We are nearly at the end of 2016. No doubt we are tired and looking forward to summer holidays but, again at Christmas, we have much to be grateful for and for which to give God thanks.
One of the graces I brought home from GC36 was a greater appreciation of our Province: its ministries and leaders along with our supporters, families, friends and benefactors.
We are blessed to have many extremely generous and talented people working with us, along with a strong band of people who give up their time and offer their talents to make our works even better.
We have some wonderfully committed Jesuits and many lay colleagues. Together we have shared much and been blessed greatly this year.
Perhaps it is in leaving one's familiar shores that one comes to appreciate more what one can otherwise take for granted. Some might suggest I need to leave our shores more often but, truthfully, it simply reminds me not to take for granted the graces and gifts that surround me and our Province.
As some of you now know, there is a particular Christmas Nativity scene I am drawn to contemplate this year. The original mosaic can be found at the Jesuit Community Chapel, Peter Canisius House in Rome, where I was staying for the Congregation. It is the work of the Jesuit Marko Rupnik.
In this Nativity scene, Rupnik has a servant girl sitting with the Holy Family. She invites us in. It is a gentle, open and warm invitation. No grand gestures, no advertising, no loud noise. Not the usual Christmas fanfare. Just a simple invitation to enter into the mystery of Christmas, of Emmanuel, God with us.
At this time of the year I appreciate being quietly drawn into the mystery of God being with us and the mystery of God also being deeply with us in our Jesuit communities and Province ministries.
As I join this servant girl at the end of this grace-filled but busy year, may I invite you to join me in this sacred space, giving thanks for all we have received in 2016 and with hope in the promise of God's presence and blessing in the year to come.
Fr Brian F. McCoy SJ, Provincial