Dear Friends,

I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas. Be assured of my prayers for you and your families at this time.

I count myself as very fortunate and blessed to have this time in Jerusalem. My life at the moment is a mixture of study of the Bible and travel. There are so many significant places to visit, most of which have connections with the scriptures, and the people of Israel and the early Christians. I also have the occasional visit to the local bar where they show English football and serve beer.

My accommodation is in the garden of a convent of religious sisters, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. It’s a single room bedsit, but certainly adequate and the Sisters are very hospitable. I celebrate Mass with them each day. The location is perfect, just 2 minutes from Damascus Gate right next to the ancient city. I can walk to the tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in under 15 minutes, to the Garden of Gethsemane in 20 minutes, and to the Mount of Olives (the place of the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven) in 30 minutes.

On Christmas Eve we will celebrate Mass in the Shepherds’ Field in Bethlehem where the ‘Shepherds watched their flocks by night’. That Mass I will offer for you, all my parishioners. Although I find this a wonderful experience I can say that I miss being with you in the Lune Valley. You are often in my thoughts and prayers. I will especially miss you at Christmas.

With my most sincere best wishes and prayers, Fr Luiz