Bishop Michael Smith celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Nativity at the Cathedral of Christ the King.  The Bishop was joined in the liturgy by priests of the Cathedral parish and a number of visiting clergy.  The music was provided by the Cathedral Choir and the Mullingar Town Band.  During the Mass, Bishop Smith expressed the thoughts of many people in congratulating the Bishop and people of Ardagh and Clonmacnois on the reopening of St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford.

In his homily, Bishop Smith said that “Christmas pulls us in many directions.  However at its core is the fact of the birth of a child, not any child, but the fulfillment of a promise God made time and time again over the centuries to His people”.

“There was no great proclamation of His birth.  All would have found it impossible to believe that the long promised Messiah would be born in a stable.  The only ones who received the message were the shepherds looking after the sheep in the fields.  The message they received was very simple but rooted in the language of expectation that ran through the Old Testament: ‘today a Saviour will be born to you, He is Christ the Lord’.  These words – Saviour, Christ, Lord – have deep meaning in the context of God’s relationship with His people.  This is who is he: the child Jesus is the One who saves; He is Christ the ‘anointed one’ of God; He is the Servant King of His people.”

The Bishop drew a parallel between the lowly circumstances of Christ’s birth and the suffering which many people endure in the Middle East still today.

“The comment, earlier this week, of the Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem is thought provoking.  He said: ‘We are always moved in the Gospels to read that Mary and Joseph found no room in the Inn and that Jesus was born in a stable.  Today among the millions of refugees in the Middle East there are many children who desire to sleep in a stable or a shed like the one in which Jesus was born.  For them it would be a luxury’.  Let us remember these children and their families in our prayers this evening and always.

Click here for photos from the Mass of the Lord’s Nativity in the Cathedral of Christ the King.