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My Dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and My Dear People,

May the Peace of Christ our Saviour be with you all now and throughout the coming new year.

As we welcome the new year 2023 we are constantly bombarded with fresh predictions of the threat of Corona Virus. According to the Health ministry sources “the next 40 days are going to be crucial as India may see a surge in Covid – 19 cases in January”. But thankfully the severity of the infection will be seemingly less threatening. The Corona Virus, it would appear, refuses to leave us in Peace. My fraternal exhortation to all of you is : Be prepared to combat the Pandemic.

The Holy Father in his message for the World Day of Peace stresses the need to fight together to come out of this crisis as victors. This is true of any crisis. Unless we act unitedly we will achieve nothing and we will continue to wage a losing battle against the evil forces in the World.

The Holy Father reminds us that the greatest and the most important lesson we learned from Covid – 19 was the realization that we all need one another. “That our greatest and yet most fragile treasure is our shared humanity as brothers and sisters, Children of God”.

My dear brothers and sisters, let us in this new year convince ourselves that we need to be together and we need to work together. No progress is possible if we live
as islands – unconnected and unresponsive to the needs of others. We cannot be Peace makers and Bridge builders if we continue to work in isolation.

Let us make a resolution in this new year to come out of our comfort zones, self-centeredness and to work together to create a more just and inclusive society. Let us work unitedly for the empowerment of the Poor, the marginalized and the Outcasts.

We begin the new year with the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1 : 12 – 15) shows Mary as a loving and caring mother who kept the apostles and disciples united in love and faith. That is why they were able to bear witness to the risen Lord, even at the cost of their lives. We shall entrust ourselves to the maternal care of our blessed mother who will certainly keep us united and who will guide us to work together for a truly human society.

Wishing you a grace – filled new year!

Yours in Christ,

+ Most Rev. Dr. A. Neethinathan

   Bishop of Chingleput