In his Christmas Message, The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Rev Alan Harper, OBE, stresses the importance of family.
The Archbishop draws on his experience as a grandfather and on his trip to the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem earlier this year to encourage society to value and cherish all children and to support and encourage wholesome family life.
He says: “Whenever we cradle a new born baby we are holding a child who may, in the fullness of time, change the world. Nothing, then, is more important, more worthwhile, more socially and economically necessary than to cherish little children for all children of whatever ability are rich in unexplored promise.
“Strong, secure, loving families, wherein each member is loved and respected are the God-given ideal within which children may grow and fulfill their potential. It is therefore vital to create structures and conditions that support and encourage wholesome family life. Let’s get our priorities right: Our first concern should be to nourish healthy family life.”
Against a backdrop of recent tragedy and reports of neglect, and recognising that families of all kinds can sometimes fall apart, Archbishop Harper concludes: “This Christmas, as we think of Christ’s Incarnation, let us celebrate and support family life where it seeks to build children up and encourage each other to cherish and respect the gift of new life.”
Read the full text of the Archbishop's Christmas message here.