments Pat should not print.


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